Sir Martin Sorrell launches WPP India CSR Foundation

7 October, 2015


Partners with Genesis Foundation, Hope for Children and Magic Bus to launch INR 33 crores education, life skills and vocational training program

MUMBAI — WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, today announced the launch of ‘WPP India Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation’, consolidating CSR activities of all WPP Companies in India under one umbrella and working in unison towards effecting social change and nation building

The foundation is committed to a common CSR vision to “Enable children and youth from vulnerable and marginalized communities to achieve their full potential through holistic child development with a focus on education, life skills and health”.

To achieve its vision, the ‘WPP India CSR Foundation’ is launching an ambitious INR 33 Crore (USD 5 Million) education, life skills and vocational training programme targeted to reach 20,000 children aged from 11 to 18 years over the next three years. To take the programme to the ground, ‘WPP India CSR Foundation’ has partnered with Genesis Foundation, Hope For Children and Magic Bus as implementation partners bringing required local knowledge and in-depth community connect.

To drive India’s growth, the Government of India ‘Education for All’ report highlights the need to equip the youth with the relevant knowledge, skills values and attitudes. However the industry is plagued with multiple challenges:

The World Bank supported the ‘Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikhsha Abhiyan’ (RMSA) programme http://www.worldbank.org/projects/P118445/secondary-education-project?lang=en, only 44% of children complete education up to Class 10. Even those who do stay in school struggle with basic rudimentary reading, arithmetic skills and lack basic life skills to help them participate productively in society.  According to the 2014 ASER Report http://www.asercentre.org/, only 48% of children in class 5 can read a class 2 text.

With an aim to address these challenges, the WPP India CSR Foundation program aims to create an enabling environment for young girls and boys in their journey towards becoming capable and productive members of society.

Commenting on the launch of the WPP India CSR Foundation, WPP CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell said, “India has today established itself as one of the fastest growing world economies enjoying positive growth, however the country continues to be challenged with a large number of unemployed youth, posing as one of the biggest threats. We believe that a challenge of such magnitude requires a programme to be built on the principle of effective partnership. The WPP India CSR Foundation believes that by collaborating with knowledgeable and forward-looking not-for-profits we will ensure the program's success and sustainability in the long run.”

As one of the partners of the programme, Prema Sagar, Founder Trustee, Genesis Foundation said, “Before education, skills and employability comes the basic right of the child to live a healthy life. To ‘Give Life A Chance’, we provide financial support for life-changing medical intervention for critically ill under-privileged children so that they can learn, play and earn to build a future for themselves.
 
With the support of the WPP network, we look forward to reaching out to and garner more participation from individuals, organisations, hospitals and other NGOs for the cause. This way, we will be able to extend critical support to even more children, who, once they are leading healthy lives, can be educated and skilled to realise their potential” she further added.

Speaking about the partnership, Ian Correa, Director Development, Hope for Children said, “What I appreciate about the WPP approach is that their thought process strives to be considerate, compassionate and complete. It ties into HOPE foundation's 'Cradle to Career' strategy of helping children complete school before joining college and acquiring employable skills. We look forward to the children of the programme areas being able to realise their potential as a result of the WPP-HOPE foundation partnership."

The programme has been carefully designed to ensure a multi-stakeholder approach by not only working with children and teachers but also interacting with the local government bodies as well as the larger community. The objective is to involve all stakeholders that are critical to reaching the desired impact of children achieving their full potential. The programme aims to improve the quality of education through creative teaching methods, making the classroom an enjoyable place of learning and targeted community engagement and mentorship.

Commenting on the partnership, Pratik Kumar, CEO, Magic Bus, “We are honoured to be partnering with WPP towards bettering the lives of over 20,000 children and youth from some of Delhi NCR’s and Mumbai’s poorest neighbourhoods. Our project will work on delivering impact around improved learning outcomes and employability skills, in partnership with local NGOs and organisations.”

The programme will be launched in the last quarter of 2015 and will be rolled out across schools and communities in and around the National Capital Region and the Greater Mumbai area.

About WPP
WPP is the world’s largest communications services group with billings of US$76 billion and revenues of US$19 billion. Through its operating companies, the Group provides a comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services including advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion & relationship marketing and specialist communications. The company employs over 190,000 people (including associates and investments) in over 3,000 offices across 112 countries. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.

WPP was named ‘Holding Company of the Year’ at the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the fifth year running. WPP was also named, for the fourth consecutive year, the World's Most Effective Holding Company in the 2015 Effie Effectiveness Index, which recognizes the effectiveness of marketing communications.        

About
Genesis Foundation is a not for profit trust established in 2001 “dedicated to providing financial support for life-saving and life-changing medical intervention for critically ill under-privileged and orphan children in areas of: cardiac disorders, cancer, organ transplant, thalassemia and extreme physical deformities”. Genesis Foundations endeavor is to facilitate timely medical intervention with a mission to ‘Give Life a Chance’. Genesis Foundation has established relationships with doctors and hospitals across the country and has supported the treatment of more than 700 critically ill children to date. http://genesis-foundation.net/  

Hope For Children is a grass-roots organization founded in 1991 in the UK, with a vision “to bring hope and change the lives of the world’s most poor, sick and suffering”. HOPE works in urban slums and villages to bring about change in the lives of children, young people and vulnerable individuals through education, healthcare and skills training for livelihoods. Their objective is to break the cycle of poverty within a generation.  http://hope-for-children.org/

Magic Bus has a vision of “the world where each child and youth has the choice and control to be socially empowered and economically developed”.  Magic Bus aims to take children and youth on a journey from childhood to livelihood. Magic Bus uses a sport- and activity-based pedagogy using joyful learning and works extensively with the child’s support structure: the parents, the community at large and local institutions. This is to ensure the change we make results in social, emotional and economic well being for all children living in that area. Starting with a single program in a Mumbai slum in 1999, Magic Bus, now reaches over 2,50,000 children and 8,000 trained volunteer mentors across 22 States and 58 Districts of the country.http://www.magicbus.org/   

Contact:
Gitanjali Sabikhi | Genesis Burson-Marsteller |+91 9820211064 | Gitanjali.sabikhi@bm.com
Karen Lasrado | Genesis Burson-Marsteller | +91 9819703702 | Karen.lasrado@bm.com

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