TeamLease Education Foundation had another session of the CSR Dialogue Series. We invited Shilpa Jaiswal, Head CSR, at Welspun Enterprise ltd, a highly experienced development professional accomplished in leading CSRs of renowned corporates and reputed NGOs for over 12 years. She has a social work degree- MSW and has core expertise in the area of public health, women empowerment and livelihood programs. Joel Fernandez, Chief of Partnerships moderated the session.
Can you tell us a little bit about the start of the movement?
Shilpa’s father was in a transferable job. And they moved a lot. One of the schools she got enrolled in had a special social work course, which caught her attention. As there is a popular saying, “if you want to help a hungry person, there are two ways of dealing, either you feed them or teach to make their own bread”. That course required a lot of practical fieldwork, which gave her an opportunity to go see rural India. The experience framed a completely different perspective, and understanding it from a development perspective,
Which later in life turned into her passion and professional life. Corporations get funds to make changes and bring significant changes in the life of people. And Shilpa makes sure the money received is utilized properly and should be used to bring significant changes in society. Watch the conversation here.
How has your journey been so far?
‘I can sum up my journey in two words: amazing and satisfying’ said Shipa. She further adds, ‘We are the generation who has seen the transition from grant funding to project-based funding, and now there are corporates coming in. A lot of money has been pumped into the development sector. So the funding was good, and so was the implementation.
Two decades ago, civil societies were considered an important part of policymaking, but they were never so integrated. But now even that has compliance. 10 years down the line, there are going to be lots of changes. And we are lucky enough to be part of the process. Watch the full conversation here.
What are some of the challenges you have faced and have had to overcome?
There were a lot of challenges in this department. Initially, when Shilpa started her journey with CSR, the Bill was not so formalized. The corporate took it as a philanthropic approach, and it was a more activity-based intervention. So to make them understand that CSR is beyond activity where you have to bring sustainable change was something which was a very challenging space.
And the second challenge was to change the mindset of the people who are working in the corporate because it's the management who makes the decision. Hence, it was very important to change the mindset of the corporate people who are working there to understand CSR from a distance beyond its not just the policy level. Watch the full conversation here.
Can you talk about some of the programs that you have implemented that have created sustainable and measurable change in society?
Most of the corporate activities were based on corporate health activity whereas health initiatives were based on activity-based intervention, where they were targeting curative problems. When Shipa joined the department, she introduced that preventive health is also important. Special programs targeting preventive healthcare can inculcate healthy behaviour among employees, women and younger minds. She believes Corporate Social Responsibility is how the management treats it because it should be driven by management. And if they're not passionate about it, it becomes very difficult to bring out learning to the table. Watch the full conversation here.
Where do you think the future lies for women leaders and how can we increase women's leadership in the social corporate movement in India?
‘My advice to all the development professionals would be to take more women into the space. And a lot of mentoring needs to be done especially for women who can be guided well to be brought up to leadership positions.’ said Shipa Jaiswal.
It’s the responsibility of senior stakeholders and women already in the business to open doors for other women. So it is important to leave an impact on the people while working in this space. Watch the full conversation here.
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