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India Development Coalition of America

Invites You to:


Fourth International Conference
Sustainable Development in India: Challenges and opportunities

Dates: Oct 14-15, 2006 (Sat-Sun)


CONFERENCE VENUES :
Oct.14: IIT Rice Campus, Wheaton, IL Oct.15: Hilton Lisle/Naperville
3003 Corporate West Drive Lisle, Illinois 60532

Keynote Speakers: This conference will focus


Dr. B. K. Agnihotri, Former Ambassador-at-Large, on the 4 basic needs:
Arvind Kejriwal, 2006 Magsaysay Award Winner,
President, Parivartan, New Delhi Water, Health,
Prof. Kamal S. Bawa, President-Ashoka Trust for
Research in Ecology & Env.MA/India Education, and
Dr. Abraham George, President- The George
Foundation, New Jersey/India.
Livelihoods.
For more information: www.idc-america.org / info@idc-america.org
President: Dr. Mohan Jain Tel: 630-303-9592
Team
EDITORIAL TEAM

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy


Chief Editor
chiefeditor@afhd.org

Ms. Bharati Kalasapudi


Mr. Nasy Sankagiri
Ms. Aarti Iyer
— An insight into the complex problems Mr. Lakshman Kalasapudi
Ms. Padmaja Ayyagari
of develoment and an attempt Mr. Rajesh Satyavolu
to provide solutions. Dr. Srinivasa Rao
editor@afhd.org
Published by Dr. Vasundhara D. Kalasapudi Advisory Board
Bharati Seva Sadan Dr. Thomas Abraham
Srinivasanagar Colony Dr. Nirupam Bajpai
Saluru- 535 591 Dr. Suri Sehgal
Mr. M. Chittaranjan
Vizianagaram District, A.P. India Dr. Rao V.B.J. Chelikani
Ms.Poonam Ahluwalia
For Copies, Contact: INDIA
Editorial Board
Dr. Rao V.B.J. Chelikani Dr. Abraham George
International Foundation for Human amgeorge@optonline.net
Development (IFHD)
Mr. Ratnam Chitturi
Balaji Residency, 12-13-705/10/AB chitturi@mail.org
Gokulnagar, Tarnaka
Hyderabad - 500 017, A.P. Mr. Anil Chug
marketlinksusa@yahoo.com
India
91-40-27174189 Mr. Ram Krishnan
91-40-55214993 rkrishnan46@yahoo.com

Mr. Balbir Mathur


USA Balbir@TreesforLife.org
Dr. Srinivasa Rao Mr. Yogi Patel
Association for Human Development (AFHD) yogi@prathamusa.org
208, Parkway Drive Roslyn Heights
Dr. Raj Rajaram
New York,11577, USA raj2468@comcast.net
E-mail : srao@afhd.org
Dr. Viral Acharya
vacharya@london.edu
For all Communication please contact:
editor@afhd.org Ms. Volga
asmitacollective@sancharnet.in

MISSION
To present people, ideas, news and views To disseminate information on NGO
periodically to readers to promote movement to improve communication
networking among NGOs. which in turn can catalyze human
development.

To publish peer reviewed professional To provide a platform for all concerned


articles on NGO movement that can with sustainable development to
promote sustainable development and catalyze the process of human
best practices. development.

Editorial Coordination by P.S.Sundaram, Former Editor, The New Indian Express &
Managing Editor, Media India, at MEDIA INDIA, Hyderabad.
Mail: info@mediaindia.org Phone: 040 2340 1212 /1313 Fax: 040 2340 1414

Printed at: Kalajyothi Process (P) Ltd, RTC X Roads, Hyderabad - 500 020 (A.P.) India
3
Catalyst For Human Development
4
Catalyst For Human Development
Contents

Preface: Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9


Is there a ‘Changemaker’ Inside you ?: Venkatesh M. Raghavendra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Everyone a Changemaker: Bill Drayton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Ashoka Strives for a Strong Citizen Sector of Changemakers: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Best Visionaries Moving into Citizen Sector: Chaula Kothari . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Networking for Social Transformation: S.M. Cyril . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Ashoka to Launch Anti-Corruption Initiative: Catalyst Interview with Diana Wells . . . . .19
Finding Diamonds in the Rough: Lily Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Catalyst Salutes Ashoka Fellows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
The Evolving Role of NGOs in Poverty Alleviation: Dr. Abraham George . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
ERDS Spurring Silent Transformation: Kanchan Bhadury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Karmayog: Sucheta Dalal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Urban Wastage A Resource for Rural India!: Anshu K. Gupta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
An Institute to Build the Nation: Dr. M.A. Balasubramanya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
Giving More and Giving Wisely: Aarti Madhusudan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32
Mann Deshi Sahakari Mahila Bank - A Boon for Women: Chetna Gala Sinha . . . . . . . . . .34
IRHS - A Tribute to Comman Man: Dr. Patricia Bidinger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
A Great Initiative in Mental Health Delivery: Dr.Thara Srinivasan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Chicago IDCA Summit Raises Water Awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38
Superstitions are Retardants of Progress: Narendra Nayak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Highway Rescue Project - A Lifeline Foundation Gift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Adventure Tourism Boosts Conservation: S.L.N. Swamy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
Who is a Social Entrepreneur ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
The Skoll Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
2006 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Indian NGOs Meeting Many Challenges: Catalyst Interview with Bart W. Edes, ADB . . . .52
M. S. Swaminathan the Legend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Three Indians win Global Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Book Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Why Do We Need Social Entrepreneurs ?: Dr. Srinivasa Rao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58

5
Catalyst For Human Development
Authors

P R O F I L E S of A U T H O R S

BILL DRAYTON VENKATESH M. DR.ABRAHAM GEORGE S.M.CYRILL


RAGHAVENDRA
Bill Drayton is a social entrepre- Venkatesh Raghavendra is Abraham George holds a Born in Ireland, Sr. Cyril has
neur. As a student, he was currently part of Ashoka's Ph.D. in Business served in India since 1956.
active in civil rights and founded Global Development team, Administration, has written As the headmistress of the
a number of organizations, rang- with particular focus on Asia . three books on International Loreto Day School, Sealdah,
ing from Yale Legislative Ashoka's mission is to shape Finance, and was a success- Calcutta, she has transformed
Services to Harvard's Ashoka a citizen sector that is entre- ful entrepreneur in the United a program originally designed
Table, an interdisciplinary week- preneurial, productive and States for more than 25 to serve privileged women
ly forum in social sciences. He globally integrated, and to years. He is the founder and into a school and home for the
graduated from Harvard with develop the profession of managing trustee of the children of extreme poverty in
highest honors and went on to social entrepreneurship George Foundation, a chari- Calcutta and the surrounding
study at Balliol College in Oxford around the world. table trust working towards rural villages. Sr. Cyril's goal
University, where he attained his Raghavendra works with the poverty alleviation (www.tgf- has been to intervene so that
M.A. with First Class Honors. Ashoka Asia team, bridging world.org). His charitable these children do not end
Beginning his career in 1970 at the Asia programme with the work through The George their lives in utter deprivation
McKinsey and Company in New global activities of Ashoka. He Foundation in India for over and despair. Sr. Cyril's
York, he served in the Carter is focusing on building rela- ten years has focused on achievement has been to
Administration as Assistant tionships with the business poverty alleviation, empower- transform the Loreto Day
Administrator at the U.S. sector, the diaspora popula- ment of women, health care School into what she
Environmental Protection tion and other key investors of and education for the rural describes as a "Resource
Agency. In 1981, he returned to Ashoka. poor. Dr. George is the Centre for the Kingdom of
McKinsey half-time and Venkatesh is also a part of author of a highly acclaimed God ensuring that even the
launched both Ashoka and Save Ashoka's global training team. recent book: India poorest child has a place in
EPA and its successor, He has managed Ashoka's Untouched: The Forgotten the sun."
Environmental Safety.As Asia programme since 2000. Face of Rural Poverty. In recognition of her work,
MacArthur Fellow he was able Prior to this position, he was Sr. Cyril has received awards
to devote himself full time to the Ashoka Representative including recognition by
Ashoka. Mr. Drayton is currently for South India (his native UNESCO (1994) and the
the Chair and CEO of Ashoka: area). He is the co-founder of International Christian
Innovators for the Public. He is The Adventurers, an outdoor Stewardship Award in 2002
also Chair of Youth Venture, and environmental organiza- given by the U.S. Conference
Community Greens, and Get tion working in the rainforests of Catholic Bishops.
America Working! of South Western India.

DR. PATRICIA BIDINGER CHAULA KOTHARI

Dr Pat obtained her BSc from the University of Chaula first came to Ashoka as
California and MS and PhD from Cornell University an intern in the U.S.A./Canada
where she was a National Institutes of Health programme and she did her
Fellow. She underwent practical medical training in Master of Arts in International
Ithaca, NY and rural areas of the US as well as at Relations at Maxwell School at
the Government Maternity Hospital and the Syracuse University and first
Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad,India. learnt about Ashoka Fellow
Helping the less fortunate was an important goal in Harendra de Silva while writing
her life. She co-founded the Institute for Rural her thesis on Tamil women
Health Studies in 1981. It will celebrate its silver jubilee this October. Pat combatants in Sri Lanka. Before coming to Ashoka, Chaula
spends 10 months of the year in India and two months as a Visiting Faculty worked on a government research project on nuclear ter-
member at the University of Cambridge in England. She is an early Ashoka rorism and at the UN on small-arms disarmament. Chaula
Fellow and has also won the Ashoka and Mc Kinsey Community Based will be a key figure in Ashoka's Global Venture Integration
Investment Award. programming.
6
Catalyst For Human Development
Authors

THARA SRINIVASAN CHETNA GALA SINHA SUCHETA DALAL ANSHU K. GUPTA


Dr.Thara Srinivasan is Economist,, farmer and activist, Sucheta Dalal is an award-win- A brilliant and inquisitive mind,
Chennai-based and presently Chetna Gala-Sinha, 43, works ning business journalist and he studied journalism as well
the Director of SCARF, for social change in some of the author with over 22 years in the as Advertising & Public
a non-governmental, non- poorest and most drought- profession, founded on many Relations India (Indian
profit organization, which stricken areas of rural India. newsbreaks, insightful analysis Institute of Mass
since 1984 has committed She founded and is currently and high integrity. She was con- Communication), and then
itself to schizophrenia care the president of a micro-enter- ferred the prestigious Padma went on to do a Masters in
and research. Founded by a prise development bank, pro- Shri for journalism in 2006. She Economics. While still a grad-
group of philanthropists and moting property ownership and was awarded the Chameli Devi uate student in 1991, he trav-
mental health professionals training for women. The Bank is Award instituted by the Media eled to Uttarkashi, North India
led by Dr. M. Sarada Menon, the first in its region to provide Foundation for excellence in after a major earthquake.
an internationally known psy- life, accident and hospitaliza- journalism, and Femina's Missing out on his classes, he
chiatrist, SCARF has estab- tion insurance for women and Woman of Substance award for lived in tents for days and
lished itself as a center of sponsors training in animal her work on the Harshad Mehta helped in the relief efforts.
repute in rehabilitation and husbandry, organic farming and scam in 1992 and related writ- This was his first real expo-
research. The present team veterinary medicine. The Bank ing. sure to the problems of rural
led by the Director Dr.Thara is has its origins in cooperatives She is a BSc. In Statistics from masses in far off parts of the
organized by Gala-Sinha to Karnatak College, followed up country, something that
composed of psychiatrists,
assist women in raising goats, with a graduate and post gradu- shocked his urban sensibili-
psychologists, social workers,
selling vegetables and weav- ate degree in law (LLB and ties.
rehab personnel, administra-
ing. In addition, Gala-Sinha LLM) from Bombay University. After completing his studies,
tive and support staff.
works on behalf of landless Ms Dalal's journalistic career he joined the corporate sector.
laborers for property and water started in 1984 with Fortune However, It was his longing to
SATHIRAJU SANKARA rights. She has succeeded in India magazine and she has give back to society, do some-
NARAYANA changing government policy subsequently moved through thing different that would ben-
and law regarding property Business Standard, The efit thousands and involve
Born in 1936 rights for women.Currently she Economic Times and then went people's participation. He left
at Narsapur, is also a consultant to Ashoka, Escorts as Manager,
on to become Financial Editor of
in Andhra Corporate Communications in
as Media strategist and chief The Times of India. She is now
Pradesh, 1998 to work full time on his
editor of the soon-to-be a columnist and consulting edi-
India, com- idea.
launched Ashoka India Web tor for The Indian Express
pleted his site. group; a Consulting Editor for
Masters Money LIFE a personal finance
Degree in fortnightly and also writes a col-
Economics from Loyola AARTI MADHUSUDAN umn for Hindustan Times.
College, Chennai and joined
the services of All India Radio A a r t i
in 1963. After working in vari- Madhusudan LILY PAUL
ous capacities for 32 years, he is an enthusi-
retired in 1995 as Station astic volun- Lily is a part of Ashoka's Asia team and has
Director, Chennai. Sankara teer who helps been managing Special Projects for Ashoka
Narayana hails from a family of GiveIndia in in Asia. She led a unique social market-
artists. His father was a very more ways ing initiative in the region promoting social
creative person and his elder than one. Aarti researches on entrepreneurship through David Bornstein's
brother, Bapu is one of the various issues, helps get book HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD. She
most eminent artists of India other volunteers, networks has been building Ashoka's citizen base in
and a well known Film Director. with other NGOs, etc. She is Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad and help-
Sankara Narayana currently currently managing the volun- ing social entrepreneurs collaborate with other
lives in Chennai, pursuing his teering effort for GiveIndia sectors such as business and academia. Lily is
passion for drawing portraits. from Chennai. also a counsellor and works with families.
7
Catalyst For Human Development
Acknowledgements
conveys its thanks to Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
for permitting publication of articles related to Ashoka activities,
the Ashoka Team for helping in the editorial production of all
Ashoka articles and the others for reviewing and editing of the same.

ASHOKA TEAM:
Ms. Sohini Bhattacharya Ms. Beverly Schwartz
Ms. Nomito Kamdar Ms. Dolon Sen
Ms. Sandhya Moraes Ms. Sandra Sitar
Ms. Devashri Mukherjee Ms. Shivangini Tandon
Ms. Alexis Ettinger Mr. Devin McIntire
Ms. Lily Paul

REVIEWING AND EDITING TEAM:


Ms. Jessie Margolis jmargo01@gmail.com

Ms. Namrata namrata@bu.edu

Ms. Bharati Kalasapudi bharati@brown.edu

Ms. Miguel Miro-Quesada heymiguel@gmail.com

Ms. Emily Estrada emilyl.estrada@gmail.com

”Mr. Patrick Lynch


Mr. Bruce Margolis
Mr. Umang Kumar
lynch.pj@gmail.com

bruce.margolis@gmail.com

umkumar@gmail.com

Catalyst accepts no responsibility, directly or indirectly, for the views and opinions
expressed by the authors as well as for the pictures used in the articles.

We can do no great things


only small things with great love.
-
- Mother Teresa

8
Catalyst For Human Development

Preface

HE central theme of the third issue of Catalyst is Ashoka, a nonprofit organization devot-
T ed to the cause of developing social entrepreneurship. For-profit organizations like private
companies or publicly held corporations create material wealth for the society while social
entrepreneurs contribute to generate human wealth. It is this human wealth in return that pro-
duces material wealth with a huge multiplier effect to help solve the problem of poverty, one
of the objectives of Catalyst.

It was the genius and insight of late management guru, Peter Ducker who first realized that
Non—Profit Organizations (NPO) or Non—Governmental Organizations (NGO) also required
the application of sound management principles and it resulted in a systematic study to build
a body of knowledge. While the future management historians will appreciate the contribution
of Peter Ducker to NPOs and NGOs, they would equally like to admire the significant contri-
bution of William Drayton for first coining "social entrepreneurship" and then promoting social
entrepreneurs throughout the world.

Ashoka has influenced directly or indirectly many philanthropic organizations like Skoll
foundation started by Jeff Skoll of eBay, Acumen Fund started by Rockefeller Foundation,
Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists and many others. Since the
beginning of human history, man has been influenced by an urge to help fellow human
beings. Many successful rich families in every country of the world have always established
charities to help the less fortunate. Though teaching how to fish is better than giving fish is
appreciated by all, it is not often practised. Ashoka not only believes in this old chinese wis-
dom, it has taken one step forward by urging social entrepreneurs to revolutionize fishing
itself.

For a country like India with more than 1.1 billion people, and more than 60% of the popu-
lation actually below the poverty line (official BPL is based on unrealistic criteria), we need
thousands of social entrepreneurs to fight poverty. India's problems like several democracies
are made difficult because of the poor governance, total abdication of one's social responsi-
bilities by the literate class and the resultant non-functioning of democratic institutions.

On paper there are more than a million (some even claim it is two million) NGOs in India.
The fact that Ashoka has been able to identify only about 262 fellows, shows that we need
far more social entrepreneurs. Many NGOs start in India not because of the felt need, but
because of the ready availability of foreign funding. Often the agenda and strategy for some
NGOs are set not based on India's ground realities, but by the perceived objectives of foreign
donors. It is here one can actually admire and appreciate the objectivity of an institution like
Ashoka.

Ashoka model social entrepreneurs are able to contribute significantly today in India even
under the most unfriendly and corrupt political system as shown by many Ashoka -American
India Foundation Fellows. It is our hope and Ashoka's challenge that some of these fellows
will indeed revolutionize "fishing" by bringing systemic changes in the corrupt body politic of
India. Right To Information Act is indeed a big step forward, just like Consumer Protection Act
(CPA) was in 1986, to fight the corrupt system. But we all know that CPA failed to bring about
consumer revolution despite the act being a fine and path—breaking legislation in the world.

Honest, dedicated and competent people often stay away from the messy need of fighting
the system today because politics is bad. We need some outstanding Ashoka Fellows who
can overcome the stigma of politics to cleanse politics while not being swayed by the power.

Dr Bhamy V. Shenoy

9
Catalyst For Human Development
Guest Editorial

Is There a ‘Changemaker’ Inside You?

