Corporate Responsibility in India

Hi everyone

Last week I wrote about a seminar regarding opportunities in India for Norwegian companies. This week it was another seminar… This time the host was NICCI and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO). The agenda for this seminar was corporate responsibility and how to work in a responsible way in a country like India.

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The tone was set by Mr. Erik Lundeby from NHO. He looked back in history and talked about how corporate responsibility has evolved in Norway. Some 150 years ago companies were very much involved in building societies in Norway. As Norway today is very much a developed country this is not that important anymore. But one important question for Norwegian companies is what to do when they want to establish themselves in countries where the society is not that well established? In some countries corruption is a big issue. And in some countries it is expected that companies take a huge responsibility in helping the society. If you look at a company like Tata, they have for a long time been famous not just for their earning but also from what they give back to the society. Check out the book Tata – The evolution of a Corporate Brand to read more about this. NHO have made a guideline that can be used for Norwegian companies. I would highly recommend that everyone read this guideline before entering a foreign market.

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After Mr. Lundeby Ms. Gunelie Winum from Ethical trading initiative Norway spoke. She has firsthand experience in working with Norwegian companies that are cooperating with countries like India and showed a very interesting case study from India. The actual company, Beer Sten, traded with stone from India and was accused for using a subcontractor that were using child labor, didn’t have the right security and infrastructure for their employers and so on. By help of IEH the Norwegian company turned this situation around completely! It was very interesting to hear about the learning from that case. She stressed that long term partnership is important if you want to improve working conditions for your sub-contractors. This echoes much of what was said in the panel debate last week. A social audit is not really what you’re looking for. What you really need doing she said is to integrate this into the corporate culture for both the companies. She also suggested calling it ethical assessment not an ethical audit.

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The last speaker was Dr. Bimal Arora, Chief Executive Officer in Center for Responsible Business (CBR). Being and Indian and working from India, he has some extremely good insight into the diversity of the Indian business. There were a number of really good points to take from his lecture. One of them is that India is one of the countries in the world with the maximum number of laws. This makes it difficult to set up a business there. This applies both to multinational companies and to small Indian companies. If you plan to ever set up a business in India you have to be aware of this fact. Representing an international company you of course have to work according to all the laws in the country. But you also have to be aware that if your partner in India is a very small company you can’t really expect them to know all the different details about every single law. And this applies even more for subcontractors to your Indian partner. These small companies will not have any CSR strategy or anything like that. It will be your responsibility to implement this in a proper way.

After having been involved with the a number of NGO’s in India and different CSR initiatives in Capgemini it was very interesting to hear how these experts talked about the topic. My support for the Nani Kalis will surely continue, but I will also continue to ask myself if there is something more I as an individual can do…

Talk to you soon

Karsten

 

 

 

Be a Gunner be a Runner. Skiing for Arsenal and a better world!

Hi Everyone

Like most Norwegian kids, I grew up being quite interested in football. When I got a mug with the logo of Arsenal Football Club at the age of around 6, I was “doomed” to support that club. So most of the youth I dreamed about playing for Arsenal, scoring for Arsenal, tackling for Arsenal, and so on. But sadly, I have never been really good in football and have never been picked to play for Arsenal. Not until today. Today I have skied for Arsenal!

Kidding you might say? Not really. Next month Arsenal foundation will host their annual charity event called “Be a Gunner. Be a Runner”. People are encouraged to sign up and run 6.4 kilometers around the Emirates stadium. And even better, this year they invited people who are not in London to run! Everybody can run a route of 6.4 kilometers and submit that information to Arsenal Foundation, and they will then be registered as taking part of the event. As you can see from the chart below, I completed 19.25 kilometers today, so I should be well above the minimum requirement.

BAGARRoute

The only slight issue is off course that Norway is currently full of snow, so I had to do this skiing rather than running. So when I skied today I was wearing my Arsenal jersey and the cap with a name of the former Arsenal left back Silvinho. Anyone remember him? The Brazilian left back who could score, tackle, head, intercept, pas a ball. Simply that Brazilian who played like a Brazilian. Ahhh, those Highbury days & Highbury highs. Why can’t Brazilian left backs today do the same?

BAGARSkiing

Why am I writing this on a blog about being a Norwegian in India you might ask? Well, fundraising is a global activity, and I’m quite proud of having sponsored a number of initiatives in India. Some of you have probably read about my contributions to Nanhi Kali, the Indian NGO that works with education for underprivileged girl children. Arsenal foundation also works in improving education for children. In China, 15.000 children attending some of Beijing’s most disadvantaged schools will benefit from a £300,000 donation over three years to Save the Children, aimed at improving their quality of their education.

My next target; to get Arsenal Foundation & Nanhi Kali to work together for improving education (and maybe even football) in India!

If you are not able to do any running, you can still donate to Arsenal foundation.

