About ACF

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Humans of Ambuja - Ogadhbhai Dodiya

Today, Oghadbai K Dodiya is an important person in his village.  Not only is he a forester in the Government Forest Department, but he gained additional trust and reputation when he helped solve the drinking water crisis in Dhamlej - his village.

In 1999 he was the first to adopt a Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting System, which he invested in with the support of Ambuja Cement Foundation who also provided a subsidy.

Prior to construction, his 9-member family (along with the rest of the village) had to dedicate most of the day fetching up to 100 litres of water from the nearby well to meet the daily needs.

Additionally, the water was saline and created a variety of health issues for members of the community such as fever, high blood pressure and digestive diseases.

Seeing the success of the RRWHS in his own house and farm, he took it upon himself to convince the rest of the village to make a similar investment.  Today over 45 RRWHS have been built in his village, with support from ACF.

"All water, which is God's gift and is fallen over our roof, isn't allowed to leave my house!" Oghadbai said as he breaks into a broad smile.

ACF IMPACT - 137 Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Systems built in Dhamlej Village, Gujarat.

Non-Communicable Diseases – A Multi-Stakeholder Consultation

A major public health concern of today is the growing levels of non-communicable diseases (NCD). It is now also known that NCDs are not restricted to the affluent and urban sections of the society; their prevalence has increased among the poor and the rural population is also affected almost equally.

Mitigating the challenge of rising levels of NCD needs a concerted effort at multiple levels. With the aim to combat the challenges of NCDs in rural areas,  in 2015 ACF launched community health interventions four locations – Bhatapara (Chhatisgarh), Chandrapur (Maharashtra), Darlaghat (Himachal Pradesh) and Roorkee (Uttarakhand), covering 101 villages.

Taking a step further in its NCD prevention and care projects, ACF organised a Multi-Stakeholder Consultation on Non-Communicable Diseases on 24th November 2017 in New Delhi. The event focused on building a synergetic response to NCD with the active involvement of varied stakeholders including the government, non-profits, corporates and many others. The day-long event comprised of dissemination of evidence on NCDs, the sharing of select community-based NCD prevention programs and a panel discussion with varied stakeholders on the role of each stakeholder in NCD prevention and treatment.

The key speakers at the event were – Mr. Keshav Desiraju (Ex-Health Secretary and Current Chairman, PFI), Dr. Nerges Mistry (FRCH) and Dr. Damodar Bachani (Ex-deputy Commissioner, MoHFW, GoI). The event witnessed about 70 participants.

ACF Dialogue - Co-Creating Water Positive Communities

Rajasthan’s Public Health and Engineer Department (PHED) Minister, Shri Surendra Goyal and ‘the waterman of India’ Shri Rajendra Singh lauded the efforts of Ambuja Cement Foundation in building water sufficient communities in the drought prone regions of Rajasthan at a recent event by ACF in Jaipur.

It was a moment of great pride for ACF to receive words of encouragement from Dr. Rajendra Singh, who rarely accepts corporate event invites and agreed to join only when he had witnessed the impact of our work.

The event, organised by Ambuja Cement Foundation on 15th December 2017, brought diverse perspectives from experts working in the water sector for several years - with participation from over 127 participants taking part in sessions such as experience sharing, panel discussion and open forums.  

ACF’s goal has been to create prosperity in communities and ACF sees water availability as playing a crucial role. 

Platform to Boost Sustainable Production & Market Linkages

In order to promote partnerships and collaboration, ACF has been creating platforms for brainstorming ideas and devising solutions to realise rural prosperity.  One such event was a participatory dialogue ‘Creating Synergies on Sustainable Production and Marketing Linkages’ held in New Delhi on 23rd November 2017.

Key discussions were focused on small and marginal farmers (which have always been the priority for ACF) and the event witnessed speakers and panelists from various fields such as research, academia, advocacy, agricultural trading, farming, development and corporate.  Over 100 partcipants heard a keynote address by Professor Sukhpal Singh (CRRID & IIM, Ahmedabad) and an expert address by Dr. S Wani (ICRISAT Development Centre)

“The next revolution in agriculture will be to create robust mechanisms to market the right produce at the right time." Said ACF's CEO, Pearl Tiwari.

