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Celebrating the 10th World NGO Day: Mécénat Servier commits to the cause!

Whether it’s health, education, culture or living together… since its inception, the Mécénat Servier endowment fund has provided long-term support to not-for-profits that help to shape a better world. February 27, 2024, marks a decade of World NGO Day. It’s an opportunity to showcase progress in some of our initiatives led through this commitment.

Did you know that World NGO Day is the brainchild of a British-based student some ten years ago? Now recognized by many countries around the world, this annual event spotlights the efforts of well and lesser-known organizations that are active in a range of areas. The latter include human rights, the fight against hunger and poverty, protection of women and children and our planet.

To accomplish their general interest missions, these NGOs rely on public generosity, not to mention companies such as Servier – acting through its Mécénat Servier Endowment Fund founded in 2016.

“The challenge for us is to fund initiatives and sustain them, particularly regarding humanitarian and development efforts. That’s why our commitment is over time, as we join forces with partners whose values resonate with our own.”

Corinne Massin, Director of Corporate Philanthropy and General Delegate of the Mécénat Servier Charity Fund

NGO, Planète Urgence, exemplifies this shared vision, seeking to protect ecosystems and support local communities. Every year, since 2018, this NGO has benefited from Mécénat Servier’s continued support thanks to its Congé Solidaire® (Solidarity leave) program. The latter enables Servier employees to complete a two-week international solidarity mission during their Paid Time Off (PTO). Top-of-mind: biodiversity conservation or how to train adults! 2023 saw 25 employees begin missions, taking the total number of Group volunteers to 87!

“Mécénat Servier’s Congé Solidaire® scheme provides us with a global hub of skilled and fiercely devoted employees, enabling us to address support and training needs at the local level worldwide, and in multiple languages! What’s more, these missions then deliver stronger impact as trainees share the knowledge they have gained locally. Overall, this helps to develop an efficient solidarity scheme on a global scale and meets one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for partnerships, forming the cornerstone that underpins the achievement of the other 16 SDGs.”

Cécile Pradeau, Head of Partnerships and Corporate Sponsorship, Planète Urgence

Upon joining the Servier Portugal team nearly five years ago, Sandra Fernandes already worked out that she would volunteer for the Congé Solidaire® program. In December 2022, her dream came true, spending two weeks in Ecuador as she delivered adult training and socio-educational support to women members of the Telemujeres cooperative of textile artisans.

“Based in a small town in the Ecuadorian Andes, my mission was to teach a women’s knitting cooperative how to create a business plan and improve their exports. The program was all-encompassing, with a focus on entrepreneurship, setting goals, time management and marketing via social networks. It was a life-changing experience. I was personally shocked to witness my own “development” as I became more flexible and adaptable with a greater peace of mind. I forged a bond with cooperative leaders, the women and their families, and not forgetting the cab drivers and local grocery store owners. It was incredibly satisfying to draw on my knowledge and help those in need. To top it off, I discovered a captivating country! Words cannot express how I feel about this unforgettable experience. I want to thank Servier for making it happen. Without a shadow of a doubt, I will apply again, and I would encourage any interested colleagues to do so as well! Not just essential, your expertise is also cherished across the globe!”

Thousands of miles away, in Senegal, Mécénat Servier teamed up with La Chaîne de l’Espoir in 2016, in a partnership that would literally transform the lives of children by the thousands! Today, the Cuomo Cardio-Pediatric Center (CCPC) in Dakar is West Africa’s leading establishment for cardio-pediatric surgery.

“This partnership was created from a shared ambition. La Chaîne de l’Espoir had planned to build a center in the Senegalese capital’s Fann National University Hospital, specializing in care for children requiring open-heart surgery. Servier Group played an active role in West and Central Africa for many years, with a goal to improve care for patients with cardiovascular disease. Naturally, our shared values aligned. In this spirit, since 2016, we have raised funds to finance open-heart surgery for children in West Africa as well as train a cardiac surgery team in Senegal to deploy leading-edge techniques. The CCPC now performs open-heart surgery on vulnerable children, with its medical teams working autonomously. It has become a hub renowned for its excellence in cardiac surgery, not only in Senegal but the sub-region as a whole.”

Frédéric Ponelle, Executive Vice-President, Servier West and Central Africa

To mark the tenth anniversary of World NGO Day, Gabriel Ciss, Head of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery department, shared his testimonial:

“In 2023, CCPC operated on 247 patients; 147 children and 100 adults. Every single child had congenital heart defects. Thanks to our operations, they were cured for good, enabling them to go back to school, uninterrupted. Through its support, Mécénat Servier oversees ongoing training for our medic, paramedic and technical teams in an endeavor to continuously enhance the CCPC’s performance.”

Gabriel Ciss, Head of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery department, CCPC

In February 2023, Mécénat Servier proudly and passionately paid tribute to the 1,000th open-heart surgery operation performed in Dakar’s CCPC. Last year also saw a three-year extension to the partnership with Chaîne de l’Espoir – a testament to Mécénat Servier’s commitment to promoting readily available healthcare for fragile persons both in Africa and the world over.

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