ProjectsPast and current JFS projects


February 8, 2011


Partnership Practice between Businesses and NGOs

college_kouyamasan.jpg Copyright JFS

Lecturer: Kuniko Kamiyama, Program Officer, an NPO, Civil Society Initiative Fund

college_kanedasan.jpg Copyright JFS

Lecturer: Koichi Kaneda, CSR Senior Director, Corporate Communications Department, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

Bridging Cultural Differences

Kaneda: Currently I work at the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and engaged in CSR operations at Daiwa Securities Group Inc. before. Daiwa Securities has products of very high sociality including the Daiwa SRI Fund and the Daiwa Eco Fund. The company believed that it had to promote corporate citizenship movement suitable for a company that sells these products. In fact, this Daiwa JFS Sustainability College is also supported by the Daiwa Eco Fund. Today's theme is the Daiwa SRI Fund Financial Assistance Program supported by the Daiwa SRI Fund. Ms. Kamiyama who is from the Civil Society Initiative Fund works with me to operate this program. We would like to talk about the partnership practice between businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a dialogue style.

Kamiyama: The Civil Society Initiative Fund mainly operates grant programs, receiving donations from businesses and individual donors and providing financial support to NGO activities.

The feature of our activity is our role in connecting businesses with NGOs in fields. It is important for both businesses and NGOs to supplement each other's strengths and weaknesses to solve social problems, but it is in a way difficult for them to build a direct partnership. Businesses and NGOs have different principles of behavior to begin with. It may sound somewhat misleading, but businesses pursue profits and NGOs place more emphasis on support activities for immediate issues than a prospect of profit. Furthermore, the operation scale and sense of speed are totally different. Businesses are often very quick to do their job, but NGOs tend to fall behind businesses due to limited human and material resources. So to speak, we mediate the cross-cultural communication between these two groups with very different cultures.

We solicit the will of businesses and individual donors in the form of money, and do our activities always thinking about the most effective way to distribute the money to selected organizations. We try to be an expert on social issues by questioning ourselves "What is needed in the society?", "Where are the issues?" and "Who are the key persons?" through daily information gathering and communication and network with many people.

Kaneda: An organization such as the Civil Society Initiative Fund is called "intermediary." Businesses are often unaware of NGOs that are doing wonderful activities in various fields. It is also not clear to them which NGOs should be supported for appropriate flow of funding and real results.

Then an intermediary supporting professional will be needed. The Civil Society Initiative Fund can create programs with appropriate help of external experts who have experiences and wisdoms in addition to their staff members. These programs have the involvement of many stakeholders including the Daiwa Securities as a donor, the Civil Society Initiative Fund as an intermediary supporting NPO, NGOs that are doing wonderful activities in their fields and those who receive their services.

Kamiyama: Grant is a kind of "donation" system, but the two are different in a precise sense. Normal donation is often provided from one company to a certain organization in one-to-one manner. On the other hand, the grant program is one-to-many relationship, often providing fund to multiple parties simultaneously on a certain theme. In this case, the fund is not simply "given" to organizations such as NGOs based on their past activities for free use. Instead, the fund is given to NGOs as an opportunity for activities with an expectation of outcome based on planning and reflection of donor's opinion.

Unlike some one-off donations, our grant often continues on a year to year basis for a long time. I think approximately five years is a border for a grant program to increase its recognition and generate certain results. We would like businesses to commit for this period of time. In addition, we think this time frame is appropriate for reviewing program as a whole since society is changing drastically and social background and problem consciousness at the time of program launch may not be the same after some years.

I think social impacts are hard to recognize and they actually appear gradually. Some grant programs are found to be successful suddenly one day. I sometimes learn about the recipient NGO's activity on newspaper, for example, after many years from the end of grant period. It is one of the best moments for me to think how wonderful it was to be able to support them in the past.

How Grant Should be to Value People

Kamiyama: Now let me give you concrete examples about the form of partnership, using a case of the Daiwa SRI Fund Financial Assistance Program operated with Daiwa Securities.

Each has its own role. Daiwa Securities provides fund and the Civil Society Initiative Fund plans and manages programs with the fund provided. Planning and management include making grant programs, taking charge of the selection process of the grant recipients, providing follow-ups to the recipient organizations from the start until the end of the program, and finally submitting activity reports to Daiwa Securities.

The focus of this program is training NGO staff and organization. Generally, NGOs have weak foundation and the staff is often at a stage of maximizing their expertise in the future. The number of businesses that provide financial support to human resource development, however, is very small, because nurturing human resources takes time. Also, it is difficult to measure the results because we can't simply say things like, the staff "grew by 1.5 times." Still yet, Daiwa Securities understands the importance of nurturing staff and organization and provides support, probably because the company puts emphasis on people.

I also think it was extremely wise for the company to set the target area as human security. Businesses provide more support to activities for children and the environment, but I don't think many do in this area.

