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Archive for the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ Category

Our Global Victory is announcing its Atlanta Tattoo Artists for Human Rights Contest to benefit underprivileged children and communities in the areas of education, opportunity, and protection. Artwork submitted by the winning artist will be used on t-shirts and bags for charity to fund the humanitarian projects featured on the Our Global Victory website. These include building classrooms for refugee children in Uganda, creating leadership opportunities for at-risk youth in NYC, providing education and healthcare for children from slum communities in Pune and Mumbai, and providing literacy education for women and children working in the Nigerian marketplace. If you would like to have a copy of the flyer sent to your email address, please email Our Global Victory at ourglobalv@gmail.com with your request. The winner will be announced on July 28, 2010. For contest details, please view the flyer below:

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written by: Maria Dieci

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy, Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East , tells us the reasons why companies should actively promote the empowerment of women in developing countries.

Women’s empowerment and education leads to improvements in child health and nutrition, increases in agricultural productivity, overall economic expansion, and decreases in the infant mortality rate. Two out of the eight millennium development goals set forth by the United Nations address women directly, while the remaining goals positively affect women.  It is for these reasons, among others, that women’s empowerment needs to be a focal point for public policy and action.

However, as Coleman aptly points out, policies cannot be effective when there are still monumental gender gaps in much of the developing world.  Today, many women around the world are prohibited from fully contributing to the societies in which they live because of gender discrimination.  This issue, Coleman argues, to be appropriately and effectively tackled, must involve collaboration around the world including from “the world’s largest companies.”

Isobel Coleman

What Coleman speculates could be “the greatest cultural shift of the twenty-first century” will occur when companies realize that by empowering women in developing countries they not only improve their public image, but also increase their profit. At the same time, the resources that corporations can contribute can make a significant difference in these women’s lives, their children’s lives, and the health and prosperity of their communities.

Positive Effects of Female Empowerment on Businesses:

  • More productive labor force
  • Expanded customer base
  • Increased investment
  • Improved global supply chains

The article highlights several organizations that champion the empowerment and education of women:

  • Nike – The Nike Foundation has distributed close to $100 million towards health, education and leadership programs for young girls. The Girl Effect has raised global awareness and support for female empowerment.
  • India’s Hindustan Unilever – The Shakti Entrepreneur Program provides micro-credit grants to rural women who then distribute the company’s products.  Women involved benefit from higher familial status and self-esteem and invest in their children’s health, education, and nutrition.
  • Wal-Mart – In a partnership with CARE, Wal-Mart has introduced several programs aimed at teaching literacy and workplace skills, many targeted at women.
  • US Military – In an experimental program, the military engages Afghan women in making uniforms for the national police and army.

These four giants are taking steps to empower women.  The hope is that as more corporations recognize the positive effects for the world economy and their businesses, they will proactively contribute to change the status of women throughout the developing world.  There is one common thread in every story of empowerment: the essentiality of education.

Everyone Can Help Empower Women

Our Global Victory (OGV) has partnered with The MarketPlace School Initiative to give this gift of education to vulnerable men, women, and children in Nigeria.  The project provides literacy classes to those who have not been able to overcome the barriers to education.  This project’s unique approach is that it brings education to the marketplace – the place where most of the community congregates to work.  It targets women especially and enables them to apply for micro-loans, start businesses, and increase their income so they can provide for their families, purchase uniforms, and afford school fees for their children.  Visit the OGV site today to learn more about how you can collaborate with this wonderful project and join the movement to empower women across the globe!

Primary article used for this post: The Global Glass Ceiling: Why Empowering Women is Good For Business, by Isobel Coleman

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‘Together we can change the world.’ Many people say this and it is true for many situations. People have gathered together to abolish slavery and achieve suffrage, to fight crime and rebuild infrastructure, to build schools and inform education policy.  People can move mountains, so why can’t people influence corporate social responsibility? The answer is: We Can.     

Today, individuals have so much information at their fingertips from corporate websites, blogs, and social networks to formal reporting initiatives. Corporations have few places to hide their practices within the supply chain. Individuals can monitor corporate decisions and tell others about what they have found. Further, corporations know that word of mouth is still one of the strongest influencers of consumer choice.  

It is easier than ever to share ideas. People no longer have to run into someone at the store to hear their thoughts about the latest products. They can read reviews online about them or, even more powerful, consult their Facebook, MySpace or Twitter cyber friends and acquaintances in real time for their advice. On Twitter, a member can tweet a 140-character question about a corporation and receive 50 responses in less than a minute including opinions and links to articles, reports, and blogs that inform their purchasing decision.   

 

Together We Can Change the World 

Increasingly, CEOs and Corporate Social Responsibility Implementers within corporations are realizing the importance of listening to the consumer voice. This is especially true in today’s economy. A recent IBM Global CEO Study found that successful “CEOs are spending more to attract and retain increasingly prosperous, informed, and socially aware customers.” Practicing good social responsibility translates to better standing in the community, bigger profits, attracting and retaining more talented employees, and greater social impact

Increasingly, organizations recognize the importance of private enterprise in the success of reaching the Millennium Development Goals. From the 2nd addition of the International Business Leaders Forum’s Framework for Action report:

Corporations can contribute to the success of the MDGs in the following areas:

·      Fundamental business operations and supply chains – implementing responsible business practices in areas such as human rights, labor, environmental, and health.

·      Social investment and philanthropy – contributing employee volunteers and expertise, product and in-kind contributions and supporting community based projects.

·      Public advocacy and institutional strengthening – collaborating on initiatives to support systemic change on local, national, or global levels. 

Collaboration between individuals, NGOs, non-profits, governments, and the private sector is so important that it is the eighth MDG: “’To develop a global partnership for development,’ explicitly calls for partnerships, which are essential at all levels-local, national, global-for the attainment of the other seven goals and the values and actions set out in the Millennium Declaration.” – UNDP

First Steps to Creating Change

·      Put away preconceived notions of what type of entities have the right to contribute to social issues.

·      Work together to discover strengths and how these strengths can be best used toward achieving common goals.

·      Ask how can non-profit, for-profit, government, NGO and individual efforts be coordinated to have the greatest impact on society.

·      Let people hear your voice. Find ways to get your voice heard on issues that you care about.

·      Join with like-minded others to influence corporate social responsibility efforts in education, poverty, child safety, the environment, and other important issues.  

·      Expect that the corporations you do business with are good citizens and hold them accountable to this.

·      Be the Change. Whenever possible make choices on products and services that reflect the change that you want to see in your community and the world. Choose corporations, products, and services that practice good social responsibility, give back to the community, support social projects, or contribute to society issues.        

As people become more aware of the potential good that can be achieved by collaborative entity efforts, greater impact can be achieved. People have more power to influence the way corporations approach social responsibility than they may realize. This is true for all societal issues but is especially important for children’s issues and meeting the goals Millennium Development Goals pertaining to children

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