Talented Ambassadors
Talented Ambassadors

Talented Ambassadors

June 5th, 2013 - The Bolloré Group’s Earthtalent programme relies on its local representatives

It can be tough to combine personal development with collective action in the modern workplace. The Bolloré Group’s Earthtalent ambassadors, however, have the opportunity to do just that, supporting Earthtalent’s projects to empower women around the world.

“I feel good working for such a noble cause,” says Sasmita Mohanty, SDV’s regional human resources manager for South Asia in Delhi, India, and the Earthtalent regional ambassadress for South-East Asia. “It shows our company is interested in human values as well as profits and losses.”

“I was inspired by the mission and vision of the project,” adds Bing Cuyco-Chua, customer service supervisor for SDV in the Philippines and local Earthtalent ambassadress. “One of my goals in life is to reach out to the needy.”

Earthtalent.net is a Bolloré group social network created in 2008 with the specific aim of promoting international solidarity by supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Founded by Dorothée Van de Cruyssen, head of Social Innovation for the group, Earthtalent encourages employees to create local initiatives aimed at supporting three of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals; to promote gender equality and empower women, to improve maternal health and to develop a global partnership for development.

The local ambassadors play a key role in Earthtalent’s success, each year helping put forward projects that will receive grants and management support from the group. Today, Earthtalent helps fund 16 projects aimed at empowering women in India, the Philippines, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Cameroon.

The call for projects takes about four months and during this time the ambassadors help candidates with their proposals, answer their questions and fill in applications online. The proposals must be submitted by a current or retired Bolloré employee who is also involved in the project. It must be sustainable beyond the Earthtalent grant, aiming for economic autonomy or income creation for its beneficiaries.

Last year, for example, Mohanty’s South-East Asia region received approval for four out of nine projects including a campaign to stop female foeticide in Odisha, India, a program promoting child education in tribal groups in India and a training center for underprivileged women in Delhi that aims to teach skills such as making and selling jams, juices and pickles.

“Empowerment of women is an important topic in India,” says Mohanty. “In legal terms there is no longer any discrimination against women but in practice they often have a weaker place in society.” SDV, for example, is actively seeking to hire more women in India, especially in operational areas such as customer care and warehouse work, Mohanty adds.

The ambassadors act as representatives of Earthtalent on many levels, helping motivate local employees and providing a link between their local offices and the Earthtalent office in Paris. Supported by their local management, the ambassadors act as a spokesperson for Earthtalent, explaining how it works to local employees and partners and providing feedback to the Earthtalent team in Paris on local initiatives and the changing role of women in their communities.

“Earthtalent is an excellent way to build solidarity among our colleagues and to learn about their involvement in other groups aimed at empowering women,” says Cuyco-Chua. “I have enjoyed discovering my colleagues’ willingness to participate in other projects outside our daily work routine.”

On a personal level, being an ambassadress has also helped her become more “modest and helpful,” Cuyco-Chua adds. “During the call for projects, I became involved with different organizations and associations and witnessed unconditional love and care for people who are less fortunate,” she says.

Cuyco-Chua is especially concerned for the estimated 500,000 children who roam the streets of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. She successfully proposed Earthtalent’s support for the Give & Share a Life Children’s Philippine Foundation or GSLCP that aims to give underprivileged children and their families access to healthcare while giving mothers professional training.

This year, Earthtalent aims to expand its reach to 18 countries. A recent visit by the Paris-based project team to all the people involved in the project, including the local ambassadresses, has further helped fire enthusiasm for the concept. “Hearing about projects in other countries gave us new ideas,” says Cuyco-Chua.

“I expect to have a fair few proposals in the next call for projects including in Bangladesh and Pakistan,” adds Mohanty. “Getting to work for worthy causes is a real bonus.”

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