Corporate volunteering, why not in Nepal

Full Text Sharing

Corporate volunteering is still not practiced and probably it is not well understood by executives here in Nepal. Obvious to say that they are missing something big here!

With the potential of turning to a new level the relationships between corporate and the not for profit sectors while at the same time being itself an enriching experience for the employee engaged in the volunteering action often also referred as “pro bono” service, corporate volunteering is now a common practice in many countries around the world.

Recently at ENGAGE, the organization I co-founded with my wife Kalpana, we had the opportunity to have an international corporate volunteer, Caroline Leroy, originally from Paris who is a psychologist by background and works as Leadership practice Leader in Carewan, one of the top change consultancy firms in France.

Caroline came to Nepal on a short visit taking advantage of the Easter break in Europe to strengthen the work done by our ENGAGE Sport Coaches, ESCs our volunteer wheelchair basketball coaches who also double as mentor.

While with this batch of coaches, we have made excellent progress on technical aspects of the game, we also wanted to elevate our ESCs as team leaders and role models, able to work through a ball on certain attitudes and behaviors of the players, all youths with physical disabilities.

We believe that a vulnerable youth like our colleagues who play wheelchair basketball is essential to embed certain values like integrity, personal accountability, hard work and respect.

Our inspiration here is Coach John Wooden, one of the legend of the collegiate basketball in the USA who after becoming the most successful coach with his UCLA Team, he turned himself into a leadership teacher, something that came natural to him as he always considered himself as a teacher while coaching basketball.

Only by becoming a stronger person at character level, we believe that a person, not only a youth with disabilities playing wheelchair basketball, can become a successful person.

With successful, we mean someone who lives by pursuing a life purpose, whatever this might be and never get tired of trying her best even if this entails some failures: strive to be an outstanding seller, an innovator in the field of marketing or be the best HR manager on the planet.

Caroline with her rich experience came to help and train our ESCs and it was a real success as we all could learn cutting edge approaches to team building and leadership.

Here some takeaways from this experience with Caroline

What we learned: Many things but it was really intriguing to know that the Situational Leadership approach of Hersey & Blanchard with the four style of leadership (directing, coaching, supporting and delegating, each executed upon the degree of maturity of the followers) can be matched with the team maturity theory designed by Bruce Tuckman according to which each team first undertake first a phase of forming, then storming, norming and finally performing. The two theories can be brought together because the directing leadership style is associated with the forming phase of a team, the coaching leadership style is tied to the storming phase, the supporting style is appropriate with the norming phase of a team and finally the delegating leadership is best suited with teams who are in very advanced stage of development and therefore able to perform at the highest levels.

Corporate Volunteering is all about partnerships: it would not have been possible to have Caroline with us unless there was a triangular partnership involved. In the middle between us and Caroline there is Planet Urgence, a NGO based in Paris who sends highly qualified professionals to volunteer in developing and emerging countries. In this case Planet Urgence, with an efficient representative travelling across South Asia, forges relationships with local NGOs interested to gain specialized and tailored made support from individuals like Caroline who are willing to share their expertise and knowledge while “tasting” new places and cultures.

Corporate Volunteering is all about sharing and embedding: I just mentioned that Caroline came to Nepal, paying her own travel to “share” her cutting edge experience, learn from local contexts and support a long term process of internalizing and practicing the knowledge experienced. This means that our ESCs will have their work cut out to move their teams from their early development stages of development to amazing performing groups winning on court but also at life.

Corporate Volunteering is enriching: Caroline explained me that Carewan has a partnership with On Purpose, a leading personal development organization in the Europe where Carewan employees coach On Purpose’s beneficiaries in France. This is a well rewarding experience both for the employees but also for Carewan as a company that can learn new practices and gain new insights that can be used with other clients. Carewan has one staff dedicated to manage and coordinate the CSR portfolio, proving that its top management is fully on board.

The country is full of capable and farsighted business leaders and there are many young professionals at their early stages of career with enthusiasm and willingness to connect and share with the not for profit sectors. They can be the bridge between two sectors that seldom speak to each other, enabling a trusting environment that is essential for win win partnerships to emerge.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.