Development and Humanitarian Actors Must Come Together for Better Disaster Response: Rajeshwari, UNICEF Maharashtra
| Dr. Jyotsna Pandit, Thought Leader, Writer, Noida, UP - 29 Mar 2022

IICA - Sphere India Regional Consultation for Futuristic Collaboration for Collective Impact

Collaboration between NGOs, CSR, media & the Govt are essential for impact:  Dr. K. K. Upadhyay, BIMTECH

Each stakeholder needs to be called a "partner" and not a "donor”: Karon Shaiva, RISE Infinity Foundation

We are witnessing a corporate social revolution. However a standardized process is must: Dr. Ravi Raj Atrey, IICA

Every aspect must be examined in multiple lights while making a standardized process: Vishwarath Nair (Journalist)

By Jyotsna Pandit

Mumbai, March 30, 2022: "The linkage between development and humanitarian actors needs to be fostered and should be the focus of this partnership. Civil society, the media, scientists, journalists, and everyone who does work on humanitarian aspects need to be brought along on a common platform," said Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Maharashtra region. She was addressing a Regional consultation of various stakeholders and representatives from the government, corporate, civil society, academia, youth, and media on March 25, 2022 in Hotel Orchid at Mumbai.

The Regional consultation was organised by Sphere India (a National Coalition of Humanitarian, Development and Resilience Actors) in collaboration with IICA (Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India as part of the Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

The main aim of this Consultation was to develop a new partnership standards framework as envisioned by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi during the COVID-19 Response.

Several top experts and speakers participated in the plenary session, including Dr. K. K. Upadhyay (Professor and Chairperson, BIMTECH), Mr. Vishwarth Nair (Editor-Publisher, Raigad Observer), Ms. Rajeshwari Chandrasekar (Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Maharashtra), Karon Shaiva, Chief Impact Officer – IDOBRO & Managing Trustee – RISE Infinity Foundation, Ravi Raj Atry (Programme Manager, IICA).

Addressing the Session on “Impactful CSRs: Challenges and Suggestions for larger collaboration”, the experts talked about various types of collaborations, inter-corporate collaborations, intra-corporate collaborations, and the challenges and opportunities linked with them.

Dr. Ravi Raj Atrey, Programme Manager, IICA (Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs), moderated the session with Mr. Ashwini Saxena (Chief Executive Officer, JSW Foundation), Dr. Nidhi Kewalramin (Project Director, Techmahindra Foundation), Ayan Chatterjee, (Head, Sterlite EdIndia Foundation), Disha Shrivastava (Former Head- CSR and Communications, Sledgehammer Oil Tools Pvt. Ltd) shared their expert views on challenges and the way forward.

Dr. Atrey said, “We need to create a system or a mechanism to avoid duplication of efforts towards SDGs. There should be a balanced approach towards their achievements”,

Dr. Atrey further said, “IICA being a think tank under MoCA has planned a series of events with sphere India on partnership standards and possible futuristic collaborations between key stakeholders. Where each of us has reached, the effort Govt/NGO/INGO/ international org are putting in towards reaching the marginalised sector, how well have we performed and improved the situation in the past 70 years, is what we intend to focus on during this Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.”

"Complementarities of resources, be it finance, technical knowledge, other resources, etc., is integral and is the essence of collaboration," said Mr. Ashwini Saxena.

"There is a growing need for having shared accountability between all the partners. Corporate values need to be integrated with the values of any other partner (NGO/Government/INGO/Civil Society) and there needs to be a lot of communication and handholding to ensure equal accountability for all the partners in a collaborative, " - Dr. Nidhi Kewalramin opined.

Disha Shrivastava (Former Head-CSR and Communications, Sledgehammer Oil Tools Pvt. Ltd) said, "All CSRs have their own set of funding compliance. Practically, CSR pooling is difficult; however, fund collaboration is very much possible. "

Ayan Chatterjee, (Head, Sterlite EdIndia Foundation) said, "There is a sectoral need for a forum where people can come up and indicate their needs so that ‘collaborative’ can have first-hand information of the immediate requirements and hence channelize better the resources." 