Arsenal.com is used as a source for this article

Talk to you soon

Karsten

Supporting a football tournament

Hi Everyone

Quite some time back I wrote about a football tournament project in which I sponsored. The project is now going on well, and here is some update from it:

There are some good news and some bad news. We start with the bad news: for one entire month the Yuwa Dharavi Girls Football Program had to take a break because we had a shortfall of coaches. The initial coaches Anand and Hiralal as well as the assistant coaches had to go back to Jharkhand. Reality Gives found it very difficult to find new skilled coaches who will accept the commitment to daily training sessions.

But now with the help of another great NGO, the Oscar foundation we have found a new coach and the training has started on the 14th of January for the 20 regular participants. The goal for the next months is the first match against another team and to recruit more girls. With the commitment and enthusiasm of the girls and the new coach we are very positive to report you better results in the next report.

Saturday, the 12th January the girls even performed a second time in front of a even bigger audience at the TedXMasala event in Powai. The team of Reality Gives and Yuwa is very proud of the smart and talented girls and how they handled the big crowd observing them.

But now it’s time to get back to football as the girls are already very excited to play again. A number of volunteers also participated in the Mumbai Marathon on the 20th of January. Before that the whole team had a training session for all runners of the “Dharavi Dream Run Team”. Find out more on our website: www.realitygives.org/dharavi_dream_run_team. To see photos of the event itself please stay tuned on Facebook.

Empower Girls through football in a slum in India, a project on GlobalGiving.co.uk. Hope you get inspired by this and would like to join as a contributor!

Talk to you soon

Karsten

Music played on trash

Hi Everyone

I know. I know. This article does not actually have anything to do with Mumbai, not even with India. But when a friend of me shared this video with me on Facebook, I just decided that this is something I had to share.

Landfill Harmonic

Seeing this really touched something in me. So I just thought; would it be possible to do some of the same in India, maybe even in Mumbai? I absolutely think it should be possible to make instruments like this somewhere in Dharavi. Concerts can be at Dhavari, Juhu Beach, CST and maybe finish up with a giant show at Blue Frog?

You can read more about this movie at Landfill harmonic Facebook page, or at their home page.

And then the big question is; is there anyone in Mumbai who are ready to join in making this happen?

Karsten

Bicycle brings smile – an initiative by Sava Sahayog

Hi Everyone

Contributing to the society in India is not that easy when I currently live in Norway. But at least I can use my blog to spread information about some fantastic initiatives when it occurs. And this is truly one to share.

This is an initiative by a NGO called Sava Sahayog. They donate bicycles to children who have more than 5 kilometers to school in the area of Karjat. By coincidence this was the place where I first ever took part in the Bombay Hash, so I know how remote the area is. The NGO have identified 150 + kids in villages in the area who are in need for bicycles. The NGO will pick up the bike at your doorstep, transport it to Karjat, repair it if required and donate it to kids on the 26th of January.

How can you help? Donate a bicycle, Old or new, contribute in form of money, simply display the attached press release & banner on notice boards in society you live in or join this initiative.

Bicycle Poster (Now you can)

Hindustan Times Press Release - 5th Jan 2013

Seva Sahayog is a non-profit organization working towards bridging the gap between donors and seekers. In 2012, Seva Sahayog has facilitated donation of over 35,000 Educational Aids in Pune and Mumbai region. Over 100 corporate, 1000+ volunteers have participated and over children in 120 NGOs have benefited from this unique initiative

If you have any questions, please do reach out to my colleague Vivek Ganoo (vivek.ganoo at Capgemini.com)

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

A click for a better world

Hi Everyone

Today, the 11th of October is known as the International Girl Child Day. I think it is outside the topic for this very blog to write about inequalities between boys and girls in general. But at the same time, I think it is fair to say that there is a huge difference. And India is probably one of the countries where this difference is very visible.

In a number of blog posts I have written about my support for Nanhi Kali and to help underprivileged girl children in India to get their education. I said that for every 1000 click on this blog I will pay for one school year. This for up to 20 girls! Now it is time to renew the sponsorships and to make sure that these children will remain in school for at least one more year. If you can share information about this blog to your friends, family and colleagues, we can together reach 30.000 hits quite soon, and make sure that the sponsorship continues. So please tweet about it, post a link to the blog on your Facebook wall and share the information in any other way that you can do.

Thanks a lot!

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

Is there a new cricket God?

Hi Everyone

Off course I have written about cricket a number of times at this blog, including my explanation of the cricket rules in an easy way for the novices, like say, Norwegians. Today it just has to be another blog post about cricket. The T20 world cup is about to start soon. That’s all nice and good, and we all remember how the latest world cup ended don’t we?

India have had a number of great cricket players over the years, like “the Indian wall” Rahul Dravid, the God of cricket Sachin Tendulkar and the flamboyant current captain of India (and Chennai Super Kings) M S Dhoni. But right now I think there is no doubt that the most popular cricket player in India is Yuvraj Singh, a 30 year old player from Chandigarh in Punjab.

