The Magadi community

Community development | Health care for all | Partnering for progress | Downloads

The Tata Chemicals Magadi (TCML) operation is in a remote location in the Rift Valley, about 120km south of Nairobi, in an area with harsh climatic conditions. The annual rainfall is just enough to support scanty vegetation of hardy acacia trees and pasture for the roaming herds of livestock.

The Magadi, is sparsely populated except for the agricultural zones of Nkurumani escarpment. The predominant ethnic group is the Maasai, whose economic mainstay is livestock rearing. This has often posed numerous challenges particularly during periods of drought.

It is within these severe conditions that the Maasai community exists alongside TCM. The company's partnership with the community was intensified after the severe drought of 2000, a tragedy that wiped out a significant part of Maasai wealth.

The company's social responsibility approach is to work with local community leaders and NGOs to provide vital inputs and support in critical areas. For instance, the company-supported Magadi Hospital is the only hospital in an area of 80km radius and has a wide catchment area with a population of about 30,000 people. The company provides subsidised health care to the community and supports other health centres in the area.

Community development

  • TCM is involved in several areas of community welfare and development:
  • Health services
  • Magadi Hospital
  • Support to medical centers
  • HIV/Aids policy for employees and community
  • Water for domestic use (through pipeline, bowser and rail)
  • Education
  • Building four schools
  • Support for all local schools
  • Community information centers
  • IT training
  • Financial support for students through bursaries
  • Business and employment opportunities
  • Support for micro-businesses, women's groups, etc
  • Skills training
  • Local infrastructure
  • Maintenance of roads and railway lines
  • Passenger transport
  • Security support
  • Development of ecotourism

Health care for all

Health care is a key area of corporate social responsibility and TCM has dedicated significant resources to upgrade and equip the Magadi Hospital.

The company not only accommodates locals, it also subsidies medical aid. Currently, the local community comprises 60 per cent outpatient and 95 per cent of inpatient attendance. In 2001 alone, the company absorbed over KSh18 million (over $200,000) in subsidies for community health care. Even at subsidized rates, most patients are still too poor to afford services.

The spread of HIV/Aids has put the hospital under increased pressure. To meet rising medical needs of the community, Magadi Hospital works with other partners especially on preventive measures. One of the partners is the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) supported clinic at Nkurumani, which has received financial and material support from TCM. The clinic works hand in hand with Magadi Hospital and refers complicated cases to it. When the clinic runs short of supplies, the company shares those available at the hospital. It also assists the local health centers by transporting drugs and medicine from Kajiado Hospital by rail.

Partnering for progress

TCM is part of the Maasai Integrated Development Partnership Project (MIDPP), an umbrella body bringing together a number of stakeholders - NGOs, the Kenya government and the local community.

MIDPP's main aim is to pool resources and hasten social development in Magadi division. The partnership approach prevents duplication as each partner has projects within their specialized area. This ensures that funds and other inputs are used wisely to maximize the gains to the local community.

The company has worked closely with Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG), Dupoto E Maa, AMREF, African Conservation Centre (ACC), World Corps and HEART.

In support of NGOs, the company has provided office space to ITDG and the Magadi Division Development Programe (MADDEP), to help reduce operating costs.