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Overview of the India DM 2013 Finalists

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The 2013 India DM is focused on identifying social enterprise projects that have the potential to scale the impact of their work in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Read more about the eligibility criteria for the 2013 India DM.

The call for proposal was launched in January 2013 and we received over a 190 proposals in response. After a series of rigorous, merit based evaluations by a panel of development experts from inside and outside the World Bank, 30 projects were shortlisted for the due diligence and capacity building diagnostic. Seven teams comprising of senior assessors from the World Bank, Innovation Alchemy and independent subject matter experts have been traveling all across the country in the last two weeks to meet with the teams at the head office as well as in the field to identify the gaps in the model (if any) and determine how the World Bank could support these projects in addressing them, if they won the grant funding.

Following the in-depth evaluation and needs assessment review of the projects, 20 projects have been invited to showcase their projects at the Development Marketplace event in Bhopal on 1st May 2013.

An Introduction to the finalists

The projects include a very rich and diverse range of products & services targeted to impact the base of the pyramid in these states. Models built around low-cost infant warmers; mobile science labs for rural schools and mobile phone based information & case research systems demonstrate innovative application of technology. Other programs target complex social challenges such as adolescent girl trafficking; connecting school drop out youth to skills & jobs; managing tuberculosis treatment in very poor communities and facilitating use of organic fertilizers. And some of the projects demonstrate extensive experiments in enhancing business models, such as a hybrid model for facilitating bee keeping, exploring sustainable business through carbon credits, agro forestry and rural productivity hubs for farmer collectives.

Of the twenty finalist projects, seven of them are registered for-profit organizations, twelve projects have a non-profit base and one operates as a hybrid. Six of the finalist projects are targeting Madhya Pradesh for scale and replication; seven projects are targeting their work in Jharkhand; 4 in Chhattisgarh and 3 projects intend to work in more than one target state.

Four projects are intended to directly impact women and another four projects are seeking to impact children, including one that is focused on the girl child. Apart from that projects are designed to impact tuberculosis patients in poor communities, farmers, rickshaw drivers and the youth.

Projects Targeting Jharkhand

  • SOUTH VIHAR WELFARE SOCIETY FOR TRIBALS – Combating human trafficking by empowering adolescent girls and improving their health status.
  • ALTERNATIVE FOR INDIA DEVELOPMENT – Delivery of banking/ financial inclusion products/ services to excluded families by combining Panchayat kiosk banking outlets and Self Help Group strategies.
  • WATER LIFE INDIA – Sustainable community water systems for safe drinking water.OpAsha-2
  • EMBRACE INNOVATION – Deployment of Embrace infant warmers in low-resource government hospitals and measuring impact over time.
  • OPERATION ASHA – Implementation of eCompliance to supplement their treatment/ prevention of tuberculosis and turn the tap off on Multi-Drug Resistant TB in Jharkhand’s tribal regions.
  • DIMAGI SOCIAL INNOVATION – Working on using/ developing technology to increase the quality of services provided by community health workers.
  • IMERIT TECHNOLOGY SERVICES – Empowering marginalized women by training them in IT-based livelihoods.

Over 190 social impact projects seek to leverage catalytic grant funding to scale their work in 3 key states in India

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THE WORLD BANK 2013 INDIA DEVELOPMENT MARKETPLACE COMPETITIVE GRANT

With a grant pledge of USD 1 million, the 2013 India Development Marketplace (India DM) seeks to build on the work it has done in supporting social enterprises in India so far. This World Bank initiative aims to surface high-impact social development solutions that have demonstrated initial outcomes and provide catalytic support in helping to scale their work further.

Applying a multi-layer approach, the DM meets this objective first by providing crucial funding to back these projects (USD 50,000 to USD 100,000 per project funded) and then by enabling necessary technical assistance (through an empaneled group of local and regional firms & experts) to help organizations effectively address challenges of scale.

Launched on January 21st of this year, the 2013 India DM focused on 3 low-income states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. The call for proposal invited all social sector organizations (for-profit and non-profit entities) seeking to scale projects in these states, to apply for the grant. Over 190 project proposals have been received from across India in response to the call for proposal, within the stipulated timeline of 30 days, while the call was open.

Found the technology..but do you have insights for its social adoption?

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This research was done as a part of the Alchemix Blog Series: Dispatches from the Field

We are, therefore we invent. Technology represents one of the most fundamental applications of human intelligence. Given the gift of conscious thought, human beings are constantly striving to improve, enhance and evolve their lives. Defined as the application of scientific knowledge for specific purposes, technology is the engineered end result of the conscious human thought, harnessing the potential in nature for the purposes of our convenience. Little surprise then that it is at the crux of some of mankind’s greatest achievements through time, providing solutions to many challenges, whether it is the need to land a rover on Mars, light a bulb over a surgeon’s operating table or deliver clean drinking water to massively populated urban centers.

Yet, as we achieve complex technology accomplishments, more than a billion people continue to be disenfranchised, with no direct access to economy, science or development. The critical need is for innovators and entrepreneurs who can work with existing technology and build new ideas from them, to create a range of inexpensive, accessible and effective solutions that can be adopted at large scale. In this edition of Dispatches from the Field, we looked at the work of a host of entrepreneurs who are working at the grass roots, applying technology in ways that directly impact local under served communities.

