Social responsibility is an idea that has been of concern to mankind for many years. Over the last two decades, however, it has become of increasing concern to the business world. This has resulted in growing interaction between governments, businesses and society as a whole. In the past, businesses primarily concerned themselves with the economic results of their decisions. “Today, however, businesses must also reflect on the legal, ethical, moral and social consequences of their decisions”
Corporate social responsibility is no longer defined by how much money a company contributes to charity, but by its overall involvement in activities that improve the quality of people’s lives. Corporate Responsibility has come up as a significant subject matter in the international business community and is progressively becoming a mainstream activity. There is mounting recognition of the momentous effect the activities of the private sector have on the workforce, clientele, the society, the environment, competitors, business associates, investors, shareholders, governments and others groups. It is also becoming progressively clear that organizations can contribute to their individual wealth and to overall community wealth by taking into account the effect they have on the entire globe when making decisions
Corporate social responsibility ensures that corporations the world over are engaged in other activities that give back to the community.Many activities that are considered helpful include; organizing activities that seek to involve the community in such events as fund raising for the needy, events that seek to help out the disadvantage in society and other similar activities. There are, however, several factors that show the need for corporate social responsibility. The first factor is population. The expanding population in developing regions will create larger markets dominated by younger individuals with questionable access to the developed world’s standard of living. Statistics show that more than eighty five percent of the world’s population will live in developing countries by 2025 (Crowther and Rayman-Bacchu 165). This presents a challenge to companies seeking to involve themselves in corporate social responsibility, since it is clear that a lot of financial support will be required for these populations.
The second factor is wealth. Despite the fact that global wealth is rising, the income gap has grown wider, threatening civil society. Seventy eight percent of the world can be classified as poor, with eleven percent in the middle class, and only eleven percent can be classified as rich. Each and every company should strive to be involved in attempting to balance this distribution of wealth. The trend of the rich growing richer while the poor grow poorer should be eliminated, since it is unethical for some people to have so much, and others to have nothing at all. The third factor is nutrition. There are millions of people who are malnourished, amidst an abundance of food. Thousands die of hunger every year, while rich corporations blow millions on fancy holidays for their executives. It is crucial for each company to take time and reflect on the finances it spends on benefits for its executives, as compared to that spent on helping the needy in society. While these benefits are vital for employee motivation, they should not be taken overboard at the expense of the suffering masses.
Education is another critical factor that should be considered in the design of corporate social responsibility programs. Basic education is widespread, but opportunities for learning continue to elude many. Over one hundred million children are not in school, with ninety seven percent of these being in developing countries. One in every five adults globally is illiterate, which are staggering figures given the widespread opportunities to learn available today. Corporate are faced with the challenge of promoting education by setting up schools, and funding educational development programs. Education can also be encouraged by taking in interns and trainees and giving them an opportunity to learn the tricks of the job, which will enable them compete fairly in the corporate world --- On these lines is what ekLakshya’ s Flagship program called “Susandhi” strives hard to enable financially challenged kids to learn the tricks of the job and compete fairly on the corporate world. For more info, please refer the “Susandhi” tab in the main menu
As a training company ekLakshya is working hard to bring in the awareness about social responsibility among the young professionals. It undertakes many training activities to achieve this. In ekLakshya the trainees are given an exposure to different activities of social concern in the surrounding areas. It also encourages trainees to take-up and get actively involved in some activities of social concern with NGOs and similar social organizations.
Three days Teamwork off-site training was conducted from 15th to 17th Jan 2015 for L1 trainees. The objective of the program was to imbibe qualities of Creativity, Teamwork, Professionalism and Social Responsibility among trainees. In this programme with the purpose of bringing sense of social responsibility, the trainees were taken to four NGO’s in and around Hubli and Dharwad. The NGO’s visited were Akshayapatra, Vidya Poshak, Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya and Agastya Foundation.
The organisation strives to fight issues like hunger and malnutrition in India. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in the Government schools and Government aided schools, Akshaya Patra aims not only to fight hunger but also to bring children to school. It is continuously leveraging technology to cater to millions of children. Its state-of-the-art kitchens have become a subject of study and they attracts curious visitors from around the world. Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme serving wholesome food to over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India.
The visit to this place gave the participants not only an exposure to the social development field but also understood the importance of professionalism, discipline and time management at work.
Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya is a charitable and residential school that supports children from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The school provides education with a strong emphasis upon the performing arts, food, accommodation and healthcare to all its students all free of cost. Founded in November 2002, KSV is located in a quiet valley near the city of Dharwad in Karnataka, South India. Established on three acres of land a short distance from Kalkeri Village, the school consists of simple buildings made from traditional materials. In this peaceful setting, the children enjoy the tranquillity necessary for their academic studies, music practice and performing arts activities. KSV provides education in academic subjects, Hindustani Classical Music, Bharatanatayam Dance and Drama. KSV is both traditional and modern in its approach.
The visit to the school gave the students an insight into the life in villages, dedication to work, social responsibility. The trainees also involved in an activity of “Shramdaan” (a voluntary contribution of labour/extended for a social cause). The interaction with Adam and Wilson motivated the trainees to become socially more responsible. The interaction and the cultural program done by the children of the school in the evening inspired the trainees a lot. It so motivated the trainees that they gave a contribution Rs.3000 to the school.
Vidya Poshak, is a Non-Government Organization (NGO), serving education community. Vidya Poshak gives financial assistance to finically disadvantaged students to continue education post 10th grade, which covers college fees, exam fees and transportation. Along with this additional amount for coaching is given. Volunteers spread across the state identify the deserving students. The organization has so far disbursed more than INR 131.00 million towards financial assistance. More than 12,600 students have been assisted in over 19 districts of Karnataka and five districts of Maharashtra. Resources for all these programs are generated through individual donors and private organizations who share the social concern. Vidya Poshak also provides, Books and Library facilities, Residential Bridge Camps and Soft Skill Training Programs.
The visit to Vidya Poshak and interaction with Mr.Venky made the students understand the importance of the contribution of Vidya Poshak to community and passion at work. It motivated trainees take up the responsibility of raising funds to donate to NGOs.
Agastya International Foundation, a non-profit educational trust that seeks to transform and stimulate the thinking of economically disadvantaged children. Agastya does this by bringing innovative science education to the doorstep of Government schools in various states in India. Hundred and five Mobile Science Vans, 250 night science schools and 108 Lab in Boxes take science education to the village doorstep. Tapping the valuable resource of bright but underprivileged children and teachers in rural India by providing an environment in which they can create, think, seek solutions and find them.
The visit to Agastya encouraged the trainees think creatively and seeing things from different angles. The trainees also learnt how complex concepts can be taught in simple ways using simple things. Agastya has effectively proven that with a small intervention even students of rural government schools can compete with the students of urban elite schools.
All these visits inspired the trainees to think about involving themselves in activities of social concern. They all came up with lots of ideas to support these NGOs. Out of which three ideas were selected to work on initially. Those were
The overall experience has also brought change in the behaviour of trainees like improvement in time management, not wasting food and other aspects of professionalism.