CSR projects at Samhita

Samhita Social Ventures has worked on a large spectrum of projects with diverse mandates. Our cause-agnostic approach and emphasis on social impact drives our ability to design programs that fulfill our client’s mandate and deliver maximum social benefits on ground.

Below is a list of different kinds of projects we have undertaken. These examples reflect the fact that effective CSR is not just limited to large-sized companies with substantial budgets. Several medium and small-scale companies have also found ways to benefit communities through their niche service offerings and products.

Anything but a saint

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is wholesale jerseys china dispelled in a paper by Serge Lariv and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole S of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. The paper will be published in the March issue of the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses and is an analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa.

“While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church’s most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination Mother Teresa whose real name was Agnes Gonxha,” says Professor Lariv who led the research. “The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further.”

As a result, the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC).

Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa

In their article, Serge Lariv and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not take into account by the Vatican in Mother Teresa’s beatification process, such as “her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.”

The sick must suffer like Christ on the cross

At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. Two thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.

Questionable politics and shadowy accounting

Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid. On the other hand, she had no qualms about accepting the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Millions of dollars were transferred to the MCO’s cheap jerseys various bank accounts, but most of the accounts were kept secret, Lariv says. “Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?”

The cheap jerseys from china grand media plan for holiness

Despite these disturbing facts, how did Mother Teresa succeed in building an image of holiness and infinite goodness? According to the three researchers, her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC’s Malcom Muggeridge, an anti abortion journalist who shared her right wing Catholic values, was crucial. Muggeridge decided to promote Teresa, who consequently discovered the power of mass media. In 1969, he made a eulogistic film of the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the “first photographic miracle,” when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak. Afterwards, Mother Teresa travelled throughout the world and received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech, on the subject of Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs and now sought abortion, she said: “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing direct murder by the mother herself.”

Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five year waiting period to open the beatification process. The miracle attributed to Mother Theresa was the healing of a woman, Monica Besra, who had been suffering from wholesale nfl jerseys intense abdominal pain. The woman testified that she was cured after a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa was placed on her abdomen. Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her. The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa’s popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint.

Positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth

Despite Mother Teresa’s dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Lariv and his colleagues point out the positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth: “If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Theresa could have been a little more rigorous.”About the study

The study was conducted by Serge Lariv Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal, Carole S Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, and Genevi Ch Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal.

The printed version, available only in French, will be published in March 2013 in issue 42 of Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses.

This study received no specific funding.

Professor Serge Lariv is available only for interviews in French. Professor Carole S will be available for English interviews on Friday, March 1st.

The University of Montreal is officially known as Universit de Montr

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.Articles Connexes:

Impact assessment for a reputed foreign bank

impact assessmentSamhita, in partnership with TISS, led an assessment study to measure and evaluate the impact of a global financial literacy program implemented in India by an international bank. Our involvement covered a range of research functions, starting with designing a methodology, sampling, on-ground data collection, data cleaning and analysis, report writing and recommending improvements. Findings from this research study were utilized to contextualize and improve the delivery of the financial literacy program in India and set up systems for an integrated impact assessment within the delivery process.

Implementing effective waste disposal

Samhita Social Ventures was the implementation partner for a leading multi-national company in India to create and waste disposalimplement a solid waste management process across 23 offices in India. The purpose of the project was to deal with solid waste, dry and wet and to segregate it at source. It also aims to create employment opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid. Samhita helped to realize the project by identifying credible local NGO partners, setting processes and monitoring the outcomes.

Samhita is also working on the sustainability of the project by engaging the local communities and commercial complexes in the vicinity to streamline waste disposal systems beyond the company offices. The return of investment through recyclable products and by-products will help in revenue generation, increase in awareness levels for the stakeholders and directly affect the lifestyles at the BoP.

Developing and implementing CSR strategy

A multinational shipping company, with several companies and brands operating under them, approached us to develop a group-level CSR strategy. This strategy was to be designed to adhere to the global sustainability mandate as well as involve company-level CSR initiatives already being implemented.

