Camping trips are back. Putting up tents, getting the charcoal ready, the smell of roasted chestnuts and the buggies placed on standby, everyone is wrapped up in coats ready for the cold weather. This is winter, one of the best seasons in Kuwait to enjoy with the family.
But along with the fun comes something not so pleasant: littering.
The National Bank of Kuwait’s (NBK) volunteer club decided to tackle the issue directly by going to different campsites and distributing waste bins in different locations. Volunteers handed out pamphlets with safety and environmentally friendly tips, to help in creating a fun, safe and a healthy environment.
The idea started with the support of the mother campaign Think Twice, which is focused on encouraging people to take better care of Kuwait’s environment. Other small events and environment-focused initiatives took off from there, such as the Walkathon, the beach cleanup and energy conservation efforts.
The campaign began on 2nd of December. Early in the morning, buses took off from NBK’s headquarters, heading to different camp locations, to start the desert cleanup campaign. “Our main concern was not just to clean, we wanted these sites to stay clean,” Hussam Mansour, an NBK staff member and volunteer explained. “We wanted campers to know the reason behind this movement.”
NBK, the first national bank locally and regionally, is known for its great contribution to society and for supporting Kuwaiti businesses and organizations. NBK’s volunteer club started in early 2007, with the concept of building awareness and shedding light on ways to improve the community’s everyday lifestyle; for example, one of the main ideas was the conservation of electricity.
First time volunteer Yousif Al Eidan was surprised by the support campers were giving, “It’s very fulfilling, team work and the feedback people are giving makes this worth the time and effort.” Al Eidan saw the value in the cleanup effort, “Knowing that many campers lacked the information we were giving out, meant we were on the right track.”
The volunteer club is made up of NBK staff members from different divisions, all of whom are motivated to give some of their spare time to the improvement of the environment and community by building the right foundation of awareness of why it’s essential to conserve energy, remove trash and keep the surroundings clean.
“People were very interested. We found that many of the details we were pointing out, campers were not aware of,” said Marcel Khaddaj, who expressed his feeling of being a firm believer in the cause. He continues, “the fact that I am a volunteer and helping in spreading something that will improve the environment gives me great satisfaction.”
The National Bank of Kuwait was named the ‘Best Bank in the Middle East’ in 2011 by the top three financial publications, EuroMoney, Global Financial and The Banker. NBK believes that an organization should work internally and locally to have the right foundation.
“Being a young Kuwaiti citizen, working in the National Bank of Kuwait meant I had to take part – volunteer work was a great way to give back to my society,” explained Yacoub Al Baqer. “I grew up going camping with family and relatives, keeping this great tradition going meant we, too, had to take care of our country.”
NBK’s cleanup campaign runs from December until the end of March.