Back in 1998, ASK commenced upon a journey that today forms one of the core pillars of every company, business, and corporate organisation in society, with a growing focus by the government as well as burgeoning public opinion. The Corporate Social Responsibility of an organisation is no longer an extension of philanthropy for goodwill generation, but a pre-requisite to every growing company, its reputation, standard, and competitive edge, in the world in which it exists.
The motive is to work with the business towards creating sustainable, relevant, and fruitful CSR strategies and ventures. We are facilitators in the comprehensive process from initiation to execution and management of CSR initiatives, and gain our edge through our grassroots approach and focused on starting from the bottom of the pyramid. Please read through our services to know more about how we could assist your business and organization.
CSR Strategy Development
The CSR strategy of an organisation comprises of a set of approaches and activities that the organisation wishes to implement towards its society, employees, stakeholders, and its environment. ASK provides its expertise in the following areas of CSR strategy development:
Conducting Situation Assessments and Rapid Appraisals
The pre-requisite for a successful CSR strategy is its relevance with regard to the society or community concerned. The ASK Situation Assessment and Rapid Appraisal comprises of a comprehensive investigation into the socio-economic status of people, including indicators of health, education, and livelihoods, among others. It clearly highlights the needs of the stakeholder community, and forms the very basis of the CSR strategy, development framework, community participation framework, and subsequent Results Based programme evaluations. The ASK team comprises of expert consultants in the field of social research studies and assessments, bringing an innovative, result oriented, and detailed approach to their research, findings and recommendations.
Creating and Refining CSR Policies and Strategies of Organisations
A CSR‘policy’ highlights the approach of an organization towards its Corporate Social Reasonability, while the‘strategy’ enables an organisation to put its policy into action, through a plan that is relevant, systematic and results oriented. In most organisations the two terms may be used interchangeably, though the intent remains focused on a business’s onus towards social welfare. At ASK our role is to guide organisations and businesses on developing CSR interventions that are relevant by industry, location and areas of development work. This is done through comprehensive studies of the business in concern, its society, potential beneficiaries, and environment, to create adocumented strategy that makes an efficient allocation of resources and is befitting for the organisation. Our research and development methodologies are customizable to suit a varied base of industries.
Raising Awareness on National Voluntary Guidelines &the Companies Bill 2012
CSR strategies and policies of organisations are constantly evolving and must be developed in tune with the latest mandates, bills, and laws that guide and govern them. Clause 135 of the Companies Bill 2012 mandates large* companies to spend 2% of theaverage net profits made during the three immediately preceding financial years, in pursuance of its Corporate Social Responsibility Policy. Another emergent guideline namely the National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs) by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs present a set of principles on creating responsible business, applicable to organisations irrespective of size. CSR is a core competencies at ASK. We keep abreast with the latest legal developments pertaining to CSR and enable companies to understand and imbibe them in their own CSR practices. This may be carried out through trainings, presentations, and seminars, to suit varied organisations and group sizes. Our sessions are targeted towards all levels of an organisation, including management, the CSR domains of a business, and its employees. *Refer to Companies Bill 2012
Facilitating CSR Programme Implementation and Management
Once the core areas of development work have been decided upon, and a strategy pertaining to how the CSR plans would be actualized has been drafted, does the challenge of programme implementation and management come to light. ASK being a capacity building organisation effectively facilitates the process, helping Organisations bridge the gap between a documented CSR plan and on-ground execution. This comprises of a location specific community centric approach to be adopted, development of frameworks of execution, and step by step assistance in ensuring the programme steers on track. The following are the sub-services included as part of the facilitation:
Adopting the Right Approach to Work with Communities
ASK has nearly two decades of experience of working at the grassroot level and holds expertise in engaging with a vast array of communities across regions and cultures. Through in-depth research, and on the basis of our rich experience, we
enable organisations to developthe right approach to work with specific target communities in keeping with local issues, sensitivities, and requirements, while executing CSR initiatives.Results Based Proposal Development
ASK works with, and propagates a Results Based managerialmodel, which we also bring to our work in CSR. One of the key responsibilities of a business is to ensure the effective allocation and utilization of its resources in social welfare projects, thereby ensuring that no initiative is namesake. A Results Based proposal enables organisations to set achievable objectives and results towards which CSR programmes can be gainfully targeted.