Mr. Vikrant Mahajan (CEO, Sphere India) said, “We all are reporting on SDGs collectively. We can possibly bring together all of the actors progress on SDG which can be assessed annually to identify where we all are collectively. Responding to a point raised by Ashwini Sexena, Mr. Mahajan said,  “all the architecture is in place, we just need to quantify the systems, qualify the structure, and make available a good quality data that that can be validated.”

He further said, “Partnership Standards are about effective project management. There are basically three components of Partnership standards- Governance/Technical/ Management standards. What the partnership is bringing to the table, the trust factor being affected.”

Session on Role and Challenges Faced by NGOs and Suggestions for larger collaboration

The Panel on the Role of Non-Governmental Organizations deliberated on the trust deficit that the NGO sector is experiencing the need for collaborative mechanisms, and a system to crack and enable smoother actions in changing contexts in India.

Ms. Karon Shaiva (Managing Trustee-RISE Infinity Foundation) moderated the session with Mr. Bhupendra Mishra (Founder-The Resilient Foundation), Mr. Nitin Wadhwani (Founder-CACR) , Mr. Sandeep Ohri (Rotarian), Dr. Vaishali Venu (Doctors For You) as part of the expert panel.

Mr. Bhupendra Mishra (Founder-The Resilient Foundation) said, "There shall be a platform where our voices can be heard."

Mr. Nitin Wadhwani (Founder-CACR) said, "NGOs get funds for doing one particular task. There is sharing of funds and tracking of the deliverables, yet we lack focus on the behavior change, capacities built, and change reflected."

Mr. Sandeep Ohri (Rotarian), "We should come together and help in the development of such a collaborative approach."

 Dr. Vaishali Venue (Doctors For You) said- “Working in silos isn't going to help."

Ms. Karon Shaiva said, “Let's make change happen, together, not for the future but for now.” She also said that”The work of NGOs shouldn’t be unidirectional. Similarly, the work of every partner should touch on multiple aspects.”

Mr. Prasad Sevekari, REDR India said, "I want the government to be a good NGO."

Mr. Ravi Raj Atrey, Programme Manager- CSR, IICA said, “We need to create a system or a mechanism to avoid duplication of efforts towards SDGs, there shall be a balance approach towards their achievements. Reaching the beneficiaries is the larger purpose of such collaborations. We need to focus on how the value system can be strengthening of the entire stakeholder and how to create a common system of common value for all. It is often believed that corporate usually don’t focus on humanitarian values. They focus on management, implementation but not humanitarian values. However, human values are integral to the very functioning of every individual.”

Session on the Role and Challenges Faced by Media and Suggestions for larger collaboration

The Panel on the Role of the Media deliberated on the status of the communication systems and the need for collaboration among media and media with other stakeholders for a larger collective impact in the interest of affected and at-risk populations.

Mr. Onkareshwar Pandey, Senior Journalist and founder of the Commonwealth Thought Leaders Forum moderated the discussion, which included a panel of experts like Vishwarath R. Nair (Senior Journalist), Mr. Anil Tiwari (Resident Editor, Saamna, Mumbai), Prasad Kathe, Editor, Jai Maharashtra, Mr. Abhay Dharmraj Mishra (Bureau Chief, Rashtriya Sahara, Mumbai), Mr. Rajiv Ranjan (Editor, APN TV, Maha-Gujarat-Goa), Mr. Om Prakash Tiwari (Bureau Chief, Dainik Jagran, Mumbai),  Mr. Abhimanyu Shitole (Political Editor, Navbharat Times, Mumbai), Ms Poornima Suryavanshi, Google Trainer on Debunking Fake News, Mr. Shatrughan Prasad (National President, Rashtriya Patrakar Morcha, Mumbai),  Mr. Kishore Shahi (Assistant Editor, Saamna, Mumbai), and Mr. Nagmani Pandey.

While stressing the need of Training for Disaster Coverages for Media, Mr. Onkareshwar Pandey said that - "Criticism is very important for achieving positive advancements. The media often exposes negativities to bring about possible positives in the Society, Government and the overall Environment."

