Rewarding day at Chek Jawa coastal clean-up

coastal engineering reclamation Chek Jawa CSR
Volunteers from Surbana Jurong’s Coastal Engineering unit and their families with their “haul” for the day – bags of rubbish littering Singapore’s protected coastline.

Surbana Jurong’s Coastal Engineering business unit works hard every day to promote sustainable coastal developments. So when the time came to pick a worthwhile team activity, it seemed fit that they contributed to a cleaner coastline too.

One Saturday morning in March, the Coastal Engineering’s team members and their families gathered for a boatride to Pulau Ubin, an island off the northeast coast of Singapore, before heading off to Chek Jawa, an intertidal flat with a rich ecosystem that is located at its remote eastern tip. Unfortunately, the beautiful scenery was marred by the litter around them.

The group made up of over 30 volunteers started removing the waste from the beach and surrounding mangrove, counting plastic bags, bottles, styrofoam, PVC tubes and medical waste among the debris. It was back-breaking work but they filled many rubbish bags in the end.

On the upside, it was a valuable teaching moment for the children of the volunteers, who learned how the oceans are being increasingly choked by plastic waste – which threatens the existence of marine life such as sea turtles, fish, seabirds and coral; they may ingest the plastics or be injured by discarded fishing lines and flotsam.

Another high point was how everyone could enjoy the songs of robins and hornbills and the lapping of waves in the distance while they worked. The event not only allowed the Coastal Engineering team to help the environment but to see a greater purpose to their work at Surbana Jurong.

This event also reminded our Coastal Engineering team of the importance of their work; to ensure that projects under their supervision carries out all mitigation measures to protect the environment.

Provision of safety equipment for disaster relief after Sierra Leone floods

Sierra Leone floods CSR donation disaster relief
SMEC Foundation members with supplies donated to the mayor’s office on behalf of the Sierra Leone government.

Following three days of heavy rainfall in August 2017, Sierra Leone suffered a devastating mudslide causing 300 people to lose their lives with many more reported missing. In the days following the disaster, the SMEC Foundation contacted the mayor’s office which was managing the disaster relief, to find out how SMEC, a member of the Surbana Jurong Group, could assist.

They indicated an urgent need for safety equipment for the emergency workers to facilitate their rescue efforts and in assisting the victims of the Sierra Leone floods. As a result, the SMEC Foundation donated 600 pieces of safety gear and equipment including reflector suits, rain boots, hard hand gloves, masks and helmets to the cause.

Surbana Jurong donates computers to Nigerian NGO for blind trainees

donate CSR Nigeria NGO
Members of the school for the blind with our representatives after the handover ceremony.

A school for the blind in Nigeria had an urgent need for computers with facial-recognition software, and the Surbana Jurong team on the ground swung into action.

Through the SMEC Foundation, five computers with the required software that is usable by the blind were donated to the Kenneth Ulo Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that promotes the welfare of the blind by offering training and post-training support to develop entrepreneurial skills.

A handover ceremony was attended by parents of children who attend the school, head of the foundation Kenneth Ulo, and our Country Operations Manager Pious Ebubedike and Human Resource Assistant Charity Abah. The principal of the school, Florence Njoku, called the gift a dream come true.

Tree-planting efforts to bear fruit at La Mesa Watershed Reservation, Manila

la mesa watershed reservation
Custard apple trees will soon spring up at the La Mesa Watershed Reservation,
thanks to our Philippines’ team members and their families.

Surbana Jurong (SJ)’s SMEC Philippines team recently took part in a tree planting programme at the La Mesa Watershed Reservation, a protected area that preserves the only major watershed in Metro Manila. Together with the Philippines’ Environment Management Bureau and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, some 50 employees planted 400 custard apple seedlings in the reserve’s eco-park.

Through the activity, made possible with the support of the Southeast Asia Divisional CSR Committee, SJ hopes to implement an Environmental Awareness Programme to educate employees and clients in the Philippines about the importance of environmental sustainability and the preservation of eco-parks. The event brought together our employees and their families to do their part for the environment and bond over a good cause.

Surbana Jurong supports Buguruni School for the Deaf in Tanzania

Buguruni School for the Deaf
Buguruni School for the Deaf students at the opening of the new water drinking taps which the water has passed through filtration for clean and safe drinking water

The SMEC Foundation recently partnered Buguruni School for the Deaf in Tanzania to rehabilitate and improve basic facilities at the school. The SMEC Foundation helped rehabilitate the water supply system, to ensure a clean and safe source of drinking water, and provide water supply to the kitchen, toilets and dormitories.

