GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador – April 15, 2008 – Dole Food Company, Inc. announced today that the Río Viejo Community, in the Guayas Province of Ecuador, celebrated the inauguration of the brand new ‘Ecuador País Amazónico’ elementary school. Construction of the school began in September 2007 and is the result of a partnership between the Dole Food Company, Inc. Bama Gruppen (Norway), Bend It (Norwegian juvenile organization sponsored by Bama), Fenacle (Ecuadorian agricultural workers’ organization), the Marcelino Maridueña Municipality, UBESA (Dole’s subsidiary in Ecuador) and the Dale Foundation (sponsored by UBESA and independent growers producing for Dole). This US $300,000 joint project, fully and equally financed between Dole and Bama, reflects the shared commitment towards Corporate Social Responsibility by all the partners involved.
The new “Ecuador País Amazónico” school will provide students with a modern building infrastructure including well-ventilated classrooms, spaces for recreational activities, a teachers’ room, a kitchen and a cafeteria when classes resume. The school will serve over 300 children from the Río Viejo Community and surrounding areas.
“Education is essential for children’s development. This is why one of the main focuses of the Dale Foundation, which drove the project, is education, in addition to health and community development. This new school, built according to the highest standards, will provide outstanding learning opportunities for the children of the Marcelino Maridueña area” said Sylvain Cuperlier, Dole’s Vice President and Director of Worldwide Corporate Social Responsibility. “I hope this new school will bring as much success to children as the existing Vicente Piedrahita school, the first school built by the Dale Foundation, back in 2001”.
“I am very proud of the whole team who contributed to make this project a reality. Despite the recent difficulties this region ran into due to very poor weather conditions which created floods, the school was built on time and will welcome 300 children when the new academic year starts”, said Mario Padilla, Dole Ecuador General Manager, “In addition to Bama’s financial support, it was essential to get support from additional organizations, such as the local community, Government, local authorities, local and national workers’ organizations to overcome these unexpected difficulties’.
The ceremony of inauguration featured several representatives from the organizations supporting the school and included local residents and officials of Marcelino Maridueña. René Maldonado – Mayor of Marcelino Maridueña, Guillermo Touma- President of Fenacle, Mario Padilla – General Manager Dole Ecuador, Øyvind Briså, Bama Trading Director and Magne Svartbekk- Bama CSR Director attended this event.
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2007 revenues of $6.9 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged foods and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
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