Communities

Running effective community investment programmes is core to our business operations and an important aspect of maintaining our licence to operate. We do this by helping communities to identify their priorities through participatory needs assessment programmes, and then work closely with them to design programmes that seek to make progress towards an overall improvement in the quality of life of the local communities.

 

Vedanta key stakeholders diagram with Communities highlighted

Our approach

We develop our community programmes, aligned to the principles of our sustainability strategy, with two main considerations – the needs of the local people and that development plans are in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals (UNMDG).

To maximise outcomes we focus on seven key areas through our community investment activities. These have been chosen as a response to both local needs and direction from international development frameworks and are specifically tailored, taking into account relevant cultural backgrounds:

Health (including nutrition and sanitation)

Our operations tend to be located in rural areas, where access to health, nutrition and sanitation facilities is scarce and local infrastructure and facilities are poor or non-existent. Our community health activities include the delivery of medical infrastructure through hospitals/health posts we run across the Group supported by medical outreach services, which include mobile health vans and medical outposts to give isolated rural communities access to medical services.

We have programmes to support access to clean water and increase awareness of the importance of sanitation, providing practical assistance in developing related infrastructure, such as toilets, garbage disposal facilities and waste recycling. 

Education

Our operations exist in rural poor locations where access to education is limited. The Vedanta Bal Chetna Anganwadi (VBCA) programme targets pre-school level education through the Integrated Child Development Scheme, run in partnership with the Indian Government. We also support a mid-day meal programme through eight centralised kitchens, aimed at improving the health status of children from Class I to VIII in Government-aided schools as well as encouraging regular attendance at school.

We also assist adult literacy centres, distribute education kits and provide proactive support and encouragement for educational enrolment and achievement. Skills development training is offered in a wide range of marketable trades and we encourage development of small business enterprises and entrepreneurship.

Sustainable Livelihood

Opportunities for developing a sustainable livelihood are often non-existent in rural developing communities, restricting self-dependency and sufficiency. On farms, we distribute high-yield seeds, provide education and training in fruit and vegetable cultivation and in animal rearing practices, breed selection and animal vaccinations.

We offer a range of technical assistance through partners, including adopting the new scientific technologies such as compost pits and drip irrigation systems. We also focus on non-farm interventions for rural youth to create economic opportunity.

Female empowerment

Rural women can play a key role in supporting their households by generating incomes and improving the overall well-being of the communities they live in. Our main activity in working to empower women is through our support for over 1,200 women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs).

These SHGs bring women together to develop skills and create various income-generating micro businesses. As economic opportunities are very limited in isolated, rural villages, SHGs not only give women a chance to contribute towards the income of their families but also give them the opportunity to socialise and share concerns and experiences with other women outside the home, leading to the overall empowerment of women.

Community asset creation

Many areas of our operations often lack basic amenities and infrastructure. Our community asset creation programme facilitates the building and development of infrastructure projects in partnership with national and local governments. This  includes the building of schools in rural and remote locations. Facilities are built on a needs basis in discussion with the community and have included community halls, roads, health and education facilities.

Bio-investment

Restoring and improving natural systems helps improve the biological balance of a locality and reduce rural poverty. Integrating agriculture with land-water management and eco-system conservation is an essential part of our rural livelihood generation schemes, at both a community and an individual level. Watershed management, vegetable plot development, cattle breed improvement and cash crop farming are some of the key initiatives we undertake in the farming sector.

Integrated village development

 The Integrated Village Development Programme aims to achieve the holistic development of villages. The plan covers infrastructure support and the health, education, environmental, livelihood, energy and human resources needs of local people. It also encourages local people to participate in the collective management of their resources.

Delivering our programmes

Guided by the ‘Public-Private-People-Partnership’ (4Ps) model, the majority of our initiatives are carried out in collaboration with external partners, who bring relevant expertise. Our partners include governments, local and international organisations and institutions, including universities, schools and hospitals. A consistent feature of our projects is our aim that they can be handed over to the community.

To manage both our community relationships and community investment programmes, we have a dedicated team of over 180 corporate social responsibility personnel. These individuals are crucial to driving and managing local engagement and act as a point of contact for community members.

We discuss this year’s community activities in more detail in our Sustainable Development report.