In conversation with Ms. Suja Warriar, Team Member, Sustainability Planning and Governance, Infosys Ltd

Ms. Suja Warriar has been working at Infosys Bangalore for the last 21 years with a passion to work on community projects. She had also taken a sabbatical to work with Dr Sunil Kaul and Jenifer at ANT, Assam, to learn about the rural village scenario in India. 

What are the core focus areas of Infosys?

The CSR wing is run by Infosys Foundation under the leadership of Ms. Sudha Murty. It concentrates on five focus areas, the details of which are given vividly at the company website.

Can you please tell about some flagship programs?

Infosys has been successful in taking up some programs which were otherwise considered to be a forbidden issue. They have been associated with the development of the Devadasi community in Karnataka to help them live a life of dignity and self-respect in their own space. They also have healthcare projects at Cancer institutes and eye hospitals, along with funding large projects such as the Agastya Foundation. Also, they have been helping the artisans in India to lead a life with respect and dignity.

How does Infosys identify these areas?

The Infosys Foundation is the CSR wing which is process oriented, carried out in a systematic manner to identify the projects, aligned to the organizational goals. It encourages the employees to engage with various CSR projects depending on their interest and passion.

What are the challenges that you face as a part of the CSR team?

The organization has strong employee volunteering initiatives which enable the employees to associate with a project with ease. Through the initiates, the organization incorporates responsibility in them, to become responsible citizens, working on community projects thus helping in imparting the knowledge gain in the environment as a whole. A vivid example of such initiative, waste management, helped the employees to learn the best practices associated to it, which in- turn helped them to work with the community and government, focusing at the policy level in Karnataka resulting in the implementation of some of the best practices associated with solid waste management.

What are your opinions on investing in building capacities of implementing partners?

“I had the privilege to be a panel member at CII, Karnataka; was also associated with enabling program for NGO’s”stated Ms. Warriar. During the program it was realized that the NGO sector was unable to take up large projects; Unable to bring out reports on impacts and accounts, resulting in losing access to CSR funds. It is necessary for the organization to develop the skills and competence to handle large projects with the suitable management system and board structure to seek access to big projects and corporate funds in the development sector.

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