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Bharti Airtel : The Art Of Giving!

“We have an obligation to fulfill to society and the communities in which we operate, and help improve the quality of life for everyone, today and in the future.” – Bharti Airtel Ltd.

Bharti Airtel Ltd., one of India’s leading players in the telecommunications field, may have been ranked the sixth best performing Technology Company in the world, but what we love about them are their conscious efforts to serve more than just their 200 million customer base.

From education to nutrition, rural development to natural disaster response, Bharti Airtel Ltd. have devised comprehensive issue-specific CSR strategies that focus on creating high-quality pan-India impact by partnering with leading NGOs in the field.

However, perhaps the most progressive of Bharti Airtel’s CSR is their Employee Philanthropy Programme, which recognizes that social responsibility goes beyond monetary support. Through this initiative, employees are required to devote some of their office hours to volunteering at an organization of their choice. Not only does this satisfy the personal preferences of each employee but taking a break from hectic work hours and deadlines has improved staff performance and retention.

According to Sunil Mittal, Chairman of India’s telecom giant Bharti Airtel CSR should not be made compulsory and that voluntary compliances are always better than forced.

At Bharti Airtel, business success is not just about profits and shareholder returns. Believes in pursuing a wider socio-economic objective and have always endeavored to not just live up to it, but try and exceed the expectations of the communities in which we operate.

With a global presence in 20 markets, spread across two continents, business units in different geographies have taken great care to promote the cause of social inclusiveness and environment protection alongside their business objectives. Their hard work and devotion to these objectives have endeared the Company to its stakeholders across geographies.

In India, most of Company’s welfare initiatives, like the previous years, were routed through Bharti Enterprises’ philanthropic arm Bharti Foundation, while in Africa the Company continued to drive its social programme through its own business entities.

DELIVERING QUALITY EDUCATION

Bharti Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises and was set up in the year 2000 “to help underprivileged children and young people realize their potential.” Implementing and supporting primary, secondary and higher education initiatives, Bharti Foundation aims to bridge the education divide and help create an equitable and empowered society contributing towards the overall development of the nation.

THE SATYA BHARTI SCHOOL PROGRAM-SETTING BENCHMARKS IN QUALITY EDUCATION

The Satya Bharti School Program is the flagship rural education initiative of Bharti Foundation. Launched in 2006, the program is one of the largest end-to-end initiatives in education, undertaken by a corporate in India. Envisioned as temples of learning, radiating knowledge & excellence for underprivileged children, Satya Bharti Schools provide quality education, free of cost to underprivileged children in rural India with a special focus on the girl child.

The program complements the nation’s education agenda in a substantive way and aims to find innovative solutions to address ground challenges. It aims to set up 500 primary and 50 senior secondary schools delivering quality education to more than 2,00,000 underprivileged children at full capacity in the rural parts of India.

Currently Bharti Foundation runs 253 Satya Bharti Schools, of which 186 are primary, 62 are elementary and five are senior secondary schools. Of the 62 elementary schools, 50 have been recently upgraded from the primary to elementary level in partnership with
Google Inc. The five senior secondary schools are being operated in a Public-Private Partnership mode under the Adarsh Scheme of the Punjab Government.

DEVELOPING LEADERS OF TOMORROW

Focusing on holistic development of children, the Satya Bharti Schools aim to help transform children into educated, confident and responsible citizens of tomorrow with a deep sense of commitment to the communities in which they live. The teaching learning process at the Satya Bharti Schools thus focuses not only on helping children develop academic aptitude but also works at empowering them with knowledge, skills, ethics, values and respect for people and environment. This will enable them to stand up for the right causes and successfully navigate challenges that lie ahead.

AIRTEL AFRICA’S SCHOOL INITIATIVE

Airtel Africa has adopted at least one primary school in each of the 17 African countries that it has a presence in. The CSR team has worked to improve the quality of education provided in the rural areas, to underprivileged children, working hand in hand with the
governments in these countries. The team has been successful in the projects, having touched the lives of over 11,500 primary school children through the identified 20 schools so far, all of which are in rural areas. The “Our School” adoption program, which has a
unifying identity in Africa, provides infrastructure refurbishment, school uniforms, furniture, books, teaching aids and broadband connectivity.

Partnered with Nokia, in an ICT initiative called NOKIA NED, to provide broadband connectivity to schools in Nigeria, over and above our adopted schools. In this initiative, Nokia Education Delivery uses mobile technology to deliver educational videos to schools in remote, hard-to-reach areas. The videos can be used for any educational purpose, from school lessons to training sessions. So far, 30 schools have benefitted from this initiative implemented in Nigeria.

