Mar 9, 2009 — Instead of taking tours, shopping or visiting local beaches, 545 tourists will disembark from their cruise ship March 11 and paint, repair and landscape a number of schools and other institutions.
As part of their company's social-responsibility effort, Novo Nordisk, a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company and global leader in diabetes research and care, is bringing some 3,000 of its employees on a five-day training workshop aboard the
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, which will call at the West Indian Company dock.
"Voluntourism" is part of every company function agenda, according to Sean Clements, the company's associate director of media relations.
"Any time we have a meeting or function with this company, we'll always try to do a social-responsibility project," Clements said.
Novo Nordisk subscribes to a triple-bottom-line philosophy incorporating social responsibility, environmental soundness and economic viability into its business practices, according to the company's website.
"It is an amazing company to work for," said Margaret Walton, who represents the company locally. "Our executive team will be out and be helping and being part of this. They truly walk the walk."
Novo Nordisk focuses on education and prevention of diabetes. Walton said V.I. Health Department statistics show that one in three in the territory's population has diabetes.
"It is a pandemic around the world," Walton said. "So much of it can be prevented. There are 57 million Americans who are pre-diabetic and if they would lose just seven percent of their body weight, they would no longer be pre-diabetic."
The V.I. government and the company have recently inked a three-year agreement to promote diabetes awareness and prevention in the Virgin Islands, and the company recently provided a grant to support diabetes education in the territory. (See "Danish Company to Promote Diabetes Awareness in Territory.")
"Voluntourism" projects here will include painting and landscaping at the Lionel Roberts Stadium as well as painting, light landscaping, weeding and repairing playgrounds and basketball courts at a number of schools and other public and non-profit facilities.
The list of volunteer projects was developed by Walton and Judi Nagelberg of Island Meetings and Incentives. Nagelberg's company also coordinated lunches. Transportation was coordinated by Judi Nagelberg, who assembled the program in just four weeks.
"I am so excited about this whole concept of 'voluntourism,'" Nagelberg said. "Its the direction we should be moving in right now."
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