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FIINOVATION OBSERVES – HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

“It’s time for each of us to step up for human rights. There is no action that is too small: wherever you are, you can make a difference. Together, let’s take a stand for more humanity” — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

Every year, the United Nations observes 10th December as the Human Rights Day worldwide. In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly invited all the member states and interested organisations and passed a resolution to observe the day for preserving and protecting human rights. On this day, the international conferences, exhibitions and events dealing with the issues related to human rights are conducted throughout the world. Additionally, on this day the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded to people working voluntarily to ensure everyone enjoys equal freedom and rights.

The basic human rights has always been a controversial debate throughout the world as rich and powerful continue to misuse their powers to dominate the weak and marginalized leading to severe human rights violations. Even after so much development, millions throughout the world are devoid of their basic human rights. Extremist movements and messages comprising intolerance and hatred often lead to extreme violence. Hence, this day has gained a lot of attention for protecting and preserving the rights of everyone. This year too United Nations has appealed everyone to volunteer for protecting someone’s rights as humanity is often under attack by anti-social elements.

Since Fiinovation has been actively working in the social development sector from past many years, it has closely observed the pain and plight of weak and marginalized who are forced to lead a miserable life due to continuous social injustice and discriminations. Hence, we firmly believe that it is our duty to reaffirm humanity throughout the world. We should take up stands to defend the rights of people suffering from injustice and discrimination like women, children, indigenous people, minorities, specially-abled people, migrants, the LGBT community and anyone else at the risk of discrimination or violence.

Fiinovation also feels that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) voices a strong message for the world that no matter where we live, what we believe, or how we love, we are each individually deserving of the most basic fundamentals of human needs such as food, shelter, water, education, quality life, etc.

“Upholding human rights is in the interest of all. Respect for human rights advances well-being for every individual, stability for every society, and harmony for our interconnected world” – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Manisha Bhatia

Media & Communications

Fiinovation

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Fiinovation Observes – International Volunteer Day

Across the globe, several initiatives are being implemented to solve prevalent issues of the society. The International Volunteer Day or International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development provides an opportunity for volunteers (both individuals as well as institutions) to contribute at local, national and international levels towards achievement of the socio-economic and environmental goals.

The day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through a resolution on 17th December, 1985. Every year on 5th December, the day provides opportunities to volunteers for causes such as eradication of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, degradation of the environment, discrimination against women, etc. Over the years, the International Volunteers Day has been utilised strategically by governments and corporations to encourage volunteerism aligning them with the Millennium Development Goals.

Fiinovation, with its vast experience in social development initiatives, has been encouraging corporations to urge their employees to volunteer for social causes. Although, cost involved in volunteerism doesn’t fall under the CSR rules in India, yet it is definitely a positive process to engage with the local communities. It is observed that volunteers around the world work tirelessly to craft a better future for everyone, especially during crisis situations. On this day, Fiinovation acknowledges the efforts of more than 6700 UN volunteers, 12,000 UN online volunteers and 1 billion community volunteers for their selfless contribution in the upliftment of society.

Understanding the prevalent crisis situations such as in the middle-east, Africa and other parts of the world, volunteers have risen up and provided shelter and requisite support to millions of refugees who have been forced to flee from their homes. The floods in Haiti and malaria outbreak in Sri Lanka are examples in the recent months where volunteering has helped in saving thousands of lives. “Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries. By giving their time and skills without expecting any material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose,” was the message from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. In his message he pressed on the need to lend a hand and applauded volunteers for their commitment towards building a peaceful, prosperous and a dignified future for all.

Fiinovation believes that the role of volunteers will be crucial in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Therefore, let us all increase the awareness of voluntary contributions, thereby motivating more people from different walks of life to offer their services as volunteers.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

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Fiinovation Observes – The Day for the Specially-Abled

Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.” – Simone Weil

The specially-abled people form the world’s largest minority group with more than 1 billion people or approximately 15 per cent of the 7.4 billion world population having some form of disability. Out of them more than 100 million are children who are likely to experience four times more violence than non-disabled children. Nearly, 80 per cent of the specially-abled live in the developing nations. India, which will soon become the world’s most populous country, is home to more than 27 million specially-abled people.

Fiinovation, being a leading organisation in the social development sector understands that disability is a condition or function which usually leads to poorer health, lower education achievements and fewer economic opportunities. They face lot of difficulties due to lack of services, opportunities and discrimination. In wake of this, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared the year 1981, as the International Year of Disabled Persons. Further, the UNGA proclaimed 1983-1992 as the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons calling for an action plan at international, national and regional levels.

The observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities started in the year 1992, promoting an understanding of disability issues and mobilizing support for the dignity, rights and welfare of the differently-able people. Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are fundamental rights recognized by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which has been ratified by 153 countries and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights.

This year, the theme is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. The aim is to build a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. With its experience in the social development sector, Fiinovation strongly feels that achieving the 17 goals requires full inclusion and effective participation of persons with disabilities.

