The development of communities is a core function of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in India. CSR programs bring forth much-required transformations in communities with respect to access to essential services, initiating behavioural change for social good, and creation of opportunities which catalyse the socio-economic progress of underserved groups.
As a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) interventions on community development, Godrej & Boyce, the flagship company of the Godrej Group has created 193 women-led enterprises including 157 Self Help Groups (SHG), which cumulatively generated 43 Lakh in revenues. Women-led SHGs formed by the company are conducting agriculture-related activities like floriculture, poultry farming, and paddy nurseries. Other women-led enterprises were provided with equipment for manufacturing various products such as agarbattis, beauty products, oils etc.
Speaking about the benefits of women entrepreneurship, Ashwini Deodeshmukh, Head, CSR and Sustainability Reporting, Godrej & Boyce, said, “Many studies have found that increasing women’s incomes have positive impacts on the well-being of their families as they tend to spend a larger part of their earning on health and education. Women entrepreneurs also help in changing gendered expectations of women’s roles in society, thereby incrementally paving ways for furthering participation of women in education and livelihood opportunities.”
Highlighting the importance of holistic rural development, she further added, “Often issues and their solutions are interdependent. The health of a woman or a child, for example, impacts their ability to learn or work. Therefore, it is essential to take a holistic perspective of community development. At Godrej & Boyce, we believe in addressing the underlying causes which might negatively impact the well-being of the individuals as well as the community. Ensuring access to basics such as education, water and improving healthcare provides communities with a strong foundation for further development. We further strengthen the rural communities through supporting solutions for income enhancement. These initiatives focus on harnessing the power of collectives for women enterprises, farming, and fishing activities.”
Empowering women in underserved communities is essential for the well-being and progress of individual households as well as the overall community. With additional income, women prioritise children’s education and healthcare of family members, thereby elevating the families’ standard of living and securing their future. Women are an integral part of communities, and their participation in social and economic spheres is crucial for socio-economic progress. Encouraging women to take up decision-making roles also has an impact on how the roles of women in society are perceived. In communities, this serves to transform mindsets on the education of the girl child.
Godrej & Boyce has always been committed towards progress of communities and environment. Through their processes and products, the organization aims to further its vision of Good & Green to build sustainable and inclusive growth for all.