1.1 Origin of the Report:
Term Paper report is a practical part of academic studies. This is a reflection of academic knowledge through practical work experience. Thus this Term Paper report aims to reflect the professional view of real world working environment.
The Department of Business Administration of National University offers four years BBA program majoring in different related fields. This BBA program is the building up of the theoretical knowledge about business administration that is the base of practical knowledge. This Term Paper is an attempt to provide business students an orientation to a real life business situation in which we can observe and evaluate the use and applicability of the theoretical concepts which were taught in the classrooms.
I have prepared this Term Paper with the mentioned topic that was suggested and supervised by my academic supervisor Md. Ashfaqur Rahman, Assistant Professor, Department of Business Administration, Institute of Science and Technology (IST).
- To Present a Background and Introduction of GrameenPhone Ltd.
- To Focus on the Business and Operations of the Company.
- To Focus on Products & Services
- To analyze the growth and determine the impact.
- Identify the findings of analysis and recommend based on the findings.
- Identify the Corporate social Responsibility of GrameenPhone.
- To have Knowledge on GrameenPhone Ltd.
- To improve corresponding and report writing ability.
- To fulfill requirement of the Term Paper.
1.3 Methodology :
Type of Research :
The research focuses the customer services offered by GrameenPhone which has been recently improved to a better extent for gaining positive experience from our subscribers. This type of research basically covers :
- Company Information
- Analyzing the industry
- Products & Services
- Customer Service aspects by the company
Sample Design :
For analyzing the whole telecommunication industry all the existing six mobile operators are taken as sample number for analyzing growth, market share & other related factors.
Survey Methods :
The overall method of collecting data can be divided into two categories :
- Primary Data Collection
- Secondary Data Collection
For the purpose of the study data and information have been collected from both primary and secondary sources. The relevant information collected from primary sources is collected in an informal way. Besides this, regular conversations with many GP employees also a source of related data. I have interviewed and taken some suggestions orally from the personnel of Grameen Phone Ltd. The secondary sources for data collection were published annual reports, monthly financial newsletters of GP and monthly newsletters of GrameenPhone Ltd.
Data Analysis and Interpretation :
All the data that are presented through charts & tables are also presented through graph-ical presentation. These graphs are interpreted by analyzing the scenario that acts as an indicator for different analysis.
Sequence Tasks for Arranging Report :
The report has been arranged by maintaining the following sequence :
1. Introduction of The Report
- Origin of the Report
- Objective of the Report
- Methodology of the report
- Rationale of the Report
- Scope & Limitations
2. Company Information
3. Industry Information
4. Analysis of different sectors
5. Conclusion and Recommendation
1.4 Rationale of the Study :
This report aims at reflecting the real life working environment to the fresh graduate or master’s students. This is very helpful as this helps to understand different aspects of a company. It also makes an introduction to professionalism that is vital in the working life. So, Term Paper can be visualized as a guideline for starting up job i.e. career life.
1.5 Scope :
The scope of the study is limited within telecommunication business in Bangladesh. It is also limited within the organization of Grameen Phone Ltd. and especially within corporate social Responsibility of the Company. Here I discuss with the topics related to the financial performance and Revenue of GrameenPhone.
1.6 Limitations :
- The company does not have sufficient source of secondary data and collecting of data was not smooth.
- Analyzing financial data is much more confusing and complicated than any other data.
- I was assigned in a unit with the jobs related to the Call center which is the vastest sector of an organization so it was really difficult for me to accumulate such lots of data and also it was hard to accumulate confidential financial data from other divisions.
2.1 GrameenPhone Corporate Governance :
In the fast-paced world of telecommunications, vibrant and dynamic Corporate Governance practices are an essential ingredient to success. Grameenphone believes in the continued improvement of corporate governance. This in turn has led the Company to commit considerable resources and implement internationally accepted Corporate Standards in its day-to-day operations.
Being a public limited company, the Board of Directors of Grameenphone have a pivotal role to play in meeting all stakeholders’ interests. The Board of Directors and the Management Team of Grameenphone are committed to maintaining effective Corporate Governance through a culture of accountability, transparency, well-understood policies and procedures. The Board of Directors and the Management Team also persevere to maintain compliance of all laws of Bangladesh and all internally documented regulations, policies and procedures.
Grameenphone is a truly transparent company that operates at the highest levels of integrity and accountability on a global standard.
2.2 Shareholders :
The shareholders of Grameenphone contribute their unique, in-depth experience in both telecommunications and development.
The international shareholder brings technological and business management expertise while the local shareholder provides a presence throughout Bangladesh and a deep understanding of its economy. Both are dedicated to Bangladesh and its struggle for economic progress and have a deep commitment to Grameenphone and its mission to provide affordable telephony to the entire population of Bangladesh.
2.3 About Telenor :
Telenor is emerging as one of the fastest growing providers of mobile communications services worldwide with ownership interests in 12 mobile operators across Europe and Asia.
