POSTED April 8, 2019
How can business play a stronger role in positive change?
A trip to India reveals new possibilities to help more children
By Patrick Canagasingham, CEO
Many wonder why the global community hasn’t solved world poverty yet.
Simply put, poverty is a complex problem.
It’s why we can’t work in isolation to help those in need around the world. We need governments, other civil-society organizations and the private sector, too. So, I was eager to talk about this with members of the corporate world on a recent trip to see our work in India.
Co-creating solutions with businesses will equip us with resources and added capabilities to bridge that last-mile connection with the world’s most vulnerable children. Together, we can help fill gender and development gaps, addressing complex issues such as child marriage, child labour and violence against children. In the end, more children will be free to go to school, find full-time work as adults and build a brighter future.
There are many partnership possibilities, and we explored some in India. It was inspiring to meet leaders engaged in their communities, eager to help. Below are just three examples of conversations, which inspired me.
- Charles C. Li, director general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in Chennai, was excited about the idea to expand our existing work beyond supporting sponsorship projects. We talked about collaborating with Taiwanese entities, including, non-governmental organizations and companies to leverage technology to address multi-pronged development challenges, such as gender and development gaps in India.
- Nicole Girard, consul general, Canadian Consulate in Bengaluru (Bangalore), was keen to encourage social responsibility in the business community as necessary in creating sustainable change. That includes initiatives already in play, such as our global youth program, campaigns to end child marriage and more.
- Seven Canadian companies operating in India, the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber, and the consul general, shared ideas about how to collaborate to give women and children better access to food, quality education and commerce.
The Internet Saathi (friend) project is a good example of how such partnerships can make a lasting impact. Last year, one of our partners joined with India’s Tata Trusts and Google India to help build digital literacy among more than 700,000 women in more than 4,000 villages and 15 districts in India.
The idea was to teach women skills they can use to mentor other women, building confidence and communication skills in the process.
The breadth of that one project, which leveraged the support of civil society and the corporate world, has also given women the confidence and resources to learn about livelihood opportunities — such as jewelry-making and fashion design — through YouTube.
In our work, we’re honoured to help connect vulnerable villages with the resources to put initiatives like this into action. The results speak for themselves, creating futures of hope for generations to come.
I’m looking forward to sharing more success stories like these. Stay tuned.