The abilities of persons with disabilities cannot be undermined as in the case of Rio Para-Olympics, where the Indian team performed outstandingly, bringing medals and honour for the country. This day provides an opportunity for everyone to salute them and other specially-abled people who despite all the difficulties continue to inspire world with their contributions. Therefore, Fiinovation urges all governments, businesses and other stakeholders to intensify efforts for ending discriminations that prevent persons with disabilities from exercising their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Let’s together build a better world.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

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FIINOVATION OBSERVES – WORLD AIDS DAY

Every year, 1st December is observed as the WORLD AIDS DAY to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused due to HIV infection. The day also pays tribute to those who have succumbed to death due to the disease. It is one of the eight global public health campaigns recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) including World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Malaria Day etc.

The idea to reserve the day was first initiated in August 1987 by the two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at WHO (World Health Organization), James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter. The idea was further approved by the Director of Global Programme, Dr. Mann in December 1988.

The figure estimates that till 2015, AIDS has taken 36 million lives and almost equal are suffering from the HIV infection. Since the start of the epidemic, 78 million people have become infected with HIV. More than 18 million people suffering from the disease are receiving life-saving HIV treatment to eliminated HIV and stop the mother to child infection. Although, medical progression has made the HIV treatment possible but still every year thousands of people are diagonised with HIV infection. The antiretroviral treatment which is now available to cure the disease is yet to be accessible around the world. The poor and marginalised section of the society is often unable to access the treatment and claims estimated 2 million lives each year, comprising 270,000 children.

Worldwide, India has the third largest number of HIV cases and estimated 2.1 million people are known to be infected by the virus. The Lance Study reveals that in 2015, 196,000 new cases of HIV have been registered and around 130,000 people have died due to the complications related to AIDS.

Every year the World AIDS Day is observed around a specific theme. The theme for year 2016 is centered around Hands up for #HIVprevention, focused on raising awareness about the preventive measures of HIV infection.

Under the Sustainable Development goals, it is targeted to eliminate AIDS epidemic by 2030. However, the coinfections from diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), cervical cancer and hepatitis C is creating hindrance in achieving this target.

Fiinovation feels, that better access to treatment, preventive measures, elimination of stigma and taboo attached with the disease, and spreading awareness about the disease will help in fighting the disease and achieve the sustainable development goals. Together, we should stand united to fight against the disease.

HIV doesn’t make people dangerous to know. You can shake hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it – Princess Diana

By Manisha Bhatia, Media & Communications, Fiinovation

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Fiinovation Observes – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Despite increased participation of women in world politics, it still remains a male dominated world. The consequences of the same is widespread violence and atrocities that women and girls face across the globe, especially in the underdeveloped countries. Ironically, India got their first women Prime Minister in the year 1966, while United States is yet have a woman President. But, having women leaders doesn’t mean that society has become safe and secure for women.

Globally, 35 per cent of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, 2015 saw the registration of 3,27,394 cases under the head of Crimes against Women in India. Overall, the national capital has the highest rate of crimes against women. With 17,104 cases, Delhi recorded a crime rate of 184.3 per 1 lakh female population. The north eastern state, Assam is second with 23,258 cases and a rate of 148.2 suggesting widespread violence across the length and breadth of the country.

Working in the social development sector, especially on the projects related to women empowerment, Fiinovation strongly believes that violence against women is a human rights violation. Women comprises of 49 per cent of the Indian population, despite that they are subject to violence (both domestic and external), discrimination and injustices. Ironically, one of the largest democracies of the world doesn’t have any law for marital rapes. It is understandable that being a patriarchal society, violence against women and girls is a consequence of discrimination. This discrimination can be observed in law and also in practice highlighting the persistent inequalities plaguing the Indian society.

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Fiinovation analyses that challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women is mostly related to funding shortfall. As violence against women impact progress in many areas such as poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, peace and security, etc. therefore, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, inviting all stakeholders to engage in activities that create public awareness. Today, there is a global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and significant challenge to the sustainable development goals. Yet, such violence is being witnessed every day around the world.

The ongoing theme “Orange The World” calls for global action to eliminate violence, increase resources and promote solutions. Fiinovation believes that on this day, the world will be lit in orange, symbolizing a bright future for women and girls.

Let us dedicate our lives to keep the orange lights shining, upholding the human rights while eliminating all instances of violence against women and girls.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

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Kaladera – A Case Study by Fiinovation

There are several cases of improper institutional practices in India that have led to socio-economic and environmental problems for the citizens. The Kaladera case is one such instance when a corporate giant Coca-Cola exacerbated the miseries of people in the already water scarce region. Kaladera is a small village located 40 kilometers away from the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. The lives of people, especially the weak and marginalised in the village is currently at stake because of the Coca-Cola plant.

Fiinovation, a global CSR firm that also focuses on sustainability initiatives, highlights that the Coca-Cola plant that supposedly drained the region of its water reserves was finally shut down. The region which is known for its mud resistant block prints and natural dying handicrafts, have struggled for more than a decade. The exploitation by the soft drink giant ended after the people’s movement ensured that interest of the marginalised is not undermined. The people’s movement was a reminder of the role of the state and businesses to safeguard the interest and rights of the citizens. In fact, the impact of the movement was such that Coca-Cola also had to shut down their plants in Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya.

