Vodafone India, along with its CSR arm, Vodafone Foundation, believes in empowering women through technology. This is evident from the number of initiatives Vodafone India has taken through its partnered NGOs. In a conversation with Bureaucracy Today, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Sunil Sood, talks about a few CSR initiatives to empower women.
A commitment towards leveraging the inherent potential of technology for socio-economic development, especially of women, is one of the goals of Vodafone India. As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, the company has been trying to empower and emancipate women residing in the remotest parts of the country. “At Vodafone, we take women empowerment very seriously. It is a part of our culture and journey,” says Sunil Sood, Managing Director of the company.
Besides, trying to increase their number in the company workforce, the Vodafone believes in recognizing female talent from all walks of life and giving them a platform to flourish. One such activity undertaken in recent times by this telecom company was the launch of a coffee table book comprising stories of extraordinary women and their achievements. “We believe in identifying women leaders from among ordinary lives. So we have identified around 150 women in the last three years and have put them in a coffee table book Women of Pure Wonder,” he adds.
EDUCATING GIRL CHILD
In tandem with the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao mission of the Government, Vodafone India has adopted Bundi district of Rajasthan. Sood says, “We may not be working with the Government directly but we are aligned with the national themes.” In Bundi, Vodafone India, along with its NGO partner, has been sponsoring the education of the girl child and uptil now the company has taken the responsibility of educating 1, 20,000 girls of the district. “We chose only one district because we wanted to make an impact,” the MD says.
He further says, “As a committee, our company has chosen areas mostly related to women empowerment and education and everything we do is based on technology. We ¬¬¬¬¬¬use technology to empower women and last year we even won an award for an SMS-based inventory system service which we built along with our partners for the sales women of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a Gujarat-based NGO. While the software enabled them to track sales and reduce paperwork, their productivity improved significantly.”
“SEWA wanted to empower women so they approached us. At Stage II, we are trying to enable a software system which would help them transfer money via the mobile,” Sood tells Bureaucracy Today.
In order to enhance teaching and learning in low-income schools Vodafone India has been using technology as the prime teaching tool. Through its Pratham initiative, the company has introduced digital learning solutions in over 1, 000 schools across 12 States of India, reaching over 79, 000 students and 9,000 teachers. “Similarly, under the Pratham initiative we have launched a technology-based learning solution called Web in the box. The solution has been helping a lot of teachers to bring uniformity in their curriculum. At the same time it’s easy to use a formula which can help students,” Sood says.