Telenor is organized into three business areas; Mobile operations covering 12 countries, and Fixed-line and Broadcast services covering the Nordic region.
Telenor holds 62 percent of Grameenphone, with Grameen Telecom Corporation owning the remaining 38 percent. Telenor has played a pioneering role in development of cellular communications in Bangladesh.
The Telenor Group
- More than 150 million mobile subscribers worldwide
- Strong subscription growth, particularly in our Asian operations
- Listed as No.1 on Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2008
- Ranked as the world’s seventh largest mobile operator
- Revenues 2007: NOK 105 billion
- Workforce 2007: 35 800 man-years
- Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, with headquarters in Norway
2.4 About Grameen Telecom :
Grameen Telecom Corporation, which owns 38% of the shares of GrameenPhone, is a not-for-profit company and works in close collaboration with Grameen Bank.The internationally reputed bank for the poor, has the most extensive rural banking network and expertise in microfinance. It understands the economic needs of the rural population, in particular the women from the poorest households.
Grameen Telecom, with the help of Grameen Bank, administers the Village Phone Program, through which GrameenPhone provides its services to the fast growing rural customers. Grameen Telecom trains the operators, supplies them with handsets and handles all service-related issues.
Grameen Bank currently covers more than 67,000 villages which are serviced by 2121 bank branches all over the countryside. As of may 2006, the bank had 6.33 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom were women.
Grameen Telecom’s objectives are to provide easy access to GSM cellular services in rural Bangladesh, creating new opportunities for income generation through self- employment by providing villagers with access to modern information and communication based technologies.
3.1 CSR at GrameenPhone :
Around the world, development is attributed to myriad factors. From education to stable governance, hundreds of issues are directly linked with the process of growth. Curiously, connectivity has never been canonized in the same vein and has often been viewed as a peripheral tool rather than a genuine factor towards development. That perspective must change as we, at Grameenphone, understand the essential correlation between connectivity and development. We realize that when a rural farmer purchases a SIM card, he has purchased more than just a means of communication. What he has actually done, is to open up a gateway of hope and possibilities. The ‘mere’ SIM card offers the farmer a level of connectivity that can steer him out of poverty.
But things have not always been this way. For decades, our people were deprived of access to convenient low cost communications. From the ashes of those problems arose mobile telephony and Bangladesh has never been the same since. As the pioneers of mobile telephony in Bangladesh, we have connected more than 20 million people across the country, many of whom previously had little or no access to such communication. The ripple effects of such connectivity can be felt in the larger picture of development in Bangladesh. Access to information transforms lives every day and generates business opportunities through direct and indirect employment. This is where connectivity meets development.
The village phone helps to bring both social and economic empowerment to the rural women as they take center stage in earning a living and setting an inspiring example. Connectivity also brings with it entrepreneurship, such as setting up Community Information Centers (CICs). It drives people to invest in technology and bridge the digital divide, thus helping both individuals and the communities along the way towards development. Connectivity also assists towards making informed business decisions as well as reducing the dependency on middlemen. CellBazaar – an electronic marketplace – facilitates traders with necessary market information and thus contributes towards business growth.
In connecting the unconnected, we have contributed towards bringing the urban to the rural and the rural to the urban, generating employment, increasing GDP, empowered millions and generally making life easier. In our march towards development, no one is left behind and every day we hope to keep connecting the unconnected.
3.3 Village Phone (Every freedom counts):
In rural areas, where isolation and poor infrastructure services are often the norm, telecommunications can play an extremely important role in enhancing social and economic development. The Village Phone (VP) initiative has made tremendous social and economic impact in the rural areas of Bangladesh, creating a ‘substantial consumer surplus’ for the users. On the other hand, it has created an income-earning opportunity for the VP operators, mostly poor women and borrower members of Grameen Bank, who are now able to make their opinions count.
26 March, 1997, the same day commercial service of Grameenphone was launched.
How It Works:
Grameen Telecom supervises the village phone activities in cooperation with Grameen Bank and Grameenphone.
The Village Phones work as an owner-operated pay phone. A member of Grameen Bank takes a loan to buy a handset and a GP subscription and she is trained by Grameen Telecom on how to operate it. The VP operators then retails the mobile phone service among her fellow villagers, thus earning an income.
→ 270,000 Village Phone Operators in 50,000 villages.
→ Replicated in a number of countries including Uganda and Rwanda.
→ Received ‘GSMA in the Community Award’ in 2000.
→ Received ‘Commonwealth Innovation Award’ in 2003.
→ Received “Petersburg Prize” awarded by the Gateway Foundation in 2005.
3.4 CommunityInformationCenter (Every opportunity counts):
The Grameenphone Community Information Center (CIC) is a shared premise where rural people may access a wide range of state of the art services such as Internet, voice communications, video conferencing and other information services.
It aims to bridge the “digital divide” by providing access to information-based services to under-served and underprivileged rural people, as well as to build local entrepreneurships and create employment opportunities for the unemployed youth.
