To many, attending a conference is mainly a chance to learn, to network, to experience new cultures, to grow as a professional.
In Cape Town, attending a conference won’t be just about you.
Organizers of the upcoming AAPG International Conference and Exhibition are including an ambitious “Social Responsibility” program that reflects AAPG’s “strong commitment to social responsibility, both globally and in South Africa.”
Through the initiative, various local groups will benefit from AAPG’s presence in Cape Town by receiving surplus food and materials, while other groups will have the opportunity to sell handmade items on the exhibition floor.
“It is the right thing to do,” said Njabulo (Mabee) Mdlalose, special projects coordinator for Petroleum Agency SA and chair of the Social Responsibility Committee for the conference. “I believe that being a good corporate citizen (means) going beyond the organization’s mandate of just doing your business. It means looking for opportunities to strategically develop programs and help communities where you operate.”
It means, she continued, “intervention outside corporate walls and ensuring sustainability of communities, society and the environment.”
To accomplish that mission in Cape Town, Mdlalose’s committee (five members) have worked since January to organize an initiative that includes:
♦ An “Educator and Learners” program, where 100 teachers and about 200 students from in and around Cape Town have been invited to attend six information sessions that will include a tour of the exhibition hall.
All will receive packs with learning and teaching resources.
“South Africa children know very little about geology and what geologists do,” she said. “This will be an opportunity for them to get information and to interact with geologists young and old.”
- Several groups from Cape Town and the surrounding region will have booths in the exhibits hall to show and sell their handmade jewelry, handicrafts, cultural artifacts and other products; all groups will be from “poverty stricken or semi-urban areas,” Mdlalose said.
- Clean uneaten food from various activities will be distributed to locations that provide meals for needy groups, such as centers for the homeless and orphanages.
- Bags, pens, exhibitor handouts and other goods that delegates do not need or take will be given to schools in underprivileged areas.
- A recycling program will be in place for shipping material.
- A special forum on “Global Climate Change as Viewed From an African Perspective,” chaired by past AAPG vice president-Sections John Armentrout and Jeffrey Levine, will be held Tuesday night (Oct. 28).
The forum is open to the public and will include time for questions and comments.
Helping others is not a new concept for Mdlalose. In addition to her role as Petroleum Agency SA’s special projects coordinator she also is responsible for her company’s own Social Responsibility program.
She also manages and administers a trust that provides scholarships and money to various organizations.
“When I grew up there were no opportunities of this kind,” she said. “Now I look for ways to create these opportunities for young people.”
The point, she said, is “to make a difference in their lives.”
Who knew that by attending an AAPG meeting you’d be helping to do just that?