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Connecting The Development Sector

We Catalyse Cipla’s Philanthropy into Strategic Giving and CSR – Rumana Hamied, Managing Trustee, Cipla Foundation

GoBarefoot, a professional networking platform exclusively catering to the Development sector, by facilitating connections and exchange of ideas and information, has collaborated with Katalyst India and Third Sector Partners to present “Leadership Conversations in the Development Sector”, a series of insightful interviews conducted by Shital Kakkar Mehra, India’s leading executive presence coach and Founder at GoBarefoot. Featuring seasoned and reputed leaders from various verticals of the social sector, the series offers a peek behind the scenes and helps viewers find answers to the most pressing questions facing the sector.

Discussing the growth trajectory of Cipla Foundation and its contribution to the growth of the parent company, Rumana Hamied, Managing Trustee, Cipla Foundation said, “As sectors, we co-exist. We are an extension of our mothership. Cipla is always on the quest for affordable medication and tries to keep the patient front and centre in everything we do. The Foundation has imbibed various learnings from the parent, including keeping people at the core, undertaking ethical business steps and applying a democratic lens to everything we do.” She believes that the two entities have a symbiotic relationship and mentions that CIpla for Change has pivoted very quickly, giving people an opportunity to remain connected over the last two years.

Importance of Working Together Across Sectors

We are not just a funder but a partner to the NGOs we fund. We offer compliance and regulation support to NGOs as we have strong expertise in this area. We try to be extremely flexible with each other, especially since the pandemic when money had to be diverted from education to health and food. These conversations have come from years of collaboration and trust and we enable each other to play to our strengths while building capacity and fortifying the bottom of the pyramid. Collaboration is imperative to ensure success. 

Views on the CSR Mandate

For Cipla, philanthropy was always important but the law helped us give ourselves direction, work with focus and give with intent. We think of the law as an incentive rather than a tax and work to create sustainable impact with the CSR contribution. On the whole, anything that pushes you to do more, strategically, is good and the law has also offered us a structure which makes reporting easier. 

Taking Cipla’s Legacy Forward

Cipla has been caring for life over the last 85 years, with a single-minded focus, every single day. We adopted the health vertical very naturally and are taking efforts to take the legacy to the last mile. We have no boundaries and can work very freely as we make palliative care our legacy and future. That is the impact we have given our legacy – providing it wings and taking it to the people.

Leadership Lessons from Pandemic Management

Cipla never closed during the pandemic. Truckers who transported medicines to the depots did not have food options on the journey so we decided to feed all the truckers. That is one lesson we learned – leadership needs to be flexible and focused on the demographics in need. Empathy and saying that the one person getting left out should be taken care of is what makes leadership matter. Even during the pandemic, people across Cipla and the Foundation went out into the community and played an important role in empowering the affected populace. There is a lot more empathy and focus on collaborative philanthropy after the pandemic. 

Read our previous conversation with Shamik Trehan, CEO, Dr. Reddy’s Foundation here.

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