Launch Date: February 2006
How it Works:
It is designed to be run independently as small businesses by local entrepreneurs. Each CIC is equipped with a computer, a printer, a scanner, a webcam and a modem to provide internet-based services. CIC entrepreneurs are trained and are provided with continuous support from Grameenphone so that they can extend their knowledge and service to the communities they serve. CICs also provide other GP services, such as payphones and electronic recharge for pre-paid and post-paid mobile accounts.
In order to achieve its vision, Grameenphone has united with NGOs and development organizations as strategic partners. The rollout partners are Grameen Telecom, Society for Economic and Basic Advancement (SEBA), and Eagle for nationwide implementation, and Kalikapur Daridro Kallan Sangsta (KDKS), Socio-Economic Development Association (SEDA), Karmakutir, Goriber Asroy, and SSTD Communication for divisional implementation.
Project Milestone: 506 Community Information Centers in 417 Upazillas.
3.5 CellBazar (Every enterprise counts):
Limited communication has always been a hindrance for performing business, especially in developing countries. In Bangladesh, the isolated and uninformed farmers and traders have little bargaining power with exploitative middlemen.
Using Grameenphone CellBazaar, buyers and sellers are able to trade goods (e.g. rice, motorcycle, electronics, etc.) through their mobile phones, bringing the benefits of information exchange, community networking and one-to-many trading to a previously unwired rural population. It facilitates the system of trading, so that the traders can gather market information for smart and informed decision-making while staying at home and grow their business. CellBazaar simply connects and empowers.
Launch Date: July 2006
How it Works:
Every imaginable product is listed on CellBazaar, from Grameenphone CellBazaar project is about using the mobile phone to create an electronic market place. CellBazaar users register via a simple procedure and can then post items for sale via the mobile phone or a computer. For buyers interested in purchasing items or services, the process is just as easy. A simple search through an SMS, or browsing with WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and WEB (www.cellbazaar.com), or even through IVR (call 3838) gives access to the listed available items with their respective price and the address of purchase.
Poultry in Habiganj to fridges in Rangamati, opening up a world of possibilities for all involved.
- Over a million subscribers have accessed its service since its inception.
- On an average, there are 600 new postings and 90,000 hits per day.
- Received 3GSMA Global Mobile Award 2008 for “Best Use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development”.
- Voted “Asian Telecom Innovation of the Year” in the Telecom Asia Awards 2008.
3.6 Healthcare (Every life counts):
“He, who has health, has hope. And he, who has hope, has everything.” – An Arabian proverb.
Health is, indeed, our greatest capital. It fosters our potential and harnesses our abilities towards greater equality and prosperity. Without good health, the challenge of progress becomes one that is almost insurmountable. In light of this, public health indicators for Bangladesh paint a disconcerting picture. Only 30% of the poorest of the poor (those who make less than US$ 1 a day) can avail the primary healthcare services, only 13% women get Skilled Attendants during delivery and millions have to suffer the agony of preventable blindness. The magnitude of the challenge necessitates the engagement of all those who are able, and not just those who are assigned, such as the government and non-governmental bodies, in the health sector. We must all contribute, no matter how humble our contributions may be.
Thus “Health” is one of the key focus areas where Grameenphone has consolidated its social investments. We believe we should work together to create means through which we will not only assist in raising awareness but also take the available services door to door and reach the mass population of the country. For this, we are committed to work with the Bangladesh Government and development agencies to make every life count and are focused on improving basic service quality, developing infrastructure and ensuring access to healthcare for all.
To that end, we have undertaken a number of healthcare projects. Through USAID’s network of 318 Smiling Sun Clinics in 61 districts, we launched the “Grameenphone Safe Motherhood and Infant Care Project,” giving free and comprehensive safe motherhood and infant care services essentially to all economically disadvantaged mothers and their infants nationwide. We have also been conducting free eye-care camps in rural areas where people have little or no access to quality healthcare; carried out mass-media campaigns on National Immunization Days and to raise awareness and advocate for necessary policy reforms on HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh. We also sponsored the development and upkeep of five wards and one operation theatre at the under construction Dhaka Ahsania Mission Cancer and General Hospital. The Healthline project, a 24-hour Medical call center manned by licensed physicians, provides access to healthcare information through interactive teleconference.
3.7 Safe Motherhood and Infant Care Project:
Motherhood is rightly celebrated as the most extraordinary time in a woman’s life, and ideally, there possibly cannot be any experience that is more gratifying. However, reality sometimes differs. In Bangladesh only 13% women get Skilled Attendants at Delivery. The country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates (32 per 10,000) and infant mortality rates (52 per 1,000) in Asia.
Safe motherhood is not only vital to avoid untimely and painful maternal and child deaths, but to nurture a healthy and prosperous nation too. Henceforth, reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health have been identified as two of the eight millennium development goals.