VENKATESH M. RAGHAVENDRA
N the evening of what was touted as 7/11 by the Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, coined the term "social
O media, I was sitting in the Bangalore airport on my
way to New Delhi. The TV monitors in the airport started
entrepreneurship" when he initiated the Ashoka
Fellowship in 1980. The term has become part of the
beaming news of the Mumbai train blasts. After the initial mainstream development lexicon now. Today Ashoka,
reactions of shock and anger, the immediate thought that which was first launched in India, operates in 62 countries
came to my mind - what are 'social entrepreneurs' doing and has invested in over 1700 Ashoka Fellows. Ashoka's
about this? My mind then raced to the work of many of paradigm of investing in innovative local solutions and
them I know in Mumbai. nurturing them to national and international scale through
Teesta Setalvad is transforming school curricula to rid a range of support and services has changed the way we
them of religious and other types of biases. Shakil Ahmed view development and philanthropy.
and his team of volunteers help the residents in Mumbai Particularly within the Indian context, social
slums demand their rights and exercise their power as cit- Entrepreneurs are creatively powering the systemic
izens, without fearing the police, the bureaucrats, or the changes that are required to ensure that all citizens
muscle-flexing politicians. Beena Lashkari is equipping receive services, and are fairly treated. At a moment
slum children ages three to eighteen with formal educa- when forces like cable television, the trappings of a con-
tion, keeping them in school. The list goes on. Sonali sumer culture, malls, and fast food chains are conspiring
Ojha working with youth, Shielu Srinivasan focusing on to raise the aspiration levels of the emergent Indian yup-
senior citizens, Mathew Spacie using sports as a vehicle pie, social entrepreneurs provide the perfect counterbal-
for social change, Dr. Armida Fernandez offering maternal ance to remind people of the role they need to play as cit-
care to low-income families - all of these change-agents izens.
are Ashoka Fellows based in Mumbai and they share in Considering the sheer size of India and its complexity of
common the determination to solve systemic problems in issues, Ashoka has known all along that "we cannot do it
our society. alone". So when we found like-minded organizations like
Yes, wherever possible they rushed to the train stations the American India Foundation (AIF), and discovered an
and the nearest hospitals to the aid of the injured and the alignment of values and vision, we partnered with them at
needy. Subsequently and very quickly, they made their first opportunity. Our partnership with AIF (www.aifounda-
voices heard as a community of concerned individuals. tion.org) is now in its fourth year and has enabled us to
But most importantly they are fighting the larger battle, double the number of innovations/social entrepreneurs we
and a daily one, of prejudice, class and caste differences, are able to invest it. Today Ashoka-AIF Fellows are work-
basic education, accountability in government and public ing in Bhavnagar, Bongaigon, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar and
delivery-systems. Driven by innovation and their spirit of every other imaginable area of the country and on every
enterprise, they are holding together a complex communi- issue that matters. Diaspora leaders like Rajat Gupta,
ty - Mumbai in this instance - and striving to establish a Lata Krishnan, Desh Deshpande and many others have
semblance of balance, fairness, and equity, creating hope endorsed the contribution of social entrepreneurs to the
and offering opportunity. They are fighting the potent future of the country and have joined hands in the cause.
forces of exploitation, discrimination and denial of oppor- We are honored that Catalyst has focused this issue on
tunities which they know will spawn unrest and frustration the efforts of "social entrepreneurs" and their relevance to
that can lead to "explosive situations" in societies. India, especially the emergent India. You will read the sto-
Social entrepreneurship may sound like the newest ries of Ashoka Fellows, covering topics as diverse as
buzzword these days, very handy to government, busi- women's co-operative movements in Southern
ness, media and civil society alike. But it has been prac- Maharashtra to schooling for have-nots in Kolkata to mar-
ticed for ages although not under that term. Social entre- keting rural innovations in Chennai. The common thread
preneurs like Florence Nightingale who transformed the that you will see is a lifetime of dedication, constant inno-
profession of nursing, Vinobha Bhave with the land reform vation, nimble execution and strategies that can tip entire
movement, James Grant who headed UNICEF and systems and not just nibble around the edges of the criti-
launched the "child survival revolution" have left their foot- cal issues. We are sure that these powerful examples and
prints on history. The role of social entrepreneurs and role models will inspire and challenge you to improve your
their huge contribution is increasingly being recognized. own community or to rally behind the work of these incred-
The Magsaysay Award presented last month to Ashoka ible Ashoka Fellows, realizing Ashoka's vision of "every-
Fellow Arvind Kejriwal for his crusade against corruption one a changemaker". 
in India is a very current example. vraghavendra@ashoka.org

10
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

Everyone a Changemaker

BILL DRAYTON
INTRODUCTION will reach adulthood with a self-definition that does not
include changemaking and a social skill set that largely pre-
ODRIGO Baggio has been relentlessly pursuing his cludes it. Those without will be marginalized.
R vision, of bridging the digital divide that plagues the
Favelas of Rio de Janeiro, since long before the term gained
The children of elite families grow up being expected to
take initiative and being rewarded for doing so. This confi-
currency. His chain of community-based computer training dent ability to master new situations and initiate whatever
schools now serves hundreds of slums worldwide. While changes or actions are needed is in essence what defines
beginning his work in Rio, he learned just how motivated and the elite.
capable of learning the young people in the Favelas were. However, the other 97 percent grow up getting very little
And also how competent the Favela community was in such experience. Adults control the classroom, work setting,
organizing. and even extra-curricular activities. Most school and other
Consider the impact Rodrigo has on a community when he youth cultures are not competent and do not support initia-
introduces his program. It is not a school created by the gov- tive-taking. This situation, coupled with society's attitudes,
ernment or outsiders. It is a school created, funded and man- drums home the message to this majority: "You're not com-
aged by people in the community. The students are respon- petent or perhaps even responsible."
sible for learning and then making their way. Think how many Over the last century, many other groups - including
patterns and stereotypes are crumpled by these simple and women, African Americans, even colonial peoples - had to
very obvious facts. It is a uniquely economical model that make their way from such debilitating stereotypes to becom-
strengthens the broader community and serves as a founda- ing fully accepted, capable contributors. These groups had to
tion for other initiatives long into the future. travel strongly similar human and community transformation
As important as Rodrigo's impact is on the digital divide, paths.
this second dimension of his impact is far more important - Building on the history of these earlier movements and on
the idea of catalyzing new local changemakers into being. the accumulated experience of hundreds of leading social
The whole process is enormously contagious. When entrepreneurs working with young people, Ashoka and many
champions build the teams they need to launch the idea they partners* have prototyped and are beginning to launch at
have adopted they are providing not only encouragement but scale the equivalent of a women's or older person's move-
also training to potential next-generation local changemak- ment for young people.
ers. As their numbers multiply, so does the number of sup- Although this movement must ultimately change how
port institutions, making the next generation of entrepreneur- everyone thinks about and relates to young people, it is
ing and changemaking easier. Not only do people not resist, young people and their peer communities who will have to
but they respond readily to this change. Who wants to be an change most. It is essential that they be central actors - both
object when they could be changemakers, when they could in actually shifting to the new pattern and in championing the
live lives far more creative and contributory? change.
The most important contribution any of us can make now To manage this eventually massive emergent movement
is not to solve any particular problem, no matter how urgent. Ashoka has created an independent but close partner, Youth
What we must do now is to increase the proportion of Venture. To build and launch this movement, Ashoka, Youth
humans who know that they can cause change. And who, Venture, and their partners are following a strategy that exer-
like smart white blood cells coursing through society, will cises enormously powerful jujitsu-like leverage; leverage that
stop with pleasure whenever they see that something is works on four mutually reinforcing levels, summarized in
stuck or that an opportunity is ripe to be seized. Table 1.
Each of these four needs the others. But they will not snap
Yet this will not be easy. Society can- into place together or everywhere in society instantly. This
Transforming the makes the job facing the pioneers much harder than it will be
not significantly increase the propor-
Youth Years for their successors; and it requires a phased, several-stage
tion of adults who are, and know they
are, changemakers until it changes the way all young people strategy. The central challenge is getting to the scale where
live. Yet, this "everyone a changemaker" world is an the synergies between these four levels - and across
unreachable fantasy unless the youth years become years of schools, neighborhoods, and regions - kick in and become
practicing being powerful and acquiring the required under- irreversibly self-multiplying. Ashoka/Youth Venture, recogniz-
lying skills: applied empathy, teamwork, and leadership. ing this is the heart of the matter, has been experimenting
If young people do not grow up being powerful, causing with a dozen different avenues and is gaining increasing
change, and practicing these three interlocked skills, they traction.

11
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES.

Partnering with national organizations with many chapters (e.g., the Girl Scouts) or broad reach (e.g., Youth
Services America).
Co-venturing with public-spirited corporate partners (most recently with Staples in Europe and Latin America).
Communicating the stories of Youth Venturers broadly (including a growing relationship with MTV in the U.S. and
Mexico).
Replicating the successful United Way model. After two years, almost all the schools have multiple Youth Venture
teams; the area's community college gives college credit for high school Venture work; and virtually all young peo-
ple in the area experience multiple Venture models.
Building a network of stand-alone, volunteer-led local Youth Venture organizations akin to Scout, 4-H, and Little
League groups.
Building links to youth communities (e.g., punk rock bands, debate groups) built around a common interest that
cut across institutions and geography.
Getting to scale locally: Using all avenues in a few medium-sized metropolitan areas or small provinces or states
(e.g., New Hampshire).

TABLE 1: THE MOVEMENT'S JUJITSU: FOUR LEVELS OF LEVERAGE

ACTIONS I M PA C T S

In any school, community, or country each By leading, these young Venturers become
year, 1/2 of 1 percent of the young people lifelong leaders. They have mastered the
have a dream and create a lasting venture. essential skills of empathy, teamwork and
leadership.
Each venture engages a team (typically 3-5 in
the core group plus 20 who tutor, coach, Everyone learns teamwork, that they can
broadcast, etc.) lead, and how to do so. This multiplies the
next generation's proportion of "natural" lead-
1% of a school or youth community launches ers.
Ventures with an average 25 participants.
Over two years: 20% to 25% of the whole As Venturer peer groups recruit and sell their
institution is engaged, likely "tipping" its youth work, they can both tip their school or neigh-
culture. borhood youth culture and also will wear
down old attitudes and logistic barriers.
Society questions the current pattern, builds
an empowering movement for young people. Everyone redefines the youth years and lives
Youth Venture participants provide role mod- them as a time of expected initiative, compe-
els/champions. The press joins in. tency, and contribution.

Although the movement is far up the learning curve, it needs many more partners who are excited by this
movement-building challenge of accelerating to scale. And it needs to communicate its alternative vision for the
youth years and ultimately for a rapidly multiplying proportion of the population who has the power to change things.
The millennium when only a tiny elite could cause change is coming to an end.
But to move beyond, we must end the infantilazation of young people. They and the rest of us must enable all
young people to be fully creative, initiatory, and powerful changemakers. 

wdrayton@ashoka.org
Excerpt from Innovations a journal from MIT Press

12
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

Ashoka Strives for a Strong Citizen


Sector of Changemakers
A true social entrepreneur is a visionary who does not just build a new school or clinic but
instead innovates an approach that transforms an entire education system or
medical system. He or she does not leave societal needs to government or business
sectors but solves the problem through systemic change, spreading the
solution and persuading entire society to take the plunge.

T was the summer of 1963 and Bill Drayton was trav-


I elling through India with Vinobha Bhave, a Gandhian
famed for persuading both individuals and villages
to legally give up their land in order to redistrib-
ute it more equitably to the landless poor.
Bhave's idea of how to break the end-
less cycle of poverty resulted, ulti-
mately, in the peaceful redistribu-
tion of over 7 million acres of
land. It was then that the
young Drayton first wit-
nessed the power of one
individual to tip an entire
system, and improve the
lives of millions.
It's a model of
change that Drayton
calls social entrepre-
neurship--a term he
coined to describe
individuals who
share qualities tra-
ditionally associat-
ed with leading
business entrepre-
neurs -vision, inno-
vation, determina-
tion, and long-term
commitment-but
rather are committed
to systemic social
change.
According to Drayton, a
true social entrepreneur is
a visionary who does not just
build a new school or clinic, but
instead innovates an approach
that changes an entire education or
medical system. Rather than leaving
societal needs to the government or
business sectors, he or she finds what is not
working and solves the problem by changing the
system, spreading the solution and persuading entire

13
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

societies to take new leaps. "the most powerful and most hopeful historical
With the belief that the most powerful force for force of our era." In other words, Ashoka sees itself
social change lies in the hands of social entrepre- at the core of a historical moment: a dramatic
neurs, Drayton started Ashoka: Innovators for the transformation in society in which social entrepre-
Public in 1980 to find these rare, highly powerful neurs are paving the way for the "citizen sector" to
individuals. grow and establish itself as an innovative and pow-
Named after the peace-loving third century BC erful force to improve the lives of people around
Indian emperor, Ashoka aims to identify leading the world.
social entrepreneurs around the world, provide The citizen sector, commonly referred to as the
them with "social venture capital" and professional non-profit or non-governmental sector, is a term
support, and connect them to a global peer net- used by Drayton to describe a sector not by "what
work. Ashoka elected its first social entrepreneur - it isn't", but rather "what it is"-a sector made up of
or Ashoka Fellow - in India in 1981. Today, there citizens, for citizens. This sector, stagnant for hun-
are over 1,700 fellows in 60 countries - with ideas dreds of years, has experienced a similar revolu-
that have contributed to such activities as saving tion in growth and productivity in the past 25 years
over 9 million hectors of the Amazon Rainforest, that the business sector saw in the 1700s with the
increasing school enrollment in rural Bangladesh Industrial Revolution.
by 44%, and equipping almost one million at-risk Now, according to Drayton, the citizen sector has
children with computer and internet skills in been generating jobs at 2.5 to three times faster
Brazilian slums. than the rest of society, and in the US, for example,
The collective impact of the entire Ashoka the number of IRS-recognized citizen sector organ-
Fellowship is even more telling: Within five years, izations has more than doubled in a decade. With
over 93% of the fellows have had their work individ- the number of organizations dramatically rising
ually replicated by other organizations, and more around the world and its level of sophistication
than 50% have changed national policy. increasing, the citizen sector is now at a critical
While fellows may achieve initial impact on their point in its development.
own, it is the support of Ashoka that allows them to Understanding these historical forces at work,
sustain, scale, and spread their idea in the six Ashoka is responding by building an infrastructure
broad fields in which they work: learning and edu- that supports the growth and sustainability of the
cation, environment, health, human rights, civic social entrepreneurship field and entire citizen sec-
participation and economic development. tor. Much needed tools and systems are now being
As a result of gathering these individuals global- created, including seed financing and capital,
ly, Ashoka has created a network of incalculable bridges in business and academic sectors, and
power, which is not so much about funding, though strategic partnerships that deliver social and finan-
fellows do receive a modest stipend. Rather, these cial value. Ashoka's work in this area is helping
fellows, who typically work alone in hostile condi- close the historical gap between the business and
tions, receive support, share ideas and knowledge, citizen sectors, creating important avenues for inte-
and, quite literally, find protection. gration and synergy between both sections.
Even more powerful, fellows enter an environ- Once these systems are in place, believes
ment that fosters and supports collaborations Drayton, will we finally experience an "everyone a
amongst each other. Fellows with innovative solu- changemaker" world. This will be a world, he says,
tions in similar fields - regardless of geographical where each individual has the freedom, confidence
region - share insights and together distill the best and societal support to respond quickly and effec-
principles emerging from their work. For example, tively to social challenges. To that end, Ashoka
Ashoka's environmental fellows addressing issues strives to shape a global, entrepreneurial, and
of water-from access to water to sanitation to envi- competitive citizen sector, one that allows social
ronmental conservation-realized that the intersec- entrepreneurs to thrive and enables the world's cit-
tion of their approaches could lead to greater izens to think and act as changemakers.
change than they could achieve alone. As a result, That is why Drayton is now ensuring he reach
the India Sustainable Water Project was born, and tomorrow's changemakers as soon as possible.
the collaboration is now working to distill their col- Through his latest creation, Ashoka's Youth
lective insights into action and change of policy. Venture, young people are empowered to take ini-
And so together, Ashoka and its global network of tiative and create change within their community. It
fellows, business entrepreneurs, policy makers, supports youth to start their own social ventures
investors, academics, and journalists are now and as a result, is transforming the way society
working collectively to ensure that social entrepre- views young people as able agents of change.
neurs and their innovations continue to inspire a "Today only 2 or 3 percent of people control
new generation to create positive social change. change," says Drayton. "Imagine a world where
The foundation to this momentum is an under- everyone is a changemaker." 
standing, as Drayton says, of how we are serving www.ashoka.org

14
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

A S H O K A's SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP FILM SERIES


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BRAC
Bill Drayton
Ashoka
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Social Accountability International
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15
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

