Mumbai – Ambuja Cement Foundation’s (ACF) Daseran watershed project in Himachal Pradesh’s Darlaghat has given social returns of Rs 8.4 for every rupee invested, director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pearl Tiwari has told India CSR.
This was revealed after a social impact measurement in 2017-18 was conducted on this watershed project to understand the socio-economic value creation of water resource initiatives implemented by ACF and funding by NABARD.
ACF is a corporate social responsibility arm of Ambuja Cements Ltd.
ACF spent between 21 and 24% of its overall CSR funds on water management projects and hence it was critical for the Foundation to assess the impact of all its CSR (Corporate Social responsibility) activities, Tiwari said.
ACF built a 55.60 million cubic meter capacity water storage tank to collect natural water. Constructed on a 925 ha area at a cost of Rs 1.6 crore, the tank is serving household in several villages. The water is also being used for irrigation purposes.
The Foundation had conducted a similar Social Return on Investment (SROI) in 2015, where it commissioned an independent agency to analyse the long-term impacts and benefits of its investments in water resource management initiatives in Gujarat’s Kodinar and Rajasthan’s Rabriyawas, Tiwari said.
While the former had returns as high as 13 times of the investment in 15 years of holistic water resource management work, the latter had social returns of 5 times the amount spent in 5 years, she added. The impact analysis was done over a specific period to assess the result during that period, she said.
ACF has an in-house research and monitoring team to oversee implementation, progress and impact of the programmes. The Foundation also works with independent consultants to evaluate its programmes.
“We also organise a Social Engagement Scorecard (SES) process across locations, approaching the stakeholders to share their feedback on the project plan and impact during the specific period,” the CEO said.
“The research we undertake helps us modify our programmes to best suit the need of our communities. The initiatives have time and again shown a multiplier effect on the ground,” she said further.
ACF’s water resource management programmes are covering 2.5 million people in 2,073 villages across the country, she said.
The company has also laid out 8,705 rooftop rainwater harvesting structures to ensure clean drinking water in over 200 villages, she added.
The Foundation has built 430 check dams, 673 pond renovations and 78 khadin and water tanks apart from building 72 kms of interlinking canals with 1,377 percolation wells.
With 600 development professionals, ACF is active in 32 districts across 11 states in India.