Global business & social change leaders convene at Dasra Philanthropy Week 2013

The Dasra Philanthropy Week provides a platform for stakeholders to work together towards building an inclusive India.

March 07, 2013 7:02 IST | India Infoline News Service

The Dasra Philanthropy Week concluded on March 6thevening with the Annual Indian Philanthropy Forum (IPF). The week that began on February 28, 2013 drew over 600 business and social leaders from around the world. Speaking at the IPF, Zarina Mehta, Co-Founder, UTV and Managing Trustee of Swades Foundation said, “We need strategic collaborative action on several fronts to create long term solutions for India’s complex and intractable social problems. The Dasra Philanthropy Week provides a platform for stakeholders to work together towards building an inclusive India.”

Stressing on the need for joint action, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in his keynote address said, “Innovation alone will not lead us to solve the world’s development challenges.  Partnership and the inspiration born of local solutions hold the key to achieving unprecedented gains in human health, prosperity, and dignity.” Dr. Shah invited India’s entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, foundations, financial institutions, investors, and philanthropists to join USAID in driving meaningful solutions to India’s development challenges. 

Speaking about the collaborative ecosystem building approach, Lynne Smitham, Co-Founder, Kiawah Trust, a UK based family foundation supporting the adolescent girl empowerment issue, said, “Together with Dasra, we are building a platform that will enable greater engagement and committed resources through a multi-stakeholder approach focused on fostering innovation, improving health outcomes and scaling high impact interventions”. India is home to 113 million adolescent girls, over half of who become wives and mothers before the legal age. 

This makes them vulnerable to maternal deaths, violence and severe socio-economic abuse. A unique photo exhibition was on display at the IPF showcasing the issue of child marriage in India and the work of Educate Girls, a leading non profit, in fighting this problem.

A key and innovative way to foster gender equity and improve socio-economic outcomes is by mobilizing ‘Sports for Development’ according to Dasra’s latest research report, Power of Play. Speaking at the panel on the issue, Pratik Kumar, COO, Magic Bus, India’s leading non-profit working with over 8000 youth role models and 250,000 children from some of India’s poorest said, “Sports is a simple, low-cost and effective medium for achieving key development goals for children and youth.

Today, employers are faced with a challenge of finding the right talent with the necessary soft skills that would make them more productive in the work environment. Our experience at Magic Bus shows that sporting activities help to develop key life skills among youth to develop the missing professional soft skills employers are seeking in India today.”

Rekha Dey, India Coordinator, Australian Sports Outreach Program at Australian Sports Commission, sponsor of the Power of Play report said “ASOP has a multi-pronged approach to leverage sport as a tool to enhance education, improve health outcomes, increase gender equity and provide life skills. Our efforts in creating actionable research, social mobilization and building the capacity of nonprofit organizations together lead to sustainable impact.”

The issues of lack of education, healthcare, livelihood opportunities and social status make women and girls in India even more vulnerable to social evils like sex trafficking.  Dasra’s upcoming report on sex trafficking, Not For Sale, co-sponsored by The Hummingbird Trust and Kamonohashi Project details the severity of the issue as well as profiles successful interventions that organizations have undertaken to curtail this problem. 

The increase in number of sex workers has been 50% since 1997 and this rate of increase in prostitution is 5 times higher than the rate of increase in population. To ensure that this alarming rise is controlled, we need to cover the three inter-linked elements of - prevention, protection and prosecution.

Clare Mathias, Chair of the Board, The Hummingbird Trust, said “Poverty is a strong indicator of vulnerabilities that give rise to or intensify the conditions relating to sex trafficking at source. It is important that we look at strategies that are preventing this problem at source”.

Talking about the need for a unified approach, Keisuke Motoki, co-founder of Kamonohashi Project, said, "We took the integrated approach in Cambodia to eliminate minor sex trafficking; establishing a community factory in a vulnerable area, as a social enterprise, to create employment for the vulnerable families to human trafficking, and strengthening the law enforcement through capacity building of police in partnership with the Cambodian National Government. Our programme of anti-human trafficking started in India in 2012, and we are eyeing good partnership with local NGOs and philanthropists to bring the substantial change in sex trafficking”.

For the third consecutive year, Bain & Company launched their annual philanthropy report at the IPF. “Given the tough economic climate, it is imperative that NGOs measure and discuss impact with increasingly results-aware donors. This will help them garner more donations efficiently,” said Arpan Sheth, the Mumbai-based Bain partner who is the author of the firm’s India Philanthropy Report 2013.

Concluding the power packed week, Deval Sanghavi, Partner, Dasra said, “The Dasra Philanthropy Week aims to build collaboration among like-minded parties to join in solving India’s social problems”. He further added, “Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector and stakeholder involvement. We need different forms of capital, skills and networks to collectively find impactful and scalable solutions for the millions living in poverty in our country.”

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