Kolkata: HCL Foundation on Monday announced the NGOs selected for the 2023 edition of its flagship program HCL Grant – which supports pioneering work in sustainable rural development in India.
HCL Foundation delivers the corporate social responsibility agenda of HCLTech.
Three NGOs—Planatearth, Innovators in Health (IIH) India and Meghshala Trust will receive ₹5 crore (appx. $620,000) each for their projects under the HCL Grant endowment. This year’s winners were chosen from submissions from more than 15,000 entities, an increase of 80% versus last year.
According to Robin Ann Abrams, Chairperson of the HCL Grant Jury and Board Member, HCLTech: “These organizations and their projects – aligned to the HCL Foundation’s core areas of focus in environment, health and education – will bring a visible and inclusive change to the ‘last mile.’ We believe their work will provide an important lifeline to rural communities by bridging inequality in healthcare, helping in freshwater conservation and more readily bringing education to underserved populations.”
In addition, six NGO finalists will receive grants of ₹25 lakh (appx. $30,000) each in the following categories:
Environment: Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune (IISER); North-East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA)
Education: MAHAN; Sri Sri Rural Development Programme Trust (SSRDPT)
Health: Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS); Guria Swayam Sevi Sansthan (GSSS)
HCL Foundation has funded more than ₹130 crore (appx. $16 million) to NGOs since the HCL Grant program’s onset eight years ago, reaching over 1.8 million beneficiaries in more than 25,000 villages in remote districts across 19 states and two Union Territories of India.
Dr. Nidhi Pundhir, Vice President, Global CSR, HCL Foundation, bestowed the recipients with their awards in a virtual ceremony attended by representatives of NGOs, HCL, HCLTech and the media fraternity. The ceremony was the culmination of a thorough, Grant Thornton-audited process, which earlier in the year involved a series of pan-India symposiums bringing together more than 2,000 representatives from NGOs, government and corporates.
“We are delighted at the volume of applications received for this year’s selection process. HCL Grant partners with these NGOs to strengthen their governance and help scale their innovative ideas for sustainable rural development. We look forward to working with this year’s selected NGO partners to scale innovative interventions that will supercharge progress for rural communities,” Dr. Pundhir said.
She also announced the release of the seventh volume of the compendium ‘Fifth Estate – NGOs Transforming Rural India in Environment, Health and Education,’ which chronicles the work done by past HCL Grant recipients. The book will be available in all national libraries and through international affiliates.
Planatearth was awarded HCL Grant in the environment category for its project on conservation of water bodies by cleaning plastics from oceans and invasive species like water hyacinth from ponds and backwaters. It is expected to directly benefit at least 170,000 fishermen across 45 villages in Kerala. The project aims to improve quality of water bodies along with positive impact on the livelihood of fisherfolk.
“The oceans of the world, and the coastal waters of Kerala in particular, are polluted by plastic, which seriously affects the livelihood of marine fishermen. The HCL Grant is the only way we could realize our goals of helping the rural fishermen of Kerala and conserving the planet,” said Sooraj Abraham, Founder, Planatearth.
Innovators in Health (IIH) India received the HCL Grant in the health category for a project on universal tuberculosis care in rural Bihar. The project aims to reduce tuberculosis burden through enabling public health system, improving diagnostics and treatment outcomes. It will reach out to more than 10,500 households in 1,260 villages in the Samastipur district of Bihar.
“I am deeply humbled by HCL Foundation’s trust in us. This grant will help us extend the services we are already providing to a wider audience and community and make Samastipur a unique district in tuberculosis care in India,” said Dr Manish Kumar, CEO, Innovators in Health (IIH) India.
Meghshala was awarded the HCL Grant in the education category for a project on technology-enabled teacher capacity building, with focus on local languages. It will directly benefit 2,700 primary and secondary teachers of government schools and 63,000 students from Grades 1-8 in 460 villages of Sikkim. The project will help in promoting digital literacy and encouraging the use of local languages among younger generation.
“We continue to keep languages at the center of all our development work and HCL Grant’s support will help us extend our services to more classrooms across the nation, especially those that teach local languages, where our intervention is most required,” said Jyoti Thyagarajan, Founder and CEO, Meghshala Trust.
Recipient NGOs were selected after screening and review of applications by an eminent jury, monitored and audited by HCL Grant governance partner Grant Thornton.
Jury members include: Robin Ann Abrams, Chairperson of the Jury, Board Member, HCLTech; Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and Managing Director, Nestle India Limited; B. S. Baswan, Former Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration and Former Secretary, Human Resource Development Ministry; Pallavi Shroff, Managing Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co; Dr. Richard Lariviere, Sanskrit Scholar & President Emeritus, Field Museum (Chicago); and Shiv Nadar, Founder, HCL Group and Chairman Emeritus, HCLTech.