Can like-minded individuals bring about lasting change in the world? Is it possible to influence socio-economic improvements in the state of Karnataka through social service?
This and many more questions were addressed at the engaging Rotary Karnataka CSR Conference 2018 in Bengaluru on February 24 where I had the opportunity to be a panelist among a group of social responsibility practitioners, implementation agencies, social scientists and community workers. Solving some of the world’s largest problems isn’t easy – be in eradicating polio, making education accessible and inclusive, fighting disease, giving everyone access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation, improving health and wellness or helping people get by with basics like food, shelter and livelihood. Although with determination, influence and commitment a lot can be achieved.
Organized by Rotary International District 3190, the event provided deep insights on contemporary topics such as inspiring youth through quality education, driving change though employee volunteering, making healthcare and sanitation simpler and safer for the communities, building sustainable communities through empowerment and doing social good by strong leadership. The event helped me gain a clearer appreciation of the challenges, opportunities and approaches that practitioners can take to make a tangible difference on the ground.
Kudos to Abhishek Ranjan and team for crafting this event and bringing a group of exemplary speakers and thought leaders on one platform.
Rotarian Paul Netzel, Trustee Chair – The Rotary Foundation gave the keynote address and shared the vision of Rotary and the impact it has made over the 100+ years of the institution’s journey. According to Paul, Rotary, as the world’s foremost membership and service organization that works closely with the United Nations and a host of other credible entities, is well positioned to continue serving society for the future. The programme ended with a celebration of great community impact made by partners in all forms of social initiatives.
Here are my key take-aways:
- Connecting the dots with policy, practice and perseverance requires everyone to get behind the problem and tackle it collectively
- Focusing on outcomes is reasonable than finding flaws and getting bogged down by obstacles
- Collaboration and partnership expects all stakeholders to let go of egos and think of the larger picture
- Making tangible commitments and demonstrating how initiatives can be sustained is more important than just starting them.
- Harnessing the diversity, talent and skills that people have for the betterment of society means leveraging technology and optimizing effort
- Trust is crucial for successful engagements and all stakeholders need to brings their strengths and transparently call out their interests
Aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and partnering with Rotary Bangalore Whitefield Central on our corporate social responsibility initiatives such as clean and affordable energy (solar grids for government schools, eco-friendly transport for staff, water harvesting and recycling), building sustainable communities and cities (clean water project, eye-surgeries and health camps for less fortunate people), quality education (empowering teachers, engaging children through holistic development and learning) and decent work and economic growth (supporting job-oriented training and livelihood), there is more we can do together to make lasting change.