The need for more intensive connections with all stakeholders, nurtured through our policy of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, motivated Titan Cementara Kosjerić to initiate project work in focus groups, formed by representatives of the plant and the relevant organisations of local government in November 2014. Their voluntary engagement will contribute to the identification of authentic needs in the local community, as well as generating ideas which shall in a long-term and in a sustainable way, with minimal financial expenses, improve certain aspects of life in Kosjerić.
This method of enhanced communication with citizens is another aspect of Titan’s long devotion to social development, and it is built on the comprehensive partnership and involvement of important local actors in creating programmes of mutual interest. Live interaction in these relationships confirms the effectiveness of the Forum “Our Community ─ Our Responsibility”, in which, at the end of 2013, for an even more successful functioning of the company and the community, the key areas for future improvements were defined. These are:
• Health and Safety;
• Culture and Education;
• Employment and Equal Opportunities;
• Environmental Protection;
• Responsible procurement.
These areas are starting points for challenging tasks of five focus groups that were established during the initial meetings in December last year, in the facilities of the Info Centre which was provided by TCK for their gatherings and activities. On the basis of the adopted programme concept and in coordination by the representatives of the company, on other meetings held in January action plans for practical steps of these teams have already been adopted.
In addition to TCK employees as facilitators of the project, the structure of the focus groups involves individuals from representative local educational and cultural institutions, non-governmental organisations, municipal governments, social and health care services for security, and other authorities of the public sector. It is expected that their professional experience will be combined in productive actions, in accordance with direct citizens’ expectations. So far some of the problems that focus groups will deal with have been recognised:
– Safety of the youngest participants in traffic (poor organisation of pedestrian paths, lack of driving culture);
– Primary waste separation (possibility of establishing a waste management system and social benefits that would be achieved)
– Development of youth interest in involvement in the cultural and educational facilities (provision of adequate space, summer camps, well-designed cultural events)
– Prequalification and active job search.
In the period between February and May 2015, focus groups were concentrated on the implementation of action plans which would improve key areas for the development of the local community in a targeted and in a sustainable way. Thus, in April, for the fourth grade students of Technical School Kosjerić, a lecture was held: “Opportunities for employment and self-employment.” At this educational workshop, which was intended for future young professionals, were lecturers an entrepreneur from our region as an example of good business practices and creating an independent business, and a representative of the National Employment Service from Užice. In this way, students from Kosjerić had the opportunity to directly learn about the most important features of independent entrepreneurship, as well as how to run their business in spite of the high unemployment rate and low demand in the labour market.
In parallel, the focus group for Health and Safety launched a campaign of providing light in the schoolyard of elementary school “Mito Igumanović”. Team members stimulated local institutions and organisations to join the initiative, so that in the coming period this project will be implemented in cooperation with EPS, TITAN Cementara Kosjerić, and primary school “Mito Igumanović”.
During May, the local community enriched its cultural content with 5 new workshops covered by the programme “Creative (in) Kosjerić”, organised by focus group for Culture and Education. The concept includes a wide population of Kosjerić municipality through a variety of workshops for the development of creativity and skills: school of handwork for sewing, knitting and weaving; guitar school; drama and literary section; creative workshop for making decorative items and rock’n’roll “Hir Hor”. Within the project “Creative (in) Kosjerić”, Radio Kosjerić once a month, on Fridays at 11 am, regularly broadcasts a fun and educational show for children, “I have something important to tell you”.
The work of the focus groups increases opportunities for deep understanding and overcoming the problem focal points in the local environment. With this approach, TCK directs its action to significant community issues, and demonstrates its commitment to the common good and loyalty to the policy of Sustainable Development, which affirms the unity of a successful business and social growth. This connection is made strong thanks to enthusiasts in focus groups which, led by the initiative of TITAN company, in their domains advocate for the prosperity of Kosjerić.