British Asian Trust's CSR partnership with BT in India

BT India has an ambitious corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme that looks at leveraging technology to empower 100,000 adolescent girls in India in four critical areas – health, agency, education and employability.

The British Asian Trust has partnered with BT to manage this £2.6 million CSR programme over three years.

On 13 November 2019, BT and British Asian Trust hosted the various implementation partners in Gurgaon, for the first Partners’ Meet. The full day meet was aimed at creating a dialogue among the partners and fostering collaboration.

The day began with an introduction to BT India’s approach to CSR by Larry Stone, Chairman of BT India, who spoke about CSR as a way to give back to the community and as a means of building engagement with an increasingly young workforce. Studies have found that when looking at potential employers, 76% of millennials would consider a company’s social and environmental commitment; and 64% of them would decline companies without strong CSR. Since, by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up of millennials, what is important to them will deeply affect the workplaces of the future.

After this, the partners shared brief overviews of their work. There were several common themes that emerged across the presentations. While the overarching framework for the programme focuses on addressing the vulnerabilities of adolescent girls and using technology, the partners found that many of them were struggling with similar challenges and that there were opportunities for them to learn from each others’ approaches. Some of the topics discussed included how to create and leverage school cabinets, how to effectively deliver menstrual hygiene in the curriculum and the use of open source technologies for programme management. Lauren Kahn, Senior Manager of Global Digital Impact and Sustainability for BT, then introduced the attendees to the recently launched BT Skills for Tomorrow campaign and platform. The platform offers a range of learning resources that will equip people with the skills need for a digital future. The platform has brought together various BT partners, including Google Garage, Barefoot, and LinkedIn Learning.

With the aim of embedding learning and development within the partnership, two additional sessions were organised. The first session, on Messaging Architecture, took participants through the structure of a good elevator pitch, and how to link it to outcomes and impact. Examples of highlighted the need for audience-specific messaging.

The second session was on Engaging with Safeguarding and was focussed on implementing safeguarding within an India context. Partners spoke about how we are working to embed safeguarding into their day-to-day programme design budgets and even reporting. With the partners being at different points of this journey, they were able to share insights into potential barriers, effective processes, and success stories with employees and even funders.

Throughout the day, partners spoke about sharing resources, visiting each other’s programmes and other ways of collaborating. There were additional discussions, towards the end, about meaningful and effective ways to collaborate. All participants, including BT and the British Asian Trust, agreed that such Meets can help partners leverage each other’s strengths and collaborate to create impact and innovative solutions.


Saleem Khan, India Director, British Asian Trust

December 2019