When it comes to Social Impact, we have been focused on contributing to the communities we are part of for the last 21 years. It’s about more than good deeds – it is our calling as an organisation, and it’s about bringing our values to life.
There are a number of ways in which we show that We Care. Giving is one of them. As we keep building on our approach to Sustainability, our goal in terms of Giving is to concentrate our efforts on the areas of education, health, and the environment, where we can make the greatest impact. It’s about connecting and coordinating our giving activities around the world, while also being mindful of the local context and individual needs.
We have a wide range of charitable partnerships in the Giving space, and we believe that together with our partners, we will be able to deliver greater benefit to our communities, whether it’s about leveraging our capabilities to help NGOs support their beneficiaries better or about direct partnerships with local universities to support talent development in the IT industry and beyond.
Recently, our INSPIRE | GIVING WEEK and panel gave us the opportunity to bring together some of our NGO partners and explore the different ways we can all Give.
In this article, I will summarise some of the insights shared by our panellists:
- Alexandra Stefanescu – Security Officer, Code4Romania
- Claudia Oprescu – National Coordinator of the Safer Internet Centre in Romania, Save The Children
- Hugh Chichester – Co-Founder, Niya
- Carmen Butnariu – ESG Giving and Experience Consultant, Endava
- Justin Marcucci – Chief Digital Officer, Endava
Special thanks go to our moderator Nahla Summers, a world record holder, social change researcher, and cultural change consultant, for sharing her personal story and how she raised 250,000 acts of kindness. Nahla showed us how we can make a huge difference in people’s lives by building a culture of kindness based on gratitude, empathy, integrity, time, trust, connection, and courage.
Nahla: I’d like to open our discussion by asking our panellists: what does giving mean to you?
Alexandra: At Code4Romania, we want technology to enhance everyone’s life. From that point of view, kindness is about showing up, listening, and believing that the best place where we can exercise kindness is the intersection of our skills as technologists with the needs of our society.
Justin: For me, giving is about the time and attention you can provide to those around you. It’s about leaving the world a better place than it was when we came here. The way I personally approach giving is making sure that in every interaction with the people around you, you give more than you take.
Carmen: I feel lucky that giving is part of my job. For me, giving is about being thoughtful and choosing to do good to balance out the moments when you are less present. It also means being open to other’s perspectives. So, just looking to find balance and sharing gratitude through the way we live our lives. It’s an actionable choice and a skill that we can all develop.
Hugh: Giving brings joy which endures, much like a state rather than an emotion. I also see a link between happiness and generosity and kindness. You also need to put time aside for giving to something you’re passionate about or helping someone, like your colleagues.
Nahla: When it comes to leveraging technical expertise to do great things, how can we use tech as a force for good?
Justin: The first thing that usually comes up about how an individual or organisation can give is how we can help financially, but I think the more powerful way of giving is to bring to bear people’s talents and to provide that to the less fortunate in a way that allows them to amplify their message. We did this at Endava with Tri-County Scholarship Fund (TCS) in New Jersey. It provides scholarships from kindergarten to 12th grade for individuals who are financially disadvantaged, so that they can get a meaningful, high-quality education. I had been supporting TCS for a number of years, and when I joined the board of trustees, I immediately saw an opportunity for Endava to provide our technology capabilities and truly amplify the impact TCS could have, vastly increasing the exposure of the organisation.
Endava took on the responsibility of building a new digital platform for the organisation, applying the same thinking and our tech know-how as we do for companies all over the world to drive their commercial success, but this time, it was for an organisation that really could use help. So, we donated our time, effort, and talent across a number of locations. The new platform expanded the TCS digital presence, awareness, and allowed for digital giving. I am very proud to be part of this, as our support really allowed them to increase the number of times they could interact with a larger community and to raise far more support and thus take care of more students.
Nahla: I know that Code4Romania is another example of giving supported by technology. Can you share more about the partnership with Endava and how that makes a difference?
Alexandra: Code4Romania is part of a very large network, Code4All. Everything we’ve ever done was with open-source code, and everything we’ve ever written is up for grabs for everyone who wants to repurpose it. In Romania, we made a name for ourselves helping with the monitoring of elections, helping civil society to fundraise, and supporting public institutions to communicate during the pandemic.
