Corporate Social Responsibility Partnerships – An Opportunity

Development Support Team (DST), an NGO in Pune, hosted a workshop titled ‘Building Bridges…Enabling Partnerships: Corporates to Voluntary Sector’ on January 20, 2015 at MCCIA, which brought together over 70 participants from both the corporate sector and the social sector. The aim was to deliberate over the current and future strategies of CSR implementation so that a new journey can be traversed with a collective strength. DST believes that a synergistic relationship of the corporate and social sectors will maximise social returns on investments, while simultaneously maximising gains for the communities and this workshop is an outcome of this belief.
The session began with an inaugural address by Mr. Anant Sardeshmukh, the Director General of MCCIA, Pune. He said, “The theme of this workshop – Building Bridges, is appropriate in the current scenario of CSR and through MCCIA, we have been encouraging such initiatives and would be happy to support DST.”
Mrs. H Bedi, Managing Trustee of DST, who has an experience of five decades, first as a Country Representative of Oxfam Australia and then with DST, shared her personal experiences on the Pathways to Community Development. She explained “For Community Development aid is necessary provided it is timely and helps initiate a process and comes without strings”.
The Keynote Speaker of the day, Mr. Pradeep Bhargava, Director of Cummins India, drew the attention of the audience to CSR partnerships by comparing it to a marriage and said, “The key to a successful partnership lies in building mutual trust. It is embarrassing that we needed a government mandate to work together, whereas on the ground there is ample evidence that such partnerships are embedded in our history and culture.”
Dr. Milind Bokil elaborated the development challenges faced by the social sector through his speech, “Voice of the Communities”.
Mr. Prashant Pansare (Inteliment), Dr. Neelam Gorhe, (Stree Aadhar Kendra) and Ms. Gayatri Divecha (Dasra), addressed the next session – “What Works and Why in successful CSR?” This session was moderated by Mr. Prashant Kothadiya (Azim Premji Foundation) who along with the speakers actively responded to the queries of the participants on various issues.
The final session titled – ‘Community Development through Partnerships’, moderated by Ms. Jyoti Desai, included Mr. Sarang Pande (Lok Panchayat), Mr. Kalyan Paul (Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation) and Ms Meghana Marathe (Forbes Marshall) with each speaker sharing their experiences of CSR Projects.
Towards the end, Dr. Kiran Kulkarni (Janwani) delivered a summing up note on Way Forward, “The success for community development lies in building a collective strength of all the stakeholders- the government, corporates and the social sector.”
A message from the DST CSR Task Force – “The social sector brings passion while the corporate one bring in professionalism. So, let us all work towards making the social sector more professional and the corporate more passionate to enable successful and sustainable partnerships.”