Dasra Philanthropy Week – Corporates, Foundations and HNW Individuals Come Together to Empower Girls

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IndiaCSR News Network

MUMBAI: Dasra, India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation, hosted the Dasra Philanthropy Week (DPW) from March 5-7th, 2014, in Mumbai. Supported this year by USAID, Omidyar Network, BNP Paribas Wealth Managementand Vodafone Foundation, the event brought together more than 600 philanthropists, corporates, foundations, impact investors and policy makers to solve pressing social and developmental issues faced by our country especially around adolescent girl empowerment.

Dasra’s report, ‘Owning Her Future’ recognized that the 113 million adolescent girls in India are a largely vulnerable and abused group. India, home to 60 million child brides, has 95% of its adolescent girls drop out of schools by age 15 in leading states and over 50% girls face domestic violence. Over the next five years, Dasra will work on several girl-related issues including child marriage, domestic violence, menstrual hygiene and nutrition among others.

With the enactment of the Companies Act 2013 and the mandatory 2% CSR spend; Dasra Philanthropy Week held sessions on approaches to giving, and employee engagement; that urged corporate companies to be more strategic in their philanthropy.In partnership with the BSE, Dasra Philanthropy Week started on March 5th with keynote addresses by Mr. AshishChauhan, CEO, BSE, and Mr. Marten Pieters, CEO, Vodafone India.

Mr. Ashish Chauhan from BSE spoke on the topic, “With around 5,200 companies listed under the BSE wing, there is a need to reflect on comprehensive CSR practices such as capacity building, education and awareness programmes. BSE is proud to be sponsoring Dasra Philanthropy Week in this mission of empowering adolescent girls.”

“For Vodafone, CSR is not restricted to mere monetary donations or volunteering for few hours at a NGO.  Vodafone Foundation’s World of Difference programme being implemented with Dasra is a unique way of corporate giving that goes beyond the traditional approach. 33 highly skilled Vodafone employees are presently working with 29 NGOs addressing social issues in India for a period of 8 weeks. We launched this annual programme in 2011 and have received tremendous response. We will continue to build this unique employee volunteering program.” mentioned Mr. Marten Pieters, Managing Director & CEO, Vodafone India.

An exclusive panel on impact assessment led by Rice University Research Professor, Marc Epstein, presented the value of building impact assessment into CSR for greater social impact. The day’s highlight was the announcement of the winners of Dasra Girl Power Awards, launched as part of Dasra’s $14 million alliance with USAID and Kiawah Trust.

Neera Nundy, Partner and Co-Founder, Dasra said “To build urgency around adolescent girl issues, we are proud to introduce Dasra Girl Power Awards, India’s first-ever awards to identify and honor path breaking non-profits empowering adolescent girls in the country. Our goal is to help these organizations scale with funding, networks and skills so that millions of girls get the opportunities they deserve.”

Day two of the event brought together foundations and impact investors to discuss both grant and equity based models for social change. The panels explored innovative solutions from non-profit and for-profit models that can work in tandem to help social sector organizations scale.

Lisa Kleissner, President of the KL Felicitas Foundation, a family foundation co-founded with her husband, Charly, in 2000;  speaking on the value of a gender lens in impact investing, “90% of women’s income is invested in their family’s welfare as opposed to 40-50% of men’s income. It is clear that women play a bigger role in addressing the welfare of family and society as a whole. And, not surprisingly, women-led enterprises yield better financial and impact results, however, there are fewer women entrepreneurs and they receive far less investment capital than their male peers. So we need to figure out how to better support women-led ventures so that they can realize their full potential.”

Dasra Philanthropy Week will conclude on March 7th with Dasra’s signature event–the Indian Philanthropy Forum (IPF), India’s largest platform for visionary high net-worth philanthropists. The event, founded in 2010 and in its fifth edition this year, will feature a high profile gathering of leading philanthropists, business and social change leaders. As Dasra’s partner, BNP Paribas Wealth Management will host a discussion on Next Gen philanthropy by interviewing RoshniNadarMalhotra. For the past 7 years BNP Paribas Wealth Management has awarded major philanthropists the BNP Paribas Prize for Individual Philanthropy. In 2013, Mr. Shiv Nadar, founder of the Shiv Nadar Foundation was the recipient of the BNP Paribas Prize.

The day will place the spotlight on social change stories, insights from Bain & Company on ecosystem building, presentations on Dasra’s upcoming research including the launch of the Domestic Violence Report, and conversations with leading local and global philanthropists who will share their perspectives on giving.

Bringing the day to a grand finale will be video keynote addresses by Jennifer and Peter Buffett from NoVo Foundation. Past IPF speakers include visionary philanthropists like RohiniNilekani, Hemendra Kothari, Rati Forbes, Dr. Raj Shah, JayantSinha, ShabnamSinha, Kenneth Roth, Jack Sim, Mathew Bishop, and Nisa Godrej.

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