In early 2000s Wipro started a set of deliberate initiatives deriving out of its idea of Good Citizenship and a belief that a corporation is part of the larger social context and therefore they cannot exist independent of society and its challenges. Wipro’s Social and Community Initiatives are a direct reflection of these ideals.
Over the last 15 years, we have set up the momentum for a corporation wide sustainability program at Wipro that involves employees, customers, suppliers, investors, the government, communities and the education system. As part of this charter, we have defined aspirational goals on dimensions like GHG emission reduction, Water, Waste, Biodiversity, People Diversity, Supply Chain, Education and Community Engagement.
In 2014, we launched a three year participatory ground water program in the Sarjapur-Yamalur watershed in Bengaluru. We continue to closely engage with the issues of urban biodiversity, watersheds and lakes, solid waste management and the social security of informal waste pickers, the issues of electronic waste and mobility among others.
The issues of ecology are complex and interlinked. Human induced changes over the last two centuries have pushed the boundaries of various boundaries – climate change, biodiversity, water, nutrient and resource cycles. Ecological crises are closely linked to the problems of livelihood, equity and justice. A distinctly industrial, technocratic or deterministic solution oriented approach is unlikely to be the silver bullet to address the nature of these issues. Neither is it the responsibility of any one set of institutions to bring about this change, be it government or business.
We believe that civil society organizations (CSO) have a significant role to play in changing the narrative and approach to these problems. They can bring in appropriate sensibilities and sensitivities by being invested in the context of societies and communities. The focus on local contexts and participatory approaches can act as an effective feedback loop into larger, macro scale interventions in policy and governance. It can also qualify and steer conventional technology led approaches onto a trajectory that is more impactful and inclusive. The interventions can be through a wide range of approaches using the narratives of local histories, culture and political developments.
The objective of the fellowship program is to select capable & committed individuals and facilitate their long-term, effective engagement with issues of ecology and human development. In the first year, At present, we have selected four organisations (seven fellows) for the fellowship. The areas of work (and regions) of selected organisations are in Millets FPO (Andhra Pradesh), decentralized solar based livelihood solutions (Odisha), Ground water and fluoride management (North Karnataka) and Tribal livelihood and environmental program (Jharkhand).
We are looking for proposals that are action oriented and at the same time, that are rooted in rigor and conceptually sound approaches. Proposals that are advocacy oriented or which are in the nature of studies and analysis will not be considered, unless they are part of larger action-research programs. However the approaches can also be from different perspectives- like education, public health, food, local culture/histories to name a few.
The proposals can be in either urban or rural ecology
1. Number of Fellowships
Selected fellows will need to work in pairs i.e. we will not support single fellowships. A pair of fellows can choose to add more people in their organization or in their team but Wipro’s support will be limited to a maximum of 2 founder-fellows. The start-date of both the fellowships cannot be staggered over more than 6 months. This is to encourage fellows to work together as soon as possible and also ensure that the founders have adequate overlap within the Seeding programme.
2. Quantum, Mode and Duration of Financial Support
The financial support would be provided for up to 3 years from the date on which the MoU is signed and would amount to approx. Rs. 3 to 3.6 lakhs per year per fellow. It would be paid in equal quarterly tranches.
The fellowship is designed to support only living costs and will not support infrastructure or operating expenses of any kind. Here we encourage the fellows to explore other sources of funds – extant government programs/resources, other NGO’s/CSO’s or community resources. Prior intimation/approval is required in case of financial support from other entities (individuals, private businesses or corporates).
3. Some guiding principles:
The fellowship is Wipro’s seeding program for ecology CSOs. It is to help support the creation and development of new organizations that can approach and contribute to the problems of environmental sustainability in a more holistic and integrated manner – furthering the cause of a just, equitable and humane society
We will support new or very early stage ideas in their formative stages. By inference therefore, this is NOT meant for organizations or programs that are already in existence for some time.
We are looking for proposals that demonstrate strong commitment and dedication. They should be focused (scope and issue identified) and have a balanced, pragmatic approach.
4. Conditions for Continued Support
The continued provision of the stipend would be subject to adherence to the clauses of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Fellow and Wipro and satisfactory progress on the plans submitted during the selection stage (including an organizational development plan); as determined by periodic reviews and discussions; and a detailed annual review.
Depending on the outcome of these reviews, we may further extend Organizational support to the seeded-orgs, after the 3-years term for Seeding Fellowship is over, on case to case basis.
To register – log on to http://wipro.org/wipro-sustainability-seeding-fellowship/register/
Post registration, you will be able to view and fill the Expression of Interest form.
Thank you for your interest in the Wipro Ecological Sustainability Fellowship.