In the world of today, it is clear that private corporations wield increasingly greater amounts of economic and socio-political power and influence. Our belief is that since corporations have power, they also have a responsibility to do Good. We further believe that this responsibility must manifest not just through charitable donations or sporadic volunteering, but in thoughtful and deliberate set of initiatives, which reflect the same level of enterprise, corporate and fiduciary rigor and strategic thinking that such organizations brings to their business activities.
Addressing socio-economic and environmental concerns is an extremely challenging task and it is imperative for all three critical stakeholders – the government, civil society and the corporate sector – to work together in unison to face this challenge. Corporates bring in an approach that complements that of the government, civil society and academia; and, we believe, can make lasting impact to create a just, equitable, sustainable & humane society. This is reason enough for us to act.
Over the last 16 years, we have set up the momentum for a corporation wide sustainability program at Wipro that involves employees, customers, suppliers, investors, the government, communities and the education system. As part of this charter, we have defined some very aspirational goals on dimensions like GHG emission reduction, Water, Waste, Biodiversity, People Diversity, Supply Chain, Education and Community Engagement. Please refer the slides below for an overview of Wipro’s Sustainability Initiatives.
Wipro Applying Thought in Schools (WATIS) is one of Wipro’s social initiatives, working to build capacities in school education reform in India. Our intention is to contribute towards systemic improvement of the Indian school education; and our key strategy in this endeavor has been organizational capability building of civil society organizations across the country, in order to have a multiplier effect. Over the past 15 years, we have associated with scores of organizations and our work with them has primarily been through 67 educational projects, involving over 2300 schools and 13,250 educators across 17 states reaching out to about 1 million students. However the indirect impact of the scaled-up work of these organizations is manifold these numbers – which is the overall objective of this program.
A specific initiative started in 2014, to contribute to education of children with disability, supports the educational and rehabilitative needs of 1350 underprivileged children with disability, through five projects in the cities of Bangalore, Pune, Jaipur and Hyderabad.
We also run a program called earthian since 2011, which brings together two of our key concerns: school education and sustainability. It comprises of an annual awards event and a Continuous Engagement Program for winning institutions and over its four editions has seen the participation of over 3000 schools and colleges, 15,000 students and 3,500 educators nationwide.
Wipro believes that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have a significant role to play in bringing about systemic change in school education, and for a country of India’s size and diversity there needs to be a large number of capable organizations engaged in this task. Over the past years, we have thus engaged with about 60 organizations of diverse kinds working in different parts of the country, many of which have made significant contributions to school education over the last decade. We further believe that it is through years of focused and sustained work that organizations achieve the deep understanding, expertise, maturity and credibility required to influence and create systemic impact; and also recognize the continuing dearth of such organizations in various parts of the country.
Wipro’s Seeding Programme for Educational CSOs thus plans to support the creation and development of a significant number of new educational organizations that can contribute meaningfully and in a sustained manner to Indian school education; by selecting and supporting committed and capable individuals and teams who share our vision of good quality education being available to every Indian child.
The Programme’s objective is to select capable & committed individuals and teams and facilitate their long-term and effective engagement with issues and challenges of Indian school education, by helping them set up stable organizations; and to do this at some scale i.e. seed about 10 organizations/year
The programme leverages partnerships with academic institutions, fellowship programmes and their alumni-network to reach out to capable and committed potential Fellows. Each year, we plan to support up to 20-25 Fellows and through them seed about 10 educational CSOs, based on the programme’s selection criteria
The first cohort of Fellows is selected between January and June every year with approximate timelines as follows. Please note that the dates and even the stages are subject to change.
The programme may have maximum of two selection cycles in one year. The call for application for second cohort, however, would be contingent on the number of orgs / fellows selected in cohort 1; and will be announced in August every year, on the Seeding Programmme website.
This section is adapted from Dasra’s report titled Making the Grade. You can read the full report by clicking on the link.
Number of Fellowship per Organization
A maximum of 3 Founders per organization will be supported through the Seeding Fellowship, at one time. In cases where multiple fellowships are being requested for the same organization/initiative, the start-date of all the fellowships cannot be staggered over more than a year. This is to encourage Fellows to form strong teams as soon as possible and also ensure that the founders have at least 2 years of overlap within the Seeding Programme.
Quantum, Mode and Duration of Financial Support
The financial support would be provided for up to 3 years from the date on which the MoU is signed and would amount to approx. Rs 3.6 lakhs/year. It would be paid in the form of quarterly stipends.
Conditions for Continued Support
The continued provision of the stipend would be subject to adherence to the clauses of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Fellow and Wipro and satisfactory progress on the plans submitted during the selection stage (including an organizational development plan); as determined by periodic reviews and discussions; and a detailed annual review.
Depending on the outcome of these reviews, we may further extended Organizational support to the seeded-orgs, after the 3-years term for Seeding Fellowship is over, on case to case basis.
Please note that the different kinds of support listed here are illustrative in nature and may evolve over time.
Early stage initiatives are often run informally and in an unstructured manner – the Founders’ participation in the selection process would provide an opportunity for, and entail deliberating over and working out, some fundamentals such as the vision and mission of the org; its approach, the organization’s growth/development plan; as well as for receiving advice from experts and peers on these core issues
Fellows may also be connected to founders or senior staff of established CSOs for mentoring on periodic basis
Need-based trainings on specific topics of legal, finance, auditing, HR, communication or other domains may be facilitated for the Seeded orgs
All founders may come together for an annual review meet attended by educational/CSO experts and other peers. Views and suggestion from others may help the founding team plan better for the future.
We may be able to offer domain-specific help / expertise to some early-stage orgs through skill-based volunteering programmes
Fund-raising opportunities in the school-education domain may be suggested to the seeded orgs, on case by case basis
Number of educational NGOs specialize in specific educational domains such as science education, multilingual pedagogy, social science education etc. We will attempt to facilitate connections between the Seeded orgs and these Resource orgs for mutual learning and knowledge sharing.
We will facilitate creation of subject-based interest-groups that meet virtually or face-to-face at periodic intervals to share their academic learning, insights and challenges with each other; and also with invited external experts.
Individual experts from established CSOs and academics from institutes of higher learning, who are interested in providing guidance to early stage CSO teams on educational topics will be invited to be part of the network.
Information on short-term courses will be shared with the seeded orgs to help them build their team’s capacity on specific educational issues.
We will attempt to facilitate exposure visits to established CSOs working in school education – especially after the Fellows have worked to set up their organization for some months/years; and have faced specific challenges that they need help with
Discussions and periodic meetings/visits to peer organizations may similarly be useful educationally and organizationally; as well as for emotional sustenance
Collaborations among the network would be actively and methodically encouraged, as described in the next tab
In line with the programme’s objective of helping strengthen the eco-system of educational CSOs through enduring partnerships, the support structure and processes is decentralized, with Wipro playing a facilitator’s role. Fellows are encouraged to define the needs and take ownership for the growth and development of their own org as well as the peer-network. This may be done, for instance, through smaller bodies of Founders taking specific responsibilities that would benefit the whole network or multiple-orgs.
The Programme views the creation of an effective support structure for early stage CSOs as a collaborative effort and welcomes suggestions and feedback from the Fellows and partner organizations on what they would find most useful and how it may be provided. You can reach us through the Contact Us page.