Through our streamlined process of mapping stakeholders and causes, pointing towards current and potential regulatory mandates and suggesting a governance structure and framework for allocation of resources, Samhita put together a framework for the client to develop a CSR Policy. This group-level policy definition has led to  individual companies under the group approaching us for implementation of their respective CSR strategies.

We are now working with these companies to design unique programs for their key stakeholders, define strategies to implement these programs and support on-the-ground implementation of selected programs.


Community needs assessment for power company

community needs assessmentOur work with Powerica, a power generation company, involved conducting a community needs assessment at four villages around two sites in Tamil Nadu. Samhita undertook a gamut of activities from identifying needs of internal stakeholders to aligning them with the priorities identified by the community. The methodology adopted was qualitative, conducting interviews with key stakeholders within the company and also with authorities in the village (sarpanch, asha worker, anganwadi workers and the local doctor) and group discussions with villagers. As an outcome of this project, the company was able to identify compulsory education as a cause that was important to the community and also aligned with their internal expectations.

Designing employee engagement programs

Employee engagement is one dimension of CSR that has seen a huge pick-up in the last few years. Companies have begun to realize that one of the key ways to firmly entrench company values and build employee loyalty is to provide them with experiences that go beyond their regular deliverables and job descriptions.

For our client in the finance sector, the mandate was to work with NGOs in the education and livelihood spaces and we helped them identify the right set of partners and build synergies and checkpoints for both parties to effectively execute the CSR program. The employees volunteered to support the organization’s ongoing activities. For our client in the technology service arena, the mandate was to start a program with a set of high-potential employees and open them up to life-changing experiences and leadership opportunities that they could then bring back to their work and teams. Besides enhancing their skills in their core functional areas, the client wanted its employees to be seen as role models in society.

In this space, we are also working with another client that is a diversified conglomerate with businesses that include healthcare, life sciences, pharmaceutical, information management, manufacturing and real estate, thus having a very diverse employee skill set. The client also has a well-established CSR program with initiatives in  healthcare, clean drinking water, education and rural employment sectors. The mandate Samhita has is to define an employee engagement strategy to design programs and governance structures to utilize employees’ skills from the group company to help support the CSR program initiatives, thus providing a platform for meaningful employee engagement in CSR, fulfilling the company’s goals of imbibing corporate values into employees, while giving them a sense of creating impact on the society.

Creating partnerships to test new technologies at grassroots

Our client, is a mobile technology company that provides strategic consulting and end-to-end solutions in application development for a variety of platforms. The Company had developed a technology solution that would enable organizations to collect, transfer and analyze a large amount data using low cost mobile phones in real time. The Company approached Samhita to help them select two NGO partners to whom they could donate this customized application. Samhita identified 45 potential NGO partners and worked with the Company to select two NGOs partners that had a large field level workforce that could optimally benefit from the grant. The grant included a customized mobile based application that met the NGOs’ needs, training for the NGOs’ staff, a website to view, analyze and extract data and support for 6 months.

This engagement was a prime example of how Samhita can help companies align their CSR activities with their underlying business. Our client’s donation helped them test and improve a new product, provided a critical solution to NGOs that significantly improved their efficiency and reduced program costs, thereby benefiting the communities that the NGO served.

Event-based fundraising for NGOs and causes

The founder of Schitzengiggles, a stand-up comedy group, approached Samhita Social Ventures for information on NGOs to whom they could offer their comedy shows for free. This resulted in an innovative program that organized stand-up comedy shows for various NGOs to use as fundraisers.

The CEO of The Bombay Store (TBS) also offered the store’s 100-seater space to host an event. The Bombay Store, India’s first contemporary lifestyle retail store with 12 outlets, was in the process of looking for ways to liven up its store space in South Mumbai through fun, interesting events that could draw new people and engage their existing customers.

Samhita has facilitated several events at TBS – music performances by children, a showcase of a socially-themed cookbook, stand-up comedy fundraisers, and an awareness event on the issue of child sexual abuse.

The advantages for TBS included substantial goodwill, press coverage, social media posts, visibility among potential customers and sale of products.