Fiinovation reviews that the entire process posted some serious questions on policy planners, institutional bodies granting licenses and the role of pollution control boards. Ironically, the plant was set up in 2000 and was permitted to extract water in one of the most water scarce region of the country, Rajasthan. The ruling state government in that year had adopted an anti-people policy by providing tax incentives to a soft drink producing unit in a block which has already been declared overexploited in 1998 by the Central Ground Water Board.

Ground report from Kaladera suggests that it is located in the semi-arid zone and has frequent droughts and low average annual rainfall. Fiinovation finds that the village doesn’t have canals, water bank and has a dried river Bagho, making it difficult for the inhabitants to survive. At present, nobody is willing to take the blame for the man-made crisis leaving the people in despair. The problems of the local communities can only be solved by the nature’s capacity to rejuvenate the area.

Fiinovation reviews that there is no institutional mechanism to replenish the loss and water management in the region is a daunting task. One of the main reasons for this crisis is the lack of clear property rights which is creating adverse environmental impacts of resources due to wasteful and unsustainable consumption. It can also be said that there is a policy failure resulting in trade-off between industrial demand and agricultural demand for water.

Fiinovation comprehends that the scant availability of water for irrigating the agricultural fields dipped the yield per hectare. The worst affected were the marginal farmers and the agricultural labourers. The plant even didn’t solve the employment issues in the region as opportunities were mostly contractual with meager salaries. Additionally, it increased burden on the women and girls who have to walk miles to fetch water for household purposes.

Therefore, to overcome the current crisis looming over the region, both businesses and the authorities will have to collaborate and work efficiently to increase the water availability. Fiinovation believes that CSR funds need to be channelised towards rainwater harvesting and watershed development projects. Development of canals, water pipelines, lakes, etc. are necessary to overcome the water crisis. Apart from this, climate smart agriculture, drip irrigation and low water consuming crops can be the additional ways to strengthen the livelihood of the farmers.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation reviews: Amplifying CSR through Social Media

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Gone are the days, when companies use to contribute towards social causes without analysing the social return of investments. The Delhi-based CSR Consultancy, Fiinovation is of opinion that in today’s date, companies are not only doing good but they are also utilizing every possible medium to promote and spread awareness about their social campaigns and sustainability practices. Social media, being the favorite and most effective medium. Hence, it will be foolish of any corporate to ignore the power of social media rather they should use it as a tool to increase the footprint of their corporate social responsibility initiatives across the globe.

Using social media for promoting the good cause can lead to a plethora of business benefits ranging from increased stakeholders engagement, enhanced goodwill, brand visibility and competitive advantage. A joint study by the Pew Research Center and John S. And James L. Knight Foundation reveals that 63% of the space at Facebook and Twitter serves as a source for sharing news about events and global issues. Hence, it is also important to communicate the brand messages to intended audience through the channels preferred by the audiences.

As per cio.com, the 1.8 billion monthly active users of Facebook, sends out an average of 31.25 million messages every minute everyday. These numbers prove that social media platforms provide an influential network of passionate customers supporting brand’s initiatives and endeavors. Companies like P&G have leveraged the benefit of this spectacular stakeholder presence through their campaign, “Future Friendly Challenge” on Facebook. The program was launched to help customers save water, conserve energy, and reduce waste through several activities like donating clean drinking water to children for a day, pledging to save energy and reduce wastage and save energy for 90 days. P&G designed the strategy in a way that customers can send page invitations, educate their friends and motivate them to participate in the challenge. The brand also invited the followers to share their experience and tips on how to fulfill the objectives of this challenge.

Through this simple initiative, P&G received tremendous Return on Engagement within a few months. The statistics show that around 20,000 followers participated in the challenge and saved water and energy as well as reducing wastage for 3 months. The clean drinking was donated by each of them, amounting to 20,000 days of clean water donation. Around 7000 posts were made and shared by the supporters comprising their tips and experiences leading to total active engagement of around 48,000. The above example of P&G, integrating CSR with social media strategy has not only amplified the good actions of the company but have also helped in generating large number of supporters across the social media platform. Additionally, this will create a lasting impact on the minds of customers, strengthen trust and loyalty in the brand providing them edge over their competitors. Fiinovation appreciates P&G for utilizing the social media platforms for spreading awareness about their CSR campaign as well as passively educating customers about the importance of safe drinking water and energy conservation.

Looking at the stupendous growth of social media platforms in near future, brands are not going to leave any stone unturned in communicating and promoting their CSR initiatives on the social networks. They find it the best and easiest mediums to engage their stakeholders and enhance their brand value.

Nike’s Digital Advocacy Director Laura Adams says social media has become instrumental in Nike’s evolution as a brand and as a socially responsible and more sustainable enterprise. “At the end of the day, it’s the people out doing work that are going to get us to achieve our goals,” said Adams.

Manisha Bhatia

Media & Communications

Fiinovation