Monsoon Project Addresses Water Scarcity with Impressive Results

Cummins employees in Maharashtra, India, help build bunds to capture water.
Cummins employees in Maharashtra, India, help build bunds to capture water.

In some areas of India, monsoon season often provides residents with their primary source of water. But employees for Cummins India have launched a project in hopes of changing that. 

Cummins’ headquarters in India is in Maharashtra, a state that’s no stranger to water scarcity. Inadequate and unreliable monsoons have resulted in successive droughts, with devastating consequences for poorer communities, and especially, farmers. 

The unequal distribution of rain has led has contributed to tens of thousands farmer suicides, three million villagers seeking work, and, crop yields reduced by 50%. About 82% of the land is covered by volcanic rock, so only 4% of water is captured, resulting in runoff and soil erosion. 

To address this grave concern, Cummins India employees launched the Monsoon resilient Maharashtra (MRM) project to help local communities be less dependent on monsoons. The results have been impressive.

“India is largely an agrarian economy, where lives and livelihoods of farmers depend on monsoons,” said Rajiv Batra, Chief Financial Officer for Cummins’ operations in India and a sponsor of the project.

“Inadequate, inequitable rains, undulating terrain and rocky geological structure of Maharashtra have resulted in challenges, particularly for the farmers in this state. Cummins through the MRM project is contributing to mitigate the problem and make a difference in the lives of this community.”

KNOWLEDGE INTO ACTION

Cummins employees conducted research and field studies and met with expert stakeholders to learn about possible solutions. They also spent time with local residents to capture valuable information about water usage and crop patterns. 

This led to the formation of a unique scientific and technical model, in partnership with a strong team of experienced nonprofit partners. The project officially launched in four villages in 2017, focusing on areas that would give the highest impact in the region. 

Cummins employees continued their engagement by planting saplings between continuous contour trenches and sowing grass seed onto bunds to collect surface run-off.

To ensure sustainability, the team encouraged community members to participate through various training sessions. 

LIFE CHANGING IMPACT

The project reached 5,700 people and created 490,000 litres of additional water in its first year. Thirty acres of fallow land were converted into cultivable land and average crop productivity increased by 30 percent.

Due to this success, the project team is working this year to scale the project to 19 new villages. They are creating water budgets and conducting geological mapping studies to help make communities’ water secure. A concerted effort is also underway to educate residents on the approach and provide training to ensure water access for years to come. Already this year, they have reached almost 40,000 people.

Cummins believes that a company is only as healthy as the communities where it operates. When the ability to meet a basic need – access to water – is not met, the health of the community is clearly threatened. 
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

International Day of the Girl: Keeping our Focus on Women and Girls

Girls wearing masks

On October 11, the world celebrates International Day of the Girl, a time to recognize the challenges girls face around the world and raise our hands to help create transformational change. Women and girls are half the talent and potential in our communities; when girls rise up and succeed, so do entire communities. While we celebrate the incredible ongoing achievements of so many women and girls, this year we must also recognize how events such as the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affect women and girls. We must maintain focus so that we don’t lose valuable ground. 

When COVID-19 struck, our Cummins Powers Women partners shifted quickly to address new and urgent problems, including the troubling increase in domestic violence, new educational and childcare needs from children suddenly at home and access to safety equipment. Young women trained through our grant with Camfed in Ghana and Zambia are sharing COVID-19 prevention information with their communities. Rise Up deftly transitioned a globally-recognized and scalable model of in-person training to its first virtual training for women advocates in a Delhi leadership accelerator. Girls Inc., our U.S. partner, creatively engaged students in online platforms to accelerate the advancement of  “strong, smart and bold” girls. And, Girls Academy in Australia closely connected with girls at home to ensure each continued to reach for their personal educational attainment goals. These are but a few examples of the ingenuity of our Cummins Powers Women partners around the world in the face of crisis. 

Cummins employees have been right there with them. More than 1,500 employees have signed up to be Cummins Powers Women ambassadors, formalizing their personal commitment to make change in support of gender equality. Our ambassadors represent 40 different countries around the world and volunteered more than 1,900 hours in 2019 with our eight global nonprofit partners. 

Many of our Cummins Powers Women Ambassadors have organized internal events around International Day of the Girl. Open to all employees and their families, these events include opportunities to write digital children’s books for youth with learning challenges that focus on educational attainment and economic empowerment. Several regions are also holding virtual panel discussions with Cummins leaders, during which children will have a chance to ask questions about their career paths and learn more about roles at Cummins.   

This International Day of the Girl, work with Cummins, our Cummins Powers Women partners, on your own or with others around you to reaffirm your commitment to gender equity. When women prosper, the whole world prospers.  


