“A tri sector approach is needed: the government sector for legal support, civil society as facilitators and social mobilisers, and the private sector for technology, finance and market”.
– Schumacher Centre, Delhi
My Vodafone World of Difference placement finished at the end of last month. Working for Jeevika Trust intensively for two months has been a very rewarding experience and has enabled me to organise some important awareness and fund raising opportunities.
Most recently, our local MP and the Government’s Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has agreed to host a summer reception for our corporate stakeholders.
This event will give us the opportunity to bring together companies with operations and interests in India’s booming economy and make the moral and commercial case for them to address the vast poverty in India’s villages.
India’s impressive growth rate, still running at 6-7% despite the financial crisis, is undoubtedly reducing poverty. Recently released Government Planning Commission figures claim that the number of desperately needy rural inhabitants earning 22 rupees or less a day fell by 52m over five years. Access to education, phones and electricity has also increased.
However, three hundred million people in rural India are nonetheless being totally left behind by India’s growth. Their access to water, shelter and sanitation, health, nutrition and food security, shelter and education is more fragile than ever. According to the UN, India is not on track to meet any of the eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015 (although there is insufficient information to assess progress on four of the targets).
A tri-sector approach
Jeevika believes strongly in a ‘tri-sector’ approach, whereby companies, government and NGOs work together to address the huge poverty challenge of the ‘other India’. Our partner Schumacher Centre in Delhi has brought together business, NGOs, politicians and civil servants in workshops to discuss how it can work in practice, providing a much needed fresh approach to rural development.
Training at Schumacher Centre, Delhi
With regards to partnerships between business and NGOs specifically, there are many ways they can support organisations like Jeevika. These include sponsoring an event or publication, funding a project, offering us cause related marketing opportunities, nominating us a ‘charity of the year’, payroll giving, gifts in kind, donating shares, match funding, displaying collection tins and leaflets and engaging staff in fundraising and volunteering.
In return for such support, Jeevika can enable companies to fulfill their CSR objectives, create positive branding opportunities, enhance their reputation, differentiate themselves from their competition, benefit from tax incentives and engage staff, suppliers and customers in new ways possibly leading to increased sales and customer loyalty.
My Jeevika colleague Mark Roberts describes the benefits of supporting Jeevika’s cause thus:
- Sustainable Business – business models need to mitigate the increasing threat of climate change as well as the social and commercial costs of profound inequalities in wealth and prosperity;
- Future Markets – how the poor can be given access to markets as a part of commercial business interests driving development, 80% of all poverty reduction stems from business growth, accroding to the Department for International Development;
- Brand and Reputation – companies that take CSR seriously perform better in terms of the bottom line, on some estimates 75% of the valuation of the average US company is now in the form of intangibles.
I very much hope Jeevika will be able to develop its existing corporate partnerships and develop some new ones as a result of its summer reception, especially with the Vodafone Foundation!
Photo of Vince Cable courtesy of In the Dark.