Benefits of development have not been properly distributed and the arrangements to redistribute the benefits have not been adequately implemented in the country. Non-government organisations play their part to make the society sustain and expand, and the society is also supported by CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities of the Corporate world.
In this backdrop, culling out the best practices in NGO functioning and CSR activities was the objective of the two-day national seminar on ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility – role in Women Development' organised by the Department of Women's Studies, Bharathidasan University, recently. Representatives of NGOs, public sector, private sector, researchers, academicians, students, scholars and activists took part in the deliberations to arrive at policy conclusions. Guidelines advocating funds allotment on a priority basis under CSR for bringing about real contribution to development and social development were evolved, Professor and Department Director N. Manimekalai said.
Inaugurating the seminar, Kristin Irvarsson, Country Representative of Swallows, an NGO based in Sweden, emphasised that substantial investments for sustainable development will determine the sustainability of the nation and the industry sector. She was critical of the section of private corporates that functioned with profit motive and caused damage to human lives through environmental pollution and depleting natural resources.
Oswald Quintal, Convener, LEISA Network in his address focused on the plight of farmers due to recurring crop failure caused by desertification, increase in cost of seeds, impact of fertilizers, and dependence of farmers on money lenders. He saw a major role for rural women in popularising sustainable agriculture that would foster biodiversity and enhance value to agricultural products.
N. Krishnamoorthy of BHEL, Tiruchi, spoke on the CSR activities undertaken by the industry and G. Somasundaram, Head, Industrial linkages IL&FS Clusters, dwelt on the commitment of IL& FS to address the social issues like poverty alleviation, skill building, and employment generation.
Nighat Basu of Kashmir University, in her presidential address, emphasised on empowering women through education and entrepreneurship alongside retaining the values of life. A souvenir containing the Abstracts of the seminar and a monograph on “Issues and Challenges of Adolescent girls in the textile sector” were released on the occasion.
During the panel discussion, Dr. Manimekalai explained how CSR activities and NGO initiatives could be leveraged to address various issues including declining sex ratio; food security; women participation in decision making, agricultural value addition, and school sanitation. The participants took note of the lack of gender perspective in addressing these issues. There was unanimity that educational institutions, NGOs, private sectors and public sectors must work together to make holistic development possible. There were 150 participants from institutions, social sector and industry.