Interested in learning more about how your company or organization can get involved with gender equality efforts?

Contact Us

Mary Chandler - Cummins Inc.

Mary T. Chandler

Mary Titsworth Chandler is Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Executive Officer of the Cummins Foundation. She joined the company in 2011 serving in Corporate Responsibility and became the leader of the function in 2015. A lawyer by training, Chandler practiced law for 25 years prior to working at Cummins.

 

Cummins focuses on remote learning challenges in our communities

Cummins Corporate Responsibility - Remote Learning Opportunities

The following was authored by Avril Schutte, Global Programs and Engagement Director, Cummins Inc. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant obstacles and changes to global education. UNESCO estimates that school closures have affected almost 70% of the world’s student population, a staggering 1.2 billion learners. The challenges that many people face in schooling children at home are amplified in disadvantaged communities where infrastructure and support for remote learning are lacking. Cummins employees are hard at work on reducing these hurdles for the most vulnerable in our communities.

When the pandemic first struck, schools closed around the world to keep staff and students safe. Teachers and governments had to adapt quickly to teaching methods for which many had not been trained. The challenges to remote learning began immediately: some students have no computers at home, while others have computers but no Internet access. As schools shifted to delivering content through television, radio or print materials, those, too, did not reach every student. The New York Times reports that, "By September, most students will have fallen behind where they would have been if they had stayed in classrooms, with some losing the equivalent of a full school years’ worth of academic gains."

In addition, students miss out on the nutrition programs offered in school and the personal connection to teachers and peers. Students will need emotional support to cope with months of isolation, often while families experienced health care and economic hardships.

The data suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic will have an enormous effect on student learning across the world, but students in low-income countries and in sub-Saharan Africa will be the most negatively affected. In these countries, governments have been less able to provide remote learning opportunities and guidance to teachers to address student learning needs during the crisis, according to the Brookings Institute.

Cummins recognizes the serious problems remote learning is causing in our communities. Ignacio Garcia, Vice President Latin America ABO, shared that in his region, “The closure of schools has impacted children’s lives in a very profound way. Many of the students will stay behind because of a lack of hardware and connectivity. Sadly, many of the skills required in the future are related to interaction between individuals that the current environment is not giving the opportunity to develop and learn."

Our employees are helping to bolster these connections and bridge the digital divide. Initially, our employees focused on immediate basic needs around the world, such as helping to address the hunger crisis. Now, they are working with community partners to deliver emergency grants in support of urgent learning needs. For example:

  • In Botswana, a Cummins grant is providing food and learning resources to 280 families in need.
  • In the United States, a Cummins grant is distributing learning packets, books and supplies to school age students.
  • In the United Kingdom, a Cummins grant supports 150 children with remote learning materials.

Additionally, Cummins has partnered with multiple businesses in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.A.), to launch an E-Learning Fund to support public student access to remote learning.

Srikanth Padmanabhan, Vice President and President – Engine Business, expressed his concern that "schools are now grappling with multiple struggles due to the COVID pandemic, including Internet connectivity, food distribution, mental health services, adaptation of new technologies, sanitization guidelines and more. These times call for all of us to work together to support our schools and each other. When schools reopen, I am confident that we, as Cummins employees, will adapt our volunteering to match these evolving and truly unprecedented needs."

To supplement the grants designed to improve access to educational materials, our employees are also volunteering their time to improve the personal connections and support for students that are often lacking during remote learning. These critical factors play a large role in increasing the number of students who return to school. I am inspired to see the many ways our employees are engaging with educators to keep learning interesting, including in:

  • Australia, where Cummins and Komatsu employees gathered on Zoom to welcome the Cummins TEC: Technical Education for Communities students back to the classroom. Employees have increased their engagement with two virtual platforms that allow them to provide tutoring to students.
  • Mexico, where Diego Medina, Cummins Care Coordinator, and the principal of two primary schools in La Pila (a disadvantaged community near San Luis Potosi), launched a five-week challenge over social media to engage students.
  • United States, where Karen Ramsey-Idem, Global Technical Operations Leader, and a team of Cummins volunteers have transitioned the Girls Inc. summer STEM program from in person to virtual.


We know that each of Cummins’ global communities will return to school with a unique set of challenges. Some may limit in-person attendance and continue to rely on remote learning for a longer time. Some will return with new guidance for sharing school supplies safely and how to space desks according to social distancing. However the return to school happens, Cummins and our employees remain committed to engaging with schools in our communities to ensure students learn and thrive, whether that’s from home or from a new environment they’ve yet to experience.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins partners with Immigrant Welcome Center for COVID-19 response

Immigrant Welcome Center
IWC volunteers stand outside its office in Indianapolis, Indiana

In line with the company’s continued commitment to building more prosperous communities, the Cummins Foundation recently issued a grant to the Immigrant Welcome Center (IWC) to provide support services to Indianapolis-based immigrant populations in the wake of COVID-19. 