"There is tremendous potential for different stakeholders to collaborate and build capacities for farmers through sustainable models for joint procurement and marketing.  ACF welcomes all forms of partnerships that will enable us to build on the collective strength of the farming community and help them prosper in life.” She said.

To date, ACF has reached out to over 1.3 lakh farmers across India and facilitated the formation of 17 Farmer Producer Organisations. 

25 Year Celebrations at Ambujanagar, Gujarat

A grand celebration was held to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ACF at Ambujanagar, Gujarat (where ACF began its journey back in 1993) on 18th December 2017 - the first of many celebrations around the country.

The event was graced by the visionary Narotam Sekhsaria, Chairman, Ambuja Cement Foundation and Ambuja Cements Limited, who has been instrumental in the conception and growth of ACF.
Mr. Sekhsaria expressed his pride in the way ACF has been successful in transforming the landscape and socio-economic status of the local communities in the region.

Walking down the memory lane Mr. Sekhsaria said, “We were honest in our intentions and did not wish to leave people behind. Especially people who parted their lands for us, for our business."
"I cannot ever be grateful enough for all the ACF employees who have put their grit and enthusiasm into their work, to deliver and implement what is directed by us." He said. 

"When I think about this journey of 25 years, I feel proud and indebted. I am proud that ACF has been able to build such strong ties with the community and I am thankful, that the community has accepted us with open arms.” Mr Sekhsaria said.

Ambuja Cement MD & CEO Ajay Kapur said that working with the communities around our plants gave Ambuja an opportunity and license to lead. 

I am extremely glad to be part of this incredible journey. Ambuja has adopted True Value – an approach that is well aligned with our Sustainability Development strategy and this helps us make better business decisions. ACF is a vital part of our social initiatives and this helps keep our Sustainable Development scores high.” Said Mr Ajay Kapur.

The inspiring journey of ACF is a result of the great team spirit and positive attitude between ACF and ACL that has yielded very encouraging outcomes for the business as well as our communities.   
The event witnessed a huge participation from Ambuja Cement and Ambuja Cement Foundation. There were a series of activities and programs, including a plantation drive, cultural program and experience sharing sessions. 

Among those who passionately shared their testimonies included Poonam Bhargava, a former student of SEDI and now a nursing assistant; Dr A M Parakhiya, Director – extension education of Junagadh Agricultural Institute; Jayshribhen Bharga who is part of Women’s Federation, Ashokbhai Dahima, a farmer. They expounded how ACF interventions have completely changed their lives, families and communities.

In the coming months, ACF plans to celebrate the 25 years journey in all its locations.

New Year Greetings from CEO and Director

Dear Friends,

As I extend my warm and heartfelt New Year wishes to you, I also take the opportunity to reflect upon the year gone by.

Year 2017 was a special one. Being the 25th year of ACF’s journey, it brought in several moments to reminisce about our endeavours, revisit milestones and take pride in our achievements. A journey that began with tiny steps has gradually grown into a full-fledged organisation, reaching out to over 2 million rural lives across 11 states, each year. 

Today, by connecting the dots, I realise how crucial the challenges and hardships were that we encountered on our way – those night-long meetings with community members, failed initiatives, delayed permissions. All of these actually turned out to be stepping stones – fuelling our determination to establish ACF’s identity far beyond CSR.

While 2017 was a year of celebration, it was also a year of re-invigorating our goals, refreshing our identity and strengthening partnerships.  I am glad to share that our focused approach on fostering collaborations has helped us extend our partnerships base from government and development agencies to several national and international corporates.

25 years of stringent work to develop and curate successful models has brought us plenty of rich knowledge and experience. Through various events organised during the year, ACF created several knowledge sharing platforms to disseminate best practices and explore partnerships for a better, more amplified impact. 

None of this would be possible without the support of our well-wishers, our partners and mentors. None of this would be possible without you!

In 2018, as ACF gears up to celebrate its silver jubilee, we are nurturing a bigger dream to extend ourselves more and venture into new territories - beyond our corporate responsibility – a sincere dedicated effort towards NATION BUILDING. 

I urge you to join us in this venture. Our focus is not merely on eliminating poverty but on empowering people to live more prosperous, meaningful lives.
Together, let us make 2018 a year to remember.

Best wishes,
Pearl Tiwari