About ACF

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Humans of Ambuja - Veerpal Kaur

"My mother married me off just before I was to appear for my tenth grade exams.  And marriage was more of a shock than a joyful experience for me!
Soon after my marriage I realised that my husband was not earning – not that he didn’t have any options, but he was too lazy to work. There was a time when I got up in the morning worrying about how I will feed my children.

I still remember how apprehensive I was during the first meeting with ACF for Self Help Group formation. ‘What if I couldn’t contribute to the monthly savings?’ Had it not been for the support of ACF, I would have never been able to take that leap of faith.
I am so glad it all happened - I never knew that regular savings, however small, could work miracles.
I took charge of my situation and with SHG support I started my own grocery shop. Within 6 years I even built a new house!  And even better, I appeared for my tenth grade exams and cleared it successfully. Now what?  I am saving money for my daughters – not for their marriage but for their studies."

Veerpal Kaur, Bathinda (Punjab)

ACF Fosters Collaboration with ‘Skill India, Kolkata’

To strengthen and foster collaborations for skill development, ACF organised the event ‘Skill India – Enhancing Capabilities, Empowering Lives’ on 15th September in Kolkata. This was a closed group meeting that aimed to provide a platform for various organisations to share their experiences in skilling, explore synergies and discuss opportunities and challenges.
The event witnessed participation from well-known experts in the domain. Speakers included – Dr. Dinesh Awasthi (former Director EDI, Ahmedabad), Col I S Gahlaut (CEO, Capital Goods Sector skill councils), Mr. Sarda Nath (Asst. General Manager, NABARD) and Dr. Ratikanta Ghosh (Professor BCKV, West Bengal).
Amongst the panelists were Mr Alok Goswami, (Sr. Coordinator, Sanlaap NGO), Mr Mamoon Akhtar (Founder of Samarthan Health Mission), Ms Rekha Pillai, Head CSR, Castrol India Ltd.), Mr Ashish Ambasta (Founder School of Entrepreneurial Exploration), Ms Pearl Tiwari (Head-ACF) and Mr. Ravi Nayse (GM, Skill Training, ACF).
ACF’s Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (SEDI) have been gaining recognition with each passing day with 32,000 trained youth and an impressive 74% placement rate.  Needless to say, ACF’s partners have played a huge role in this success story.
An interesting session of this event was the poster exhibition where different organizations, using a poster standee, shared their experiences of partnerships in the skilling sector. Eight organizations, including ACF, participated in this session.

Ambuja Felicitated with a 2 Good Rating

Ambuja Cements Limited was felicitated on 19th July 2017 for receiving a 2 Good rating based on the CSR benchmarking tool developed by Times Group and KPMG.   
Ambuja Cement is one of 7 Companies rated as 2 Good with brands such as ACC, BALCO, Tech Mahindra, Tata Motors, GAIL and Maruti Suzuki receiving the rating also.
Ms. Pearl Tiwari, CEO of Ambuja Cement Foundation received the certificate on behalf of the Company, during the felicitation ceremony organised by Times Group and KPMG India in New Delhi. 
2 Good 4 Good is the listing scheme for corporates based on their CSR performance and the selection process involves three phases:
1.     Application by the organisation
2.     Assessment
3.     Jury decision
The assessment was based on the following key elements:
-        CSR governance policies and programs
-        Functioning of CSR committee under the Board
-        Disclosures related to CSR
-        Stakeholder Management
-        Program Strategy
-        Monitoring and Evaluation

Mega Plantation Drive in Chandrapur

On 7th July 2017, seven hundred and fifty eight people came together in Chandrapur  for  Ambuja Cement's 'Mega Plantation Drive' - an initiative in line with the Maharashtra State Government’s plan to plant 4 crore saplings during the year.
A great employee volunteering opportunity, team members from Ambuja Cements Limited and Ambuja Cement Foundation, along with the staff and students from Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Institute and Ambuja Vidya Niketan Trust, came together to plant trees.
This year, Ambuja Cement is aiming to plant 10,000 saplings in Chandrapur location.