Grameenphone Safe Motherhood & Infant Care Project is thus designed to ensure free, yet quality, safe motherhood and infant care services to poor mothers and their infants throughout the country. It also aims to assist in necessary infrastructure development and extension of basic healthcare services, especially in the hard-to-reach and remote areas.
Launch Date: May 2007
How it Works:
In partnership with Pathfinder International and through USAID’s network of Smiling Sun clinics in 61 districts, free primary healthcare services are being provided by health professionals via 318 static clinics, 8000 satellite clinics and 6000 community-based health-workers across the country. In addition, we have introduced clinic-on-wheels (i.e. mobile mini-hospital) to complement these existing service touch-points to enhance the accessibility of services in remote areas.
- A total of 940,251 economically disadvantaged mothers and infants received free healthcare service so far.
- Patiya and Bhola clinics of FDSR and Swanirvar Bangladesh respectively, are being upgraded to emergency obstetric care centers.
- 5 motorized vans are being provided to facilitate better patients’ referral.
- 2 clinic-on-wheels are being given to increase the accessibility of services in the hard-to-reach areas.
3.8 Free Eye Camps (Every sight counts):
Bangladesh has the highest number of blind people in terms of its population. There are about 750,000 adults and 40,000 children, who live blind due to cataract or other ocular diseases that could have easily been cured with timely and proper intervention.
The major challenge in eliminating blindness in Bangladesh is reaching the rural and underserved population as the majority of country’s eye-care facilities are based in the big cities. 80 percent of Bangladeshis living in rural areas are almost completely deprived of all eye-care services. Bangladesh is a signatory of the VISION 2020: Right to Sight, a global initiative jointly launched in 1999 by WHO and IAPB to eradicate blindness from the world by the year 2020.
Hence, with a mission to combat blindness, Grameenphone, in partnership with Sightsavers International, organizes free eye-care camps in different parts of the country where eye-care services are not readily available.
Launch Date: July 2007.
How it Works
Grameenphone, jointly with Sightsavers International, organizes the eye camps and pro-vides associated actual cost for organizing the camps and also provides surgery costs which includes transportation and follow-up visit cost of patients.
→ Around 18,732 patients received free eye-care support and 2,206 cataract surgeries being performed so far.
→ 12 eye camps have been conducted in different parts of Bangladesh.
3.9 Fight against HIV/AIDS (Every voice counts):
With a prevalence rate of less than 1%, HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh may not look like a major threat. However, with a population of nearly 150 million, a mere 1% rise would mean an addition of more than a million victims to the numbers. The first case of HIV in Bangladesh was detected in 1989. According to a 2004 UN study, HIV infections have tripled globally in the last six years. UNAIDS estimated that 13,000 adults and children were living with HIV at the end of 2002 in Bangladesh.
Again, one of the eight Millennium Development Goals for Bangladesh is to halt the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015. Hence, Grameenphone is committed to work closely with Bangladesh Government and concerned development agencies to achieve that target, with the aim to raise awareness and advocate for necessary policy reforms on HIV/AIDS through different communication channels.
Launch Date: September 2007
How it Works:
Grameenphone, jointly works with UNAIDS, an initiative of the United Nations which brings together the efforts and resources of ten UN agencies i.e. UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO, and the World Bank, to help prevent new HIV infections, care for those already infected, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic. This partnership works through the Asia Pacific Leadership Forum (APLF) with the aim to create an enabling environment in support of policy actions on HIV and AIDS.
APLF is a ground-breaking advocacy platform of UNAIDS to promote enhanced leadership roles in response to HIV and AIDS. The initiative involves high-level leaders from different sectors of the country, including governance, education, development, business, media and women, and engages them in helping to create an enabling environment in support of action on HIV and AIDS, as per the global directive from the UN. A major focus of the initiative is to feature these leaders through various communication platforms, with customized messages targeting specific segmenting of the society, as high profile advocates for the necessary policy reforms. The campaign highlights their messages with an objective to raise awareness and encourage an open and candid social dialogue on this crucial issue.
The current APLF ambassadors are: Prof. Jafar Iqbal (educationist), Bibi Russel (fashion designer and activist), Runa Laila and Alamgir (cultural personalities), and Mamun Rashid (Banker and economist).
→ Carried out a month-long media campaign in 2007 and 2008 (Nov-Dec) including television commercials, press advertisements, radio announcements and billboards to raise awareness on the issue.
→ Sponsored the screening of a Telefilm titled UTSHO (The Source) to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS issue.
→ Internal awareness sessions were organized for GP employees.
→ Awareness sessions in various university campuses will be held in the near future.
3.10 Cancer Management for the Poor (Every fight counts):
It is estimated that there are around 1 million cancer patients in Bangladesh and about 200,000 new cases are being added every year. Around 150,000 cancer patients die annually. The problem of cancer in Bangladesh is particularly acute because cancer receives neither recognition nor funds as addressing the primary healthcare issues and ensuring associated services to the nation have still remained a challenge. As a result, the treatment facilities are lacking, trained doctors are scarce and the inadequate infrastructure in place is ill-maintained. Only 15,000 patients receive right treatment every year.