The Raw Material that is Waste

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Plastic Waste - Photo credit: Innovation AlchemyIt is estimated that every Indian consumes approximately 8 kgs of plastic a year. If even 20% of the total plastic consumed gets into the waste cycle, that equals over a billion kilograms of plastic waste that will be generated in India just this year alone. The per capita figure usage has gone up from 4 Kgs per Indian in 2006 and is expected to grow to 25 Kgs of plastic used by every Indian per year by 2020. Imagine how much plastic waste we will be dealing with by 2020? Seriously alarming. Remember the film Wall E? *sigh*..

The United Nation’s Environment Program published an excellent study about Converting Waste Plastics into a Resource. Describing the pathways for Waste Plastic, the report traces most routes, which invaribly lead to a dumping site or a land fill.Dumping Cycle - Photo credit: Innovation Alchemy

If India alone is producing over a billion kilograms of plastic waste each year – the global figures are huge. While the world tries to figure out how to use less plastic – an equally important focus for Innovation will need to be: What to do with all the plastic that is already in the dumping grounds?

Scaling Social Impact in the North East with Ashoka Fellows

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In Calcutta a few days before Christmas, December 2011, Ashoka India brought together Fellows from the North and North East around a thematic workshop with Innovation Alchemy. The theme was ‘Scale’. The issue of increasing the IMPACT of the work that the Fellows are implementing through their diverse initiatives.

The two days of engagement was a quick immersion into the complex Development world of the North East. The region is perceptibly isolated from the rest of the country, politically, geographically, economically... A brief research of the core challenges in this part of the country points to porous borders, leading to migration, infiltration and huge demand on a weak economy. High degree of ecological instability and recurring natural disasters repeatedly impacting livelihoods, increasing displacement and further reducing opportunities. Adding to the complexity is a feeling that ‘the Central Government does not care about the North East‘.

Combine all this – human rights struggles, cross-border violations, weak economy, limited opportunity and lack of any strong progressive policy frameworks – and what you get is a situation ripe for human conflict.

Electricity Simplified via Simpa Networks

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This article was originally published on http://www.innovationalchemy.com/. Simpa Network has partned with SELCO, an India DM winner in 2011.

Simpa Networks has evolved a ‘Progressive Purchase‘ model for solar electricity, lighting up rural homes through a flexible payment option.  

The International Energy Agency estimates that about 1.5 billion people around the globe do NOT have access to electricity and 85% of these people live in rural areas.  In India, close to 40% of the country’s population still lives with limited access to grid electricity. This is not to say that rural India is in complete darkness. The up-front cost of procuring clean, affordable energy is high and so several parts of rural India rely on kerosene, charcoal and other forms of fuel that are easier to access and in local purchase terms, cheaper. The existence of these alternatives indicates that people have the ability to pay for energy, but it needs to be in a format and amount that they can access. Regular energy sources have not been able to find ways to fit this need yet. Simpa Networks leverages this insight into the rural market to find a way to fit within the ‘ability to pay’.

Customers pay up to $1000 over 8-10 years for kerosene lanterns why not capture what the customer is willing to pay and give them a cleaner alternative?”says co-founder Michael Macharg.

Based in Bangalore, Simpa Networks aims to develop affordable energy solutions for the poor. Their product makes solar electricity accessible and affordable to the rural and under served consumer through their innovative pricing system called ‘Progressive Purchase’.


And the response from #socents is exciting!

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7 weeks of outreach, 50 days of meeting, engaging, dialoguing with some of the brightest, most committed minds involved in creating social impact across India. And an overwhelming 264 proposals received from organizations seeking funding to scale their projects with support from the India Development Marketplace 2011. The response is extraordinary given the fact that this version of the India DM is focused on enabling Scale.

Therefore these are not start-up ideas – but instead are more mature models that are already demonstrating at least 2 years of operational existence, a movement towards financial sustainability, a reasonable clarity in their unit costs and a demonstrated and valuable social impact that can be replicated.

Techno-Possibilization!

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Traveling with the India DM 2011 team, meeting social enterprises that were trying to breakthrough the traditional mould of development, I was struck by the way technology was being leveraged. It came through as such a critical tool – an enabler that could single handedly shift the equation and bring possibility to the remote rural parts of India – shifting the balance of development and growth. Bringing in possibilities , empowerment and real access. 

Here is an illustrative sample of ideas that highlight the kinds of technology applications that are evolving as a result of entrepreneurial activity powered with a social spirit.

 

Education = Maths *Communication * Curiosity

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Gyanshala ClassesIf Einstein had to write his famous equation in the context of the changes in Bihar it would translate into:
 

EDUCATION = MATH * COMMUNICATION * CURIOSITY (and probably have a 3rd C as another element for ‘Confidence’!!)
 

Gyanshala’s innovative pedagogy and Chaitanya Gurukul’s integration of technology and web content into education are building a strong case for innovation in getting effective education to the most remote and poor corners of India – by focusing on whats essential.
 

Development 2.0 Brought to You by Social Entrepreneurs

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We traveled an hour outside of Jaipur to Laporiya village, in the Jaipur District. One of the 41353 villages across 32 Districts of Rajasthan that depends largely on agriculture and dairy for sustenance.

The total cultivated area of the state encompasses about 20 million hectares and out of this only 20% of the land is irrigated. Ground water level is available only at a depth of 30 to 61m. Yet with minimum inputs, the agricultural sector of the state accounts for 22.5 per cent of the State economy.

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