Formed in 1974 by the Tanzania Deaf Society, and operated in conjunction with the Government of Tanzania, Buguruni School is a free primary school for deaf children. The school is run under a strict budget which is insufficient to meet the needs of the pupils. The school has approximately 268 pupils including 150 boarders.

The SMEC Foundation project comprised:

  • A water supply system which included the extension of an existing single tap to a 1,000-litre tank and drinking area with 36 outlets for pupils. The outlets provide clean and safe drinking water after filtration to enhance water safety.
  • A float switch for tanks using water from the borehole to reduce loss of water due to overflowing from tanks, improve sanitation and reduce electricity costs.
  • A new supply and distribution system of pipe network to consumer points. Water was supplied to all toilets and bathrooms across the compound including dormitories, classroom blocks and offices.
  • Flushing of the 20-year borehole and rectification of the pumps together with electric works for the pump.
SMEC Foundation Tanzania
Regional Manager – East Africa (T) Nasser Harrasy (last on right), Country Manager – Tanzania, Mohammed Kumbakumba (second from left) and Assistant Country Manager and CSR committee member Abdulkher Islam (third from left), with the Headmistress of the Buguruni School for the Deaf and the Executive Director of Tanzania Society for the Deaf (in jacket) at the opening ceremony.

Mr Yasin Mawe, Executive Director of Tanzania Society for the Deaf said, “I would like to extend our heartfelt and sincere thanks to SMEC. We look forward to continuing working with you in any other projects from your end for the benefits of the children at our school.”

Surbana Jurong donates blood bank refrigerator to Zambia hospital

beit cure hospital zambia
Steven Hitt (left), Executive Director of Beit Cure Hospital Zambia, expresses his appreciation to Manengu Musambo, SMEC Country Manager-Zambia, upon receiving the blood bank refrigerator

As part of Surbana Jurong Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, The SMEC Foundation has donated a blood bank refrigerator to Beit Cure Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.

The refrigerator, which can keep blood at optimum temperatures for two weeks even without electricity, is the first the hospital has owned, since its inception ten years ago.

During the handover ceremony, Manengu Musambo, SMEC’s Country Manager-Zambia, said, “At SMEC, we appreciate the value of life and have partnered with Beit Cure Hospital to enhance service delivery and help save lives of the vulnerable children treated at the hospital.”

Mr. Steven Hitt, Beit Cure Hospital Executive Director, expressed great delight and gratitude for the donation, “Having the refrigerator will help maintain a great supply of fresh blood urgently required in most of the hospital’s surgeries.”

Beit Cure Hospital is a paediatric teaching hospital, specialising in the treatment and care of children living with physical disabilities. It is one of the few hospitals in Zambia to adequately address the surgical needs of children with disabilities.


Surbana Jurong supports Sri Lanka’s flood and landslide victims

flood and landslide victims
Half a million people were displaced by the floods which struck Sri Lanka earlier in May.

In May 2017, widespread flooding and landslides struck Sri Lanka, causing severe damage to 12 districts, displacing half a million people. A total of 213 people lost their lives with 76 people missing. Nearly 25,000 houses were either completely or partially destroyed.

Sri Lankans gathered to support the flood and landslide victims, by providing much-needed essentials such as food, clothing and sanitation.

SMEC, member of the Surbana Jurong Group, Sri Lanka office supported the cause, by focusing their efforts specifically on the resettlement phase, and launching an appeal to The SMEC Foundation, through SAME Divisional CSR Committee. Financial support was provided to close to 100 families.

In July, SMEC employees visited the flood victims at their temporary camp shelter in Eheliyagoda, offering mattresses, gas cookers, gas cylinders and other kitchen necessities. The donations were well-received, with recipients expressing their appreciation and gratitude through their representative.

SMEC foundation
SMEC’s Sri Lanka office, with support from The SMEC Foundation and SAME Divisional CSR Committee, organised a donation drive for the flood and landslide victims in Sri Lanka

Surbana Jurong partners with UNESCO and LEGO to bring world tour to Singapore

botanic gardens
Singapore’s first World Heritage Site, the Botanic Gardens, unveiled at the event

What do Surbana Jurong (SJ) and LEGO users have in common? You guessed it; both create, requiring a certain level of innovation. Like SJ, more sophisticated LEGO creations also entail planning and design expertise.

That is why SJ is partnering with UNESCO and LEGO to bring the Piece of Peace World Tour to Singapore. The world tour, originated from Japan in 2003, is a UNESCO World Heritage art exhibition featuring creations built with LEGO bricks. In conjunction with the event, SJ is also joining hands with The Salvation Army to organise an outing for a group of underprivileged children to visit the exhibition.