AIRTEL AFRICA AND UN MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

As part of the UN Millennium Development Goals, Airtel has partnered with the Earth Institute, a non-profit organization, to provide connectivity to 8 villages in 6 countries in Africa – Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. All these are referred to as“Millennium Villages”. Airtel is committed to ensure telecommunications and Internet services to these villages through its network. As part of this initiative, Airtel provides SIM cards to the Community Health Workers and establishes the local emergency numbers (toll free) as needed by each village besides taking care of maintenance of the sites in these villages.

DISASTER RELIEF AND SUPPORT

In August, 2011, when floods hit Assam bringing life to a standstill, employees of Airtel NESA circle helped the affected people by providing food packets and clothes through their Flood Relief initiative. They covered the West Dhemaji District of Assam, including villages like Naruathan, Ujani Naruathan, Laomuri, Ghuguha Chapari, Kesu Khanda Chapari and Kesu Khanda Kuchgaon.

During September 2011, when Odisha was hit by devastating floods, Team Airtel visited 120 villages and operationalized seven PCOs helping villagers to connect with their relatives in other places. 1,000 packets containing food items and other essentials like candles were also distributed in the area.

FARMER’S WELFARE

Bharti Airtel takes advantage of its vast presence in India to reach out to farmers. It provides them with vital information on weather, mandi prices, agronomy, horticulture, forestry, government schemes, etc. through its joint venture with IFFCO – IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL).

The company have a strong association with NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) in many states to drive various programs for farmer welfare. These include providing financial literacy to farmers in Gujarat, enhancing crop productivity in certain districts of Haryana & Odisha and reaching out to farmers in the water shed areas in Karnataka.

OTHERS

“Save Energy” drive and “Earth Hour” saw employees campaigning and contributing to various means of saving electricity by adopting alternate means of commuting, switching off unnecessary lights and non-essential equipment. Also ran several contests to promote awareness on environment issues and safety. Trees were planted and support was harnessed from local communities to safeguard against global warming and deforestation.

Green Energy Initiatives

The challenge for telecom companies today lies in managing their energy requirements at extremely dispersed locations. Airtel understands that being the market leader it is their responsibility to lead the way for green telecom initiatives. With limited reliable access to grid power supply for the telecom network, have adopted energy initiatives with a goal of reducing carbon foot print in different markets.

Changing Norms of Corporate Social Responsibility

A. Cyber Security

Regularly provides support to government agencies like CERT.in, IB, NTRO, and NATGRID in dealing with specific threat mitigation like botnet threat to ADSL routers, Rustock and Stuxnet propagation etc; proactive threat mitigation to nation-critical services (attack simulation exercises), raising threat alerts (e.g. +92 attacks), analysis of telecom sector for national intelligence (NATGRID research) and Lawful Interception. Also actively working with government agencies in Africa to usher in security best practices and cyber security initiatives at a national level.

B. Minimal use of paper

Bharti Airtel is very sensitive to the sustainability of environment and are watchful of the impact of all activities.

Further to minimize the use of paper, duplex printing (i.e. double- sided printing) is the standard setting for all printers & copiers. Moreover there is an access control on printing machines that restricts the misuse of papers. Also, all printers and copiers are installed with “sleep modes”; wherein after a specified period of inactivity, they reduce their energy consumption by powering down without turning off completely.

C. E-Waste Management

The group have expanded the scope of e-waste management by including network e-waste through authorized re-cyclers. comply with the disposal of e-waste as Airtel Africa has adopted primary schools in each of the 17 African countries that it has a presence in, as per applicable WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) norms.

D. Healthcare

True to the brand essence of “enriching lives’, bouquet of healthcare services offered by Airtel seeks to provide best in class services to its customers through innovative use of the mobile technology. Airtel has yet again been the first operator in the country to enter into the m-health domain and launch innovative products to help millions. Airtel’s Mediphone service is a doctor on call service that allows Airtel mobile customers to avail quality health advice through their mobile phones – anytime, from anywhere. Airtel seeks to enrich its customer’s lives by driving a change in the consumer outlook towards acute diseases and injuries from curative to preventive. Information on “do-it-yourself at home or first-aid care in times of emergency” is now available to customers through Airtel’s alert service.

It has also launched the Ananya initiative to develop, test and scale up innovative solutions to improve the health and development of Bihar’s rural families. The services range from maternal care to job advertisements. The focus is to increase knowledge, change attitudes and shape a proactive behavior towards health services.