Best Visionaries Moving


into Citizen Sector

CHAULA KOTHARI
Ashoka is a world of fun for creative problem-solvers. It is a home to visionary entrepreneurs
giving them freedom to create and experiment with solutions on a global level.
N India, alongside the much-written-about technology boom, or design a service delivery mechanism for providing electrici-
I there is another sector quietly undergoing an image
makeover. Surprisingly, it is the social sector or, as it is more
ty in urban slums. Secondly, as David Bornstein writes in How
to Change the World, "The citizen sector is going through
recently called, the citizen sector. Long associated with khaadi changes that are comparable to those that occurred in the
kurtas and protest morchas, the citizen sector in India has business sector over the past three centuries." The business
always lagged far behind the business sector. Ironically, most sector has traditionally been served by entire industries devot-
social change in the country is linked not to social action but to ed to preparing people for meeting its needs - business
the empowerment of the middle class thanks to a growing schools, technical and leadership development resources, set
economy. However, a closer look reveals the truth behind standards to evaluate performance and award achievement,
these perceptions. According to the latest Economic Survey of accreditation institutes, magazines and publications on talent
India (ESI), expenditure on the social sector by both central in the sector, recruiting firms and many more similar services.
and state governments has been con- On the other hand, till recently, the citi-
sistently rising. There has also been an zen sector had no such infrastructure;
impressive drop in poverty levels. schools and universities had little
The survey also predicts a shift expertise in preparing students for
towards a healthier balance between careers in the sector and there were
quality and quantity. An area where this hardly any services for people who want
quality/quantity differentiation is evident to transition to the citizen sector from
is in the human capital being attracted to other fields.
the sector. Today, the sector attracts top This scenario is gradually changing -
talent with solid credentials and diverse top management schools around the
backgrounds. A look at some of the main world now offer programmes in social
movers and shakers in the sector con- entrepreneurship. Working in the citizen
firms this - Vijay Mahajan, founder of sector is now considered a legitimate
BASIX, India's first microfinance institu- career choice and there is serious com-
tion, is an IIMA graduate; Satyan Mishra, petition to get into the best schools and
the man behind the Drishtee.com rural jobs connected to the sector.
internet kiosk model holds an MBA from Ashoka is the pioneer in thinking
Delhi University; Arvind Kejriwal, one of about ways of meeting the talent gap for
main forces behind the new Right to the citizen sector and views its own
Information Act is a former Income Tax officer. Clearly, the citi- recruitment strategy as a means of resourcing the citizen sec-
zen sector is no longer about people desiring to do "social tor. Many recent additions to the global Ashoka family are a
work" but rather, it is a magnet for some of the best minds who perfect example of the shifting trends we just discussed -
want to apply their skills and experience to solving deep-root- Arthur Wood, who leads Ashoka's Social Financial Services
ed problems of national, and often global, scale. It is no longer programme, made a seamless move from being an invest-
unusual today for experienced corporate sector executives to ment banker to engaging global financial services firms to
switch careers midway and join the citizen sector - SKS enter the business of social investing and increasing flow of
Microfinance's Vikram Akula immediately springs to mind. finance into the sector. The common thread running through all
One reason behind this shift is just the sheer scope and these examples is a thirst for innovation and entrepreneurship.
nature of the work involved - where else can an entrepreneur We are setting the benchmarks for quality human resources
enjoy the challenge of trying to solve problems of large magni- and our staffing model has inspired other organizations in the
tudes that have eluded policymakers, activists, economists, citizen sector. Ashoka's unique recruitment philosophy and
political theorists and countless armchair philosophers? It is approach enable us to bring together some of the best vision-
not surprising that people who love predicting consumer trends aries and creative thinkers to collectively brainstorm around
and strategizing on how to corner markets would also enjoy fig- important systemic challenges. 
uring out how to market education opportunities to street kids ckothari@ashoka.org

16
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

Networking for Social Transformation

S. M. CYRIL
In 1979, we set out to make our school a resource centre for development and for social inte-
gration for impoverished people. As we look back on our efforts we can see how, by seizing
every opportunity, our programme has grown on its strengths. Now as we look forward to the
future, and we see the quality of students emerging from our school, we hope that our school
has also become a resource centre for social transformation.
INCE 1964, I was aware of and uneasy about my role dren teach Class III students; and IX & X students teach
S as an English medium school principal in India. The
school provided a well-rounded and high-quality education
class IV.
We started working with street, or "rainbow," children. All
to the children of wealthy families while thousands of their around us were children with no access to education. They
peer groups were receiving no education. I began to ques- live by their wits on the streets. We created a school for
tion the outcome of an education system which inadvertent- them where they are welcomed and can come and go as
ly does little to break down the vicious cycles caused by the they please, regardless of what state they are in. Most often
divide between the affluent and the poor - where money they wear dirty and ragged clothes. The non-rainbow stu-
guarantees a good education, increasing employment dents invited them in until they realized they were welcome.
opportunities, and, in turn, enables one to earn enough Soon the rainbow children began bringing their friends
money to pay for the education of the next generation. along with them.
Conversely, the poor are trapped in their economic status
because they don't have access to good schooling, and Students Teach Students teach rainbow children to help
thus have very limited access to job opportunities. Children them catch up. The government man-
Consequently, in 1979 the school's staff and I began an dates everyone from Class V upward to
experiment in which dramatic changes have 2 periods a week of Work
were made in the school's managerial Education or SUPW. This entails that all
practices, over the years, which result- day, everyday there are 50 children, free,
ed in a growing network of nonprofit eager and ready to teach other children
workers, government officials, police on a one-to-one basis. They learn rapid-
officers and businessmen. The pur- ly until they reach the class appropriate
pose of this experiment was to provide to their age. As soon as they can read in
as many children as possible with edu- Bengali or Hindi (their mother tongue)
cational and life opportunities. they shift to using books provided by the
government, and are integrated into the
Experiment’s We began by chang- mainstream classes. We integrated
Origins ing the school's hundreds of street children thus into our
ethos. The school school over the years. Today many are
started admitting a student body of 50% affluent and 50% functional and happy citizens.
impoverished children. The children from wealthy families Not satisfied with only teaching the children in our own
provided financial security for the school. Four-year-olds school district, we began to train teachers from remote vil-
were admitted on a lottery system, pooling children from lages and slums where some teachers are unwilling to go.
both rich and poor communities. Soon the school had a In this way we could extend good teaching methodologies
healthy mixture of children with different levels of intelli- to many children who are too far away to come to our
gence, religious backgrounds, and socio-economic statuses school. Called the "The Barefoot Training", the pro-
- resulting in a fully integrated school! gramme has brought us to collaborate with NGOs and build
With the help of an NGO called CINI, next we got involved a network that reaches many parts of the country and
with impoverished village schools. These schools had a expand even internationally.
ratio of 120:1 children to teacher. In a few cases just one The Barefoot Training is now included in the Government
master looked after the entire primary school. Often condi- Programme, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA). Working with
tions were so cramped that each Thursday, we used to take 50 NGOs in Kolkata, we carried out a city-wide survey,
150 of our children outside for teaching. We worked with revealing that 44,646 children are out of school. Of these
3,500 rural children in 12 rural schools. Our 10-year-olds children, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has already
(Class V) teach the Pre-primary and Class I levels; Class VI placed 5,000 in existing schools. Currently, with the help of
students are in charge of teaching Class II; VII and VIII chil- about 60 NGOs and funding from SSA, 10,000 children are

17
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

in the process of being placed in schools. Furthermore, Childline and the National Education Group (NEG) have
this collaboration has helped open 450 centers to cater to also helped create a national network of NGOs through
26,000 rainbow children all over the city. We have been the zonal office over the past ten years. We are now try-
recognized by the government as the apex training body ing to contact more school principals to include them in
of primary teaching methods to teachers. We have trained our latest effort to support the use of large school facilities
nearly 1,400 to date. The NGOs, who take responsibility during 2 p.m. to 8 a.m. off-hours as a home for at-risk girls
for hiring teachers and center managers, send their on the streets. We already have 300 such children in
recruits to us for training. The CLPOA, a forum of all the Loreto Sealdah, 140 in Loreto Bowbazar and 119 in
NGOs of the city, receives money from SSA, disburses it Loreto House. To enroll principals interested in joining us,
and looks after the overall management of the pro- we planned a 2-day workshop in August for which a large
gramme. number of principals have already signed up. This work-
Our HDCL programme has expanded our network dra- shop is one of many implements that will encourage net-
matically. In this programme children reach out to domes- working and result in the improvement of education in
tic slave children. Loreto students, who are children of rel- India.
atively wealthy families, meet domestic slave children traf-
fickers within their parent's social circles. Loreto students Networks are built when people working towards a
pressure the "employers" to send the slave children to common goal come together to share ideas, experi-
school. They successfully got 300 domestic slave chil- ences and resources to help each other. This synergy
dren admitted into schools. We have built a 30 schools results in a far larger achievement than the sum of the
network that works with other NGOs in Kolkata and the efforts of people working alone.
surrounding area. Save the Children Fund has funded this
project and aided in the network development process. smcyril@rediffmail.com

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18
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

Ashoka to Launch
Anti-Corruption Initiative
CATALYST INTERVIEW WITH ASHOKA'S CO-PRESIDENT, DIANA WELLS

Diana joined Ashoka in the 1980s after graduating from Brown with a BA in South
Asian Studies. Diana also has helped in creating the Fellowship Support Services, a
social networking system for Ashoka social entrepreneurs. She has conceived and
developed Ashoka's widely respected Measuring Effectiveness Programme.
Catalyst for Human Development: What was the moti- DW: India has changed so much in the last decade in the
vation behind the founding of Ashoka? private sector. The economy is booming and the energy
in the country is just incredible. Now, look at the citizen
Diana Wells: Well, if you trace the history of the social sector . Has it advanced at the same pace? No. The citi-
sector, you will find that prior to the late seventies, the zen sector in India must be nimble enough to catch up
only players in this field were government social welfare with the economic growth. Ashoka has redefined in India
projects or multilateral institutions like UN, World Bank social innovation to beyond traditional development and
and so on. The idea that any random individual citizen poverty alleviation. For instance, CV Madhukar of
could just up and start a social initiative Parliamentary Research Services, pro-
would have raised many eyebrows vides MPs with the research they need
back then. Today there exists an entire to make more effective policy deci-
citizen sector. When Bill started sions. Vineet Rai started Aavishkaar, a
Ashoka, he looked around, saw these venture capital fund for rural innova-
informal, individual initiatives and tors. Another example is Pratima
decided that Ashoka's role would be to Joshi, and use of Geographic
highlight only social entrepreneurs Information System (GIS) technology
using the most innovative approaches for urban development. These uncon-
in their work. And since then innovation ventional initiatives represent the
has been our strategy of choice. changing citizen sector in India.

CFHD: What would you define as the CFHD: So what next on the Ashoka
values behind Ashoka's philosophy front?
and work?
DW: We like to be one step ahead of
DW: We strive to understand the world, others. For instance, while CSR is still
understand the person we are dealing a new concept in many places, we
with, the people we are serving. Our have already moved on to the next
goal is not just solving the present step : business-CSO(Civil Society
problem but making that change sys- Organisations) partnerships. The CSO
temic and sustainable. We encourage partners serve each entity's core
entrepreneurship and initiative taking DIANA WELLS motives, (profit as well as social mis-
as well as value collegiality. We are a sion) creating a win-win situation for
community that works together, that helps one another, both rather than a donor-grantee relationship. Ashoka's
that is more than the sum of the parts. And finally, we Social Financial Services is inventing funding streams for
strive to be empathetic in our work across different cul- the sector. Our Global Academy is reaching out to acade-
tures, communities and situations. The Ashoka family is mia to help prepare young people for social entrepre-
a dynamic network of people with eclectic backgrounds, neurship careers. In order to succeed and become sus-
along with tons of creativity and enthusiasm. tainable, social entrepreneurs (much like business entre-
preneurs) require infrastructural support. Ashoka is sim-
CFHD: Ashoka's first Fellow was from India and you ply building the infrastructure for the sector while helping
have a strong connection to the country. Tell us in finance, human resources, partnerships and so on.
about Ashoka's work in India. In India, we are on the verge of launching an anti-cor-
ruption initiative, which will be led by Ashoka fellows

19
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

working in this field. The initiative will engage the busi- information on funding sources. I also helped with con-
ness sector as well as policymakers and aim for systemic necting fellows to potential partners, and resource mate-
changes to tackle the problem. Ashoka is providing the rials. I realized that fellows could swap insights and learn
supporting framework and infrastructure that is neces- from each other and hence I started Ashoka's Fellowship
sary to seed and sustain such cross-sector collabora- Support Services programme. This initiative has now
tions. evolved into a highly sophisticated global fellowship net-
work of social entrepreneurs collaborating with each
CFHD:What attracted you to Ashoka? other and collectively impacting policy and systems.

DW: I joined Ashoka in 1988. My background is in anthro- CFHD:Any interesting stories in Ashoka operations?
pology and I have always been interested in South Asia.
While travelling abroad, I observed that imposing west- DW: (Laughs) There are so many… especially from the
ern development ideas in less-developed communities early days when we operated on a shoestring budget.
without regard to local context was often more detrimen- Sushmita, our former President, and I were reminiscing
tal than beneficial. Hence when I learnt about Ashoka, I once. She told me that in India she would have her
was immediately attracted by Bill's philosophy of finding daughter cut Post to half so as to get more use out of
social entrepreneurs within the local community. It made them. I too remember that in the pre-internet era. We
so much more sense. And, when you link these local would often have to hold off sending out letters because
entrepreneurs into a global network that facilitates learn- we did not have enough funds to cover the cost of stamps
ing, you have created a most amazing tool for systemic to send mail outside US. We have come a long way from
change. During my first months at Ashoka, I observed that. I am proud to say that economy and efficiency are
team members returning from visits abroad and helping still the hallmarks of this organization.
by bringing back requests from individual fellows for

20
Catalyst For Human Development
Ashoka

Finding Diamonds in the Rough

LILY PAUL
N sixty countries around the globe, Ashoka is leading a decides whether the candidate is likely to become a highly
I relentless search for visionaries with ideas for social
change. Ashoka has created an extensive process to iden-
capable social entrepreneur at the national level.

tify and select social entrepreneurs. This process includes Board Approval
testing the strength of their ideas to deliver large-scale and The final stage is approval by Ashoka Board of Directors to
unprecedented social impact. For fellows, the search and ensure high standards, consistency and spot policy prob-
selection process critically contributes to the evolution of lems.
their ideas as they reinvent, rethink, and refine their vision. The results of this rigorous process are telling. Ashoka
Ashoka Fellow Ratnaboli Ray states: "At a time when has selected over 1,700 Fellows who are dedicated to pio-
people paid little attention to my ideas, Ashoka spent hours neering systemic change; 97% of fellows continue their orig-
listening. So many times during the search and selection inal work after 10 years; 95% of Fellows have their work
process, I had tried to reconsider my strategies, throw out replicated by other organizations; and 50% have changed
unrealistic plans, and react to hypothetical situations… It national policy. Ashoka fellows not only realize their core
was one of the most introspective and forward thinking vision as they receive financial support, but also become
processes I have ever experienced." part of a peer network of like-minded innovators. 
When Bill Drayton began his journey to identify social
entrepreneurs, he would record information about each lpaul@vsnl.com
visionary he met on a small index card. In time, he was able
to map out the network of people he met doing innovative
work. He would tap into the intelligence of each new social ASHOKA'S SELECTION
entrepreneur he found to lead him to other visionaries.
Twenty-five years later, Ashoka has formalized this strategy CRITERIA
into a rigorous process, known as Venture, to find and elect
the highest quality social entrepreneurs with the most pow- A Knock-out Test: Unique ideas
erful new ideas. Today, Ashoka staff from around the world Does the idea envision an entirely new solution to a
use a standard 5 step-selection process which assesses the problem?
candidates' match with Ashoka's criteria for election to the
Fellowship. Creativity
How creative is the person as a problem-solver and
Selection Process visionary? How does the person approach obstacles
Nomination and opportunities? How does he or she create original
Applications are welcome from anyone, but Ashoka's global solutions?
network of nominators, who are leaders in many fields, play
a critical role in identifying candidates who meet Ashoka's Entrepreneurial Quality
selection criteria. How committed is the person to his or her idea? Will it
be impossible for him or her to rest until their vision
Initial Review becomes a new reality?
Ashoka country representatives review each candidate's
application. Then they conduct reference, background Social Impact of the Idea
checks, site-visits and interviews. Lastly, the country repre- Will the new idea create solutions that transcend to
sentative makes a recommendation to support worthy can- national and global problems? Is the idea practical,
didates. useful and replicable? How many people will be affect-
ed?
Second Opinion Review
An Ashoka board member or outside senior professional Ethical Fiber
conducts an intensive second opinion review. Can you intuitively trust the candidate? Are his or her
motivations deeply rooted in a commitment to serve oth-
Selection Panel ers?
A selection panel of senior social entrepreneurs, led by a
board member of Ashoka or outside senior representative,

21
Catalyst For Human Development
SALUTES ASHOKA FELLOWS

Javed Abidi Maria Clete Anuja Gupta


John Abraham Andreas D'Souza Anshu Gupta
Sunil Abraham Gloria D’Souza Pandurang Hegde
George Abraham Priscilla Nirmalkumari Daniel Jude Henriques
Damodar Acharya Tulika Das Mohan Hirabhao Hiralal
Maharukh Adenwalla Subroto Das Rakesh Jaiswal
Ravi Agarwal Mina Das G.L. Janardhan
Anil Agarwal Soumyadeep Datta Stanny Jebamalai
Flavia Agnes T. J. David Alphonse Jemonie
Shakil Ahmed Roma Debabrata Leena Joshi
Glory Alexander Nimisha Desai Anil Prakash Joshi
Mohammad Nooruddin Amin Sister Jeanne Devos Ashok Kadam
Harry Andrews Vasudha Vasanti Dhagamwar Harini Kakkeri
Renu Appachu Minal Doshi Raveendran Kannan
Sunita Bagal Neichute Doulo Anuradha Kapoor
Rohit Baluja Saumya Dutta Tarak Kate
Kedar Ranjan Banerjee Armida Fernandez Ashok Row Kavi
Rahul Banerjee Judy Frater Chingmak Kejong
Dilip Banerjee Arvind Kejriwal
Sachidulal Banerjee Sunil Khairnar
so-cial en-tre-pre-neur
Rani Bang Hasina Khan
society’s change agent:
Abhay Bang Vineet Khanna
pioneer of innovations that
Sanjay Bapat benefit humanity Rajeev Khedkar
Abhijit Bardhan Inderjeet Khurana
Merry Barua Anand Kothadia
Pranjal Baruah S.N. Gananath Brij Kothari
Sushobha Barve Vasant Gangavane K.A.V.R Krishnamachari
Paul Basil C. K. Ganguly Sunitha Krishnan
Anjana Batra Enakshi Ganguly Madhavi Kuckreja
Rashida Begum Rajeev George Kiran Kulkarni
Maxine Bernstein Dr. Dhrubojyoti Ghose Mandira Kumar
Susheela Bhan Pradeep Ghosh Prabhat Kumar
Mihir Bhatt Amol Goje Sneh Kumar
Jeroo Billimoria B.G. Gokulan Suresh Kushtagi
Chhanda Bose Santosh Ragunath Yambem Laba
Purobie Bose Gondhalekar Dr. Hanif Lakdawala
Indu Capoor Colin Gonsalves Babloo Looiyongbam
Purnendu Chakraborty Prema Gopalan Pralhad Malvadkar
Sohini Chakraborty Paromita Goswami Ashru Mandal
Indrani Chakravarty Karan Grover Dr. Dhirananda Mandal
Pritham Chakravarty Ramchandra Gunari Raghunath Manwar
Madhav Chavan Vandana Gupta Vibha Marfatia
Rakhee Choudhury Vibha Gpta Roland Martins