ACF Wins CII National Water Award

Ambuja Cement Ltd was conferred with the prestigious ‘CII National Water Award for Excellence in Water Management’ on 5th September 2017.
The Company was recognized for its water management initiatives in the rural communities of Kodinar, Gujarat, with the award being announced during the 3rd Water Innovation Summit held in New Delhi.
Mr. Dalsukh Vaghasiya, ACF’s Area Program Manager for Gujarat region, received the award on behalf of the company. The award was presented by Shri U P Singh, Additional Secretary & Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

Other dignitaries present during the event were - Mr. Dhruv M Sawhney, Former President CII & Chairman CII-Triveni water Institute, Mr. Ramesh Datla, Chairman CII  National Committee on Water and award july members - Mr. N K Ranganath (member Advisory board CII-Triveni water Institute), Dr. Sushil Gupta (Formal Chairman- Central Ground Water Board), Dr. B Sangupta (Formal member secretary - CPCB) and Prof. A. K Keshari (Dept of Civil Engineering, IIT Delhi).

ACF has been working in Kodinar on Water Resource Management and Salinity Ingress Mitigation for 25 years. This work has shown commendable results, contributing to Ambujanagar Plant being certified 12 times Water Positive by DNV-GL in 2016.

Also the Social Return on Investment (SROI) study conducted by Sustainable Square India Pvt Limited in 2016, showed that ACF’s work on Water Resource Management in Kodinar has created a social return of INR 13.02 Million, for every 1 Million INR invested.

First Vocational Centre for Differently-abled!

Ambuja Cement Foundation recently joined hands with Cipla Foundation to launch its first vocational training centre for the differently-abled at Ambuja Manovikas Kendra in Ropar, Punjab. 
The inaugural ceremony was held on 14th July 2017, where Ms. Pearl Tiwari (CEO Ambuja Cement Foundation) Ms. Rumana Hamied (CEO Cipla Foundation), eminent social worker Dr. R.S Parmar and other dignitaries were present to grace the occasion.
The centre will train and rehabilitate 50 differently-abled youth in next three years - offering training in artificial jewellery making, pottery and baking. 
AMK is the only facility for special children in the entire district of Ropar filling the gaps in essential services towards them. 
At present the school caters to nearly 87 children, all broadly fitting into the category of mentally challenged, and provides them with a conducive environment tailored to meet individual developmental needs.  

Thursday, July 06, 2017

NIOS Exams Success!

AMK students have consistently managed to defy social taboos and stereotypes associated with intellectual disability. And they've done it again! 
Six students from Ambuja Manovikas Kendra sat and passed their standard 10  exams under the National School of Open Schooling (NIOS).
It is a proud moment for the entire team of Ambuja Manovikas Kendra and Ambuja Cement Foundation, as all students scored 60% or above in the exam - and that too in their very first attempt.  This was also the first time that AMK decided to prepare students for NIOS.
AMK students have proved their mettle in defying the odds on several occasions, including winning medals at the prestigious World Special Olympics.
Kudos to the AMK staff for their rigorous, relentless efforts to make students exam-ready.

ACF Gears Up for Silver Jubilee

Ambuja Cement Foundation entered its 25th year in June, and to commemorate this milestone, a series of events have been planned for the year.

 The celebrations kick-started with a Town Hall which was held for the employees, across locations. The event was addressed by the MD of Ambuja Cement Limited, Mr. Ajay Kapur, Company Director, Mr. B L Taparia and ACF CEO, Ms. Pearl Tiwari, 
The event began with a personal message sent by the Founder and Chairman Mr. Narotam Sekhasaria. In his speech, Mr. Sekhsaria praised the values of Ambuja and efforts of ACF team in empowering rural communities and grooming them to become leaders of change.

Mr. Ajay Kapur congratulated the entire ACF team for dedication and sincerity. He also applauded ACF in adding significant value to Ambuja's goodwill, especially in sustainability of its operations. He said, "It is indeed apt to call ACF as the heart of Ambuja Cements Limited."

Mr. B L Taparia, who has played a key role in streamlining ACF’s compliance management system gave credit to ACF's zeal and hunger for constant improvisation that has played a big role in organisation's success. He said, "ACF's exponential growth is the result of their constant efforts to push set boundaries."

Ms. Pearl Tiwari, ACF Director, thanked all stakeholders who had been part of the journey. She said, “ACF started with a genuine thought to embrace the neighbouring community in Ambuja’s journey to prosperity, much before many companies even considered community development as an endeavour." 
Pearl added, "While we are proud of our achievements, this would not have been possible without the support of ACL employees. We look forward to their continued cooperation in all activities planned this year, especially the employee volunteering. As volunteering is fast catching up in India, ACL’s 5000+ strong team can sure add a new chapter to the journey. I am confident that Ambuja Cements Limited, which is well known for its giant strength, will soon be known for a warm heart too.”

