Bansidhar & Ila Panda Foundation (BIPF) was established in 2011 as the social development arm of Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited (IMFA). BIPF believes that transforming individual lives, amongst the most marginalized communities in Odisha, will have a cascading impact on the regional development of the state. Working closely in collaboration with the central and state government, local and international organizations, and other strategic partners, BIPF drives results in five core areas of transformation: healthcare, livelihood, education, water & sanitation, and advocacy and appreciation. The foundation’s approach is built on collaborating with partners, embedding community ownership in all programs, focusing on women and youth, changing mindsets by driving behavioral change communication. This approach is integrated into all the projects. Currently, the foundation’s geographic focus spans five districts in Odisha, which cover nearly 200 villages.
Founded in 2011, BIPF, and has its origins in the decades-long community service carried out by the founders of Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited (IMFA). Late Dr. Bansidhar Panda, research scientist, returned from the United States and chose Therubali, a remote outpost in the erstwhile undivided Koraput district of Odisha, to embark upon his dream and IMFA came into being in 1961. Today, IMFA is a world of enterprise and innovation inspired by its founders - Late Dr. Bansidhar Panda and Late Mrs. Ila Panda.
Situated in the eastern state of Odisha, IMFA’s founders’ motto, “Touching Lives beyond Business”, set the tone for working closely with local communities to empower them with initiatives in Education, Health, Women Empowerment, Skill Development, and Water & Sanitation. Today, BIPF continues to build on this legacy to carry out the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in a more scalable and sustainable manner, targeting mostly marginalized communities.
While it was only in 2013 that the Company Act mandated the CSR programs by corporates, IMFA and BIPF had already deployed significant resources to their focus areas. BIPF is currently working in the five districts of Odisha namely Keonjhar, Jajpur, Rayagada, Angul, and Cuttack. These are remote districts which are difficult to access, lack basic facilities, and have very limited livelihood opportunities. They are also susceptible to the natural calamities such as cyclones and floods. As IMFA runs its operations from these districts, it was a natural step for BIPF to focus its developmental work in these areas.
The main aim of the Foundation is to empower people from marginalised groups through sustainable initiatives which will enable them to become economically and socially secure. BIPF works within four areas which contribute to seven of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations; these four thrust areas are Education, Health, Livelihood and Water Hygiene & Sanitation. BIPF has always been entrusted with a Vision to engage, educate and empower the most vulnerable communities to achieve significant socio-economic transformation;
BIPF Education Initiatives
BIPF gives special emphasis on ensuring quality education for the children of the employees and of the host community through Project Adhyayan. In consultation with the State Government, BIPF developed strategic initiatives to effect positive change in rural education. From establishing modern English medium school in Therubali Rayagada, to providing infrastructure development support to Government schools & education essentials to students in remote area thereby creating a congenial learning environment.
BIPF’s livelihood initiatives
Project Sakshyam aims at Women empowerment and Youth empowerment. Women empowerment is undertaken through Project Unnati, a self-help model for social and financial inclusion by transforming the lives of women to become the agent of change, whereas Youth empowerment is taken up through Project Yuva Sakshyam, a skill development initiative for empowering youth from remote areas of Odisha with skill sets to earn a living and become self-reliant.
BIPF’s health initiatives
Project Arogyadhara strives to provide basic health services to the neighboring communities by way of establishing dispensaries and eye care centers in locations where IMFA operates. Health camps are organised at regular intervals in the remotest of areas complementing the Government health services through PHCs & CHCs. Through health initiatives BIPF reaches out to mothers and children with immunization, pre & post-natal checkups and creating awareness among women through life skill programs on health, nutrition, hygiene & sanitation.
BIPF’s Water Sanitation & hygiene initiative
Project Suswasthya makes strenuous efforts to promote health and dignity of the community and ensure availability of sustainable potable water in peripheral areas as well as to overcome the consequences of poor sanitation. In strategic consultation and convergence with the community & Department of Rural Water Supply & Sanitation, Government of Odisha, BIPF initiated hardware activities like installation of drinking water facilities, community toilets, disinfection of drinking water sources etc., in one hand while generating mass awareness on practicing ideal sanitation and hygiene practices following CLTS approach on the other hand enabling the community to lead a healthy quality life.