Engage more young people in CSR

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Speakers in an online discussion recommended that corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives involve local youth organizations by providing them with the opportunity to access CSR funds. This will ensure that young people acquire skills in the development and implementation of projects and can thus continue to promote social change.

The event titled “CSR Dialogue: Chattogram” was held on August 5, 2021. It was part of a joint initiative of The Daily Star and CSR Window known as “A Better Tomorrow: CSR Summit and Awards”. The annual national program aims to create dialogues for future development and sustainability solutions and to recognize companies for their innovative and world-class CSR initiatives, social projects and programs implemented for lasting impacts in society.

Antu Kumar Roy, member of the Dhrubotora Youth Development Fund (DYDF), said: “Currently all the activities of our foundation are funded by our members. This places a burden on us, which is why CSR funds should be made available to us. If the corporate sector is not satisfied with our project proposals or lacks experience, we ask that they provide us with a way to fill this gap.I would also like to ask more experienced NGOs to partner with us to help us become a more competent and professional organization.

Arifur Rahman, Managing Director of Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), said: “Small local organizations find it difficult to secure funding for CSR because their project proposals are generally not up to par due to a lack of experience. There are many youth organizations. in Chattogram who are also suffering because of this problem. I hope that the corporate sector will allow them to benefit from these funds and thus provide them with an important learning opportunity. YPSA looks forward to helping youth organizations such as DYDF gain more experience and knowledge regarding CSR. “

Khairul Basher, Communications Manager at Grameenphone (GP), said: “GP has primarily worked with SDG 10 for its CSR programs, which focus on reducing inequalities. In addition to our regular social responses such as Online Child Safety Campaigns and Rapid Disaster Response we have implemented platforms such as our Accelerate Program for anyone wishing to create their own start-up or organization. . The GP Explorer initiative provides a platform for young people to develop important skills needed for career improvement. I would strongly recommend small youth organizations to review the facilities of these two initiatives to improve their capacity so that they can work with CSR in the future. “

Farid Chowdhury, General Secretary of the Chattogram Press Club, said: “When large companies like GP and BSRM want to launch a CSR initiative, they should use newspapers, especially local newspapers, to engage potential implementing organizations. . We will also allocate space in our logs. to showcase the work of local youth organizations, as this can help them attract the attention of large companies who might consider giving them access to certain CSR funds. “

Ruhi Murshid, advisor, BSRM Ltd., suggested that companies establish different categories for their CSR projects.

“The current problem is that the corporate sector has to pay taxes on the CSR funds they spend. Such taxes strongly discourage them from continuing to work with CSR. I would ask the government to exempt the CSR funds from the tax, ”she said.

Dr Badiul Alam, Deputy Director of Local Government (DDLG), Chattogram Deputy Commissioner (DC) Office, said: “Many small businesses donate funds instead of working within CSR. If we could establish a CSR pool where all of these companies could donate, the impact would be more significant. We also encourage small NGOs and youth organizations that work locally to contact the DC office for any kind of support. “

Aroma Dutta, MP, member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Welfare, said: “As Bangladesh nears graduation, it will no longer be classified as Least Developed Country (LDC). As a result, foreign donors will slowly reduce investment in our development. To ensure that we are prepared for this scenario, we must become self-sufficient. The government should encourage corporate sector CSR activities so that they can become a sustainable form of social investment. They can do this by enabling the corporate sector to use a market systems development approach in their CSR projects. With the participation of government, business sector and civil society, we can establish a self-sustaining development sector that will continue to thrive and strengthen our country. The business sector should also encourage the participation of youth organizations in their projects, because with a little work experience these youth organizations can become an asset for the business sector. “

Sazzad Hossain, Head of Leaf, BAT Bangladesh, also joined the discussion. He highlighted some of BAT Bangladesh’s notable CSR initiatives such as Bonayan, Probaho and Deepto and urged all companies engaged in CSR initiatives to work with local government institutions, NGOs and youth organizations to better understand the scenario. at local level. The session was moderated by Ahsan Rony, founder of Green Savers.


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