YES SCALE UP to develope a supportive ecosystem for India’s social transformation

Prerana Langa currently working as a CEO with YES FOUNDATION, CSR arm of Yes Bank talks to Bilal Hussain, Managing Editior, CSR Times about Yes! I am the change. 

Earlier, Prerana Langa has been with ICICI Foundation since its inception and works on strategy and communications.Prerana also leads ICICI Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team, which is responsible for the design and implementation of CSR projects for the ICICI Group of Companies. Prerana’s 18 years of work experience include providing strategic counsel, initiation of community partnerships, training, communications, designing marketing promotions and brand management communications projects. She has worked on a wide range of social projects for ICICI Bank,Hindustan Unilever, McDonald’s India and others. Prerana holds a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialisation in Marketing from the University of Mumbai. She has a deep interest in social issues and volunteers with a CSO/NGO.

BH: Tell us about YES FOUNDATION

PL: YES FOUNDATION is the social development arm of YES BANK. Under the visionary guidance of its Chief Mentor, Mr. Rana Kapoor, the Foundation follows a differentiated approach focussed on stimulating entrepreneurship and innovative use of media initiatives to bridge gaps and act as a force multiplier towards building an empowered and equitable India

BH:  What all different services YES FOUNDATION provide and particularly for NGOs?

PL: YES FOUNDATION has identified three major challenges/gaps in the development sector   - lack of access to finances, good human resources and communication resources. Accordingly, the Foundation has developed programs to address these issues 

YES! i am the CHANGE (YIAC) is the flagship program of YES FOUNDATION. It is a nationwide mindset transformation program to drive the spirit of positive social change amongst the youth through the medium of films

The genius of this program lies in its non-sermonising, non-patronising approach to facilitate a connection between the untapped energy of the youth and the voices less heard through the impactful medium of films

As part of YIAC 101-Hour Social Filmmaking Challenge, participants make 3-minute films on social causes which form an open repository of invaluable communication resources for NGOs. Most importantly, the process of participation and exposure to various social causes leads to inner transformation of the youth and enables them to become agents of social change. Access to volunteers and good communication resources, increases manifold the social impact of NGOs

This year, YES! i am the CHANGE has emerged as the World’s Largest Social Film Movement with participation of 1.52 lakh teams (over 5 lakh youth) from 2,500 cities and towns across India

The Foundation’s upcoming program – YES SCALE UP will focus on mentoring NGOs to set up effective internal systems in financial management and  communication, enabling them to access CSR funding. The Foundation will also set up platforms to facilitate discussions and partnerships between the government, corporates and NGOs to increase efficiencies and catalyse India’s social development

BH: How do you see mandatory CSR in India?

PL: Corporate Social Responsibility has tremendous untapped potential to catalyse active partnership between government, business, Not-for-Profits and citizens, thereby accelerating India’s inclusive development

CSR today is increasingly growing in importance and the most heartening trend has been the increasing interaction between government, corporates and Not-for-Profits. This openness to learn and use business acumen to devise innovative solutions has the potential to revolutionise India’s development sector

In the next few years, I expect Corporate India to focus on deepening social impact through creation of innovative models for the country’s development challenges and formulation of standardised frameworks to enable scale

BH: Have you so far contributed by any means through CSR to any of the social causes?

PL: Since inception, YES BANK through its Responsible Banking platform, has been working towards Sustainable Development focusing on the Triple Bottom-line approach of People, Planet & Prosperity

Through YES! i am the CHANGE, we engage youth on multiple social causes ranging from environmental sustainability, child rights and education, animal care, women safety and empowerment, random acts of kindness, elderly care, etc. The aim is to sensitise youth to take be responsible leaders and give them a choice to find and discover a cause close to their heart and pursue it further

BH: How you think your recent initiative regarding YES! I am change can have an impact?

PL: We believe in the power of each individual to make a difference. 

Films made by YES! i am the CHANGE participants are already creating ripples of change across the country

Many participants have started volunteering with Not-for-Profits and further harnessing the power of media to further social causes:

A participant, Kuljeet Chaudhary, an IT professional from Noida made a film on rehabilitation of animals in distress for YIAC which  inspired him to work on this cause on a sustained basis. He has mobilised over 1200 youth through his online platform, Samarpan to actively work towards animal welfare and rehabilitation and within 9 months, they have rescued over 600 animals in distress.  He is now in the process of establishing a Not-for-Profit to take this cause forward

Artist Leena Kejriwal’s participation in YES! i am the CHANGE transformed her thinking around art and new media as tools for raising awareness on female trafficking. She started a public art campaign called ‘MISSING’ to sensitise people on the issue. She raised INR 16 lakhs through crowd-funding to take this campaign across the country

BH:  What other initiatives have YES FOUNDATION taken by contributing their bit towards society and environment cause?

PL: YES FOUNDATION contributes to the national discourse on media’s role in accelerating social change through a multi-city panel discussion series

To encourage socially responsible cinema, the Foundation has instituted awards for professional filmmakers (e.g. Film for Social Impact award at Jio-MAMI –Mumbai Film Festival) and also provides grants to films which have the potential to change public mindset

YES! i am the CHANGE films on environment and responsible citizenship have been screened for 1 lakh children across India to sensitise them on the issue. Post the film screenings, discussions are held with the children on the issue and they take pledges to be responsible citizens

YES FOUNDATION has also conducted over 700 filmmaking workshops for youth to build up their skills in capturing voices less heard from the grassroots and generating public awareness on social issues

BH: Which geographies have you worked so far within India?

PL:  YES FOUNDATION works at a pan-India level. YES! i am the CHANGE has been able to reach 2,500 cities and towns across all 29 Indian states India

BH: How about your future plans and projects?

PL:  We are looking at expanding the YES! i am the CHANGE initiative to the Indian diaspora across the globe and  engaging them in India’s social transformation

We are focused on deepening the social impact through strengthening of the development ecosystem. We look forward to developing a social engagement platform connecting the untapped potential of the youth with NGOs across the country

Our upcoming program, YES SCALE UP aims at developing a supportive ecosystem for India’s social transformation.

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