Social responsibility is one of the Hess Corporation's 6 core values and they are committed to meeting the highest standards of corporate citizenship and creating long-lasting, positive impacts on the communities where we do business.
Hess believes that long-term sustainable progress can only be made by a healthy, well-educated community, and we therefore focus our community and social responsibility efforts largely on health and education.
Hess's flagship social investment program – PRODEGE – is a five-year, $50 million partnership between Hess Corporation, the government of Equatorial Guinea and FHI 360 to support the goals of universal access to quality primary education.
The program seeks to transform teaching and learning by introducing a student-centered, active learning curriculum, renovating and equipping 40 “Active Schools”, training 2,400 teachers, and building capacity at the Ministry of Education to improve system-wide planning and evaluation activities.
The program reaches roughly half of all students enrolled in primary school. To date, 1000 teachers have been certified in primary education, 1400 first grade teachers and principals received training in promotion criteria, a new faculty of education was established at the national university, and an information system has been developed at the Ministry of Education for enhanced planning and management.
The Overall Strategy
Hess sought an opportunity to create social value in Equatorial Guinea that would also address a major business constraint – the need for a well-educated local workforce. Both the government and community leaders agreed that quality primary education was of paramount importance to the future of Equatorial Guinea.
In meetings with senior government officials, national education leaders, and other key stakeholders, Hess engaged in a dialogue about their needs and aspirations to assess how the company could add lasting value to the education system.
Together, they engaged FHI 360 to conduct an in-depth assessment and to develop the program and metrics.
The program steering committee meets quarterly to review progress and address challenges. Hess leaders, including the Chairman and CEO, personally track program progress and participate in an annual meeting to provide guidance and support.
Hess’ local country manager and FHI’s country program director meet weekly, while Hess and FHI’s US-based teams maintain contact on a weekly basis. The combined team presents at leading education conferences and events around the world to share lessons learned and progress made.
Hess staff and leaders have also leant planning and project management expertise to the project, ranging from strategic planning to tender management.
There are many efforts aimed at improving access to quality education, but a few elements differentiate PRODEGE.
First, stakeholder input and participation has been critical to developing every aspect of the program from the initial landscape analysis and need assessments through to program design, implementation, and metrics.
Second, the host government agreed to contribute half of the costs of the program in addition to in-kind contribution through teacher salaries and other inputs. The financial contribution puts partners on equal footing in terms of governance and accountability, and builds a sense of ownership and confidence in the Ministry of Education’s ability to deliver results and manage resources.
Hess has also invested considerable resources in building national capacity to sustain the program’s achievements and take them to scale.
This is still, and will continue to be, a work in progress as capacity building, especially on this scale, is a long term process. Hess pledges to continue to strengthen local institutions, document lessons learned and develop best practices in program sustainability that can be replicated elsewhere.