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Pepsi on the ball in Saudi

Pepsi on the ball in Saudi

Companies who profit from an area have a duty to give back to the community, says Tariq A. Al-Maeena. The Arab News columnist reckons Pepsi’s latest project leads the way in Saudi.

November 29, 2010 3:58 by

For decades, Jeddah has witnessed companies get fat and rich of its soil. And for most of that time, apart from a handful of companies, there was very little in return from these thriving businesses in the form of social contribution or welfare.

That onus of social welfare was invariably heaped upon the shoulders of the government to take care of, with very little thought of individual participation by these companies. But that is not the case with all such establishments.

There are some of note who have taken the honorable path of investing back to society some of their gains. The ALJ Foundation, Friends of Jeddah Parks, and more recently PepsiCo, are the notable front runners in such ventures.

PepsiCo’s “Build Your City a Pitch” campaign to support the youth community in Saudi Arabia was kicked off by the inauguration of the first football pitch in Jeddah in the Naseem district in November. This is the first of many planned by PepsiCo in various neighborhoods around the city, and this social campaign is being promoted by Al-Ittihad FC and Saudi National football star Hamza Idriss and supported by Jeddah Municipality and the District Council society of Jeddah.

On land donated by Jeddah’s municipality, PepsiCo has undertaken the task of razing, clearing, and fencing the donated plots for use by neighborhood children. As an added factor, PepsiCo has also fenced the property for safety, and provided lighting and spectator stands around the ground. As explained by Ahmed Al-Mehelmi, marketing executive at PepsiCo, “The intent was to provide a safe and secure environment for our youth, and spread this concept to different areas of the city. We are also planning to take it to other cities as well.”

The inaugural event brought guests along with football fans from various areas of Jeddah together at the pitch in Al Naseem district, auguring the beginning of a brighter future for young football buffs in the Kingdom.

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