Human security is a concept that has been advocated by the United Nations for about 10 years. As the globalization proceeds, people move across the national borders and domestic conflicts occur. Not only traditional international security, we need to tackle protection of life (existence, living and dignity) and independence support of individuals. In Japan, more and more people are facing difficult situation due to recent economical situation. We had a problem consciousness that we call for safety-net of people nearby.

We set the grant period one year and the upper limit of the grant money at two million yen (about US$24,700). Every year, we supported five or six organizations, contributing to nurturing 33 staff members of 15 organizations up to now.

I would like to introduce a case of individual funding. There is an NGO called Center for Multicultural Society Kyoto that provides medical support to foreigners living in Japan through its project of dispatching medical interpreters and that organizes cultural exchanges. Many foreign nationals who can't speak Japanese don't like to go to see a doctor when they are sick due to a language barrier. Even if they go, they often can't explain the symptom very well and receive proper treatment.

Center for Multicultural Society Kyoto developed the Computer-Mediated Multilingual Medical Communication Support System, known as "M3", with Wakayama University. Visitors to a hospital can use this touch-panel type unit to find an appropriate department, and learn about appropriate reception and payment procedure by answering questions shown in multiple languages.

The grant program supported this project for two years from 2007 to 2008. With the grant, the organization officially employed a volunteer worker who was involved with the system development as a full-time staff. He played an important role as a member of collaborative project among industry, government, academia and private. When I went to see him the other day, I was very glad to learn that he had become a distinguished mid-level staff.

We have been supporting other programs collaborating with many businesses. We managed to support a total of 736 projects that amounts to 869.2 million yen (about US$1,073 million) as of September 2010 since 2001.

Aiming at Solving Issues Hidden Below Surface

Kaneda: I would like to talk from the viewpoint of businesses. When I conduct these programs, I always keep "MRI" in mind. M stands for "Mission," R for "Response and Responsibility," and I for "Interest."

"Mission" needs to be examined to know how the program can contribute to society through its product, the reason for the program, and the program itself. Businesses are required to clearly understand social issues and needs and have a point of view to examine if the program is suitable for them. That is "Response and Responsibility." Furthermore, it is necessary for businesses to think what merits the contribution will bring to themselves. Without this, the activity can not be continued. In the program with the Civil Society Initiative Fund, the organization reports about the activity in the form of fulfilling accountability, which enables the businesses to disclose information to a wide range of stakeholders through their CSR reports or business reporting to shareholders. If we properly response to social issues and needs, the businesses can gain merits for instance in the form of reputation. This is "Interest."

It is ideal to carry on the program in a manner the balance among M, R and I is good. For that reason, businesses are required to create concrete results against social problems by combining their various resources including people, products or services, capital, know-how and network.

I would like to talk about Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. I belong to now. In fact, Takeda also works with the Civil Society Initiative Fund on the Takeda Well-Being Program to provide support to children undergoing long-term treatment for diseases. There are some support systems for adult patients, but many problems remain for children. The issue is socially important, but hardly visible. Many people don't know what to do in this field.

For example, when parents concentrate their attention to their sick child, naturally other children will receive less care, which gives great impacts on their growing environment and mental condition. If the sick child is in a hospital, family can't always stay overnight at the hospital, and they often have to stay in their cars parked at hospital parking. Of course, another important issue is how to provide fun time to children who are undergoing tough treatment.

Takeda's program provides support to organizations that tackle these issues in the form of "planned funding." The company examines the types of organization and support for the most effective way to problem solving, and selects recipient organizations with experts. This process is different from public recruiting.

Kamiyama: I didn't know that many children are staying at hospital for a long time until I got involved with this program. Another issue is that the children who are at a growing stage required to learn about society will need support to go back to a society after they are released from hospital.

Kaneda: Through an intermediary like the Civil Society Initiative Fund, I think it is important for businesses to learn from NGOs that have hands-on experiences about social issues we are not aware of so much and to tackle these issues. This is why the partnership with NGOs has a great value for businesses.


Kuniko Kamiyama (Program Officer, an NPO, Civil Society Initiative Fund)
After graduating from university, she worked at private companies including bank and architectural firm. In 2002, she joined Civil Society Initiative Fund. She was in charge of establishing and managing funding program that connects funding from businesses and donors with NPOs. Since then, she launched three funding programs and managed five programs including the Daiwa SRI Fund program as a social contribution based on partnership with business.

Koichi Kaneda (CSR Senior Director, Corporate Communications Department, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.)
He was in charge of trading policy toward Europe at the Foreign Relations Department of Sony Corporation, and relaxation of regulations toward Japan at Economy Department of Embassy of the United States in Japan. When he was studying in the United Kingdom, he started to have interest in human development by multi-national corporation. After he returned to Japan, he studied development theory at institutions including Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development. He worked as an announcer for Bloomberg Television, and was involved with establishing CSR at three companies: Sony Corporation (re-entry), Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.