Dole Food Company Announces Partnership to Build Elementary School in Ecuador

September 07, 2007

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In an unprecedented partnership, 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), the Dale Foundation (sponsored by Dole and banana growers) and the Dole Food Company, Inc. broke ground on September 4 at the construction site for a new school. The school is being constructed for the Río Viejo Community, in the Guayas Province in Ecuador under the slogan “Unidos por el Desarollo de Nuestra Ninez” (“United for the Development of our Children”). This joint project reflects the shared commitment towards Corporate Social Responsibility by all the partners involved and will be fully and equally financed between Dole and Bama.

“We believe that education is the foundation of a strong and prosperous community,” said Sylvain Cuperlier, Dole’s Vice President and Director of Worldwide Corporate Social Responsibility. “This new institution will provide the youth of this community with a quality education while ensuring them with a healthy and safe learning environment.”

Dole’s Education Program which initiated in 2001 with the construction of the first school grows stronger with this new project. The new “Ecuador Pais 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. The school will serve over 300 children from the Río Viejo Community and surrounding areas.

“This is much more than building a school, it is a contribution to the development of the society,” said Mario Padilla, Dole Ecuador General Manager, “and is a unique example in the Ecuador Banana Industry, as we are integrating the community, Government, local authorities, local and national workers’ organizations, and a customer in the financing, planning and implementation of the project.”

The groundbreaking ceremony 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, Magne Svartbekk - Bama CSR Director attended this event.

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