ACF’s journey which began in 1993 in a few villages and with a very small team, has today grown by leaps and bounds, reaching out to nearly 2 million people across 21 rural locations. With a vision to create a sustainable and prosperous society, ACF endeavours to strengthen rural livelihoods and is working in chosen thrust areas – water resource management, agricultural- and skill-based livelihoods, health, women empowerment and education.

ACF has played a crucial role in earning the goodwill and respect for the Company amongst its stakeholders, especially the neighbouring community.

MIS Improving Quality of Programs

Regular monitoring is an integral part of ACF’s operations and our Monitoring Indicator System (MIS) is designed to capture both qualitative and quantitative feedback based on program outputs - which is used for mid-course correction, improvising projects and designing programs’ strategy.

For ACF, MI is a crucial component in all its programmatic interventions and plays a key role in effectively reviewing the projects and designing strategies for all its interventions. 
For our Skill & Entrepreneurship Development Institute program too, MIS has played a key role in enhancing project effectiveness and sharpening vocational skills of rural youth. Through 'Thrive' we are sharing two examples from SEDI where MIS has helped bringing improvisation in the skill training program.
SEDI Sankrail

Sankrail is the industrial locations and hence there is a constant need of mechanics, especially for the two- and three-wheelers. In this context, ACF started a project to train rural youth in two- and three-wheeler repairing and after the first phase of the project, employers’ feedback was captured in MIS.
Whilst feedback showed that the overall attitude and knowledge of SEDI youth was good, they were still not very well versed with new technologies - there were several new models in the market on which SEDI students needed better practice.
After reviewing the feedback, ACF developed a plan to establish a high-end laboratory with newer models and equipment, better organised systems and processes that aimed to give students the sense of a real workplace.  Till date more than 200 trainees have been trained using this facility and employers’ feedback is encouraging and has given more confidence to funding partners to collaborate with SEDI Sankrail.
SEDI Nagaur

Youth mobilisation and community meetings are important part of our SEDIs, and in one such meeting in Nagaur, feedback from community was that there there was a strong need for vocational training courses for disabled youth.
ACF’s management and SEDI team collaborated with Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for Physically Handicapped to start a course for the differently-abled in mobile repairing.
To promote entrepreneurship, the graduates who immediately set up their enterprises were provided with a financial support of Rs 100 per graduate per day for one month.  In the first batch, 60 youth were trained, of which 57 started with their businesses.
Impressed with the success of the project, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for Physically Handicapped collaborated with ACF yet again to train 90 more youth which were divided into 30 each for each SEDI centre in Rajasthan – Nagaur, Chirawa and Jaitaran.

Girls as Breadwinners!

Its World Skills Day this month and to celebrate, we applaud the power of women as family bread-winners and earners.  

Today, Sangita, Poonam and Varsha Bharga bring in Rs 30,000 per month to support their family of 7 after the loss of their father, who passed away in 2014, leaving the family with 12 years of health related debt, and no income source.
In order to survive, the mother and sisters opted for daily labour earning just 50 rupees/day. While working as labourer, Sangeeta got to know about SEDI. Hopeful to start her career in right direction, she visited SEDI centre in Kodinar (Gujarat), where she received orientation on various vocational courses. Without much delay, Sangita registered for the course in nursing trade.
After 2 months training at Sidhhivinayk Hospital in Morbi (Gujarat), she took up a job at Janki Hospital as a Staff Nurse in the Gynec Department earning 5000 per month with food and accommodation.  Her sincerity and honesty in her work impressed the Doctors and she was promoted - now earning 10,000 per month.
With such an inflow of money, she supported her two sisters Poonam and Varsha to also study nursing.  Poonam  completed her on Job training from Meru Nursing Home – Bhavnagar, then was sent for a job at Amrut Hospital Baroda with 7000 salary/pm and accommodation. Varsha  is working at Ashutosh Hospital, Rajkot with 10,000 salary.  
With a total monthly household earning of Rs. 30,000/- this young  trio is the personification of hard work and strong determination.

