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‘VIVA mi escuela’: Successful start to OMV school project in Nicaragua

May 17, 2010 - 10:00 am (CET)

  • OMV and ICEP give a positive interim assessment after six months 
  • Basic concept planned for 10 model schools; first training courses have started for parents and teachers; 1,441 school-starter packs distributed 
  • Since 1st October 2009, every time a cup of VIVA coffee is sold at OMV filling stations in Austria and Germany one cent is donated towards the education of children in Nicaragua, which is the coffee’s country of origin 

OMV established the corporate social responsibility (CSR) project ‘VIVA mi escuela’ (‘Long live my school’) in cooperation with the Austrian Development Organisation ICEP to help improve primary education in Nicaragua. Since 1st October 2009, one cent of every cup of VIVA coffee sold in Austria and Germany has been donated to the project. Meanwhile almost 4 million cups of VIVA coffee have been sold in both countries, raising total funds of EUR 40,000 in the first six months.

Harald Joichl, Head of OMVs filling station business in Austria and Germany: “For us it was important right from the start to provide direct aid to people in Nicaragua. In order to ensure a professional approach, we brought on board a well-known development organisation. ICEP has a great deal of experience thanks to its links with local partner organisations and takes a solution-based approach to issues. We are delighted to see first signs of success after such a short period of time.”

Providing the right help means acting quickly
For ICEP, the key to success lies in constructive cooperation with local authorities. “Education is a state function in developing countries as well. However, the OMV project ‘VIVA mi escuela’ enables us to help in precisely those areas where the state is unable to provide funding: in the provision of lesson materials and the training of parents and teachers. That is the basis for a constructive cooperation,” said Astrid Taus of ICEP, in comments about the positive development to date.

The greatest success so far: School registrations sank dramatically when school started in February, but some personal inquiries quickly established that this was for a variety of reasons such as a lack of money for school materials and clothing; illness among the children; and a lack of understanding among families about the importance of attending school.

Appropriate measures were taken with the approval of the public authorities, such as the provision of 1,441 school-starter packs for children from socially weak families, longer medical consultation periods, workshops, and information campaigns targeted at parents. Through these measures, it was possible to increase the number of school registrations from almost 900 to more than 1,400.

“We wanted to cooperate with an organisation that has a high level of expertise and is well acquainted with local conditions. In addition, we place considerable value on the fact that ICEP invests the funds in a sustainable way to ensure long-term improvements,” said Joichl.

Learning with the multiplier effect
One objective of the ‘VIVA mi escuela’ school project is to adapt the curriculum in cooperation with the relevant local authorities. “It’s a complex issue to make adjustments in the educational domain,” said Maira Reyes, one of the local trainers of ‘VIVA mi escuela’. “We have to be active on many levels simultaneously: as well as the children’s education, a primary objective is to ensure that teaching staff have adequate training. We have established that the majority of teachers are not really in a position to pass on acquired knowledge. At the same time, we made efforts right from the start to involve the parents as much as possible. Some 250 parents took part in school committees in the first six months and that has far exceeded our expectations. After all, many parents are themselves unable to read and write.”

A total of 600 parents have passed a special training course in the meantime. This training helps them to provide the best support possible for their children’s education. Around 100 teachers and school directors are being specially trained in an education programme, and around 55 of these are being trained as mentors. This will enable more teachers to be coached and trained indirectly. The multiplier effect plays an important role at all levels and is the reason why it has been possible to form a basic concept for 10 model schools in the north-western region of Madriz. These model schools should serve both as an example and as training centres for other schools.

The programme in the first six months has been very successful and was implemented according to plan. The educational activities that have been established will be further intensified in the next few months and the ongoing support and cooperation with the schools in the Nicaraguan coffee region will be expanded.

Coffee from VIVA
There are currently around 170 OMV filling stations with VIVA shops throughout Austria. The extensive coffee range available at the VIVA world of indulgence includes more than 10 different coffee variations made from 100% best Arabica beans. From Latte Macchiato to a double espresso – all coffee specialities are available either to drink on the spot or to take away in handy “ to go” cups.

“We Austrians are European champions of coffee drinking and we have a long tradition of enjoying coffee. VIVA shows how drinking coffee can be linked to social engagement, since not only does every cup of VIVA coffee taste great but it also really does some good,” said Joichl.

OMV guarantees a minimum annual contribution of EUR 50,000 for ‘VIVA mi escuela’. The project is planned to run for three years, with an option to extend it.

Background information: 

ICEP – global empowerment
The Austrian Development Organization ICEP was founded in 1996 as a private and independent initiative to make an effective contribution to global poverty alleviation.

ICEP is convinced that through education and training poor people in developing countries can become the driving forces behind their own development. This approach has been defined by ICEP as “empowerment”. The first step of empowerment is to provide new perspectives and stimulate a sense of initiative. Thus, ICEP invests in brain power and supports people in developing countries through education and training programs to discover and develop their own talents and skills and build up their expertise. ICEP conceives and implements projects in Africa, Latin America and Central Asia with the support of local partners.

In Austria, ICEP main task consists in sensitizing and raising the awareness of Austrian companies about the needs and possibilities in developing countries, addressing the fight against global poverty as a benefit for the economy. ICEP supports Austrian companies in their efforts to translate global CSR from theory into practice and to manage CSR project developments from concept to reality.

More information is available at:

OMV Aktiengesellschaft
With Group sales of EUR 17.92 bn and a workforce of 34,676 employees in 2009, OMV Aktiengesellschaft is one of Austria’s largest listed industrial companies. As the leading energy group in the European growth belt, OMV is active in Refining & Marketing (R&M) in 12 countries. In Exploration & Production (E&P) OMV is active in 17 countries on four continents. In Gas & Power (G&P) OMV sells approximately 13 bcm gas per year. Through its 2,000 km long gas pipeline network in Austria G&P transports approximately 75 bcm gas annually. OMV’s Central European Gas Hub is with around 23 bcm annually trading volume one of the most important gas hubs in Continental Europe.

OMV is the leading energy group in the European growth belt with oil and gas reserves of approximately. 1.19 bn boe, daily production of around 317,000 boe in 2009 and an annual refining capacity of approximately 26 mn t. OMV now has 2,433 filling stations. The market share of the group in the R&M business segment in the Danube Region is now 20%.

OMV further strengthened its leading position in the European growth belt through the acquisition of 41.58% of Petrol Ofisi, Turkey’s leading company in the retail and commercial business.

In June 2006, OMV has established the OMV Future Energy Fund, a wholly owned subsidiary to support projects in renewable energy with more than EUR 100 mn to initiate the change from a pure oil and gas group to an energy group with renewable energy in its portfolio.

OMV is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, and an active supporter to the values enshrined in its Code of Conduct. These include a strong sense of responsibility towards the social and natural environment, especially in economically weak regions. OMV continuously addresses economic, environmental and social issues related to its business in a responsible manner. The Company reports on its activities in a sustainability report in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines. This report is published at the same time as the annual report.

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