IWC empowers immigrants in the Indianapolis, Indiana, area by connecting them to people, places and resources that enable them to build successful lives in the community. This mission is supported by volunteers, referred to as natural helpers. Natural helpers are immigrants themselves who provide first-hand guidance to new immigrants and refugees on how best to transition into life in Indianapolis and the U.S. generally. IWC has trained almost 200 natural helpers over the past 13 years. The organization currently has 60 active volunteers representing 28 countries and 29 languages. 

Cummins has had a relationship with IWC for several years. Cummins leaders have sat on the organization’s board; employees have volunteered at the organization’s events and Cummins has hosted IWC to present Immigration 101 lunch and learn sessions to employees. In 2018, IWC received support from the Cummins Foundation for its Immigrant Integration Plan, which created task forces to make Indianapolis a more welcoming community for immigrants. 

With the help of the Cummins Foundation, IWC will be able to enlist seven volunteers from the pool of natural helpers to conduct virtual wellness checks that connect immigrant populations to necessary resources and services considering the current pandemic. These natural helper specialists will communicate with the target populations in their native languages to: better explain safety protocols; offer support with schooling for children if needed; and specify how they can access masks, food banks and other such services at this time. They will also play a vital role in connecting non-English speakers with rental assistance and other programs that play an important role in the wellbeing of their families. IWC hopes that these wellness checks will reveal the gaps facing the target populations during the pandemic and inform how the organization can serve them better. 

"COVID-19 has had a big impact on public health and the economy here in Indiana. Effectively communicating helpful information to the immigrant community, specifically Hispanics, is a gap," said one of the enlisted natural helper specialists. "This program serves to bridge that gap and connect them with needed resources," the specialist added. 

Learn more about IWC and its work to enrich the Indianapolis community.
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Employees in the UAE put their writing skills to work to help children with special needs

Cummins employee Anirudh Singhania led the writing project, which is helping children with neurological conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and many others.
Cummins employee Anirudh Singhania led the writing project, which is helping children with neurological conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and many others.

When the Cummins Community Involvement Team (CIT) in the United Arab Emirates was looking for a project it could do with employees working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, Anirudh Singhania immediately had an idea – writing books.

Given that Cummins is a global power leader known for its technical expertise, books might not be the first thing that would come to mind for an employee project. But these are not ordinary books. These books are tailor made to be accessed by children with special needs.

Singhania, a Director of Power Gen Sales for the region, says the books can be vital to a special-needs child. 

“For example, children with hearing or processing difficulties rely solely on books to understand what is happening around their world,” he said. “Commercial books can be too difficult to read, with small fonts, confusing pictures, and long sentence structures.”

“Our books help expose new topics, current affairs and academic concepts to children with all sorts of special needs,” he added. “It saves parents precious time in having to make books daily, and helps them explain difficult topics like the pandemic we are living through today to reduce anxiety and stress.”

An example of the CIT's books for children with disabilities
One of the stories in the Cummins' collection, this book features Leyla, a cat with different colored eyes, who teaches an important lesson on diversity.

NO ORDINARY BOOKS

The books are essentially PowerPoint slides with pictures and limited words per slide. The templates were developed by Cummins employees working in collaboration with the Doman International Group.

The mission of Pennsylvania-based non-profit in the U.S. is to give parents the “knowledge and tools to help their children with special needs grow and develop.”

The group addresses most neurological conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and many others which manifest either in cognitive or physical disabilities.

Singhania said it is easy to get employees to tap into their inner writer once they understand the concept and the need. The 16 books recently made by CIT volunteers in the UAE had titles ranging from “What is a Virus,” “Importance of Reuse and Recycle,” “How to Make Compost,” and “Why are Mom and Dad Upset These Days.” 

A GLOBAL IMPACT

These books are being shared through online portals with thousands of families across the world who cannot use commercial books. This is not the first time the UAE CIT has produced books for the Doman International Group, but it is the first time the team took a CIT activity online. 

With the addition of the latest 16 books, the Cummins library has now reached 106 different titles in five languages, written by employees from every business segment. The books have been read by hundreds of children across the world. 

“Providing equality of opportunity for people with disabilities is one of Cummins key areas for Corporate Responsibility,” Singhania said. “Even in these trying times we firmly believe we can make a difference in the life of a child with special needs.”

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

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