HPCL CSR Strategic Partnerships for Educational Projects: Maximizing Impact

Any well-guided CSR leans into strategic partnerships with multiple stakeholders, internally and externally.

HPCL CSR Strategic Partnerships for Educational Projects: Maximizing Impact

New Delhi: Education for underprivileged individuals in India faces various challenges including financial constraints, lack of infrastructure and socio-economic barriers. Efforts to improve the education system for the underprivileged in India often involve a combination of government initiatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Since the development sector is an amalgamation of multiple entities. 

Any well-guided CSR leans into strategic partnerships with multiple stakeholders, internally and externally. As a corporation, our implementation strategy involves partnering with relevant NGOs doing meaningful work, our on-field teams spread across the country and local government officials. To develop successful business-NGO partnerships, understanding the worldviews, interests and risks of each party is important. The CSR eco-system in India is undoubtedly one of the most productive one given the effective compliance system under the mandatory CSR clause under the Companies Act (Amendment), 2013. 

Which is why, all modes of partnerships, focus on two fundamental principles, one being the expertise held by all implementing stakeholders and the second being authenticity and relevance of impact garnered. 

Some of our flagship projects focused on education, like Kashmir Super 50 and Nanhi Kali, they are both being implemented by partners who have a presence in the thematic area they work in and geospatial familiarity. Both projects, in fact have multiple kinds of stakeholders as implementing partners as well. Both projects engage with beneficiaries who stand at the intersections of vulnerability and the reason why both of them have a positive impact is because the process of implementation is dynamic and fluid. We actively seek input from our stakeholders through our implementing partners. 

Projects like Super-50 Medical in Jammu & Kashmir (UT) and Ladakh (UT) region is a part of Indian Army’s sustained efforts to secure a better future for the local youths in cohesive partnership with HPCL. Under this collaborative initiative, Indian Army provide the infrastructure, lodging, boarding facility and conducive study environment for the students and HPCL under its CSR, supports the Sadhbhavna (Goodwill) efforts undertaken by Indian Army in Jammu & Kashmir (UT) and Ladakh (UT) region. It also harbored immense potential as a nation-building tool and bore tremendous results. The inadequacy of quality educational coaching faculty & infrastructure is a major disadvantage for students in the region, especially from nonurban, semirural and rural areas while aspiring for higher educational qualifications at the national level.

The problem gets amplified for children from the lower socio-economic strata and children caught in the crossfire of conflicts / challenges since they do not have resources to access high-quality coaching centers located outside the region. Further, local government leaders and bodies act as sources of pertinent nodal information. India is a welfare state, and the CSR efforts being made act in synergy with the shared goals and priorities of local government officials who are able to determine key underlying social and environmental issues and the appropriate action for the same. India is a ‘welfare state’. The concept of a welfare state refers to a government that actively seeks to promote the well-being and improved quality of life of its citizens by providing a range of social services and benefits. In the case of India, the government has adopted several policies and programs aimed at fulfilling this objective.

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Hence, investing in infrastructure for example, has been a fruitful endeavor when local govt officials are involved in the need identification. Case in point with Kashmir Super-30, in the year 2021, Indian Army requested HPCL to consider an increase in a total number of students supported under the project based on the success rate and popularity among the youth of the valley. The project was rechristened as Kashmir Super-50 Medical and the fourth batch then included 30 residential male students and 20 day scholar female students. This feedback loop enables organizations to better understand the expectations and concerns of these groups and adapt their CSR strategies accordingly whether it’s for expansion as exhibited above or changes in the program structure itself. Engaging with stakeholders helps us identify emerging trends in what way could the impact being generated be enhanced, be more precise to the evolving needs of the beneficiaries. 

Having on field teams and collaborating with NGOs and Govt. Official doesn’t only signify judicious use of funds, it also means that the need assessment process is a reflexive one. Companies diversify their projects and funding into unfamiliar sectors and terrain via strategic partnerships.  Project Nanhi Kali encourages girl-child education and building gender equality amongst communities in the remote tribal-rural areas.

It is jointly managed by the Naandi Foundation and the KC Mahindra Education Trust. Through this project, efforts are made to educate first generation learners from tribal villages to bring them into the fold of mainstream education. The project aims to provide an enabling environment for the child to realize her full potential through material, academic, educational and holistic social support. We have supported Nanhi Kali for the last fourteen years and in the last three years itself the project has aided 32,500 girls who are first generation learners in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

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Accessing remote locations, identifying the needs of local communities and trusted implementation partners are challenges which are overcome through a pipeline of feedback and personalized engagement. Additionally, intermediaries and ecosystem-building organizations that hold a repository of trusted information could be leveraged by companies to identify smaller grassroots partners. 

To conclude, addressing a vast breadth of social challenges requires a united effort, where governments, NGOs, businesses and individuals come together. Collaborative efforts allow for shared resources, expertise and ideas, ultimately amplifying the impact of each participant.

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