As a responsible corporate citizen, the Company focuses on community development through its CSR activities. Our community activity is delivered at a local, regional, and state/national level to ensure that the business is able to effectively maximise its impact in facilitating socio-economic development. The majority of our initiatives are carried out in collaboration with community organisations and are developed in partnership utilising a needs-based approach to community investment, underpinned by the use of the 'Public-Private-People-Partnership' (4Ps) model. Fundamentally we work to help communities identify their priorities through externally delivered needs assessment programmes and then work closely with them to design programmes that seek to make progress towards meeting these.
In order to maximise the outcomes and impacts that the business can have, we focus on seven key areas through our community investment activities, which we outline below. These have been chosen as a response to both local need and direction from international development frameworks such as the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Health, Nutrition and Sanitation
Our activities include the delivery of medical infrastructure such as the hospitals we run across the Group. Our hospitals are supported by medical outreach services, which include mobile health vans and medical outposts to enable isolated rural communities’ access to medical services. Our 10 Rural health posts and 16 Mobile Health units and other outreach programmes covered 1.8 lakh people in the last year.
Our work with children’s education is targeted at the pre-school level, particularly through our VBCA Project – Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). ICDS is a centrally sponsored scheme of the Government of India aimed at providing services to pre-school children in rural, tribal and slum areas in an integrated manner so as to ensure their proper growth and development. In addition to pre-school support, we also support a mid-day meal programme through 8 centralised kitchens, aimed at improving the health status of children from Class I to VIII in Government-aided schools as well as encouraging regular attendance at school.
Education about yield improvements and moving production into cash crops has been a particular focus to assist farmers in maximising their returns. For example, we have assisted farmers in gaining access to high-yield seeds and fertilizers, soil testing, watershed management and cultivation. As well as working with communities to increase the financial value of their production, we have undertaken education programmes around innovative technology, which offer multiple benefits.
Vocational training to youth in employable skills saw more than 770 youth benefiting. The Vocational Skills imparted include BPO as well as industrial stitching.
Development theory supports the conclusion that through achieving food security, generating incomes and maintaining savings women are critical to improving livelihoods and the quality of life of their communities. We are able to assist in creating sustainable development through supporting initiatives that have women’s empowerment at their heart.
In addition to bringing women together in collaborative forums, the group dynamics and collective spirit creates informal structures of support helping to create sustainable small businesses as well as enhancing the bargaining power of members. Our programmes cover over 22,000 women including a federation ‘Subalakshmi’ for 2700 women.
Community Asset Creation
Operating in rural developing communities means that these areas often lack basic amenities and infrastructure. Our engagement in infrastructure development programmes is crucial to ensuring that the business is able to operate effectively and efficiently, with the dual benefit of improving the infrastructure of our surrounding local communities.
Our initiatives enable the planning and development of infrastructure to improve the lives of communities surrounding our operations, for example creating several community welfare assets, which include building roads, community centers, wells, classrooms and drainage network across the areas of operation. The programme benefits potentially 1.7 lakh people for whom the assets have been created.
Restoring and improving natural systems is key to our bio-investment programme. They help not only to improve the biological balance of the locality but also to reduce rural poverty. As part of our bio-investment initiatives, the leftover food waste is converted into organic manure through the organic waste converter plant at Mid-Day-Meal kitchens. Other initiatives that we have been involved in include: watershed management, social forestry, cattle breed improvement and cash crop farming.
Integrated Village Development
Our objective is to facilitate the development of long-term change that allows benefits to local rural communities based on their needs and develops our relationship with the community through our Integrated Village Development Programme (IVDP).
The integrated village development programme(IVDP) core objective is enabling the holistic development of villages surrounding our operations. Under IVDP, villages are identified for assistance by a number of indicators including limited infrastructure, low literacy rates, the level of government services available and the availability of healthcare and education services. When a village is identified, we work with NGOs and government authorities, in collaboration with the village to prepare an integrated development plan. The plan usually results in the development of infrastructure, including health and education support, along with environmental planning and the implementation of sustainable livelihood programmes. From commencement of the IVDP to handover, the process takes between 3-5 years. This project has matured and now presently our intervention is in 2 villages covering 4000 people.