The 'License to Thrive'

This month, Ambuja Cement Foundation was profiled in an article by Triple Pundit - "Businesses move from Licence to Operate to Licence to Thrive.  Here are some key excerpts from the article:
"The commitment of over 900 businesses in the 'We Are Still In' movement illustrates the increasingly important role companies play in addressing social and environmental challenges. The ownership of this responsibility is furthering a shift away from ‘license to operate,’  in which companies seek the passive acceptance of communities, toward ‘license to thrive,’  where companies more actively partner with communities to address critical challenges. 

At the local level, this approach requires more dynamic engagement, but when done well, it can establish businesses as essential community partners and contribute to the long-term success of both companies and communities.

Acting on the opportunities to contribute to society requires a more proactive community engagement approach that underpins a detailed understanding of community needs. Ambuja Cements Ltd., India’s top cement manufacturing company, is among the leading firms pioneering the license to thrive – and benefiting as a result. 

When the now-$1.2 billion company started in the 1980s, it quickly realized that communities can be skeptical of cement manufacturing plants opening in their backyards. Understanding the company’s potential to support the communities surrounding their plants, Ambuja launched the Ambuja Foundation to implement a thoughtful approach to community engagement.

By building trust and demonstrating their commitment to the community, Ambuja’s business presence is encouraged by local stakeholders. During legally-mandated public hearings, community members often write letters and speak out in support of the business.

 ‘License to thrive’ enables companies to meaningfully support communities while building a positive rapport that benefits the business. And with communities increasingly looking to companies to serve as partners in addressing critical challenges, this model is more important than ever. Leading companies must appreciate their unique role in society, engage actively, and work with communities to help them prosper.

Read full article here -  http://www.triplepundit.com/2017/06/license-operate-license-thrive/

Friday, April 28, 2017

Silver & Bronze Olympic Medals for AMK!

Shamsher Singh (24), a student from Ambuja Manovikas Kendra in Punjab, bagged two medals at the Special Olympics World Winter Games hosted in Austria in March 2017 - proudly bringing home a Silver and Bronze in Snowshoeing (100 m race and 50 m race respectively) for his performance.

Other impressive performers included Neha, who was part of the Indian Floorball team that finished at sixth place.  Aged just 16, Neha enrolled at AMK in 2011 and has blossomed as a result over the last 6 years.

Commenting on the success of the athletes, Mr. Suresh Thakur, Principle Ambuja Manovikas Kendra, said “It is a proud moment for the team at Ambuja Manovikas Kendra.  These accomplishments go a long way in reiterating that India’s special athletes are highly talented and capable to compete not only in India, but also on bigger global platforms." He said.

"These success stories inspire the team at Ambuja Manovikas Kendra to invest more in training to equip our students for national and global scale sporting events.” Mr. Thankur exclaimed.

Ambuja Cement Foundation's AMK students have won many medals in different competitions before - including titles in Punjab State Olympics for 11 continuous years and bringing home a haul of 13 Olympic Medals from the last five World Special Olympic Games in Dublin, Greece, Athens, Los Angeles and Austria.

AMK is the only facility for special children in the entire district of Ropar filling the gaps in essential services towards them. At present the school caters to 106 children, all broadly fitting into the category of mentally challenged, and provides them with a conducive environment tailored to meet individual developmental needs. 

ACF Unites Leaders for 'World Water Day'

ACF commemorated the World Water Day 2017 by bringing together 133 leaders in Water Resource Management from across the country for ‘A Participatory Dialogue on Co-creating Water Positive Communities - Exploring Synergies, Sharing Solutions’.
Held on the 22nd of March at the Ahmedabad Management Association in collaboration with 4th Wheel Social Impact, the event aimed to share knowledge and empower the country's Water Leaders with solutions to key challenges faced in creating Water Positive Communities.
Whilst discussing many key issues, the Sustainability of Community Water Initiatives emerged as a key threat, due to need to differentiate between ‘water for life’ (drinking water) and ‘water for livelihood’ (irrigation) and to create strong institutions around them.
Proposed solutions included the need to establish an apex body at the village level who will play an influential role in bringing solutions and taking action.
The discussion also emphasized on potential of technology to bring innovations to water sector. However it was also recognized that there was a need to develop tier-two institutions at the community level - women self help groups to manage drinking water and farmer Institutions to manage agriculture water.

It was discussed how critical it was that institutions should be formed at the start of the project and be offered hand-holding support and capacity building, throughout the project duration.
Ambuja Cement Foundation has a key strength and focus on the development of 'people's institutions' and their model of participatory development in communities has been a large contributor to the ongoing success of water initiatives.