UNESCO and Lego

An interesting exhibit at the Piece of Peace World Tour: the SJ logo, made of LEGO bricks.

The highlight of the present exhibition in Singapore is the 43 reconstructed UNESCO World Heritage Sites from 34 countries, of which nine are from ASEAN member states to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Exhibits on display include LEGO replicas of Heritage Sites, such as the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, Sydney Opera House and Singapore’s very own Botanic Gardens (amongst many others). Singapore is the first ASEAN country to host the world tour, held from 27 July to 3 September at the Fort Canning Arts Centre.

Piece of Peace World Tour 

The Piece of Peace World Tour was opened by Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu (right). The exhibition will run until 3 September at the Fort Canning Arts Centre, Singapore.

SJ is proud to be the first Gold Sponsor of the exhibition, as it is in line with the company’s philosophy of building for tomorrow, whilst respecting heritage and recognising the importance of creativity and design. SJ Group Chief Executive Officer, Wong Heang Fine said, “Surbana Jurong has been building cities and shaping lives for over 50 years locally and globally. The innovative buildings and cities of tomorrow which we design and engineered are very much like the many wondrous LEGO creations in this exhibition. We recognise the importance of nurturing creativity and respecting our heritage, and are therefore delighted to partner with LEGO in this inspiring event.”

According to organisers of the exhibition, the Piece of Peace World Tour was a charity project started to support UNESCO’s World Heritage activities as well as to promote peace, and has since attracted 2.9 million visitors.


In conversation with Trevor Temple, General Manager, SMEC’s Urban & Social Development Group

world bank smec
Emergency Cyclone Recovery – The World Bank funded project was in response to Cyclone Sidr, which hit the southern coast of Bangladesh

trevor temple Urban & Social Development Group

Trevor Temple

General Manager, Urban & Social Development Group 

Trevor has been working in the International Development Assistance sector for over 20 years and for the last 11 years as the Global Functional General Manager of the Urban and Social Development Group within SMEC. He works closely with a core team of professionals based in Australia, Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, to secure and implement a range of diverse programmes which are mostly funded by the Australian Government, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. With these programmes, the Urban & Social Development Group aims to support developing countries in terms of their growth and poverty alleviation.

Q1. To date, what is the most interesting project you have worked on at SMEC?

Working in a dynamic company like SMEC opens opportunities to work in an ever-changing work environment. I have worked in countries across all of SMEC’s divisions and enjoyed working with a diverse range of people. The most interesting projects are those where it is obvious we have had an impact and have been a catalyst for sustainable benefit to the countries within which we have worked. Most recently I could reference the Indonesia Infrastructure Program. SMEC has managed this highly successful programme on behalf of the Australian Government and what is exciting is that a number of the pilot programmes we initiated, particularly in the transport sector and in water and sanitation, have become models of best practice and the Indonesian Government has taken those models and is rolling them out across the country. Clearly our work has been a good example of sustainable development.

Q2. What opportunities are you excited about for SJ Group within your function?

We have some significant opportunities in the second half of the year – a number of them funded by the Australian Government; one in the Philippines, supporting the Philippines government in the area of trade and investment; one in Vietnam in the Transport sector and a third in Indonesia in economic governance. I am also excited about the opportunities in the Mekong – consolidating our work in Cambodia and creating new opportunities in Myanmar

Q3. What makes you tick? (Professionally, of course)

I enjoy the challenge of winning new work but also the challenges presented in the implementation of activities to ensure sustainable development. I particularly enjoy working with people to achieve success. Our success as a company largely depends on successful relationships with our colleagues, our partners and our clients. I also enjoy working in different countries with people from different cultures.


South Africa’s new partnership to benefit over two million disabled

smec south africa
The signing took place at an official ceremony at SMEC South Africa’s head office in Randburg.

More than two million disabled South Africans will benefit from a new partnership which SMEC South Africa (Africa division) and the Disability Empowerment Concerns (DEC) Trust jointly formed with investment holdings company, Kapela Holdings Group.

The agreement will see Kapela Holdings Group manage and channel dividends from SMEC South Africa into six major NGOs catering to disabled people in South Africa.

This also constitutes a part of the profit-sharing requirements of SMEC South Africa in terms of its Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) obligations. “A portion of our profits will go to people with disabilities, ranging from blindness to mental health and epilepsy. They will be the direct beneficiaries of our partnership,” CEO Kostas Rontiris commented.

The Kapela Holdings Group manages companies, of which 12 are multinational investment portfolios. The Group works closely in partnership with the DEC Trust, and also manages its interests in terms of the Kapela Fund.