22
Catalyst For Human Development
Ayyappa Masagi Geeta Ramanujam Anil Singh
M.V. Mathew Gita Ramaswamy Aman Singh
Raja Menon Sagari Ramdas Chetna Gala Sinha
Jyoti Mhapsekar Milind Ranade Sujit Sinha
Satyan Mishra Ilango Rangaswamy Matthew Spacie
Haushala Prasad Mishra D.Rangaraj Sheilu Srinivasan
Dinesh Kumar Mishra Rama Rao S. Srinivasan
Shaheen Mistri Padmanabha Rao Nirmala Srinivasan
Rajat Mitra Jaya Prakash Rao Dr. Thara Srinivasan
George Mathew Molakal Sridevi Rao H. Sudarshan
Kapilananda Mondal Balkrishna Renake A.K. Susheela
Cyril Mooney Prasad Rasal S.L.N. Swamy
Dadasaheb More Ashok Kumar Rau Madhavi Suneel Tambay
Emami Murmu Ratnaboli Ray K.A. Thomas
P. Muthu Aromar Revi Vijay Uttarwar
Ramesh Nandwana Kishor Rithe Rajeev Vartak
Shyamala Natarajan Anselm Rosario Sarat Babu Vasireddy
Nalini Nayak Krishna Roy Dr. Prem Victor
Debashish Nayak Sikha Roy Anu Wakhlu
M. B. Nirmal Mira Sadgopal Sonam Wangchuk
Sonali Ojha Suman Sahai Romulus Whitaker
Shree Padre Palagummi Sainath Murali Mohan
Shivaram Pailoor Ashok Salvi Rajiv Khandelwal
A.R. Palaniswamy J. M. Sampath Madan Mohan Rao
S. Pandian S.Santhi Ashoka Bharti
Ganesh Pangare Pradip Sarmah Balaji Sampath
Rita Panicker Kailash Satyarthi Shanti Raghavan
M.G. Papamma Sunita Satyarthia Muthu Velayutham
Vikram Parchure Vasant Savangikar Kitayun Rustom and
M.L. Parshuram Nirupama Sekhri Rashneh
Ashraf Patel Soma Sengupta Sharad Sharma
Priti Patkar Teesta Setalvad Vishal Talreja
Abhijit Pathak Naginbhai Shah Bhargavi Davar
Aditya Patnaik Anil Shaligram Pratibha Shinde
S. N. Patro Heeralal Sharma M.D. Rajmane
Kalyan Paul Sudhirendar Sharma Deep Purokayastha
Isidore Phillips Anant Sharma Amlan Ganguly
Anil Pilgadkar Shantharam Umanath Shenai Abhishek Ray
Arvind Pitre Suchitra Sheth C.V. Madhukar
Jagdish Pradhan Parul Sheth Hasina Karbhih
Raju Purohit and Deepti Falgun Sheth Kousalya Periasamy
Shah Beena Sheth Lashkari Pratima Joshi
Lenin Raghuvanshi Ravindra Shetye Rehana Abid
Vineet Rai Avinash Shirke Seema Prakash and Prakash
S. Rajagopalan Abhay Shukla Michael
Janaki Rajan Martand Mapu Singh Solomon Jaya Prakash
Y.J. Rajendra Laxman Singh Vineet Rai
Ravichandra Raju Yogendra Singh V. S. Chary

23
Catalyst For Human Development
Micro Finance

The Evolving Role of NGOs


in Poverty Alleviation
DR. ABRAHAM GEORGE
The supportive role played by NGOs in the delivery of basic services by the government is
commendable. But, it would be a mistake to involve them in activities that are best suited
for the private sector. And, disappointment in the performance of government and lack
of sufficient trust in the private sector are not good reasons to lean on
NGOs for carrying out tasks for which they are not suited.

HERE are several participants in the developmental arena, making cheap funds available to commercial banks
T arena: national and foreign governments, international
agencies, private companies, and non-governmental organ-
for this purpose. As the number of layers in the lending
structure increased, the focus turned to ensuring that there
izations (NGOs). In developing countries, governments would be as much lending as the available funds would
have traditionally been the agents for health care, education allow, and the risks associated with nonpayment of princi-
and job training, especially in rural areas (which is where the pal and interest would be minimized. The intermediaries
majority of the population in most developing nations lives). became less interested in whether the funds are extended
This situation has arisen due to the inability of rural popula- to those who are really poor or would be used for any busi-
tions to pay for basic services. ness activity.
NGOs have taken up projects in support of government Today, there are several for-profit funds and supposed-
initiatives to improve the quality of education and health- ly not-for-profit organizations marketing micro-credit lend-
care, while focusing on specific critical areas such as ing in developing countries and some of them come with
HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS, illiteracy, advertised returns on investment. One such leading micro-
financing of small businesses and women's empowerment. credit intermediary in India recently publicized in a major
Despite the positive contributions by NGOs in many areas, newspaper that he has been charging 36 percent interest
they have not been involved in major developmental under- until recently when he dropped the rate to 24 percent for
takings that are intended to create large employment and some borrowers by making the lending process more effi-
wide income generation through sustainable businesses. cient. After all, credit card companies charge as high as 28
This is partly attributable to the fact that NGOs generally percent interest for credit-risk customers, it argues.
lack good managerial skills and organizational structure to The assumption is that every poor person can be res-
take up business ventures, and donor funds are usually cued from poverty fairly quickly and easily with a modicum
restricted to narrowly defined projects that address specific of money. Micro-credit to the poor is intended mainly for
concerns. starting or expanding small businesses run by beneficiar-
ies. Many make the claim that the micro-credit facility
Micro-finance is not The expression "social entrepre- (loans of around $100 to each impoverished person) has
a Panacea neurship" was coined to reflect elevated tens of millions of people out of poverty in the
some form of corporate benevo- developing world. Moreover, assertions that more than 90
lence toward the poor, and many new NGOs have been percent of the people who receive micro-credit are gen-
formed under this banner. Mohamed Yunus who founded uinely poor, that most of them succeed in businesses start-
the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1976 meant exactly ed with these loans, and that they repay the loans at 24
that when he started giving poor people credit and assist- percent annual interest or higher, go essentially unchal-
ed them in their local business ventures. Subsequently, lenged.
with donor and government funds, several NGOs around I have seen that a small number of people, mostly village
the world started offering small loans to women who could leaders and their family members, operate the few shops
not otherwise obtain credit directly from commercial banks. in their villages. They are the only ones who have the nec-
Many developmental experts have now termed micro-cred- essary support mechanism, knowledge, and skills to make
it a revolutionary concept in solving global poverty. a business succeed. A great majority of the rural popula-
Many variations of the original micro-credit model were tion who are poor do not have the ability to start or own
introduced by lenders. Some offer loans only to groups businesses, with or without access to credit; it is unrealis-
(Sanghas) as opposed to individuals, and each group is tic to expect them to succeed in business.
held responsible for repaying the loan by their members. Our foundation's study of some 17 villages and over 50
Commercial banks that were previously lending directly to micro-credit programme in South India shows that less
individuals and groups began advancing loans only to a than 5 percent of those who receive such loans start any
new set of micro-credit lending intermediaries. Soon, gov- business of their own (mostly unsustainable, such as buy-
ernments, international agencies and donors entered this ing some sheep and selling them a little later, hopefully at
24
Catalyst For Human Development
Micro Finance
a profit equal to the wages foregone), and less than 2 per- The Future Role As the number of NGOs prolifer-
cent remain in that business beyond the first 2 years after of NGOs ates, there is increasing concern
starting. Only a few among the poor can expect to succeed about the nature of their activities,
as entrepreneurs with such small amounts of money and and whether public funds are used by them appropriately to
with little other support, training, or skills. benefit the poor. Unlike private companies, NGOs are sel-
The truth is that most beneficiaries of micro-credit repay dom brought to public scrutiny for their effectiveness. There
the loan from income received from their regular jobs and is not much accountability for their activities; even serious
from grants provided by governments for self-help pro- inefficiencies are accepted as though they are in the nature
gramme. Not surprisingly, it is the intermediaries - commer- of the "NGO business." If this situation is to improve, an hon-
cial banks and loan facilitators - that stand to gain the most est assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of NGOs
from the spread between the cost of funds and loan interest as institutions of public service must be undertaken. The cri-
rates. teria for making public funds available to them must match
For example, commercial banks in India receive funds from those activities for which they are best suited.
the government-run National Bank for Agriculture and Rural While NGOs differ widely in their respective capabilities,
Development (NABARD) at 5-6 percent for micro-credit pro- past performance reveals where they have been generally
gramme. They lend at 10 to12 percent to the micro-credit most successful. NGOs have been good advocates for
intermediary that in turn lends at 24 to 36 percent to the final many social causes, pointing out problems and offering
beneficiary. ideas for improvement. They are capable of carrying out
So what makes micro-lending so popular for intermediaries impartial investigations to obtain relevant information, and
and the poor alike in countries like India? If you lend money make recommendations and lobby to get laws enacted. In
to a poor person, and he/she returns it, and if this process is doing so, NGOs have effectively contributed to the formula-
done twice (no need to start any business, but maintain good tion of public policy on a variety of issues dealing with pover-
paperwork), then the poor person is eligible for a government ty, environment, consumer protection, women's rights,
grant for $100 or more. The free money from the government among others.
can be used to repay the third time a micro-loan is made to The supportive role being played by NGOs in the delivery
the beneficiary. The government is now short by the amount of basic services by the government is commendable.
of grant made, but both the poor person and the micro-cred- NGOs have been instrumental in mobilizing community par-
it businessman are assured of their capital and returns. ticipation in a variety of projects through awareness creation
Why do we have to go through this roundabout way to offer and dissemination of appropriate information. By gaining the
free money to poor people, when there are several direct confidence of the poor communities they serve, NGOs have
means to reduce their debt burden? The answer is this: effectively reached out to the people in the government's
micro-credit is often a "hand-out" to the poor on the pretext of effort to deliver services.
an exciting concept, namely, social entrepreneurship, while NGOs undoubtedly have a major role to play in the effort
the intermediaries are assured of high returns. to alleviate poverty. However, it also must be recognized that
A new breed of educated and well-trained loan sharks, most NGOs are not organized to effectively execute major
with support from banks, is now getting into the micro-credit projects. Further, it would be a mistake to involve NGOs in
business in India. It does appear that this form of lending has activities that are best suited for the private sector.


taken over as the trendy cure-all for those pushing "social
entrepreneurship." There is constant publicity in the media
with success stories, and it seems that the few exceptions in
entrepreneurship give the impression that most poor benefi-
ciaries are able to run sustainable businesses with little
money. It is doubtful that the present form of micro-credit, as
practised in India, results in any sustainable development to
benefit the poor.
By appropriately channeling public and donor funds, NGO
activities can be confined to those areas in which they have
sufficient strength. Disappointment in the performance of
governments and lack of sufficient trust in the private sector
are not good reasons to lean on NGOs for carrying out tasks
for which they are not suited. 
george@optonline.net

Nonprofits have to recognize that


they’re business, not just causes. There’s a way
to combine the very best of the not-for-profit,
philanthrophic world with the very best of the
for-profit, enterprising world. This hybrid is the
wave of the future for both profit and
nonprofit companies.

Bill Stricklan - Author, “Genious At Work”

25
Catalyst For Human Development
Rural Development

Economic Rural Development Society


Spurring Silent Transformation
KANCHAN BHADURY
ERDS programmes and its tireless workers are succeeding in their effort
to leave rural India a bit better, and they are not resting
as a lot more needs to be done.
recent visit I made to observe several projects being doing something far and beyond the call of duty, and it
A conducted by the Economic Rural Development Society
(ERDS) was highly encouraging and enlightening. ERDS is
struck me as a sign of the spirit of this organisation.
Sixty years after the independence of the country, many of
dedicated to aiding in the economic development of these these villages are still without electricity! Some of them are
regions, mainly through the use of volunteer work. Their vol- located close to national and state highways. I visited one
unteers include grassroots workers, primary school teach- such village with a social worker from the Thinagar project.
ers, women's self-help group coordinators, nutrition pro- The village is just six or seven hundred meters away from a
gramme coordinators, sanitation project leaders, and crèche good metalled road that connects two major towns of the
coordinators. The team leaders and managers lead their district, and yet it lacks paved roads, electricity or even safe
teams under strained and difficult conditions. ERDS's main drinking water. It is inhabited by an Adivasi tribe, ancient
office is in Calcutta, with ongoing projects in five centres dis- inhabitants of Bengal. We had the opportunity to talk with a
persed throughout rural Bengal. We visited four of the ERDS 15-year-old girl about the assistance she has received from
projects during the trip, in Boral, Thinagar, Vikahar and the ERDS projects. The girl, Sabina Soren, studied the 1st
Gazole. through the 4th standard in an ERDS primary school, spon-
To get to the Gazole project, we took a train through two sored through Children's International. Since then she has
districts in North Bengal, Malda and South Dinajpur. We continued her studies thanks to a Sahay sponsorship from
reached the Gazole project, located in the vicinity of some an American donor, and is currently studying the 9th stan-
very poor villages. This is a new multifaceted project for dard.
ERDS. They run a primary school, a crèche, a women's self- Sabina told a heart-rending story. Her mother had died of
help team building project supported by micro-credit, and a unknown causes just 15 days back, possibly because of
sanitation project supported by the local government to pro- lack of money Free state government hospitals are infa-
vide scientific toilets to villagers, a majority of whom still use mous for their treatment standards. Sabina's elder brother
the open fields as toilets. There are other projects in the had died of disease just two weeks before that, possibly
pipeline as well: one to provide clean hand-pump water to from treatable causes no different from her mother's. This
villages with water shortages, and another to provide food 15-year old girl is now faced with doing everything in her
and clothing to the elderly destitute-who, incidentally, are house - from cooking to looking after her old father - and
currently without any then going for her final
social support from the exams of 9th standard.
government. Although Any person that can face
ERDS carries out all up to this under such
the projects, they extreme circumstance is
receive valuable sup- superhuman.
port from various Thanks to ERDS and the
Indian and international efforts of other NGOs,
NGOs and government Sabina and others like her
ministries as well. can study up to the high
On the surface, it school level, even in vil-
looks like very simple lages with no electricity or
and ordinary work. But walkable roads. But then
the important thing is to what? The sponsorship
see the motivation that programme ends when
is driving the work. A one is 19 years. There
majority of the workers aren't enough jobs avail-
involved in ERDS's able in these districts for a
efforts are local resi- high school educated girl,
dents. I had the distinct and not enough money to
feeling that they were go for higher studies.

26
Catalyst For Human Development
Rural Development
I asked Sabina what she wants to be. She said that she to the free school, since both mother and daughter are
had two choices. One is to work in the fields, like a normal forced to work in the fields for a living. However, she does
day wage labourer, if work is available. The other option, send her three younger daughters to school, even though it
which requires money her family doesn't have, is to go for saps her entire energy, and income.
higher studies. Sabina said she would like to study nursing It may seem unfair that the eldest daughter must work
if she had the opportunity. while the younger daughters can go to school. However, the
Her desire to be a nurse is even more poignant when one mother's resolve was strong. She declared that even
considers the fact that in the Adivasi villages, tribal customs though feeding an extra mouth is too much, she is not going
and superstitions are still rampant. Which poor villager, to marry off her eldest daughter before she reaches mar-
whose biggest problem is where the next meal is going to riageable age. It is worth mentioning here that all the
come from, would choose to have his son or daughter women attending the meeting were married much before
spend their entire childhood and youth learning something the legal marriage age. This generational shift in the way
that will not only prevent them from being a daily-wage these women are perceiving women's rights is the result of
labourer, but will make them unemployed, disaffected and the ERDS child marriage awareness programme.
depressed youth? The poor parents who are told to send Another incident I came to know of was while attending a
their son or even daughter to school will ask another ques- social support programme for the old and abandoned peo-
tion in return: what will that do? Help make them sit at home ple. I spoke with a 70-year-old woman whose children had
and not even earn a meal? This is the environment that thrown her out of the house. As a result she was living by
dedicated organisations like ERDS are trying to improve, by begging. However, since ERDS enrolled her into the pro-
increasing the opportunities which proper education can gramme she has been regularly getting food and clothing
provide. and now does some basic work so she does not have to
To top it all, the girls in these rural villages are subjected beg any more.
to early marriage Yet another
which removes woman spoke to me
them from school- about how she is
ing, even at the making a reason-
ages of 9 or 10. able earning from
Families end up the small saving and
selling away their micro-credit pro-
daughters, as the gramme run through
burden of the cost ERDS. She is a
of dowry for a mar- member of a team of
riage is enormous. 10 village women.
This takes place When asked if her
regularly even husband, a Muslim,
where it has been questioned her
termed illegal by the entrepreneurial
law. Unfortunately, actions, she
the government the answered, "No". On
means of spreading awareness or the administrative the contrary she said not only has her husband begun to lis-
machinery to ensure adherence. The people at ERDS rec- ten to her more often, and actively supporting her member-
ognize the importance of encouraging families to send their ship of this self-help group, but his love for her had
daughters to school instead of marrying them off young. increased!
At each of the meetings, workshops or classes that I But the most satisfactory part of my interactions was in
attended, I was reminded of the enormous public service seeing the expectant and eager faces of the children who
the organisation is involved in. Three specific incidents are are getting a chance to develop in life, thanks to the primary
worth mentioning here, to highlight the effect of the work schools being run by ERDS and the child sponsorship pro-
being done by these modern day followers of Gandhi. The gramme. These programmes, run with the help and assis-
first incident was a conversation I had while attending a tance of other NGOs, are the grand ones in the firmament
seminar organised by an ERDS social worker in a remote of the work of ERDS and its tireless workers. They are suc-
village. The subject of the seminar was "creating awareness ceeding in their attempts to leave the world a bit better, and
among very poor villagers against child marriage." Thirty they are not resting. Mr. Madhu Basu, the guiding light and
people attended the seminar, 24 of whom were women. general secretary of the association, says that they are just
The woman I spoke with talked about how she copes with beginning, and a lot more needs to be done. How true! Until
raising four children, all girls, who are often considered to be every Sabina Soren finds her feet firmly in the ground and
a burden in the rural areas of India. every elderly parent finds social help, and until mothers find
I asked if she faced a tough family situation by giving birth the confidence to stand on their own feet to better them-
to four girls. The woman cried, saying that they are so poor selves and their families, this work needs to be taken fur-
she cannot even provide three meals a day for the family! ther. 
She could not even afford to send her 15-year-old daughter erds@cal2.vsnl.net.in