Why is it so? Ok. Fine. Yuvraj is a very good cricket player. He was part of the Indian team that won the world cup in 2011 and even chosen as man of the tournament at the world cup. But less than a year after the world cup he had to fight his toughest match, or rather fight, ever. In March 2012 Yuvraj was diagnosed with cancerous tumor in his left lung. This off course meant that he missed the whole IPL of 2012 and his whole cricket career was in danger. To make a longer story short; that fight is now over and Yuvraj is back on the cricket field! He was supposed to play his first match for India against New Zealand at the 8th of August, but in good cricket style, that match was <a href = ” http://www.bcci.tv/bcci/bccitv/index/viewarticle?article=504b67b5a1f49-match-report-ind-v-nz-1st-t20i.html”abandoned due to rain. So what is more fitting that Yuvraj will make his long awaited return to cricket at cricket crazy Chennai today? The match is now only a few hours away. I will not guess about the outcome, but well, we can off course hope for an epic match and maybe Yuvraj will once again clinch the man of the match award?

And there is actually more to Yuvraj than just cricket. He run his very own foundation, Yuvraj Singh Foundation who help people get back up in life and give them the chance to relive it by fulfilling their aspirations, hopes & dreams. This organization helps both individuals and organizations who might not have it as good as they could.

After he got diagnosed with cancer, Yuvraj Singh Foundation put up another initiative; Youwecan. Through that initiative he will create consciousness on cancer prevention, early detection & fight against Stigma. I would recommend that you all enter this page and read more about this noble cause.

And today I’m sure everyone at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium will scream his name once again: “Yu-vi, Yu-vi”!

Match update: And off course the match ends in drama! New Zealand puts up 167 in their innings, which is a quite decent total. India however doesn’t plan to give up without a fight. With only 8 balls to go it look though for India but the Yuvraj Singh hits a six! This means that India now need 13 runs from their last over, which is absolutely doable when you have Singh and MS Dhoni as batsmen (or batting vallahs as I say it very incorrectly). But then only four balls later James Franklin, who actually plays for Mumbai Indians get Singh out! It’s up to Dhoni and the new batting vallah Rohit Sharma to make the five needed runs in the last two balls. They only manage four, which means that India looses the match with just one run. What a drama!

Talk to you soon!

Karsten

Being a teacher

Hi everyone
The last two Saturdays have been quite interesting, or maybe I should say different, for me. I have been a teacher. No. Not kidding. I have worked as an English teacher for Sujaya Foundation. This was one of the most interesting experiences I have had in India!
Working with, and contributing to young kids, like I do with the Nanhi Kali program is off course very nice. But in this case, I worked with youths in the age of around 16-18, and the advantage with this is that it is much easier to get a good and clear feedback from them.
The program that Sujaya has is a summer school program, where students come in and work on their English skill. It last for a number of weeks, six days every week. Monday to Friday they work with new topics, and on Saturdays they try to get in volunteers to work with the students.


When I entered the school, the whole group of students worked together and had a session with another volunteer. After this session they got divided into four groups who worked with different volunteers from Capgemini. In my group there were 5 girls and 2 boys. First I got all of them to introduce themselves, and I also introduced myself to them. When the first informal introduction was over we started to work on some exercises. In one of the exercises we worked with different tenses. We used some simple phrases like “doing homework” and they should make sentences like “I did homework yesterday”, “I will do homework tomorrow” and so on. Initially they struggled quite a bit with this task, but they had very good progress, and it was very funny when the whole group kind of shouted out the sentences all at the same time! You can imagine how all the other groups looked at us and wondered if we had gone crazy! And seeing the smiles in their faces really made my day.
The Sujaya foundation was established in 2002 and works to provide education for the underprivileged. By helping them to get a better grips of English it will be possible for them to get jobs that they otherwise would have had no chance of getting.
Talk to you soon
Karsten

Hosting a football tournament

Hi everyone

Some people have asked me if living in India have changed me as a person. Honestly, I don’t think I’m the right person to answer that question. But one thing is for sure; seeing some of the poverty I have seen in India have made me realize how privileged I’m by having what I have. No, I don’t say that I’m happier than those who have so much less than me, but it is for sure that I have many more opportunities than what some other people have.

In previous blog posts I have written about helping underprivileged girls with their education through the Nanhi Kali program and also about some of my trips to Dharavi. The latest trips to Dharavi have been organized by a NGO called Reality Gives. As I have now been on a number of trips with them, I’m on their e-mail list and regularly get updates about their work.

A few days ago I got an e-mail where they describe one of their new projects, which is to host football tournaments for girls! This is done in association with another NGO called YUWA. The project started in the state Jharkhand, which is one of the poorest states in India, and also a state I have never visited. This state is known for child marriage, human trafficking and lack of opportunities for girls. This state is ranked 24th at the human development index and 27th in terms of literacy. During the years I have heard a number of alarming stories about how girls are being treated in different areas. Some of the stories are so sad that I don’t even want to talk about them.

So when this opportunity came, I’m more than happy to pay £49 to host a football tournament. If YOU would like to do the same, please click at the home page to Global giving and donate today.

Now I’m looking forward to an invitation to my very own football tournament, in Dharavi or Jharkhand.

Talk to you soon

Karsten