In this situation, the Dhaka Ahsania Mission Cancer and General Hospital brings hope to all and Grameenphone is proud to be a part of the initiative to ensure cancer treatment for the disadvantaged people of the country.
Launch Date: Construction of the hospital is currently ongoing.
How it Works:
Grameenphone sponsors the complete development and upkeep of five wards and an Operation Theatre (OT) at the under construction Dhaka Ahsania Mission Cancer and General Hospital. One third of the beds sponsored by GP will be reserved for more economically-disadvantaged patients who will receive free admission and full treatment. Other disadvantaged patients screened will also receive treatment, which will be significantly subsidized by Grameenphone.
Grameenphone also works closely with Dhaka Ahsania Mission towards technical capacity building for cancer management.
→ Funding for necessary construction has been duly facilitated.
→ Co-organized a half-day capacity building workshop with Dhaka Ahsania Mission Cancer Hospital, with active participation by the Harvard Medical School and Tata Memorial Hospital, in which over 60 cancer physicians participated.
→ Sponsored a pilot vaccination program for cervical cancer patients, which is first of its kind in the developing world. The pilot program is to be conducted jointly by Harvard Medical School and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University.
3.11 NID Awareness Campaign (Every drop counts):
Since 2006, no new cases of polio have been reported in Bangladesh. There is strong reason to believe that the disease can be completely eradicated from the country if all children in Bangladesh can be brought within the Immunization program. However, almost one-third of Bangladeshi children still do not receive the seven essential vaccines required for immunization within their first year of life under the routine Expanded Program of Immunization, and while a large cohort of children remain unvaccinated, we have little hope of eliminating potentially deadly diseases as polio.
But it is vaccine-preventable. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), spearheaded by World Health Organization, works with governments around the world to reduce the incidence of polio.
In an effort to eradicate and stop the re-emergence of polio, Bangladesh has observed several rounds of the National Immunization Days (NIDs) in 2007 to immunize 24 million children under the age of five. Grameenphone, along with the Government and the WHO, was a proud partner of the mass awareness campaign during the NIDs in March, April and October 2007. The main objective of this unique campaign was to raise awareness on immunization and help the Government of Bangladesh to eradicate polio from the country.
Launch Date: March 2007.
How it Works:
As part of the campaign, radio and newspaper announcements urged parents to bring their children to vaccination centers across the country, free SMS alerts were send to all Grameenphone subscribers, and the occasion was specially promoted at the Japan-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital, a ThankYou partner of Grameenphone. As a result, 98.7% (as per independent observers’ checklist) of the targeted children were covered during those NIDs.
→ Both ATL and BTL awareness campaign conducted in March, April, and October 2007.
→ Similar country-wide awareness campaign will be organized in November 2008.
3.12 Blood Bank at RafatullahCommunityHospital (Every smile counts):
Safe blood transfusion is one of the most important pre-conditions for health safety. Yet, more than 50% of the total blood needed every year in Bangladesh is donated by professional donors who pose serious health risks of many contagious diseases. On the other hand, a mere 0.05% of the total population donates blood voluntarily in the country. If the numbers would rise to even 0.2%, the total requirement of blood could be fulfilled.
In view of this, Grameenphone launched a full-fledged blood bank at one of Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangha (TMSS) health initiatives, the Rafatullah Community Hospital (RCH) in Bogra. This is the first and the largest blood bank in the northern region of the country funded by a private organization.
The Rafatullah Community Hospital is located in Bogra right next to the Dhaka-Rangpur Highway, which is also an accident prone area with a high incidence of need for surgeries and blood transfusion. In 2006, RCH transfused 1260 bags of blood to its patients. The surgery department of the hospital now takes complete shape with the establishment of this blood bank.
Launch Date: August 2008
How it Works:
Grameenphone provided the financial assistance to set up the blood bank at the hospital, which will ensure adequate resources required for safe and hygienic blood transfusion for every patient requiring blood at RCH, especially the underprivileged. Grameenphone also aims to create awareness among the mass for voluntary blood donation through this project.
→ Funding for necessary construction had been duly facilitated.
→ The blood bank has become fully operational since August 2008.
3.13 789 Health line:
Ensuring access to basic healthcare is a major development challenge in Bangladesh, as there is lack of adequate medical practitioners and infrastructure. Grameenphone is offering communication solutions using its core services to address this challenge.
Our Healthline service is thus launched with the aim to enhance access to primary healthcare services using mobile communications technology.
Launch Date: October 2006
How it Works
The Healthline service, first of its kind, is designed to extend primary healthcare information and services to people in both rural and urban areas. It is a 24-hour Medical call center which provides services through an interactive teleconference between a Grameenphone mobile user and a licensed physician.
