Priscille Noël, Chief Serving Officer of Lovebridge
An entrepreneur since her twenties and engaged in social projects since 2010, Priscille Noël is a born “do-er”. Following a seamless transition into the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),
she took over as Chief Serving Officer of the Mauritian non-governmental organisation (NGO) Lovebridge in 2017. Fostering both an empathetic approach and a methodological vision, the fight against poverty requires strategies that respond to interdependent factors, and Priscille Noël has clearly figured this out!
Lovebridge aims at empowering underprivileged families and households, as well as strengthening their personal development. With a network of supportive collaborators – volunteers, public sector, and private partners – the NGO helps build meaningful bridges between Mauritians.
Priscille, where does one start when it comes to empowering vulnerable families?
A collaborative approach and psychosocial support from trained and experienced professionals are both essential to the progress of vulnerable families. We provide solutions to the families, but they remain the decision-makers and are responsible for their own life plans.
In addition to these individual programmes, we need to think about changes at the systemic level to achieve greater social justice. Inclusive development also implies ensuring that no one is left behind!
What are those solutions?
The multidimensional nature of the fight against poverty requires strategies and action plans that address the challenges of several interconnected fundamental aspects. Poverty is not just about income. It is also related to education, housing, nutrition, physical and mental health, and motivation. The Lovebridge team provides psychosocial support to the
families to help them progress in each of these areas, with a particular focus on education, as the educational progress of children remains key.
Lovebridge carries out home visits, assists families with administrative procedures, job and housing searches, and supports families who struggle to feed themselves or to maintain their health. Our presence also provides these families with crucial socio-emotional support. Solidarity, especially in these difficult times, plays a significant role.
Have the challenges changed since the health crisis?
Unfortunately, Mauritius faces the same challenges as other countries. From our observations, poverty seems to be increasing as a result of the economic impact of the pandemic. Poverty is not necessarily limited to specific geographical areas, commonly referred to as “pockets of poverty”, but is geographically scattered. However, the broader impact of this health crisis is yet to be measured.
How do you assess the improvements in the quality of life of the families assisted by your NGO?
Our assessment of the families’ progress involves an individual booklet that includes more than 150 quantitative indicators, related to the six fundamental areas that Lovebridge works on. The field teams enter the data annually, allowing us to observe tangible results. An individual qualitative questionnaire is also submitted to the beneficiary families. The Lovebridge annual report is a combination of these two sets of data. The results allow us to continually improve and adapt our interventions to the changing reality for the following year, to ensure that we are addressing the needs of the families as they evolve.
What is the role of the business community and partners such as the Rogers Group in the efforts of an NGO such as Lovebridge towards inclusivity?
The support of the business community allows NGOs to secure important resources for the implementation and monitoring of short, medium, and long term projects. Without the financial, logistics, material and advisory support, NGO initiatives would not be as far-reaching..
The Rogers Group has supported Lovebridge for several years as the NGO has developed its activities in the Savanne district. Thanks to this collaboration, more than 22 families – around 100 people, including more than 60 children – have received assistance.
How do the different stakeholders - NGOs, the business community, the public sector - work together to achieve these social objectives?
There is a complementary aspect to the work undertaken by the different parties in the field. Cooperation is not only necessary but also represents an optimisation of the available resources. Therefore it is essential to strengthen the relationship between civil society, the private sector, the public sector, and vulnerable families. The fight against poverty requires a collective effort in order to obtain effective results in the long term.
In April 2021, Philippe Espitalier-Noël, CEO of the Rogers Group and Chairman of the Sustainability and Inclusive Growth Committee of Business Mauritius, invited Mauritian companies to join SigneNatir. This inclusive development pact guarantees increased support to NGOs, vulnerable families, and the employees of signatory companies in seven areas.
- Supporting NGOs and vulnerable groups, not just in terms of funding;
- Encouraging employee engagement and
participation in community development;
- Assisting needy employees within the organisation;
- Advocacy for inclusive employment;
- Promotion of gender equality;
- Subsidising community-based projects and vulnerable groups;
- Supporting entrepreneurs in the development of the
fourth sector: social enterprises.
Lovebridge currently has:
50 staff members
2000+ beneficiaries, Including 1,000+ children
5 to 8 hours of counselling per family, per month
22 families sponsored by the Rogers Group in the Savanne district
9 districts covered by the programme
How can you help?
Anyone who wants to help by volunteering can contact Lovebridge. The NGO is particularly in need of support for organising fundraising events. E: firstname.lastname@example.org.