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The Oceana Group has launched an independent study on the impact of their corporate social investment initiatives in Hout Bay since 2011.

During this time projects in food security and education have received aid to the value of R2,3-million. The report was launched at a handover event which saw a feeding kitchen, minibus and computer lab unveiled at two schools.

The study by research consultancy, Mthente, took the form of face-to-face interviews with the school principal Sentinel Primary School, and focus group discussions with learners, teachers and parents to quantify the impact which the CSI initiatives have had on their lives.

Oceana Group, a JSE-listed fishing company, has been consistently working through their CSI vehicle, the Oceana Foundation, to improve the environment at Sentinel Primary School both inside and outside of the classroom.

“Our two focus areas, Education and Food Security, are adding value to the education the pupils receive and ensuring food security,” said Oceana Group’s CEO, Francois Kuttel.

The Oceana Foundation has, in the past arranged and funded the painting of the Sentinel Primary School buildings, provided digital Smart Boards, a branded school minibus and regular donations of Lucky Star products.

The goodwill is not limited to Sentinel Primary. Keys to a minibus were handed over to Silikamva High School’s principal, Angus Duffet.

According to the Mthente report, parents and teachers say that Oceana has changed the quality of teaching and the learning environment at Sentinel Primary School. “Stakeholders cited a change in the look and the feel of the school, which can be attributed in particular to the refurbishment of the school building,” said Awongiwe Mtimkulu, Mthente researcher and consultant.

“The new look has contributed to a more positive atmosphere among both teachers and learners, as well as changed perceptions within the community. Stakeholders indicate that community members now recognise Sentinel Primary as an institution of learning to be respected and be proud of.” In 2011, 26 break-ins were recorded, 2012 none and one in 2013 and 2014, symbolising increasing respect for school grounds. The appearance of the newly-painted walls instils pride in the school and was cited by learners as giving increased motivation to perform well in class.

“Donations such as the school minibus have freed up funds for items such as stationery for the teachers; created revenue for the bus driver’s salary, upkeep of the bus and petrol expenses through transporting learners from other schools; provided employment opportunities for two community members and instilled pride in the community as their poor school has its own bus like other rich schools,” said principal Amanda Engelbrecht.