Grameenphone subscribers may seek medical advice on emergency, non-emergency or regular medical situation by simply dialing ‘789.’ A 789-caller will also enjoy additional medical information services, such as doctor and medical facility information, interpretation of laboratory test reports and data, and emergency support information.
→ Has answered 3.5 million calls till October 2008.
→ Received GSMA Award 2007 for ‘Best use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development’.
Empowering the Disempowered
Lack of empowerment and poverty is a chronic and complex problem for Bangladesh. According to the UNDP HDI report (2006), which measures the average progress of a country in human development in terms of life expectancy, adult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), etc., Bangladesh ranks 137th among 177 countries. Moreover, 50% of the total population of Bangladesh lives below the poverty line, defined as an income of less than a dollar a day.
Some of the major factors contributing to this situation are inequality in income distribution, lack of access to resources, lack of access to information and inadequate infrastructure. The rural people of Bangladesh especially are deprived of these facilities, which is a major issue to break out from the shackles of poverty prevailing in the country.
Empowerment is a key constituent towards poverty reduction, and it is a key driver for sustainable development. It is a process whereby the capacity of individuals or groups are enhanced to make important choices and decisions, and to transform those choices and decisions into desired actions and outcomes. This, in turn, helps them to secure a better and more prosperous life.
We firmly believe that we have significant contribution to make on this key issue. In our CSR journey, we have become the proud sponsor of Bangladesh Special Olympics team, which won 71 medals in the Special Olympic Games 2007 in Beijing, China. Six acid survivors have been assisted in their rehabilitation process with employment opportunities in Grameenphone. We have initiated the Information Boat project with Care Bangladesh with an aim to empower riverine rural communities with digitized livelihood contents and internet access while the CSR partnership with Ashokti Punorbshon Nibash (APON) aims to support treatment and rehabilitation of economically-disadvantaged drug addicts.
We acknowledge that development and poverty reduction depend on holistic economic prosperity. Therefore, our aim is to increase development opportunities, enhance development outcomes and contribute towards improvement of the quality of life of the people through our CSR initiatives and innovative services. We are committed to facilitate empowerment opportunities to the vulnerable people of Bangladesh, so that it enables them to better influence the course of their lives and live a life of their own choice.
3.15 Partnership with Special Olympics Bangladesh (Every win counts):
Ten percent population of Bangladesh is challenged with some form of disability or the other, and, outside the initiatives of the Government and a handful of private and non-profit organizations, there is very little done for the welfare of the disabled.
Thus, Grameenphone, in association with Special Olympics Bangladesh, aims to empower intellectually-challenged athletes by nurturing and nourishing their sporting capabilities. This will help them become independent and confident in themselves, so that they can not only be a part of the society in which they live, but also play an active role with their own achievements to stand upon.
Launch Date: August 2007
How it Works:
As the sole sponsor, Grameenphone provided necessary support and training for the athletes for participation in the Special Olympic Games 2007 in Beijing, China. Special Olympics International is the world’s largest program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Grameenphone also organizes national talent hunts throughout the regions to form a “national talent pool” and to ensure sustainable supply of new talent. The National talent pool will be further groomed and nurtured centrally preparing them for the next International Special Olympic Games in 2011.
→ Organized a 3-month long training program in BKSP in August 2007 for 65 athletes and coaches.
→ Was the sole sponsor of the Bangladesh Team at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
→ The team won 71 medals in different categories at the 2007 Special Olympics.
→ A series of regional talent hunts in all 6 divisions has been kicked off from Rajshahi in November 2008.
3.16 Information Boat Project (Every information counts):
Information is a powerful enabling tool that opens up a wide range of opportunities. But in reality, a farmer from rural Bangladesh can hardly relate to the words: information technology. As the current scenario stands, less than 15% of the population has access to satellite or cable broadcasts and approximately 60% of the population does not have access to electricity. Thus, it is not surprising that information communication technologies (ICT) are generally restricted to a handful of the elite.
To break that taboo, the Information Boat Project sailed out of a partnership between Grameenphone and CARE Bangladesh whereby information hubs are being created to meet the communication needs of rural communities, especially in the Char and Haor areas.
Launch Date: December 2007
How it Works:
The Information Boats will work as information hub to meet the communication needs of rural communities, especially in the Char and Haor areas, as people of these areas have limited access to up-to-date livelihood and other information owing to their remote presence from the mainland. A typical Information Boat will be equipped with computers, Internet and email facilities, photocopiers, fax machines, printers, webcams and video machines, scanners and much more, depending on the needs of a specific community. These boats will also be equipped with digital content, such as livelihood and agricultural information, suited for the specific areas served by the designated boats. At the same time, skilled trainers from CARE Bangladesh will provide training to the local community people on different livelihood options.
→ Grameenphone provides support to build four such Information Boats and also provides necessary technological support for providing information.
→ 1st Information Boat initiated servicing the community in Dhirai, Sunamganj in September 2008.
