ICRW becoming a strategic player in Indian CSR

Article Date

03 July 2013

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

On June 14th and 15th of this year, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) participated in the “Giving Back” NGO exhibition in Mumbai. This second annual event focuses on bringing together NGOs, corporations, as well as the government into one setting for potential collaboration. Because of the budding changes on the horizon for many Indian corporations, companies are sponsoring events that allow NGOs and organizations to be together in one place.

With the passage of the Companies Bill by the Lok Sbaha, or lower house of the Indian Parliament, in December 2012, Indian corporations will be facing major changes when it comes to their involvement in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Companies Bill, or more commonly known as simply the “Bill,” will mandate that companies invest 2% of their budget into CSR aspects. One of the goals of the bill is to establish social sustainability as well as implement a structure of ethics among the Indian corporate world. If the Bill is passed, India will be the first country to have a CSR clause via a statutory provision. The Bill will change the nature of the operation of CSR and NGOs, because organizations will now be more closely tied to one another.

ICRW’s participation in the “Giving Back” exhibition is the next step into becoming an even more strategic player in the new emerging scenario of Indian law that is attracting corporations into social funding.

In one of the best key placements at the exhibition, ICRW colleagues and staff presented seven colorful posters that covered the topics of: Empowerment of Women (P.A.C.E.), adolescent work, men and boys (Parivartan & GEMS), HIV & Stigma, and gender based violence. These categories were chosen to present at the conference because they are the most prevalent projects with the ICRW Asia Regional Office. The 200+ captivated visitors asked many questions about how ICRW engages partners, how ICRW builds capacity of programs, and how people can approach ICRW. Some of the organizations that approached the ICRW stall included: TATA Consultancy Services, ACC Limited, The Orchid, EMCO Limited, and Arya Communications and Electronic Services. The four interesting and eye-catching bookmarks were created in order to draw attention to commonly asked questions about projects and topics surrounding ICRW work. In addition to the posters and bookmarks, BOL, Parivartan, and Empowerment films were playing on televisions in the stall, which allowed for more information available to the public.

While this is the first time ICRW participated in an exhibition such as this, there were many positive outcomes. First, it was an opportunity to assess the emerging scenarios in the area of NGO and corporation partnership. Second, it allowed for visibility of ICRW in this eminent field. Finally, the exhibition allowed for corporations and NGOs to interact. There is opportunity to follow leads, which could eventually grow into partnerships.