The partnership with Endava allows us to work on something we wanted to do for a very long time: a Healthcenter. We noticed that every country that prides itself on having an educated population has a means of disseminating data within the population, usually a point of information where citizens can go and get health education and information about where to address questions. Here they can relieve concerns and understand the difference between certain medical services to assess what their next step should be.
We wanted to create this information resource. We will not only organise the information to make it accessible to people when they are at their worst. We are also making this application open source. So, once we built it, it can be reused for other applications that could help make information available to the general population. With Healthcenter, we’re planning to make it easy for people to share information – in a WhatsApp conversation for example.
Nahla: Are there examples of how we can use technology to support young people?
Claudia: Save the Children is a leading independent organisation, and we help children in staying safe, healthy, learning, and changing their future for good – we believe every child deserves a bright future. During the lockdown in Romania, Save the Children mobilised human and financial resources and provided modern medical equipment to medical units, and more than 10,000 children and 7,000 families benefited from our services based on their needs. We also organised remedial education programmes for the children and facilitated participation in online schooling by providing tablets, internet subscription, and training to use the devices safely and efficiently.
Through the partnership with Endava, we are committed to helping all children achieve their full potential by ensuring they grow up healthily, receive a good education, and stay safe offline and online. Endava took the responsibility to contribute to supporting the children’s education. Through this partnership, we also aim to promote, develop, and share a lot of useful and valuable resources to empower girls in our community to become more tech-oriented, helping them break the stereotypes and become more involved in the IT sector through relevant projects and courses.
Nahla: I know that Endava is also working with NGOs supporting minority groups. What is the connection with technology?
Hugh: At Niya, we’re on a mission to reinvent the conversation about enforced displacement, as in the world today, there are about 82 million people currently displaced, and we expect there will be 1 billion by 2050. The issue we have is that people keep seeing this as a problem and not the opportunities available by looking differently at the situation of migration. We don’t think that putting people in a camp is the right way to deal with that problem. When you break it down, out of those 82 million people, about 40% have digital skills. They’re hungry to work, they don’t want to leave their home. This is a huge opportunity in a global economy that is going increasingly online, digital, and remote – and that has critical resource gaps.
So, our strategy has been: let’s start building a marketplace to change the narrative around refugee talents and uncover a huge untapped source of talent for the global economy. Through our platform, we give people access to the market and also the opportunity to reskill. Endava was one of our early champions and partnered with us by offering funding to reskill 20 refugees, and hopefully some of these people will be available for Endava to hire in software engineering.
Nahla: To close our conversation, how would you encourage people to build a culture of kindness through giving?
Justin: Don’t overthink it, just get out there and start giving, start caring about others, doing more, and leading by example. As a result of that, people will see it and start emulating the behaviour. It is contagious!
Alexandra: Figure out what the need around you is, be a good listener, be a very present person. Figure out what your strength is and how you can address that need. I also think it’s crucial to take a lot of time for self-care and recharging, so you can do that indefinitely because it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Claudia: We believe that giving our time means giving children something really exceptional, a real chance to live their best lives online and offline.
Carmen: Be thoughtful – start with yourself, take the time to be grateful and to share that gratitude. Be open to different perspectives and backgrounds, celebrate diversity. Don’t assume, ask and listen actively. Be trusted – we’re all connected, we need to build our trust, we achieve so much more together. And, finally, pass it on – just let it ripple and create more and more good.
As we continue our journey of Giving, we are very proud of the contributions we have made, and we’re committed to giving back and fostering growth in our communities, acting as a force for social good. We are also happy that Endavans all over the world are keen on volunteering their time and expertise to local causes, bringing our values to life in practical ways.
Also, to mark the season of gratitude in a thoughtful way, this year we decided to enhance the power of a simple Thank You by planting a tree for each e-Thank-You card our colleagues send internally to each other. The campaign kicked off at the beginning of December, thousands of Thank Yous were sent already, and we are happy to see how our Endava Thank You Forest is growing! To celebrate 10K Endavans, we’ll be planting an additional 10,000 trees, one for each member of the Endava team, as a thank you for being part of our story and helping us reimagine the way technology impacts the lives of millions.