3.17 SkillDevelopmentCenter (Every hand counts):
There is no denying the fact that, drug addiction has become a growing phenomenon globally. Bangladesh, as a part of the global village, is affected by it with an estimated 2 million drug users, including women and children. The issue of drug abuse touches the most vulnerable: the majority of drug users in South Asia belong to the poorest strata of society and, unfortunately, most of the victims of drug abuse in our country are the youth who could have been actively contributing to the economic and social development of the country.
Drug rehabilitation centers play a significant role in this fight towards a drug-free society, as they are aimed at helping people get over their dependency on drugs and arming them with the techniques and willpower to ensure they stay drug-free. Therefore Grameenphone formed a CSR partnership with Ashokti Punorbshon Nibash (APON), to support rehabilitation of economically disadvantaged drug addicts.
Launch Date: September 2007
How it Works:
Through this partnership, Grameenphone provided financial support for the construction of a skill development center at APONGaon to assist in the rehabilitation and social integration process of these lost souls. We also established a computerized information center on its premises, which serves as an alternative income stream for APONGaon. The information center is equipped with a computer, a printer, a scanner, a webcam and a modem to render internet-based services to the local community. It also provides other GP services, such as payphones and electronic recharge for pre-paid and post-paid mobile accounts.
→ The skill development center and the computerized information center have started providing services since December 2008.
3.18 Rehabilitation of Acid Victims (Every confidence counts):
Acid throwing is an extreme form of violence in Bangladesh. Though both sexes are victims to this heinous crime, majority of victims are women and girls. The assaulters are, however, always men seeking retribution, motivated by hatred or jealousy. They throw acid not only to destroy the victims’ faces, but their hopes and dreams of ever being happy. It is meant to break their spirit and confidence.
But, with proper encouragement and support, these survivors can still stride forward leading a life in their own terms and hence escape the social stigma of being a ‘victim.’ Grameenphone is lending support to the Acid Survivors’ Foundation (ASF) in the rehabilitation and reintegration of these victims into the society.
Launch Date: September 2007.
How it Works:
Grameenphone has so far recruited six individuals who had been supported by the Acid Survivors’ Foundation. These individuals have been provided with the training by GP to help them develop the necessary skills to take on their new responsibilities at Grameenphone.
→ 6 acid victims are now working in Grameenphone and earning their own living.
Funding the Future
Education is a basic human right. Article 26 of The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) recognizes education along with other necessities such as food, shelter, and water as a fundamental human right. At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, participants from 164 countries pledged to provide education for all by 2015 and Bangladesh is a signatory to that charter.
Education works as a catalyst for human development. It provides people with the tools and knowledge they need to understand and participate in today’s world, and benefit from globalization and technological change. It is one of the most effective weapons against HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and raises awareness of living conditions and environmental protection. Life expectancy rises by as much as 2 years for every 1 per cent increase in literacy.
Education also plays an active role in economic development and eradicating poverty. It allows people to be more productive, to play a greater role in economic life, and to earn a better living. It has been found that, an adult with a primary education earns twice as much as an adult without any schooling. Education enables people to be responsible and informed citizens, and to have a voice in politics and society, which is essential for sustaining democracy. A report shows that in Bangladesh, women with a secondary education are three times more likely to attend a political meeting than are women with no education.
Consequently, education is considered as one of the key focus areas of GrameenPhone’s social investments. We aim to work with the Government and development agencies, to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring universal primary education for all. In collaboration with Grameen Shikkha, an organization of the Grameen Bank family, we provide scholarship to some 100 bright but underprivileged students at different academic levels through a scholarship fund annually. We also provide educational support to a number of special schools – Tauri Foundation, HANS, CDC, and SEID Trust – with an objective to aid in the learning process of the gifted children in our society. Grameenphone is also a proud partner of the Enrichment Program of Bishsho Shahitto Kendro through which free books are distributed. We recently initiated a CSR project to publish and distribute illustrated publications on the Liberation War for school-going children, with the objective to inspire them with the heroics of our freedom-fighters.
We are aware that the initiatives still serves less than what the nation needs. But, we are committed to keep contributing in whatever way we can towards achieving an enlightened Bangladesh. This dream is one that we all share as a nation.
3.20 Scholarship Program (Every dream counts):
Today’s children are tomorrow’s gilded reality. Education opens up unlimited possibilities for them and builds the foundation for a prosperous future. But in reality, 65 percent of our people live in the darkness of illiteracy, 40 percent of our children have never gone to school, and 93 percent of primary school-going students will never progress beyond the primary education level. Poverty is the main cause behind this.
Grameen Shikkha Scholarship Management Program has made it possible for the bright but underprivileged students to realize their educational endeavor. Grameenphone is honored to be participating in that program.
Launch Date: December 2003.
How it Works:
Grameenphone, in collaboration with Grameen Shikkha, an organization of Grameen Bank Family, provides financial assistance to 100 bright but underprivileged students through a scholarship fund at different academic levels annually. Of these scholarships, 60% are for female students. The fund is being managed directly by Grameen Shikkha.
