Catalyzing Change for Social Transformation

India’s G20 Theme of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ serves as a powerful reminder of the interconnectedness of all life on this planet and the need for collaborative efforts to address multi-faceted challenges like poverty, climate change, and gender inequality towards creating an equitable world. At the forthcoming G20 Leader’s Summit to be held in Delhi in September this year, a G20 Leaders’ Declaration will be adopted, which will be based on the priorities that emerge out of the deliberations held by various working groups and ministerial meetings. 

As a developing economy, India must strike a fine balance to ensure that its growth and development are environment-friendly and sustainable to safeguard the well-being of future generations. 

Indian industry plays a key role in India’s socio-economic development. Its invaluable support is powering several of the CII Foundation’s multi-stakeholder projects where the expertise of various stakeholders – government, industry, academia, and the communities we work with – is translating into significant positive socio-economic impact.

Our woman exemplars, grassroots women leaders from rural and resource-poor areas, continue to inspire as they carve new paths for themselves and their communities, overcoming poverty and social barriers. In May, we announced the winners of the CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Award 2023 at the CII Annual Session. Smt Smriti Irani, the Minister for Women and Child Development and Minority Affairs presented the Award to Pushpa Shukla from Raipur, Chhattisgarh; Archana Gokul Mane from Osmanabad, Maharashtra and Zohmangaihi from Aizawl, Mizoram in the categories of Education, Micro-enterprise and Health, respectively. Pushpa has brought about a change in the basic education system of her State, benefiting close to 7.5 lakh beneficiaries while Archana has trained over 1.14 L women farmers in sustainable farming practices and secured over 37 lakhs as interest-free loans for women entrepreneurs in her village. Zohmangaihi has transformed the lives of over 19000 HIV+ patients and helped them find a new sense of dignity. Each of these women has shown remarkable courage in the face of adversity, and their inspiring stories bear testimony to their grit and determination to drive social change.

In other areas of our work, we continue to combat climate change by promoting sustainable agriculture practices focusing on mitigating crop residue burning in our project villages in Punjab and Haryana, with intensive groundwork with farmer-outreach events and training sessions undertaken this quarter. Our waste management project in Delhi’s Okhla is transforming the area as more households adopt better waste management practices. Moreover, we have launched a new plastic waste initiative and established an integrated plastic waste recycling centre to efficiently manage non-biodegradable waste. 

Our work across thematic areas was showcased for the first time at the CII Annual Session 2023 through a special exhibition on CII’s Social Development and Inclusion Initiatives. The overwhelming response from people of diverse backgrounds reaffirmed our belief that collectively we have the power to build a more robust and sustainable world that thrives amidst challenges by empowering local communities, sharing knowledge, and embracing environment-friendly solutions. 

The CII Foundation remains committed to strengthening its interventions to catalyze change and contribute to a more equitable world.

This article was contributed by Seema Arora, CEO, CII Foundation and was first published in the July edition for CII Foundation Connect.

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