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Highlighting causes we care about on International Charity Day

Today is International Charity Day, an occasion to celebrate the hard work of charities around the world to improve people’s lives. What are the most pressing global issues we should be addressing? Read on to find out the causes most important to our employees, and the charities we believe are best positioned to work on them.

A man carries his bike with a cooler containing the Covid vaccine across a river.

A multitude of causes

How do we choose what causes to support at Visma? Ultimately, we look for organisations that solve the challenges closest to our heart. This includes causes around education, equality, and helping people in the communities close to us.

As a technology company, we also look for charities that use a technological component in their approach. Below are just a few of the causes we believe are most important right now. In addition, there are many other initiatives currently in progress across the company.

Also read: Admincontrol supports vulnerable groups and fights against inequality for communities in different parts of the world

Creating new opportunities for children

Throughout developing countries, kids face unique challenges when it comes to their rights and wellbeing. It is not a given that kids can go to school, especially when a family is poor and benefits from the children bringing in additional income. Child labour is quite common among kids in such families.

Covid has made these situations even more likely. Take for example the rural town of Yipelagu in Northern Ghana. Soon after the start of the Covid pandemic, the village was forced to close its schools.

What do kids do when they can’t go to school and their parents are unable to stay home with them? They can try to study on their own, or do chores at home. But increasingly they look to large cities such as Accra for a chance to make additional money to support themselves and their family. Working in such places puts them at risk of exploitation as they often work as porters, carrying heavy loads for low wages.

Thankfully there are organisations that work to give children better options. One organisation Visma supports is called Right to Play, which has trained teachers and staff working in Ghana as well as other countries throughout Africa and the Middle East. 

In the case of Yipelagu, Right to Play’s teachers were able to significantly reduce the number of children making the trip to Accra to work in child labour. They offered free, at-home tutoring to 4,000 children until the schools were able to re-open.

A student in Yipelagu who received tutoring while schools were closed due to Covid.

Photo: A student in Yipelagu who received tutoring while schools were closed due to Covid.

In addition to keeping kids in school, Right to Play empowers children through the principles of play and creativity. Through game-based learning methodologies, they encourage kids to lead themselves, make smart choices, and learn positive values and life skills.

The result is happier kids, as well as improved measures of school attendance, gender equality, and overall health.

Find out other ways Visma invests in children’s growth

Providing equitable access to Covid vaccines

The rapid development of effective Covid vaccines in 2020 and 2021 has been an incredible scientific achievement. However, even as billions of doses are being manufactured, there are large inequalities in who receives them.

So far, wealthier industrialised countries have been able to claim the majority of doses, in some cases more than they can possibly use. Meanwhile developing countries, especially in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, are lagging substantially behind.

In our interconnected world, Covid infections in one place affect us all. The virus is continually shifting into new variants that travel across borders, and the global economy cannot fully reopen until all countries have a baseline level of protection.

Unicef’s COVAX project is trying to level the playing field. The project seeks to deliver over a billion vaccine doses to 92 of the world’s poorest countries. This is made even more complicated by poor infrastructure and limited resources in many of these countries.

A man hangs from a rope as he carries vaccines over a river to reach a remote area.

Photo: A man hangs from a rope as he carries vaccines over a river to reach a remote area.

Equitable vaccine access is extremely important to us at Visma. We recognise how lucky we are to have been offered the Covid vaccine in the vast majority of our operating countries, and the importance of supporting those without these same opportunities. With its reach, infrastructure, network and experience, Unicef is particularly qualified to procure and deliver the Covid vaccines to those who need them most.

Preserving the Baltic Sea for future generations

Surrounded by 9 countries including Finland, Sweden, Russia and Poland, the Baltic Sea is an extension of the Atlantic Ocean, composed of a mix of salt and freshwater. On average it is shallow (54m) compared to the rest of the Atlantic (4km) and was once a vital trading route for medieval Northern European cities.

Recently it has become of vital interest to ecologists. Decades of agricultural runoff have released large quantities of nitrogen and phosphorus into the sea. These nutrients have led to enormous algae blooms which are harmful to the fish and other species in the ecosystem. 

This, in turn, has affected the people living along the Baltic Sea, such as fishermen and native populations who can no longer depend on healthy fish stocks. Talk to anyone who has spent large parts of their life on the sea, and they will tell you just how much it has changed over the last 50 years.

We have operations in most countries that border the Baltic Sea, and that’s why we have an outsized stake in protecting it.

The John Nurminen Foundation is an organisation with projects in all countries that border the Baltic Sea. In line with Visma’s values, they are tech-centric: they provide technical know-how, technology and resources to entities in the countries bordering the sea.

A Baltic Sea fisherman proudly displays his catch.

Photo: A Baltic Sea fisherman proudly displays his catch.

Some of their most notable projects include:

Thanks to their efforts, for every €1 spent, 5kg of algae are removed from the sea. In some areas, this has led to as much as a 75% reduction of phosphorus in the sea.

We are committed to leading positive change for society and the environment. Learn more about sustainability at Visma.

Learn more about sustainability at Visma

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