27
Catalyst For Human Development
Social Service

Karmayog
SUCHETA DALAL

Karmayog means selfless service. Or, as the Bhagwad Gita says, “Working to the
best of one's abilities without becoming attached to the fruits of work” is
called karmayog.com - a netbased meeting ground of people who
need to help those who want to give, or simply spread
an important message.

aunched by Vinay Somani (through his R O Somani Charitable Trust) in 2004, Karmayog, with over
L 1000 page views a day, has grown rapidly to reach a national and international audience. But its
most significant breakthrough was probably after the deluge of 26 July 2005 in Mumbai that killed 500
persons.
Karmayog set up a flood resource website within a day, offering services, volunteers, money and
material. The crisis exposed the absence of a formal mechanism for Government and civic authorities
to interact with NGOs and share information. Karmayog helped form an NGO-coordination committee
comprising 65 NGOs. Karmayog itself is a similar e-meeting ground for NGOs in mumbai and across
India. It also has a 5,000 - member discussion group and 1,60,000 - strong email group. Karmayog
clicked for two reasons.
First, because of its intense and knowledgeable discussions on everything-from vermicomposting to
relief operations to the problem of stray dogs. Active discussions are facilitated by a yahoo group that
allow flexibility of access (htt://groups.yahoo.com/group/karmayog).
Secondly, Vinay Somani's business background helps it to function with businesslike objectivity, which
is inclusive but firm. Volunteers, donors and NGOs often tend to post short and incomplete messages
seeking or offering help. He clears the messages with a reminder to fill out appropriate forms listed on
the website. This clarity of content and approach is an important strengh. Somani started out with a sim-
ple format for volunteers and donors to interact with each other in an on-line forum. This led to meet-
ings and discussions, and Karmayog began to feel the need to create better profiles and share its infor-
mation and learnings with socially sensitive people.
Today, its e-group allows even experts to share their views and receive feedback that are at times
contrary to their own ideas. Karmayog's thoughtfully designed formats extract detailed information from
NGOs on organizational structure and specific needs providing comprehensive information to donors
and potential volunteers on quality of assistance required (money, infrastructure, volunteering) and its
delivery. It also encourages people make donations of as little as Rs. 100 a month to help carefully
selected NGOs. Sector-mapping is another initiative. Karmayog volunteers have collated a list of
schools and NGOs working with hearing-challenged persons as well as ENT hospitals, hearing aid man-
ufacturers and doctors.
The volunteer list on karmayog.com has 650 listings from all over the world, offering to devote all or
a part of their time to public service. Many students and tourists visiting India have signed up to volun-
teer with NGOs for a couple of months and have found placements. Others have found jobs in their area
of interest. An orphanage for street children in Mumbai found a good Samaritan in Spain.
At a more personal level, individuals have been able to make their specific skills work on a part time
basis, fulfilling an important need among voluntary organizations. If you want to be a karmayogi by find-
ing the right cause to support, or volunteer with, check out www.karmayog.com. 

info@karmayog.com
Sucheta Dalal's article was first published in MoneyLIFE magazine.

28
Catalyst For Human Development
Social Service

Urban Wastage A Resource


for Rural India !
ANSHU K. GUPTA
Goonj's vision is to spread the idea so far and wide that anybody thinks of
discarding something reusable, they know of a channel to reach it
to a person who needs it most, in the Indian countryside.

ANY years ago, when I was into active journalism,


M while roaming around in search of a human inter-
est story I accidentally met Habib on a chilly morning in
Delhi. It was his designation that came as a real sur-
prise: DILLI POLICE KA LAAASH DHONE WALA. His
work consisted of picking up abandoned dead bodies
from the roads for just 20 rupees. And two meters of
white cloth. More amazing was his commitment and
the way he handled these bodies. I spent many morn-
ings and evenings with him learning his modus operan-
di. And then some things were said which shook me to
the core…. For example he said - "In winters, my busi-
ness goes up" and his little daughter said innocently -
"When I feel cold at night I just hug the dead body
tightly and sleep with it."
I didn't know then that I would come across any such
thing as involving the importance of clothing. Nor did I
The idea was to motivate people to give away their
know anything about NGOs, social causes or organ-
unwanted clothing and get it to the villages. We ask
ized ways of working for a cause, though I often won-
people to come out of the mindset that clothing is only
dered why people didn't give their underutilized clothes
wanted during a disaster and to understand reality is
to people on the roads.
that there is a continuous need. People in Kashmir
And then I saw how people brought bundles of cloth-
suffer in winters every year, not just after an earth-
ing in support of Uttarkashi earthquake victims. I
quake. Hundreds die every year because of lack of
remember skipping my mass communications class
proper clothing in winter.
and running to Uttarkashi to observe, photograph and
There is a different and a more disturbing dimension
do something for those people. The rural realities shat-
to this issue. Let me relate to you a real life story about
tered my urban sensibilities. I saw many people cover-
a woman's most ignored and hushed up basic need.
ing themselves with rags, many in tatters stitched
It's about those five days when every woman in the
together out of old gunny bags used for packing pota-
world needs a sanitary napkin. A poor woman from a
toes. I remember an elderly man wearing this kind of
small place called Shikohabad, known for its glass
jacket requesting me again and again not for food or
bangle industry and notorious for the problem of child
shelter but for a woolen or a blanket. I was also
labour, used a piece of cloth from her blouse, as a san-
shocked by some senseless, insensitive donations of
itary napkin and died of tetanus because of the metal
poor quality of clothing sent by people from urban
hook inside. In many parts of the world, especially in
India. What many had not realized is that these needy
India, women from the villages especially from the
people have their dignity and not everyone in the vil-
lower income group, end up using the most dirty and
lage is a beggar. In the name of donations people sent
useless cloth, since they can't afford anything better
all kinds of torn and dirty clothes, even used undergar-
and are not aware of the health risks involved. When
ments. Further, agencies involved didn't sort the relief
we started highlighting this issue many more horror
material before distributing it.
stories started pouring in. There are cases where a
The image of a corpse wearing just torn trousers and
centipede entered a woman's body through a dirty
a shirt on a cold winter morning still haunts me. This
piece of cloth used as a napkin. Research shows a
man did not lack food, but died from exposure to the
direct relationship between cervix cancer and hygiene.
cold while so many others had plenty of unwanted
We think the solution is not that tough. When we see
clothing.
an old cotton ladies suit, saree or a bed-sheet lying
In 1998, after leaving Escorts, we initiated GOONJ.
waste in the almirah of an urban household we imagine

29
Catalyst For Human Development
Social Service

that just by tearing it in small pieces and after sanitiz- Innovation award, is another programme that channels
ing it we can provide sanitary napkins to 20 women. It urban excess to poor rural schools. The idea is to bring
involves no issue of affordability, no problem in dispos- unused school material and clothing from wealthy
al, no plastic sheet, nothing technical. schools to undeveloped village schools to bolster basic
We started GOONJ eight years ago, gathering 67 school resources. Today hundreds of kids enjoy uni-
articles of clothing on a simple premise that after 3 forms and school supplies that they would otherwise
years, whatever we haven't used we don't need. We have been thrown away. Between growing student
began spoking with friends and relatives, collecting populations on both sides of the economic divide, a
some material, distributing it as we tested marketing permanent source of warm clothing is a linkage as
and needs-level strategies. We emphasized the impor- every time the urban school kids discard, the village
tance of giving it with dignity and sensitivity to cultural, school kids will have what they so desperately need.
religious and geographical nuances. When the pro- Now GOONJ is in its expansion phase. Post-
gramme grew a little we submitted formal requests to Tsunami, when we approached the Tamil Nadu govern-
funding agencies. They always replied: " It does not ment for 2 million donated clothes, we were sure that
fall in our parameter." Our efforts continued for years, we would be able to handle that kind of quantity. Today
and no agencies engaged in supporting us. Providing after a year of highly quality conscious sorting and
adequate clothing was simply not seen as a worthy packing, some of that material has gone to Tsunami
cause. This challenge only increased our resolve. affected people, breaking the myth they were not
As much as the funding agencies and corporate sec- accepting old clothes. When clothes were provided in
tor ignored this issue, the masses came forward over- a dignified manner, properly sorted, they were readily
whelmingly, understood the issue and supported us accepted.
wholeheartedly with finances and material. GOONJ Apart from reaching different parts of the country this
thus started growing as a people's movement. material has also gone to earthquake victims in
Today VASTRADAAN deals with over 10,000 kgs of Kashmir and Pakistan through the Indian Army with the
material every month. The test marketing was done on help of the Pakistani High Commission. A big chunk of
Delhi roads but today we work with over 100 agencies this cloth, which is not fit for wearing, is being turned
in 17 states of India. In cities we have a strong network into cloth sanitary napkins, sitting mats and school
of people, corporations, schools, resident welfare bags, to be given to people across India. When
associations who support us in collection. In the vil- Deutche bank decided on its own to support this unique
lages we have a network of social activists, Ashoka project and Safexpress offered free transportation we
Fellows, grassroot NGOs, and for Kashmir and felt that clothing has started becoming an issue….
Arunachal, units of the Indian army who are our imple- Today other countries are trying to study this model
mentation partners. where we have built a wide network in many parts of
A strong feedback system ensures systematic distri- the country, on the very basic issue of clothing. This
bution of the clothing. Partnership with local groups network and systems can be utilized for anything. If
gives us a better understanding of local issues and one talks about health- then medicines and sanitary
needs and the initiative 'cloth for work' uses the mate- napkins, if we talk about Education- then school mate-
rial as resource for development in rural India. Under rial, in the normal course - clothes, utensils, footwear
this initiative, GOONJ, with the help of local partners, and other basics and in a disaster situation just add
identifies a much needed development activity in a vil- ration, tarpaulin and other disaster relief material.
lage, like a damaged road or a dirty lane and the vil- One doesn't need to start afresh in the event of a dis-
lagers work to make improvements. Instead of money, aster. Just by activating the existing pipelines spread
they get clothes as wages. Imagine the potential value all over the county one can achieve the purpose. It's
of old unused clothing in your cupboard - roads could this concept which won us our second Changemakers
be repaired in Morigaon, Assam or irrigation technolo- Innovation award.
gy could be installed in Sunderban Delta, West. The scope of the concept can be envisaged from the
India still has 35% of its population living below the fact that today, apart from clothes, we are even dealing
poverty line, with the majority of the poor living in the with things like furniture and computers. Thus we are
villages. Basic resources essential for survival are hard using clothing as an entry point into the entire move-
to procure, for example, medicines for the sick, or ment of treating urban wastage as a resource for rural
books for school children are far from available in many India.
of the remote and isolated rural areas because they In future I hope GOONJ is able to offer a solution to
have escaped the attention of state policies. On the an often talked about reality of India- the rising dispar-
other side of the spectrum, India is said to be undergo- ity between rich and poor, and how this is a problem
ing its biggest consumer boom with the ever-increasing that is only going to get worse.
purchasing power in the cities and towns. 'Conditions Our vision is to spread the idea so far and wide that
of plenty' along with shrinking space for the urban soci- whenever anybody thinks of discarding something
eties result in excess materials being accumulated that reusable they know of a channel to reach it to a person
can be utilized, but is now wasted. GOONJ is just mak- who needs it most. 
ing use of this reality.
'SCHOOL to SCHOOL,' winner of the changemakers anshugoonj24@gmail.com
30
Catalyst For Human Development
Social Service

An Institute to Build the Nation


Vivekananda Institute of Leadership and Development
DR. M.A. BALASUBRAMANYA
VILD, in collaboration with the University of Mysore, offers India’s first ever
University-recognised Master of Non-Profit Management in an effort to find
solutions to the vexed problem of unavailability of trained manpower
to lead projects and organisations in the non-profit sector.
"Commitment with Competency". Our pedagogy is
designed to make our students aware of their inner strength
that will sustain their developmental efforts and continue to
motivate them. It is designed to teach the management and
leadership skills to make a sustained impact in the develop-
ment sector. The experiences awaken ones values that
serve as a beacon to solve problems, to work with and moti-
vate people, to have satisfaction through work, to motivate
himself to entrepreneurial aspirations in the development
world. The course not only studies the economics of a non-
profit organization but also provides access to everyone's
inner wisdom to live.
VILD is best explained by the infinite love of Swami
Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi towards all humanity in
general and India in particular. When the combination of
values and excellence unfold, the goal of building a grand
nation could be achieved - the India that Swami
Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi visualized. This means
building the nation-builders. Once we 'build' the builders,
the nation-building will be taken care of.
VER the years non-profit institutions have become the
O fulcrum for socio- economic transformation of India.
These institutions (which include Non-government as well
Programmes The-two-year Master of Non-Profit Man-
anegement course allows the learner
as Cooperative Organizations and Cooperative the time to be exposed to the intricacies of managing all the
Movements) have come a long way from the days when different facets of a non-profit organization.
they were perceived to supplement governmental pro- The course consists of 18 Core Subjects, 2 Elective
grammes. A little known fact that this "Third Sector" is one Subjects, 2 Capsules of Apprenticeship, a Research based
of the largest employers in India stands testimony to this. Project Work that is equivalent to two subjects and a Viva
Today, these institutions have pioneered innovative ways to Voce at the end of the fourth semester.
transform human life and values. They work on the princi-
ple of concern and commitment, rather than profits. The year was 1984. A group of young
Our Parent
These organizations suffer from the vexed problem of medical students at the Mysore Medical
Organization
unavailability of trained manpower. Vivekananda Institute College were starting to feel that the
of Leadership and Development (VILD) was founded to career in medicine they dreamt of pursuing was very differ-
serve India by increasing the competence of developmental ent from the practice of medicine around them. They
organizations and hence improving the chances of attract- believed they had in them to make a difference and make a
ing funds and delivering value. VILD will also take a con- positive impact on the lives of the poor and the marginal-
structive role to integrate and catalyze NGOs, Corporates, ized. And so, they started the Swami Vivekananda Youth
Governments and Individuals to grow the amount of social Movement (SVYM) with the initial assets of high ideals and
development and raise the quality of efforts that are under- all the positive benefits of inexperience.
way. SVYM's experiences combined with the supportive con-
versations with many Non-Profit (NPOs) and Donor organi-
Approach The programmes are designed to devel- zations provided the insight and energy to launch
op the competencies required for those- Vivekananda Institute of Leadership and Development in
who seek to serve and build a career in the development Mysore. 
sector. Competencies not only include "management mabsvym@gmail.com
skills" but values, commitment and integrity. Education in www.svym.net and www.vild.edu.in
VILD campus is filled with experiences to combine
31
Catalyst For Human Development
Social Service

Giving More and Giving Wisely


How GiveIndia was Born
AARTI MADHUSUDAN

HE traffic lights turn red and the cars screech to a halt bomb of growing social unrest.
T at a busy signal…a 7 year old boy, in an oversized
shirt and bare feet rushes towards the opened windows
Given the failure of our political leaders to provide ade-
quate response, private action has become indispensa-
waiting vehicles, of his eyes gleaming with hope that ble and perhaps the only real solution to address the
some kindred passenger will throw a few coins at him. needs of the underprivileged.
Tonight he wants to go to bed without a thrashing from The fundamental premise of GiveIndia's operating
the "master" for not having "earned" enough. model is that the donor is an "investor" looking for returns
The gentleman in the car ahead, on the other hand is of some kind (most commonly the satisfaction of knowing
more exasperated than usual at this sight. The air condi- that their money made a difference to someone else's
tioner in the car is not working. He has had to lower the life). While it is possible that there are people who give
window to get a breath of fresh air. He slaps his forehead without any expectations, our efforts are targeted at
impatiently and tells his driver to quickly raise the window those who need to know that their money is making a dif-
glasses before the young boy on the road can approach ference.
his car and "harass"
him. He has had a Internet In 2000,
long hard day with Giving GiveIndia
his auditor on where pioneered
he can invest the 2 online donations in
million dollar profit India. GiveIndia offers
he has made. The donors an online mech-
boy runs dangerous- anism to donate to wor-
ly between the cars thy NGOs. The organi-
to one that seems to zations promoted must
hold greater prom- fulfill stringent criteria,
ise. This is a com- in a variety of fields of
mon sight on our work, emphasizing
roads and many of accountability and
us have been an transparency. Donors
audience to it. use the information
GiveIndia was generated about these
born out of the organizations to select
vision of one individ- the organizations they
ual who believed would like to support.
that if we wanted a
better society - a more just and equitable community - Payroll Our Payroll Giving Programme is
then we must encourage and support those that have Giving designed to allow employees of partici-
taken the steps to bring about change. pating companies to donate as little as Rs
50 [write in dollar value for this] every month, directly
The Need for a GiveIndia is founded on the from their salaries. An employee can choose to educate
Giving Culture belief that "equal opportunity" is a child, help a blind person see or provide a wheelchair
the cornerstone of civilization. to a disabled person, among other options.
Every human being must have roughly the same oppor-
tunity to succeed in life, irrespective of where or how Charity GiveIndia is the Charity partner of the
he/she is born. Events Mumbai & Delhi Marathons. These
The last two decades have witnessed the gap widening marathons have helped us reach out to
between the rich and poor in India. While the poor don't large number of new donors by allowing them to run and
get a fair chance to succeed in life due to lack of access raise money for a cause. By "piggy backing" existing
to decent education, healthcare and livelihood opportuni- events that are already planned, it is ensured that the
ties, the well-off continue to enjoy benefits from a global- cost of fundraising is less than 10%.
ising economy - greater incomes, decreasing taxes,
100% inheritance, etc. The net result is a ticking time-

32
Catalyst For Human Development
Social Service

ABOUT
THE FOUNDER
GiveIndia is the brainchild of Venkat Krishnan who graduated from IIM-
Ahmedabad in 1993 and started his career with the media. He then helped set up
Sony Entertainment Television in India as part of the core management team. In
1996, he co-founded Eklavya Education Foundation (http://www.eklavya.org/) along
with 3 other IIMA alumni. He set up GIVE Foundation in 2000, to create a "giving cul-
ture" in India by providing people with opportunities to contribute to good causes,
with very high standards of transparency and accountability. GIVE (Giving
Impetus to Voluntary Effort) today raises over US $ 200,000 a year through
http://www.giveindia.org/ and affiliated efforts. GIVE also channels over
US $ 1million a year to India's voluntary sector through its
Corporate Philanthropy and Grant
Management services.

