On Wednesday, 13 October 2021, a revamped and digitalised 2021 Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project launched in Windhoek. Since its inception in 2000, the Project has become one of Namibia's major fundraising initiatives. It has raised N$30.5 million for the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN), assisting the organisation in fighting the disease.
Themed “Celebrating 21 Years of Hope", the Project will commemorate its anniversary with an introduction of an e-Apple Platform, offering contributors the option to purchase physical or virtual apples and apple juice. The cost for apples remains N$5, the apple juice at N$8, and the virtual apples starts at N$5, and all proceeds from the sale of physical apples, juices, and virtual apples will be donated to the CAN in March of 2022.Bank Windhoek's Managing Director, Baronice Hans, said the Bank is proud to launch the e-Apple Platform. “With the introduction of the new e-Apple Platform, we are excited to kick-start the Cancer Apple project. At this juncture, we urge the public to support the Project; it has and will continue to save lives," she said. “This innovation originated within our organisation and was conceived by the men and women who made up our NextGen Board, established in early 2019."
CAN's Chief Executive Officer, Rolf Hansen, said for CAN, the gentle giant it remains standing on, is the success of the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project. “A giant that has been, for 21 years, been part of nearly two generations of school goers a project known by almost every Namibian. A project that has screened, aided, supported, and saved so many lives," said Hansen. “Let us step wisely. Looking at where we have come from, learning, and improving our efforts. These efforts will inspire the people of our country who may feel left out where screening and health services are especially not readily available."
The e-Apple Platform is a web-based application that allows individuals and organisations to support the Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project from anywhere in the world. “It is accessible throughout the year. Individuals and organisations will be able to purchase on the e-Apple Platform using their debit or credit card. They have the option of selecting a preferred branch nationwide, from which they can collect their physical apples or juice," said Hans.
Working together to save lives during a pandemic
GLOBOCAN 2020, the international cancer statistics registry currently estimate that 19.3 million new cancer cases and almost 10 million cancer deaths occurred in 2020 worldwide. The online database provides global cancer statistics and estimates of incidence and mortality in 185 countries for 36 types of cancer, and for all cancer sites combined.
The database indicates that female breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with an estimated 2.3 million new cases, followed by lung, colorectal, prostate, and stomach cancers. Lung cancer remained the leading cause of global cancer deaths, with an estimated 1.8 million deaths, followed by colorectal, liver, stomach, and female breast cancers, said GLOBOCAN 2020 .
Hansen shared that Namibia faces an ever-increasing burden of non-communicable diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, and rare diseases. “In 2019 we saw the annual average of 3 780 new cancer cases duplicate from the previous year. In the last five years, Namibia's reality was a "back-to-back" steady increase of an estimated seven percent per year. Currently, more than 54 percent of all Namibian cancers are reported in women. Childhood cancers also increase every year, still at an alarming rate," He said.
Hans said that the Bank believes that no organisation exists in isolation of its environment. “At Bank Windhoek, we live by our philosophy because of the community that supports us. This approach is evident through our contribution of N$ 7 million towards Corporate Social investment, and at no other time has Corporate Social investment been more needed than now, given the devastating impact of this pandemic," she said.
Hans shared that despite the challenges experienced in 2020, Bank Windhoek contributed N$500,000 toward CAN. “The Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project, and our partnership with the Cancer Association of Namibia, spans an incredible 21 years and is defined as years of hope, outreach, and collaboration for good. It is the most consistent demonstration that Bank Windhoek is a connector of positive change and an organisation that cares," concluded Hans. Hansen on his part thanked the Bank for the support and a robust relationship in fighting cancer.
CAN uses funds raised through this Project for its annual outreach programmes and pro-bono cancer screening across all 14 regions countrywide. The Bank will release a documentary highlighting CAN's annual campaigns fighting cancer in Namibia. The 2021 Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project comes with a brand new logo to signal the Project's progression towards a more digital future. The Project's key activities will include Branch/Department, School, the internal entrepreneurial challenge, ordering, and donations towards the Project via the eApple Platform.
The partners of the 2021 Bank Windhoek Cancer Apple Project are:
- Namibia Fresh Produce and Food Lovers Market source apples from South Africa.
- NamPost Couriers and FP du Toit Transport distribute the apples across the country free of charge.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers audits the school competitions results at no cost.
- Safari Hotels hosts functions and accommodates representatives from the winning schools outside Windhoek to attend the handover ceremony at no cost.
- PayToday Namibia and GiveToday have enabled the public and non-Bank Windhoek customers to donate funds towards the Project via its websites.
- Solitaire Press supports the Project by printing project materials at a lower cost.
- NBC Radio spreads the awareness messages in all local languages at no cost.
- Maerua SuperSpar sponsors stationery vouchers to the winning schools.
- Jaylo Production provides sound equipment for the project launch and funds handover events free of charge.
- The Namibian Newspaper will provide print media coverage.