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GLOBAL NEWS – Olam donates US$250,000 to Médecins sans Frontières and World Cocoa Foundation in fight against Ebola

LONDON, UK – Global agri-business, Olam International Limited (“Olam’’) today (October 15, 2014) donated US$250,000 to help fight Ebola. This action follows its education and awareness-raising efforts across its African processing units, plantations and smallholder operations.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will receive US$200,000 and a further US$50,000 will be given to the World Cocoa Foundation, which will be making donations to the International Federation of Red Cross, the Red Crescent Societies and Caritas on behalf of the global cocoa industry.
Over the past months, Olam has been working across Africa with health agencies and governments to educate over 9,000 employees, as well as its smallholder networks about Ebola prevention, identification, and treatment. The Company has also implemented health screening for its workforce in Nigeria, the only country currently affected where Olam has a direct presence.
Sunny Verghese, Olam’s Group Managing Director and CEO, said today’s announcement reinforces Olam’s commitment in the fight against Ebola.
“The courage of the doctors and nurses working on the front line is an inspiration to every one of us. But this epidemic will not end without getting far more medical boots and experience on the ground.
“As an agri-business founded in Nigeria 25 years ago, we would not be where we are today – which includes 25 African countries – without the communities in which we operate. They in turn rely on Olam for their livelihoods. We are thankful that they have remained unaffected but our commitment to the continent goes beyond our own boundaries.”
Mr Verghese said Olam’s teams have been constant in their efforts to help the governments and health agencies contain the outbreak, implementing additional procedures and ensuring that business as usual is maintained.
“We are seeing absolute dedication at all levels of society to keep Africa running. By making a donation corporates can help those trying to protect the people in the affected countries and their future prosperity.”
James Kliffen, Head of Fundraising, MSF UK said: “A donation of this magnitude from Olam is truly remarkable. This support couldn’t come at a more crucial time for MSF, as our staff in West Africa face unprecedented challenges. MSF medical teams have been on the front-line, battling the Ebola outbreak since it broke out in March and the epidemic has now claimed the lives of over 4,000 people. Sadly, health workers have not been spared. This is an outbreak which will not simply burn out, and we continue to scale up our emergency response to meet the ever-growing needs. We couldn’t do any of this without the support from our donors. I want to thank Olam, on behalf of our patients and staff in West Africa, for not turning away from this crisis and for standing with us, as we continue our work.”
Olam’s donation will be spent by the aid agencies on essential medical supplies, including:

  • protective equipment (US$62)
  • training for health workers (US$64)
  • beds (US$91 each)

chemical resistant gloves (US$166 for forty)

Olam is also launching an internal fundraising initiative amongst its 23,000 employees for Médecins Sans Frontières.
For more information about donating to the Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola Appeal please go to: http://www.msf.org.uk/ebola.