Corporate Client GiveIndia helps companies that they have in mind.


Services design, execute and monitor a
philanthropy strategy by helping We help nonprofit organizations
Financial and
them tie-up with NGOs. Since inception in 2002, we have design, restructure and upgrade
Accounting
worked with over 15 companies in a variety of sectors. their accounting systems to help
Management
them report their financials to
Customized Client The GiveIndia team helps donors and statutory authorities in a more transparent
Services Foundations with a variety of manner. We guide and train them at every level by study-

” services aimed at helping them


channel their funds to the right organizations, or, having
made a donation, verifying whether it was used for the
purpose stated. The team works with High Net worth
Individuals to help them identify and support projects
ing and assessing their needs and helping them plan.

aarti@giveindia.org
www.giveindia.org

No society can surely be


flourishing and happy, of which
by far the greater part of the


numbers are poor and miserable.

- Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations

33
Catalyst For Human Development
Women Finance

Mann Deshi Sahakari Mahila Bank -


A Boon for Women
CHETNA GALA SINHA

Mann Deshi group envisions a future where financial services are available to
women who aspire to make life better for future generations.

VERY day, Nakusa is of the clients come from back-


E reminded of her painful
childhood, as her name in
ward castes.
It is the mission of this
Marathi means unwanted. Mahila Cooperative Bank to
Nakusa was the fifth daugh- provide women in the drought-
ter of her parents. Soon prone area of western
after her birth, Nakusa's Maharashtra with the tools
father married another necessary for achieving finan-
woman. She recalls with cial independence and self-
sadness how her entire family was thrown out of their sufficiency. Experience has shown that when women con-
home and onto the streets. trol the household finances, more money is spent on chil-
With no one to turn to, the family traveled to the nearby dren, education, healthcare, and other important domestic
city of Karad in search of work and shelter. They lived on items.
a footpath in Karad City and found it exceedingly difficult to Mann Deshi's highest priority is its clients. It aims to
find work. Nakusa had not eaten for two days and was improve the lives of its clients holistically, by providing a
hungrily watching some men have tea and snacks. "I real- unique combination of financial and non-financial services.
ized then, that if you watch people while they are eating, Individuals can receive loans of less than Rs15, 000 with
they will give you food because they want to get rid of the signatures of two other women, who serve as guaran-
you." This is how she learned to beg. tors. The Mann Deshi Bank lends money to the self-help
Nakusa did not allow her dismal upbringing to predestine group federation. The Federation, inturn, re-lends the
her future. Several years ago, she approached Mann
Deshi Mahila Bank for a Rs 10,000 loan, which she used Promoting the right of women to own property: In
to free herself from the clutches of a moneylender. After early 2004, the Mann Deshi Bank succeeded in convinc-
repaying that money, she took a Rs 30,000 loan to buy ing the Revenue Department of Maharashtra to include
land and an Rs 60,000 loan to develop the land into a women's names on stamp papers, which are required in
farm. Today, she is the proud owner of 3 acres of land, 1 transactions of immovable properties. Women can now
cow, 2 buffaloes, and 100 chickens. Nakusa no longer use these papers in court to prevent their husbands from
toils painfully as a construction laborer because she owns selling or divesting household property.
and manages productive assets. She is now the director of Encouraging home ownership among the rural
the Self-Help Group Federation and coordinates three self- poor: The Mann Deshi Bank has created an incentive
help groups. for women to become homeowners by giving them a
The Mann Deshi Mahila umbrella of operations encom- one-percent rebate on interest paid.
passes three distinct organizations - Mann Deshi Mahila Creating women leaders: Mann Deshi has trained
Sahakari Bank, Mann Vikas Samajik Sanstha, and Mann several hundred women to lead self-help groups, man-
Deshi Mahila Bachat Gat Federation, which are non-profit age accounts, and keep financial records.
organizations that provide a variety of services to clients..
Founded in 1997, the bank is a regulated cooperative insti-
tution run by and for women and India's first rural financial money to self-help groups. The Bank requires all of its bor-
institution to receive a cooperative license from the rowers to open savings accounts and to save.
Reserve Bank of India. The bank is headquartered in
Mhaswad, a village in the district of Satara, south of Pune. The Bank, along with Mann
Continued Innovations in
All Mann Deshi clients are poor women with annual Vikas and the Self-Help Group
Rural Development
incomes averaging 22,000 rupees. The Reserve Bank of Federation, provides low-inter-
India requires that 60% of the bank's loans go to the sec- est loans and some scholarships for girls to attend school.
tors designated 'priority or weak.' In 2004, Mann Deshi It also lends bicycles to girls who can't afford to take the
surpassed all expectations as 85% of the clients came bus to school. In the year 2004, the Bank has lent 200
from the designated sector. What is also significant is 70% bicycles under its Bicycle Programme. 
chetnavsinha@yahoo.com
34
Catalyst For Human Development
Health

IRHS - A Tribute to Common Man


DR. PATRICIA BIDINGER
Hundreds of children, who are taught health education every week, have been able to have
corrective open-heart surgery and other complicated surgeries. Institute for Rural Health
Studies (IRHS) has either arranged for the funds or has partnered with
various corporate hospitals to obtain free surgery for children.

E don't mind answering your questions, Amma, but why Our research has included some pioneering and important
‘W don't you do something useful? The baby is sick.' And
thus began our career as village researchers. Bhavani was 25
health policy work. The Central Planning Commission has used
two of our research papers for policy formation. The WHO
with an M.Sc. in nutrition, including a gold medal. I was sport- sought us out for a unique longitudinal study on cervical cancer
ing a newly acquired Ivy League PhD in International Nutrition based upon our own pioneering study of cervical cancer in rural
and Development Policy with specialties in medicine and agri- areas. Currently we are working with the London School of
cultural economics. The setting was a remote village in a Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Unilever Research on a
drought-prone district in Andhra Pradesh, India. The year was study on hand washing and behavioral change.
1982. Bhavani and I, an American, had just set up our 'Institute But the joy of our lives centers around the two clinics IRHS
for Rural Health Studies' and this was our first research project. runs in the remote rural areas of Mahbubnagar District and its
We had been offered a one-room cowshed by the village related program 'Travellers Aid for the Sick'. The rural clinics
sarpanch, complete with one light bulb and a mud floor! Such are staffed entirely by local people who have been, and contin-
generosity was hard to come by in such an impoverished sur- ue to be, trained by short-term American and British volunteer
rounding. doctors. A laboratory, gynecology unit, pharmacy plus general
Our research was focused on studying the variation in food outpatients make up each clinic. Outreach work is preventative
supply and its relationship to nutritional status. All families we and includes teaching.
were studying about had children under More than 600 primary school chil-
five. We were measuring a wide range dren are taught health education each
of inputs from labor force participation week, classes for teenagers on issues
and harvests, to food consumption and of heath and sexuality are held on
health with everything in between, but Fridays and extensive home visits
the villagers, while cooperating fully, made covering antenatal care and
begged us to fill the real gap in their child heath up to the age of three.
lives - medical care. And if we couldn't When primary healthcare is not suf-
provide that, at least, they begged, ficient, clinic staff know they can send
"help us to find it and protect us from a patient directly to the District
being neglected". And thus began our Hospital where IRHS Patient
real careers as health providers as well Counsellors will assist them to access
as researchers. The need was great. care. At the District Hospital, the IRHS
The first week I left Bhavani and our also runs the state's only rural cervical
research assistant alone in the village to return to Hyderabad, cancer screening outpatient service. This is a duplicate of the
a baby died in her arms. village-to-village programme, also run by IRHS in which each
We have never looked back since those hard early days and week a different village is selected for provision of both early
have continued to combine research with the provision of detection of cervical cancer and treatment using colposcopy,
healthcare, both curative and preventative. Bhavani was an biopsies and cryotherapy.
'elderly' 34 before she allowed herself to marry and return to In the central bus station (the largest in Asia with 75 plat-
her native West Bengal. In those intervening years she was my forms), the state transport company has built for the IRHS an
colleague, my best friend and my teacher. That included teach- office from which to base its service to rural people seeking
ing me how to eat properly with my fingers. more advanced healthcare. Run by two trained Patient
The Institute for Rural Health Studies (IRHS) has certainly Counsellors, the Travellers Aid for the Sick center receives
not lived up to its name given the amount of direct healthcare patients from the clinics and helps them to reach the main
and preventive health provided over these past 25 years. I Hyderabad government hospitals where they can access care.
suppose we should look for a new name that more aptly Back at the bus terminal, at all times, one Patient Counsellor
describes what we do. But a bi-directional organization can scouts the platforms looking for incoming rural villagers from all
offer staff more opportunities to learn research techniques, can over the state who have come to Hyderabad, a city of 7 million
provide policy makers with sound policy with which to formulate people, to seek medical care not available to them in their
health policy - all the while offering some of the poorest vil- remote villages. In addition to this service, the counsellors in
lagers in the world the medical assistance they need to return the bus terminal also offer first aid, and counselling on HIV pre-
to a productive life. vention and reproductive health. 

hyd2_irhsirhs@sancharnet.in
35
Catalyst For Human Development
Health

A Great Initiative in Mental


Health Delivery
DR. THARA SRINIVASAN

Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) has established itself as one of the


premier Mental Health Delivery agencies in India and overseas. It successfully blended
cost-effective care and rehab programmes with high quality research and academic
activities. In Chennai and the villages of Tamil Nadu, the word 'schizophrenia'
has become much more familiar and associated with more hope
and optimism than before.

EARLY 15 million Indians suffer from minor forms of


N mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Another 7-8 million suffer from major psychotic disorders
like schizophrenia. Yet mental health remains a low pri-
ority for not just policy planners and medical profession-
als, but also for the community in general. Low aware-
ness about mental disorders, myths and misconceptions
and the social stigma in seeking treatment are responsi-
ble for this situation.
For this reason, a group of mental health profession-
als, philanthropists and other citizens in Chennai formed
the Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) in
1984.
Initially, a day care center was established to offer
rehabilitation for people with schizophrenia. The need to
expand was imminent and so we moved into a bigger developing world. Other social factors such as family
building which had an outpatient department, as well as role, social networks, coping mechanisms and different
a day care center for men and women. Soon after, we types of help seeking behaviours have all been well
added inpatient facilities where patients were admitted researched. SCARF became a Collaborating Centre of
for short periods of time and provided rehabilitation tech- the World Health Organisation for Mental Health
niques which prepared them for life in the community. Research and Training due to its credibility in research;
The efforts of SCARF were recognized nationally and this is a rare honor for an NGO.
internationally by bodies such as the World Association The tragic incident at Erwadi in 2002, where 26 people
for Psychosocial were chained in a hut were charred to death is a
Rehabilitation blackspot in Indian
and the World history. Following
H e a l t h SCARF'S PRIMARY OBJECTIVES this disaster, the
Government
Organisation.
Research is To deliver comprehensive mental health care to all sections of society, with of Tamil Nadu
an equally a special emphasis on rehabilitation of those suffering from a severe mental ordered the imme-
important activi- disorder, schizophrenia; family support and education are an integral part of diate closure of
ty on the agen- this programme. such "treatment
da. The Madras centers" and is
longitudinal To conduct research into various aspects of schizophrenia, the results of now trying to pro-
study, a 20 year which will have a meaningful impact on those suffering from it and their fam- vide mental health
follow-up of 100 ilies; training various groups of allied health professionals such as psychol- services in remote
patients of ogists, social workers, nurses and occupational therapists about the basic areas of the state.
schizophrenia, principles of mental health care is a further goal. To this end,
is a landmark SCARF developed
study and one of To increase awareness on mental health issues to facilitate early detection the innovative
the few of its and reduce stigma. programmes as
kind from the detailed below.

36
Catalyst For Human Development
Health

Community Mental For over 15 years, SCARF the Tsunami, OXFAM supported this project. We linked
Health served the rural communities in to two centres in tsunami affected regions and offered
Tamil Nadu with the aid of the counseling and treatment. Now, with support from
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Deutsche Bank, we have enlarged the scope of this
from Canada, some Italian NGOs and the WHO. One of service. This is novel because it is cost effective by
the main goals is to increase awareness about mental ill- reducing the need for infrastructure and saving much
nesses with the specific aim of dispelling myths and mis- travel time.
conceptions using traditional folklore and audio-visual
material. Even those who held the belief that only magi- Family and Child SCARF supports the education
cal and religious treatment can help were slowly con- Support of 40 children every year -
vinced to take psychiatric medication. Traditional heal- these are children whose
ers were also involved. More than 200,000 persons in fathers are too disabled by mental illness to work and
villages around Tamil Nadu were screened for mental support the children's education. A child guidance clinic
disorders. If someone was diagnosed, she or he was also helps children and their parents.
treated. Simple measures, such as the distribution of Although disability caused by mental illness has been
goats and livestock, were taken to allow the mentally recognized worldwide decades ago, the Indian govern-
disabled to earn a livelihood. ment included it in the Persons with Disabilities Act only
recently. This move resulted after much lobbying, in
In 1990, I was elected a senior which SCARF played a leading role.
An Ashoka Fellow
Ashoka fellow to work in the
urban slums of Madras for two years. I chose two slums Challenges The greatest challenge is to
by the sea (both of which were subsequently affected by simplify the understanding of
tsunami) and another slum further inland. A door-to-door mental illness and communicate it effectively to the pub-
survey revealed great mental morbidity. Therefore, an lic. While a child with spastic limbs or a woman with
outpatient clinic was started two days a week. Many blindness are quick to attract sympathy, this is not so
awareness programmes were also conducted using cin- with mental illness. Even educated people do not under-
ema and music. stand it. The picture of a woman collecting garbage on
At this time, there were over 100 health posts in the road or an aggressive man talking to himself evokes
Chennai, which were similar to primary health centers more fear and disgust than empathy. We had to system-
(PHCs) in villages. This was under the World Bank’s atically overcome this challenge through various means.
IPP-V project. With the permission of the state govern- There is also the stigma associated with mental ill-
ment, I trained all the multi-purpose workers in these nesses. Donors who would have no hesitation in having
health posts to identify serious mental disorders and their help acknowledged by eye or heartcare institutions,
make appropriate referrals. Other side tasks for the very often did not want their names to be displayed in
mutli-purpose workers include working with the families SCARF. Of course, there is the low priority accorded to
and ensuring follow-up with the patient. The World Bank mental health in general and rehabilitation in particular.
recognized this initiative as an innovative project. Thus, Fundraising is another major task, since mental health
I became a panelist to elect other Ashoka fellows. does not appear on the agendas of many international
donor agencies. 
scarf@vsnl.com
Telemedicine SCARF's most recent innovation
is using telemedicine for the community projects. After
37
Catalyst For Human Development
Water

Chicago IDCA Summit Raises


Water Awareness
LEAN Water is essential to life but is not available to
C many in India and many parts of the world. The
India Development Coalition of America (www.idc-amer-
ica.org) organized a 2-day summit in Chicago from June
16-18, 2006, to bring together people interested in water
management, both from the USA and India. The issues
that were focused on at the summit included a) gover-
nance requirements in water management, b) communi-
ty and agricultural demand management, c) water qual-
ity issues and health, and d) municipal and industrial
wastewater treatment.
A highlight of the Water Summit was a keynote
address by Dr. Ashok Mehta of Mumbai, India, President
of the Lions Clubs International. He emphasized that
apart from the eyesight treatment programmes that
Lions Clubs are well known for, these Clubs in India
were starting water projects and the 6,000 clubs in the
country would be interested in working with IDCA to
Dr Sam Pitroda, Chairman, Knowledge Commission,
develop and implement water projects in India. Government of India and Mr Jay Sehgal, Executive
Among others who spoke were Satyen Pitroda, Director, Sehgal Foundation
Chairman, Knowledge Commission, Govt. of India,
Lawrence Walsh, Chief Executive, Will County, Illinois, provide clean water for communities, and treat waste
USA, Arthur Wilhelmi, State Senator, Illinois, USA, Arun water to promote recycling and reuse of water. Four
workshops held on the occasion
suggested a) Rainwater harvesting
projects in Assam, b) Drinking
water and sanitation project in
Vizianagaram, A.P., India, c)
Arsenic removal project in West
Bengal, d) Implement inexpensive
desalination technologies in India
e) work with Confederation of
Indian Industry (CII) to implement
several water projects in India, f)
implement wastewater recycling
and reuse systems in India and g)
work with Indian Waterworks
Association (IWWA) to implement
water quality measurement and
reporting programmes in urban and
rural areas. IDCA felt that raising
Mr Punia, Sehgal Foundation, Dr Pitroda and Mr Ram Krishnan mass awareness about the severe
water problems facing India should
Kumar, Indian Consul General in Chicago, Terrence be given high priority.
O'Brien, President, Metropolitan Water Reclamation The water summit helped raise awareness of water
District of Greater Chicago, USA, and John Sheaffer, problems in State of Illinois, USA and India, and result-
President, Sheaffer International, Glen Ellyn, USA, a ed in several projects that will be implemented by IDCA
world renowned water expert. members in association with several groups in India
The consensus arrived at on water at the Summit was (including Lions Clubs and CII members) to improve the
that proactive steps should be taken to conserve water, water situation in India. 