He said that, “The BMC is in process of mapping disasters in Maharashtra, 35 disasters at present have been mapped with the objective of formulate policy on each of these disasters. But Communication with media is very important and a Collaborative approach is important for easy share of information and resources between partners in a collaborative.” He also deliberated on the role of the media during and post disasters and suggested humanitarian agencies and other stake holders to foster closer relation and collaboration with local media for better disaster preparedness and response.

Mr. Anil Tiwari (Resident Editor, Saamna, Mumbai), "I believe it is very important to control ideological disasters more than physical disasters."

Mr. Abhay Dharmraj Mishra (Bureau Chief, Sahara TV, Mumbai) stated that the media will primarily focus on "Aapda and Vipda." Both shall be focused collectively."

Mr. Rajiv Ranjan (Editor, APN TV, Maha-Gujarat-Goa) said, "Disaster teams often lack the means to share information with the media." And the information doesn’t reach the population in real-time. A mechanism should be developed in which information is shared with the media. This will require the collaborative efforts of all the disaster response actors involved.”

Mr. Om Prakash Tiwari (Bureau Chief, Dainik Jagran, Mumbai), said, "There are practical challenges while reporting disasters. We, as media people, need to create our own strategies for reporting disasters, considering the immediate challenges involved".

Mr. Abhimanyu Shitole (Political Editor, Navbharat Times, Mumbai) said, "Disaster is always faced by society as a whole, and the situations that arise, we cannot blame any stakeholder."

Mr. Vishwarath R. Nair (Senior Journalist) said that there have been no disasters in New Bombay except floods. New Mumbai can work as a model for others since it has a mechanism in place. A booklet is in place with all the emergency contacts of all stakeholders for a response. Yet the dissemination of the booklet is lacking.

Ms. Poornima Suryavanshi said, "Social media is a make or break situation for disasters nowadays." News spreads like a wildfire, but miscommunication is the added disadvantage".

Mr. Prasad Kathe, Editor, Jai Maharashtra said, "If the media needs to report better on any disaster, information needs to be clear, prompt, impartial and there should be a scope of suggestions."

Towards the end, expressing his gratitude to delegate speakers, Mr. Vikrant Mahajan, CEO, Sphere India shared that the session has far exceeded the expectations to see the consensus and thought framework evolving for next steps for media coordination guidelines. As suggested, let's expand the group and involve a larger media collective, maybe the Press Council of India for next deliberation. He also offered full support from Sphere India for the process ahead.

Mr. Mahajan said that “Every stake holder has a role to play in the humanitarian sector. Media can help learn ngos how to produce news worthy information. We need to go beyond just post disaster recovery coverage, we need to acknowledge the Sendai framework and equip us similarly media has a major role to play.

Mr. Mahajan said that the media can help us learn how to produce newsworthy information. We need to go beyond just post-disaster recovery coverage, we need to acknowledge the Sendai framework and equip ourselves similarly. The media has a major role to play and we are ready to support them as much as possible, if they wish to prepare a Guidebook for Disaster Reporting.

Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) which works under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs set up as the premier organization that aims at providing astute and credible intellectual leadership in corporate regulation, governance, and running sustainable businesses. It is a think tank that curates a repository of data and knowledge for policymakers, regulators as well as other stakeholders working in the domain of corporate affairs. The IICA is involved in capacity building, research, advocacy, and functions through various schools and centers. The School of Business Environment working in the domain of CSR and ESG is supporting this National Consultation as a Partner.

Sphere India is a National Coalition of Humanitarian, Development, and Resilience Actors in India. The strategic outreach of 155 full members includes key nodal organizations from UN, INGOs, National NGOs, CSR, Academic Institutions, Sector Networks, Expert Individuals, and State IAGs/Networks. The local outreach is evolving with 805 associate members as Sphere India Locally Empowered Organizations Network (LEON) and 1,80,000 community volunteers (CDRF -Community Disaster Response Force) mapped for varied capacities all over India. Sphere India facilitates multi-stakeholder coordination, knowledge & capacity sharing, and collaborative advocacy for enhancing accountability to the affected and at-risk populations.


IICA - Sphere India National Consultations - Futuristic Collaboration for Collective Impact 

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