KOLKATA: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) India Country Office and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Eastern Region has been signed on Friday on the establishment of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Hub for Corporate Sector engagement in the Eastern Region of India.
The MoU has been exchanged today at CII’S Annual Regional Meeting at the ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata with the presence of Viresh Oberoi, Chairman of CII Eastern Region, Asadur Rahman, Chief of UNICEF Field Office for West Bengal, Christine Edier, Chief Resource Mobilization & Partnerships of UNICEF India and around a hundred of participants from Corporate sector.
Covering five states including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, this Regional CSR Hub aims to strengthen knowledge base and build capacity of the corporate sector’s involvement in CSR, with one of the focus areas being women and children from the Children’s Rights and Business Principals perspective.
The Hub will act as a knowledge centre for holistic CSR activities, and as a think-tank, and play an advisory role for CII members in the region.This MoU is the continuity of the MoU signed by UNICEF West Bengal and CII Eastern Region in December 2011 to incorporate a working relationship with each other through the establishment of a CSR Hub in Kolkata.
One of the first projects undertaken by the Hub was for CII to lend corporate support and UNICEF to provide its technical expertise for, under the request of the Government, upgrading the Integrated Child Development Services (Anganwadi) Centres in Metiabruz, making them into model centres. This was undertaken through the provision of improved infrastructure, additional nutritional supplements as well as pre-school education.
Initially, Six ICDS Centers were upgraded servicing over 500 women and children. Currently corporate donors are supporting 26 centres in the area.Further, with the success of these ‘model’ centres, UNICEF has been invited by the state government to assist with making of additional ‘model’ centres elsewhere in the state.
“UNICEF has been taking the lead globally to work with corporates on creating a positive impact of business and its effects on children and children’s rights, and has been actively engaged on the subject in India since the past three years. This MoU represents a shared commitment to uphold children’s rights through corporate core activities and strategic social investments”
“Under the frame work of this MoU, UNICEF will continue to support the CII members for development of their strategic CSR plan which help addressing children’s issues. This unique partnership would hopefully pave way forward for others to follow suit” said Asadur Rahman, Chief of UNICEF Field Office for West Bengal.