38
Catalyst For Human Development
Superstition

Superstitions are Retardants


of Progress
NARENDRA NAYAK
If Superstitions did not exist, India would have reached much higher levels of prosperity
as a whole. For instance, India has more holidays than any other country because
of its multi-religious backround. The loss of productivity due to holidays
alone is estimated to be upward of 5 per cent.
N a vast country like India - whose population has been government offered a reward for the head of the Danish
I instilled with gullibility, blind devotion and idol worship -
one has to expect a myriad of superstitions. There exists
cartoonist who drew cartoons of the prophet Mohammad.
Communal pogroms killed thousands in Gujarat in what
a broad spectrum of such superstitions that vary slightly appeared to be a planned holocaust, due to a train fire
from metropolises to rural areas. For example, urbanites that killed a number of people returning from Ayodhya.
can fall prey to more benign things like astrology, Such incidents occur repeatedly, causing loss of life and
numerology and vastu, while a tribal member may take property and destroying peace.
more extreme action, murdering his neighborhood witch How do these things happen? Throughout the last
thought to have been casting a spell on his family, or sac- three decades of my research of such phenomena, I have
rificing a neighbor's son so that gods favour him with his come to several conclusions about the most effective
own. methods to educate people and steer them away from
Recently, the country has seen more extreme conse- irrational beliefs. I have shared my experiences, attempt-
quences of this superstition. Fanatics demolished a ing to convince people in both India and abroad of the
mosque that is the supposed birthplace of their god need for scientific temper. This movement is designed to
Rama. A minister in the help the people who are taken in by unscrupulous
Uttar Pradesh state claimants of miraculous and supernatural powers.
We have developed a three-pronged approach
to this problem. First, the public is alerted to
tricks being passed off as miracles by the so-
called godmen, by performing them. Next,
an explanation follows on how they are
done. Lastly, the incidents are investigat-
ed and methods noted and information
is added to the miracle exposure pro-
gramme. As a part of this campaign,
those who claim to have supernatural
powers are asked to demonstrate them
under fraud-proof conditions.
How do such superstitions retard
progress? If they didn't exist, we would
have reached much higher levels of
prosperity as a whole. For instance,
India has more holidays than any other
country because of its multi-religious,
multi-cultural background. As a result,
national holidays are held for important events
in every religion. To this we may add many
other national holidays - such as Independence
Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanthi. The loss
of productivity due to holidays alone is estimated to
be upwards of 5%.
Superstition has also forced the relocation of many
important infrastructural facilities, such as highways.
There are several instances of the sudden, suspicious
appearance of new idols or religious relics, which are
passed off as miracles. In many cases, a place of wor-
ship is then constructed at the site. As the attraction
39
Catalyst For Human Development
Superstition

becomes more popular, numerous buildings spring up


around it, and roads are narrowed, diverted or destroyed.
Once built, it is very difficult to tear down these enclaves
due to the religious outcry that would ensue and which no
government could afford to ignore.
These superstitions pervade every aspect of our public
life. Satellites are launched after Rahu Kalam. Institutes
of Science are opened only at auspicious timings.
Ministers take oath only after the determination of a time
deemed appropriate by their astrologer. In fact, when
one of the thermal plants run by the National Thermal
Power Corporation was having problems, a solution was
proposed by a vastu expert. This so-called science of
vastu - considered quackery elsewhere - is in India con-
sidered a super science.
Although thought to be highly educated, in reality vastu
experts range from middle school dropouts to foreign lan-
guage teachers. To specialize in vastu, one only needs a
glib tongue and a quick wit. Since vastu experts control
the designs of engineers and architects, hundreds of
hours are spent altering a building's blueprint to make it
vastu compatible. Vastu experts even have a hand in
designing government buildings. Each time a new minis-
ter assumes office, interiors are changed according to the
demands of his vastu consultant, particularly because
what is considered acceptable by one expert is not nec-
essarily adequate by another's standards. And, every
time a change is made, public money is spent.
Another problem with these godmen is that they do not
comply with Indian laws. Many terrible crimes can occur
in their establishments without any punitive action.
Although there is often a public outcry, punishments are
mostly confined to small-time practitioners, with their
more prominent counterparts escaping unscathed.
There are a few exceptions. A godman from Tamilnadu
has been sentenced to lifetime in jail for his criminal
activities. Another from Bangalore has been condemned
to death for drugging and burying his wife alive. But, sev-
eral mysterious deaths in the town of Puttaparthi have
been brushed under the carpet by authorities.
Godmen win over devotees by demonstrating their
supernatural powers and so-called miracles. These mira-
cles can be divided into the following categories: sleight
of hand, immunity to fire or chemicals and telekinetic
powers. For example, one prominent godman uses the
sleight-of-hand trick to produce holy ash that he distrib-
utes to devotees, as well as conjuring fine jewelry for
wealthier followers. Other godmen show immunity to fire
by passing flames over their body or praying with lit cam-
phor on their palms. In one particular instance, a famous
godman called Sadachari claimed to use his stare to
ignite a sacrificial fire in order to destroy enemies of the soning behind each. Afterwards, if projection facilities
then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It was later discov- are available, we show footage of godmen performing
ered that he used a few grams of potassium perman- particularly impressive miracles such as hanging a per-
ganate hidden in the firewood and couple of drops of son through hooks passed through the skin or walking on
glycerine to light the flame. Devotees are not limited to glass. The program concludes with a request bring to our
poor, uneducated Indians, however; they also include attention any so-called miracles or supernatural phenom-
worldly Westerners. enon. Our campaigns have reached a wide cross-section
To disprove these feats, we replicate them and follow of people, from university professors, research scholars
with explanations of the scientific principles behind them. and doctors to tribal members and school children. 
The audience also is encouraged to contemplate the rea- narenyen@yahoo.co.in

40
Catalyst For Human Development
Accidents

Highway Rescue Project


A Lifeline Foundation Gift
Lifeline is endeavouring to see that every accident victim on Indian highways has
immediate access to Emergency Medical Services (EMS). In collaboration
with other NGOs, it is engaged in ensuring Gujarat has an EMS legislation.

RAUMA support systems are not solely the domain of doc- leagues. After four hours of being stranded, in the early morn-
T tors and medical professionals. They require a network of
various stakeholders to save lives on the highways. Lifeline
ing, help arrived. Dr. Das and Sushmita spent their recovery
time planning HRP. Using the inspiration they got from the
Foundation's HIGHWAY RESCUE PROJECT has demon- traumatic experience for three years, the couple developed a
strated how this can be achieved in India. plan to improve such practices as traffic management, driver
Today, while Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) rank as the 9th education, safety research and development to make sure that
major cause of deaths world-wide, they are the leading cause lives are not lost on highway.They developed such rescue util-
of mortality between the ages of 15-44 years. By 2020 it is ity ideas as integrated and centralized ambulances. Without
predicted to rank as the 2nd major cause of deaths world-wide. owning a single facility, the two spent three years coordinating
ambulances, cranes, metal cutters, police
In India India ranks for high RTA facilities, hospitals and blood banks to
fatality rates in the world. launch HRP on 1st July 2002.
It has only 1% of the world's vehicles but With no South Asian programme prece-
accounts for 6% of the world's accidents. dents of this magnitude for guidance,
The country recorded 92,000 deaths in Lifeline developed a pilot project to make
2003-04. RTAs cost the country Rs. 75,000 the 263 km of NH8 between Ahmedabad
crore or 3% of its GDP. and Surat safer. Lifeline employees care-
While in developed countries, drivers fully mapped the highway, incorporating
and passengers account for more than every highway landmark, developed soft-
70% of deaths, the majority of those killed ware to locate accident callers and set up
or injured in India are pedestrians and a 24-hour control room team. Today
users of two-wheelers and public trans- Lifeline serves 1401 kms of national high-
portation. Road safety experts call them ways in Gujarat and 337 kms in
"vulnerable road users". Not even at the Maharashtra. Within 6 months, it is to be
government level is there a clearly defined expanded on NH2 in West Bengal and
policy to make the parties concerned to NH8 in Rajasthan. Lifeline's network of
administer post-accident trauma care. providers includes 164 ambulances in
Gujarat and 30 in Maharashtra, 67
Out of all accidents leading to fatalities: Hospitals, 42 Cranes and metal cutters, 27
 20% die on the spot due to open skull Blood Banks and 56 Police Stations. The
injuries, major cardio-vascular injuries, multi-organ injury or central control room at Baroda responds to any distress call. In
sudden acute blood loss; 48 months of its launch HRP saved the lives and limbs of near-
 30% die due to delay of transportation or during transporta- ly 1,800 seriously injured accident victims on highways of both
tion, which is often primitive; and the states.
 50% die in hospitals within 5 days of admission, due to infec-
tion and multi-system failure. Lifeline is trying to ensure every citizen
Future Directions
has immediate access to EMS. It has
The above facts prove that timely evacuation and better partnered other NGOs in getting a draft resolution on EMS Act
transportation of victims can definitely save lives. Currently for Gujarat. The state would be the first in the country to have
Emergency Medical Services is still in its infancy in India. such an act. The draft act will address funding ; establishment
Lifeline Foundation conceptualized, developed and launched of protocols and systems ; credentialisation of Trauma care
a Highway Rescue Project (HRP) for the country for the first personnel and hospitals and scope of practice ; benchmarking
time on July 1, 2002. and licensing of ambulances and transportation networks ;
standardisation and certification of training programmes ; cre-
HRP was founded by Dr. Subroto Das ation of a nodal EMS agency at the State level ; and Single
The Human
and Sushmita Das in August 1999 after phone Number for Public Access in Emergencies. 
Resources Project
they survived a terrible accident on a
rainy night on the NH8 Highway. With broken bones, info@highwayrescue.org
bleeding faces and damaged knees, they were left stranded www.highwayrescue.org
and fought all night for their lives and the lives of their col-
41
Catalyst For Human Development
Ecology

Adventure Tourism Boosts


Conservation
S. L. N. SWAMY

The eco-paradise, called the Western Ghats, is breathtaking. The complex and long-term
struggle necessary to conserve it is quite vital for the region. The adventure-tourism
model is one tool that goes to strengthen the conservation movement -- an
interaction between urban and rural organisations.

ESTERN Ghats, the vanishing rainforests of southern


W India, has exceptional biodiversity. It stretches over
1,500 kms along the southwestern peninsular India, and
holds several million years of geographical history and an
enormous ecological value. It shelters innumerable varieties
of fauna and flora, many close to extinction. The region's main
watershed is located here. Spices and commercial crops,
such as cashew, coffee, tea, and rubber, are grown here. The
region is also rich in mineral deposits, which has resulted in
extensive irresponsible commercial land exploitation. The
Ghats had over 60% of the world's forest cover in the 1950s,
but now has less than 38%. Such human activity as toxic
industrial discharging, virgin forests logging and hydroelectric
damming have created massive ecological imbalance.

Conservation a A group of organizations in the


Way of Life Western Ghat region have taken
steps to make conservation a way of
life. One strategy developed was to encourage a large cross
section of people to take adventure tours in the region to

experience the unique beauty, bounty, and culture that exists


there. This has created a tourism industry that would gener-
ate an income for local people, and awareness about the
value of the region. The thrill of nature has inspired many to
fight for the conservation of the area. The strong connection
people develop with the wilderness of Ghats is slowly building
a volunteer base that will provide the manpower needed for a
strong conservation movement.
The Adventurers' Western Ghats Restoration Project is a
holistic approach involving every aspect of the Ghats. The
organization has pioneered adventure activities that appeal to
all people. It has been responsible for setting new eco
tourism standards globally. It has also supported the devel-
opment of extremely successful adventure-based therapy
programmes for people and rehabilitation for drug-addicted
street children.

Indian Institute The Indian Institute of Adventure gener-


of Adventure (IIA) ates employment through field training
adventure programmes. This organiza-
tion has collaborated with Kannada University in Hampi to inte-
grate this type of learning into its education programme in which
a certificate course in Eco tourism is provided.
Eco-managers are bridges between the organization and
42
Catalyst For Human Development
Ecology

community. While catalyzing involvement of community on serving the folk dances and ballets of Western Ghat cultures.
issues related to environment, they are the organizations, Organized training and choreography involving experts have
torchbearers that run the outdoor programmes. This unique led to invitations to demonstrate the folk dances in larger
form of employment allows them to get paid to share their cities.
valuable know-how.
GHATS GHATS is an economic venture that bol-
Amateur Naturalists Focused on building barefoot natu- sters the income of rural villagers by
Team ralists teams, the Amateur adding shelf life to renewable non-timber forest products.
Naturalists Team (ANT) has estab- These products have unique value because the delicacies
lished its own Training center at
Kagadalu in Sira Taluk, Karnataka.
Using street plays, folk music and
Drama, the organization demon-
strates the role of nature. ANT also
is key in encouraging children and
youth to take up environmental
research which is essential for
future conservation strategy devel-
opment.
The training of young girls in the
art of Chittara is generating oppor-
tunities for the preservation of a
unique Indian culture. Part time
and full time training programmes,
offered by Chittaradangala, have
successfully involved women of

prepared by the women are


exceptional. The challenge is
to bring consistent high-quality
product production through
training and branding. Urban
volunteers are supporting the
venture in market research,
packaging and marketing the
products. The venture has
spread to a large part of
Western Ghats. Ram Naik, a
leader from the remote
Western Ghats village Kanoor,
has made his village into a
model one for the Western
Ghats Restoration Project
(WGRP).
WGRP aims to support con-
servation at a macro level.
This involves creating a wide
database of all the flora and
fauna found in the Ghats. To
some 30 villages. This has led to the development of an create a strong conservation strategy, a basic understanding
industry which is spurring economic development, helping of the existing species is essential. The Ghats have been his-
500 women in Bangalore rise from poverty. torically important too. Tucked deep in the forest there are
Yuvak Sanghas, or youth organizations, spread across the forts in strategic locations. The WGRP has taken up the
hilly regions of Ghat. They envision and work towards envi- daunting task of ensuring the restoration, documentation and
ronmental and cultural conservation. Many focus on con- protection of these forts. 

43
Catalyst For Human Development
Social Change

Who is a Social Entrepreneur ?


HAT do Jane Addams, Maria Montessori and Social entrepreneurs are:
W Muhammad Yunus have in common ? All are exem-
plary social entrepreneurs, leaders who have identified
Ambitious Social entrepreneurs tackle major
sustainable solutions to social problems that have funda- social issues, from increasing the col-
mentally changed society. lege enrollment rate of low-income students to fighting
Jane Addams founded Hull-House in 1889, a social poverty in developing countries. These entrepreneurial
settlement to improve conditions in a poor immigrant leaders operate in all kinds of organizations: innovative
neighborhood in Chicago, then expanded her efforts nonprofits, social purpose ventures such as for-profit
nationally. Addams gained international recognition as an community development banks, and hybrid organizations
advocate of women's rights, pacifism and international- that mix elements of nonprofit and for-profit organiza-
ism. Her work ultimately resulted in protective legislation tions.
for women and children.
Maria Montessori, the first female physician in Italy, Generating social value -not wealth- is
Mission Driven
began working with children in 1906 and created a revo- the central criterion of a successful
lutionary education method that supports each individual social entrepreneur. While wealth creation may be part of
child's unique development. the process, it is not an end in itself. Promoting systemic
Muhammad Yunus revolutionized economics by found- social change is the real objective.
ing the Grameen Bank, or "village bank," in Bangladesh
in 1976 to offer "microloans" to help impoverished people Like business entrepreneurs, social
attain economic self-sufficiency through self-employ- Strategic
entrepreneurs see and act upon what
ment, a model that has been replicated in 58 countries others miss: opportunities to improve systems, create
around the world. solutions and invent new approaches that create social
"Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish value. And like the best business entrepreneurs, social
or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have rev- entrepreneurs are intensely focused and hard - driving -
olutionized the fishing industry." even relentless - in their pursuit of a social vision.
- Bill Drayton, CEO, chair and founder of Ashoka, a Because social entrepreneurs operate within a social
global nonprofit organization devoted to context rather than the business world, they have limited
developing the profession of access to capital and traditional market support systems.
social entrepreneurship. As a result, social entrepreneurs must be exceptionally
skilled at mustering and mobilizing human, financial and
Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, political resources.
social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for socie- Whether they are working on a local or international scale,
ty, seizing opportunities others miss and improving sys- social entrepreneurs share a commitment to pioneering
tems, inventing new approaches and creating sustain- innovation that reshape society and benefit humanity. Quite
able solutions to change society for the better. However, simply, they are solution-minded pragmatists who are not
unlike business entrepreneurs who are motivated by afraid to tackle some of the world's biggest problems.
profits, social entrepreneurs are motivated to improve www.skollfund.org/
society. aboutsocialentrepreneurship/index.asp

SIX QUALITIES OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS


Willingness to Self-Correct: as barriers to change. This innovative and those who need to "do something."
Firms - and especially those rapidly growing approach to business or social change Strong Ethical Impetus: This is what really
firms in the social sector - need to be adaptive defines the entrepreneurial field. separates the traditional entrepreneur from
to their environments. Leaders who can keep the social entrepreneur, and Bornstein says it
up are the ones who will benefit; those who Willingness to Cross Disciplinary can be summed up in one question: "Does the
can't stay fit and relevant will never be effec- Boundaries: entrepreneur dream of building the world's
tive. Identify all the stakeholders in your firm before greatest running-shoe company or vaccinat-
you do anything else, Bill Drayton once cau- ing all the world's children?"
Willingness to Share Credit: tioned. Work across functional boundaries to
Sharing success with others is not simply a ensure you have the complete support and Strong Ethical Impetus:
way to enlist more help or garner larger contri- interest of your business' stakeholders. Then, This is what really separates the traditional
butions; for social entrepreneurs, argues make them all NEED your firm. entrepreneur from the social entrepreneur,
Bornstein, it should come from inborn humility and Bornstein says it can be summed up in
and strength. This selfless appreciation is a Willingness to Work Quietly:
one question: "Does the entrepreneur
true measure of character. These people do not crave recognition or
fame or wealth; they want - rather, they need dream of building the world's greatest run-
Willingness to Break Free of Established - change. It is this idea that is at the core of the ning-shoe company or vaccinating all the
Structures: motivational complex of entrepreneurs - the world's children?"
Think Jeroo Billimoria, Veronica Khosa, and absolute need to do something. As Jean
Vera Cordeiro. Oftentimes, entrepreneurship Monnet once noted, ambitious people fall into — How to change the world:
is the child of rigid, stifling structures that act two groups: those who want to "be someone" By David Bornstein
44
Catalyst For Human Development
Skoll