→ Currently, 66 scholarships are being managed under GP’s fund.
→ By end of 2008, the total scholarship number will reach 100.
3.21 True Liberation War Stories (Every inspiration counts):
The Liberation War is the central component of Bangladesh’s history. It symbolizes the glorious sacrifice of our heroes for the independence of our country.
Thus, Grameenphone, in partnership with Centre for Bangladesh Liberation War Studies, sponsors the publication and free distribution of a series of illustrated books on Liberation War. The stories in these publications are based on true events of the heroics of our freedom fighters, essentially during frontal battles fought in the battle-fields of Bangladesh.
Launch Date: July 2007
How it Works:
The series consists of a total of six books. The targeted beneficiaries are school children, from class IV to class VIII, who will be provided with copies free of cost. The aim of these books is to familiarize children with the country’s Liberation War of 1971, and, in the process, create a sense of love and pride in them for their motherland. The books will be distributed in all six divisions of the country.
→ ‘Tagra’, the first book of the series, published which will be distributed among the students of Dhaka division only.
→ Distribution process initiated of a total number of 20,000 copies.
3.22 Partnership with Bishsho Shahitto Kendro (Every mind counts):
Young people are arguably the principal resource of a country’s future. They are the leaders of tomorrow. They represent prospects for economic and social development and the potential for change. In order to realize their full potential, the country needs to invest in them and make way for new opportunities for them. It is not simply the commitment of one generation to another to respond to their dreams and aspirations and translate them into reality, but indeed it is essential for the very survival of the country to do so.
Thus, Grameenphone launched a strategic partnership with Bishsho Shahito Kendro, to support two of BSK’s programs: the Enrichment Program (Book Reading Program) and the ‘Know Bangladesh’ (Deshke Jano) program, with the objective to enlighten the youth of the country.
Launch Date: February 2008
How it Works:
As a part of the partnership, Grameenphone will be donating books to Bishsho Shahito Kendro for its “Enrichment Program”. In addition, GP will also sponsor the Prize Giving Ceremony of BSK’s Book Reading Program in three locations across the country – Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna.
On the other hand, the “Know Bangladesh” program is a bicycle tour initiative across Bangladesh by the youth. Participants will be assigned with places to visit and will learn about the relevant demographics, hardships and lifestyle of rural people in their assigned localities, and prepare write-ups on their experiences. Through the whole process, the participants will get to know Bangladesh better – a process towards becoming an enlightened human being.
→ Donated 20,000 books to the “Enrichment Program”.
→ So far, 5 teams comprising of 35 Persons participated in the “Know Bangladesh Program”.
3.23 EducationCenter cum Cyclone Shelter (Every help counts):
Cyclone Sidr, a category 4 storm, struck Bangladesh on November 2007. The cyclone first hit the offshore islands and then swept across the southern coast east to west. This caused extensive damages. More than 3.1 million people in the 28 southern districts are reported to have been directly affected by the cyclone. It has been estimated that more than3, 500 people died, with extensive damages been done to roads and public buildings, including the destruction and partial destruction of 4,306 educational institutions. The most affected areas include Bagerhat, Barguna, Barisal, Bhola, Gopalganj, Khalkathi, Khulna, Madaripur, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Shatkhira and Shariatpur districts.
Hence, Grameenphone as part of the company’s rehabilitation plans in the SIDR affected areas is to provide financial assistance to build education center cum cyclone shelters in the southern belt of the country.
Launch Date: August 2008
How it Works:
The cyclone shelters will be used as education centers throughout the year to provide non-formal primary education to underprivileged children of the locality. RDF and Shushilan, local NGOs that operate in the selected areas, will be responsible for the overall management of the project, including the construction and operation of the schools. Each primary school cum cyclone-shelter will be a two storied building along with an adjacent playground.
A co-ordination committee, comprising local Government official (UNO office), RDF official and representatives from the community and Grameenphone, will monitor the progress of the construction work and supervise the school-cum-shelter after its construction.
→ Will build four such centers in Bagerhat and Barguna districts.
4. Conclusion and Recommendation
As a corporate rule, in order to achieve the business objective of the company, individual divisions should have their own objectives to support this. The divisional objectives are far different compared to each other, according to their nature of job and functional role. No doubt it is a great big teamwork which makes the business objective happens. And considering GP’s success we can confidently say that we have such a winning team to be proud of.
Corporate social responsibility, as we see it, is a ‘complementary’ combination of ethical and responsible corporate behavior, as well as a commitment towards generating greater good for the society by addressing the development needs of the country.
Above all Grameen Phone should extension the activities of Corporate Social Responsibility are following:-
- GP can create awareness among the people to control over population through SMS.
- Among the young generation GP do awareness through the SMS by writing the demerits of drug.
- GP can create awareness among the people against corporation.
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