Developing an Inclusive Development Framework
The second stage of implementation of a CSR plan is the creation of a development framework that guides management and staff with regard to how the set objectives and results are to be achieved. It clearly defines and highlights the steps, processes, timelines, staffing requirements, resource allocation, and phased development activities in a cohesive and comprehensive framework. ASK adopts an Inclusive approach towards developing a Development Framework, ensuring all stakeholders, irrespective of gender, caste or community are taken into consideration, while laying special emphasis on securing the interests of the vulnerable, including children, elderly, religious minorities, and women.
A strong focus in the development and execution of CSR initiatives is on the sustainability of efforts and
on securing long term socio-economic benefits. ASK believes in working for the community, with the community, and in ensuring such sustainability by the community. A Community Participation Framework (CPF) lays down programme specific guidelines and indicators that help organisations obtain community participation and decision making whileplanning, executing, and monitoring development initiatives covered under a CSR strategy or plan. The CPF is in itself a Result Oriented framework that enables organisations to verify that indicators of Community Participation are being adequately met with. ASK has been involved with community level consultations since inception, and holds expertise in ensuring community participation in programmes, where in time the community becomes responsible for the activities to be implemented and bears the onus of their success.
Credit Programme for Enterprise Development
In year 2009, ASK formed AT-GRASSROOTS (ATG), an organisation dedicated towards the financial inclusion of marginalized communities. ATG has since inception worked towards making financial services accessible to those that are deprived, with the intent to work towards long term socio-economic inclusion and welfare of beneficiaries. As part of its initiatives, ATG runs a credit programme that focuses on economic empowerment through assistance in improving livelihoods and new venture development. ASK, through ATG, enables organisations to help their target communities avail of its credit programme that runs with a social motive and not a money-making agenda.
Please visit www.atg.org.in or get in touch with us to know more about the communities that have benefited from ATG’s credit programme.
Results Based Monitoring and Evaluation of CSR Initiatives
One of the core domains at ASK is the Evaluations and Studies domain, with experience of over 15 years in conducting social research studies, programme monitoring, evaluations and assessments with methodologies that are community centric, results based, and participatory. Monitoring and Evaluations form a key component of CSR initiatives in ensuring that the programmes are being implemented correctly, fairly, and in keeping with set objectives. The following are the expertise offered by the domain with regard to CSR programmes:
Periodic monitoring of CSR initiatives ensure that an organization’s efforts and resources are being channelized in the right direction and in the right manner. Keeping the pre-programme situation assessment and results based proposal as benchmarks, amonitoring study looks into minute activities and accomplishments to generate a detailed assessment.ASK serves as a specialist in conducting monitoring studies that enable organisations to check efficiency and effectiveness of their measures. ASK works with organisations, and with communities, in making the process an inclusive learning experience that can further help highlight requirements, shortcomings, and needs of the programmes in question.
Mid-Term and End Line Evaluation
Evaluations are in-depth assessments of a programme or project undertaken at longer intervals, and looking into the broader results, socio-economic impacts and effects that a programme seeks to have in the long run. ASK conducts Mid-Term and End-Line Evaluations of CSR initiatives, on semi-completion, and near completion of a designated phase of a programme, assessing qualitative and quantitative indicators against which success can be measured, and recommendations can be drawn upon. Evaluation results are a necessary tool for further capacity building and serve as the benchmark for new CSR strategy development for the subsequent years. Methodologies include varied research techniques including group exercises, focus group discussions, individual interviews, ratings and rankings, documentation review and verification, among others.
At ASK we welcome any queries you may have with regard to our organization, our work and our services. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
Dr. Aqueel Khan
CSA Division, Association for Stimulating Know How
Phone: 0124 4060353/ 54 (Extn: 45) Mobile: +91 9818492342 Fax: +91 124 4060355