The Skoll Foundation


HE Skoll Foundation was created by Jeff Skoll in 1999 launched and built Social Edge, an online community at
T to pursue his vision of a world where all people, regard-
less of geography, background or economic status, enjoy
www.socialedge.org where social entrepreneurs, nonprofit
professionals, philanthropists and others in the social sec-
and employ the full range of their talents and abilities. Skoll, tor connect to network, learn, inspire one another and share
who was the first employee and first President of eBay, resources. The site strikes a balance between the visionary
believes that strategic investments in the right people can and the practical, with spirited discussions, online work-
lead to lasting social change. shops and access to resources and experts.
The Skoll Foundation's mission is to advance systemic
change to benefit communities around the world by invest- Celebrate The Skoll Foundation celebrates social
ing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. entrepreneurs through a range of projects,
Social entrepreneurs are proven leaders whose approach- such as the public television documentary series, The New
es and solutions to social problems are helping to better the Heroes, that tells 12 dramatic stories of social entrepre-
lives and circumstances of countless underserved or disad- neurs in eight countries. Hosted by Robert Redford and fea-
vantaged individuals. By identifying the people and pro- turing the inspirational work of individuals addressing
grammes already bringing positive changes to communities diverse social issues around the world, The New Heroes is
throughout the world, the Skoll Foundation empowers them designed to inspire hope and ignite action among members
to extend their reach, deepen their impact and fundamental- of the general public.
ly improve society. Through such initiatives, the Skoll Foundation is not only
tapping the expertise of entrepreneurial men and women to
Invest The Skoll Foundation invests in social entre- transform social systems but also is celebrating how each
preneurs through its flagship award pro- of us has the ability to take action and make a difference.
gramme, the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. As the foundation's reach and impact have grown, its
These three-year awards support the continuation, replica- structure has evolved to meet the growing needs of those it
tion or extension of programs that have proved successful serves. Today the Skoll Foundation encompasses two sep-
in addressing a broad array of critical social issues: toler- arate corporations: a private foundation, The Skoll
ance and human rights, health, environmental sustainabili- Foundation, and a public charity whose legal name is The
ty, economic and social equity, institutional responsibility, Skoll Fund.
and peace and security. The Skoll Fund, created in 1999, is a supporting organi-
zation associated with Community Foundation Silicon
Connect The Skoll Foundation connects social entre- Valley of San Jose, California. The private foundation was
preneurs with key people and resources launched in 2002. Each entity is governed by its own board
through a number of academic, business and community of directors. The two entities share grantmaking, pro-
channels which serve to advance the work of individual gramme and administrative resources. Both organizations
entrepreneurs, as well as the field of social entrepreneur- were founded to support social entrepreneurship, and
ship as a whole. To further academic study and build knowl- together they are known as the Skoll Foundation. 
edge of social entrepreneurship, the foundation launched
the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in November For more information, visit the Skoll Foundation's
2003 at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. www.skollfoundation.org
As part of its aim to advance the field of social entrepre-
neurship, the Centre funds five Skoll Scholars who partici-


pate in the full Saïd MBA programme and supports Skoll
Fellows who do research in and teach social entrepreneur-
ship.
The Centre also convenes the Skoll World Forum on
Social Entrepreneurship, an annual conference that brings
together the world's foremost practitioners and thought
leaders in the emerging field of social entrepreneurship.
To foster connections online, the Skoll Foundation

Innovation is the specific instrument of


entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources
with a new capacity to create wealth.

- Peter F. Drucker, American Educator and Writer

45
Catalyst For Human Development
Skoll Awards

2006 Skoll Awards For Social Entrepreneurship

RECIPIENTS OF 2006 SKOLL AWARDS FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP


Grant Amount: $480,000 Grant Amount: $525,000
over three years over three years
Sakena Yacoobi founded the Afghan Institute of Mindy Lubber was a founding board member of
Learning (AIL) in 1995 to restore education and Ceres, Inc., in 1989 and became its president
health programmes in Afghanistan that were dra- in 2003. The organization's goal is to advance
matically cut during 30 years of warfare. The institutional responsibility and environmental
organization's 18 Women's Learning Centers pro- sustainability, persuading corporations to
vide services to more than 3,50,000 Afghan change their practices by galvanizing institu-
women and children each year. Its 16 tional investors. More than two dozen compa-
Educational Learning Centers have trained nies took action on climate change as a result
10,000 teachers and have provided school sup- of Ceres' 2003 summit. Its 2005 convention
plies to thousands of young Afghan students, produced a 10-point Call for Action that
while its university has prepared 125 students for includes an investor commitment of $1 billion
careers as community leaders. AIL plans to to clean energy technology. Ceres plans to per-
expand its teacher training programmes and its suade 25 more companies to make public
partnership network to 100 new community- commitments on climate change by 2008.
based organizations, ultimately training 3,300
new teachers and improving the health of www.ceres.org
5,00,000 women and children.
www.creatinghope.org/ail.htm

TECHNOLOGY SERVING HUMANITY

Grant Amount: $1,215,000


over three years Grant Amount: $765,000
While in college learning to make smart bombs, over three years
Jim Fruchterman hit upon the idea of using char-
acter recognition to make books available to peo- Jeroo Billimoria has devoted her life to helping
ple with reading disabilities. The experience children in India and around the world.
inspired him to create Benetech, a company that Realizing that children living in poverty need an
utilizes technology to address social needs. With advocate, she founded Childline, which has
25,000 books, its Bookshare.org is the world's fielded 3 million calls for assistance from street
largest library of electronic books for the dis- children in India's largest cities. She expanded
abled. Benetech's Martus project, used in 60 the concept into an international organization
countries, helps collect and disseminate informa- called Child Helpline International (CHI), which
tion about human rights abuses. In addition to supports helplines in 71 countries. She used
deepening the impact of its current projects, the same model to found Child Savings
Benetech plans to launch high-potential new proj- International (CSI), a global network of organi-
ects, build its capacity and advance the field of zations empowering children to plan and save
social entrepreneurship. for the future. The pilot programme serves
more than 70,000 children in India, using
Jim Fruchterman, CEO of The Benetech school-based "Aflatoon Clubs" that prepare
Initiative, has been awarded a 2006 children to succeed academically, manage
MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and income and help to break the cycle of poverty.
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
www.childsavingsinternational.org
www.benetech.org

46
Catalyst For Human Development
Skoll Awards

Grant Amount:
$1,015,000 over

RECIPIENTS OF 2006 SKOLL AWARDS FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP


three years
Grant Amount: $1,515,000
Taddy Blecher was over three years
ready to emigrate
from South Africa A product of inner-city schools in Denver, J.B.
when he took a Schramm noticed that many of his peers were
second look at his not going to college, and he became the direc-
native country. "I tor of a teen center in a low-income neighbor-
saw aching poverty," he said, and he made hood of Washington, D.C., to address this
a life-changing decision to do something problem. It was there that he recognized the
about it. In 1999 he and his colleagues gap in college enrollment is not only about tal-
opened CIDA City Campus to provide dis- ent or ambition, but also about resources and
advantaged youths a chance to earn a access. College Summit focuses on building
four-year business administration degree. support systems during the critical transition
At a cost of just $9,500 per student, CIDA from grade 12 to "grade 13" by mobilizing
has produced 1,800 graduates with poten- teachers, parents, schools, colleges and com-
tial lifetime earnings of $635,000 to $1.5 munities to help students continue their educa-
million who teach and sponsor other stu- tion. (College Summit students have enrolled in
dents. CIDA plans to open new campuses, college at a rate of 79 percent-significantly
increase enrollment and create a franchise higher than the national rate of 46 percent for
model called University-in-a-Box entirely low-income students.) College Summit alumni
built and managed by students. have maintained a college retention rate of 80
www.cida.co.za percent. The cost per student has dropped,
while the number of students served annually
has risen from 925 in 2002 to more than 6,000
Grant Amount: $615,000 in 2005. The organization plans to serve
over three years 28,000 students between 2006 and 2009.

Albina Ruiz www.collegesummit.org


started worry-
ing about
health and Grant Amount:
environmental $765,000 over
problems three years
caused by
garbage in While writing a com-
Peru when munity guidebook on
she was an toxic chemicals,
industrial Gary Cohen felt
engineering compassion for families living near waste sites
student. She came up with the idea of cre- who were struggling to protect their children.
ating local enterprises to collect and He co-founded Health Care Without Harm in
process garbage, charge affordable fees, 1996 to inspire healthcare providers to adopt
reduce waste in landfills and generate healthier products and practices. The organiza-
income by recycling. After promoting her tion has built a collaborative network of 435
concept as a consultant for 15 years, she groups in 52 countries. Health Care Without
founded Ciudad Saludable in 2001. The Harm and its partners have closed more than
organization is generating employment and 90 percent of medical waste incinerators in the
facilitating cleaner cities. It has trained U.S. and have virtually eliminated mercury
authorities in 43 municipalities, works with medical products in U.S. hospitals. Health
800 informal recyclers and is helping the Care Without Harm recently produced Clean
government develop Peru's first national Design Magazine, Highlights of the 2006
waste management plan. Ciudad Saludable CleanMed Conference, which details some
plans to expand in 20 major cities. innovative ideas from the growing "green"
movement in the healthcare industry.
www.ciudadsaludable.org
www.noharm.org

47
Catalyst For Human Development
Skoll Awards

Grant Amount: $450,000 Grant Amount:


over three years $615,000
over three years

RECIPIENTS OF 2006 SKOLL AWARDS FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP


Quratulain Bakhteari
grew up in a refugee Working in a public
camp outside of Karachi, hospital in Rio de
where she helped new Janeiro, Vera Cordeiro felt helpless and frus-
refugees arriving in trated when children who were successfully
Pakistan gain access to treated for an infectious disease returned to
basic health care and the hospital and died from the same disease
education. Frustrated by after becoming reinfected at home. Realizing
a lack of efficacy in inter- that she needed to treat whole families, she
nationally sponsored development projects, she raffled off her belongings and started
created Institute for Development Studies and Renascer Child Health Association in 1991 to
Practices (IDSP) in 1998 to train and inspire work intensively with poor families. Renascer
students to become involved in Pakistan's serves approximately 350 families per year,
social and economic development. The IDSP helping to lift them out of poverty. Its model
model, which cultivates trust in local communi- has been replicated at 14 other independent
ties, has been taken to 40 districts in the coun- centers. Plans are ready for helping an aver-
try and has graduated 1,200 students, 80 per- age of 1,000 new individuals every 18
cent of whom help lead national and interna- months.
tional community development organizations. http://www.criancarenascer.
IDSP plans to create a broader network of org.br/ingles/Inicial-Ing.htm
locally based learning institutions throughout
Pakistan.
www.idsp.org.pk

Grant Amount: $765,000


over three years
Grant Amount: $765,000 over three years
Andrea and Barry Coleman share a passion
A former public defender and ordained minister, for motorcycles. Through the racing world,
Karen Tse moved to Cambodia in 1994 to train they became involved in fundraising for chil-
public defenders. After witnessing many viola- dren in Africa. After noticing how frequently
tions of the rights of citizens, she founded vehicles broke down and seeing women in
International Bridges to Justice to promote sys- childbirth being carried to the hospital in
temic global change in the administration of wheelbarrows, they remortgaged their house
criminal justice. The organization has dramati- and founded Riders for Health in 1996. The
cally improved and even saved the lives of organization trains local health workers to
everyday citizens by training and supporting carry out daily vehicle maintenance and pro-
criminal defense lawyers and establishing a vides technicians who visit monthly to service
network of Defender Resource Centers vehicles, thus making healthcare available
throughout China. Plans call for expansion in even in remote areas of Africa. In areas
China, as well as Vietnam, Cambodia and other served by reliable vehicles, vaccination rates
countries where programmes are expected to have risen, death rates have dropped, and the
reach critical mass due to public awareness efficiency of health workers has increased 300
and the creation of professional associations of percent.
trained advocates and judges. www.riders.org
www.ibj.org

48
Catalyst For Human Development
Skoll Awards

RECIPIENTS OF 2006 SKOLL AWARDS FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP


Grant Amount: $765,000 over three years
Grant Amount: $1,215,000 John Marks founded Search for Common
over three years Ground at the height of the Cold War to build
bridges between East and West. The organi-
On a trek to Nepal, John Wood visited a zation has provided productive methods and
school whose crumbling library was almost tools for governments, community organiza-
devoid of books. Remembering how much tions and journalists to sow the seeds for
his hometown library has affected his life, he interethnic harmony. It has produced media
returned a short time later with more than programs designed to create understanding
3,000 books. He founded Room to Read in among ethnic communities, and it has
2000 to provide educational resources to worked with medical institutions to establish
children who might otherwise face lifelong a system to monitor infectious diseases
illiteracy. The organization has helped more across the Middle East. Search for Common
than 8,75,000 children by constructing 200 Ground has established multi-pronged con-
schools, establishing more than 2,500 flict prevention programmes in Angola,
libraries, providing 1.1 million new children's Burundi, Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia and
books, creating 85 computer and language Sierra Leone. The organization intends to
labs, and funding 1,757 girls' scholarships in bring its media program to global scale and
India, Nepal and Southeast Asia. Room to achieve measurable changes in public atti-
Read plans to continue partnering with com- tudes toward conflicts.
munities to serve 1.9 million more children by www.sfcg.org
2008.
www.roomtoread.org

Grant Amount: $765,000 over three years


Grant Amount: $765,000 over three years
A cancer diagnosis and successful treatment
prompted Heidi Kühn to want to give back to Born in Cameroon, Blaise Judja-Sato was a
the less fortunate and to live close to and successful U.S. businessman when a devas-
nurture the land. Inspired by the international tating flood in Mozambique prompted his
campaign to ban land mines, she founded return to Africa. While helping with relief
Roots of Peace in 1997 at her family's home efforts, he saw how difficult it was to get
in the California wine country. The organiza- medicines across the "last mile" to those in
tion takes practical steps toward sustainable need. He founded VillageReach to solve
development and enduring peace by convert- infrastructure gaps in remote areas, including
ing minefields to vineyards, agricultural fields locating quality suppliers and providing reli-
and safe migration corridors for wildlife. able transport and training in vaccine man-
Roots of Peace has helped renew production agement and safe waste disposal.
in Croatia's wine-growing regions. In VillageReach has equipped and trained staff
Afghanistan, it has removed 1,00,000 land in 88 clinics that serve 1.5 million people in
mines and proved farmers could earn more Mozambique. It plans to reach an additional
growing grapes than poppies. The model is 3.5 million people and replicate its model in
being replicated in Angola and Cambodia. other countries over the next three years.
www.rootsofpeace.org www.villagereach.org

49
Catalyst For Human Development
Innovation

World Summit on
INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
A BETTER GENERATION IN THE MAKING

Attended by over 600 of the World's Leading Innovators and Entrepreneurs from 55 Countries, including several
pre-eminent thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and developers, the WSIE is the first-of-its kind forum, which
aims to develop practical solutions to address the most important issues facing emerging nations and to inspire the
development of the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators to fully celebrate the opportunities of the
21st century in a climate of global prosperity.

Given below are some of the highlights of the participants who attended the Summit which
was held in the first week of April 2006 at Muscat, Oman.

COMMITMENT HIGHLIGHTS
Dr. Alexander Boehmer, Coordinator, MENA-OECD Investment Programme
Committed to establish the MENA-OECD Enterprise Financing Network aimed to
improve the regulatory conditions for financing entrepreneurship. The Network
aims to foster entrepreneurship finance in the region by: · Creating a plat-
form to connect entrepreneurs, financiers, research bodies, and government reg-
ulators · Providing avenues for private sector participants to effectively input into
key investment policy reforms relevant to financing of entrepreneurship

Dr. Johnathan Lord, SVP, Chief Innovation Officer, Humana Inc.


Pledged to create internships for the benefit of WSIE country participants interest-
ed in the healthcare industry. The purpose of these internships would be to help
improve healthcare systems abroad by providing the appropriate personnel the
educational and professional opportunity to learn about the latest developments
in healthcare.

Des Ryan, Business Support Manager, Qatar Science & Technology Park
(QSTP)
Committed, through QSTP, to providing a range of capacity building programs that
include the setting up in Qatar within the next year a proof of concept fund, a new
enterprise fund and a technology venture fund. These important funds for entre-
preneurs will be supported by a range of entrepreneur skill program including an
entrepreneur course, a mentoring program and a workforce development initia-
tive.

Nick Moon, Managing Director, KickStart


Pledged that in the coming year his company will develop at least one new tech-
nology that will enable local entrepreneurs to start profitable businesses for as lit-
tle as $40, and that KickStart's program will create at least 15,000 successful new
micro-enterprises and take over 75,000 people out of poverty forever.

50
Catalyst For Human Development
Innovation

Richard Watson, CEO, Global Innovation Network Committed to share information


by granting WSIE participants free access to one of his recent entrepreneurial
efforts www.nowandnext.com, an online publisher specializing in future trends,
innovations, and ideas. Reports are published every two months. This site is avail-
able to WSIE attendees only. To log in, participants may refer to their WSIE reports
(page 45) to acquire username and password to access the site.

Ms. Laurie Adams, Visionary, Developer, & Owner, E'Terra


Committed to help others through sharing of knowledge in sustainable development
and help engage local rural residents in creations of touristic, educational, and agricul-
tural programs unique to their specific area.

Dr. