Women are at the Centre of Solving Societal Problems – Vidya Shah, Executive Chairperson, EdelGive 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.
Talking about the focus areas of the EdelGive Foundation, Vidya Shah, Executive Chairperson, EdelGive Foundation mentioned that she is extremely passionate about women and gender issues. “Women seem to be at the centre of solving various societal problems, be it education, nutrition, or being empowered as a community. Unless women’s issues are solved, we will never be able to move forward.” She believes that, at a grassroots level, women want a voice and agency and EdelGive’s programs are aimed at this impact. There is a need to change mind-sets of both women and men, leading to a paradigm shift in the baggage women carry. Women need access to legal justice, recourse against violence, and grassroots level leadership roles to create impact.
Learnings for the Government
The government can be considered as the biggest NGO as it is required to use its revenues for the welfare of citizens. Social problems are complex, interconnected, and multi-dimensional and they require calibrated solutions. A collective consciousness was generated in the midst of the pandemic, with all the sectors coming together to fight the issue. The government is slow due to its structure, hierarchy and method of addressing problems so it can adopt supply chain knowledge from the private sector and learn the aspects of effective mobilisation for the development sector.
Adopting Effective Processes
There is a lot that the corporate sector can learn from the development sector, including a focus on patience, long-term initiatives and empathetic leadership. Corporates should be able to drive people to do beyond their call of duty and monetary reward. Similarly, the development sector can imbibe the corporate focus on back-end enterprise functions like risk, governance, compliance, technology, and HR.
Biggest Learnings During COVID
There is a huge focus on how children can learn better and, for this, EdelGive is working with government and Zilla Parishad schools. While online education has bloomed during the pandemic, it is still difficult for 70-80% of India’s children to access online education. Education should go to kids in a way that children can access it optimally so we need to tweak the whole language around technology and make it more child-friendly. We also need to change the way we view teachers and their impact on fostering education. We must also focus on equipping teachers to make the most of the hybrid model.
Changes in the Donor Profile
There is a robust growth in the number of younger people engaging in philanthropy. While corporate philanthropy is growing at 15-16% per annum, private philanthropy is growing around 30% with the new wealth generated in the last 8-10 years and awareness about the need for philanthropy bridged the gap between civic society and the organisations.
Advice to rising stars
Enjoy the learnings in the sector and focus on boosting your EQ and Learnability. You must learn to evolve as professionals if you wish to break through the glass ceilings you build for yourselves. The sector will teach you everything from diversity, embracing differences, empathy, humility and acceptance.
Read our previous conversation with Srikanth Vishwanathan, CEO, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy here.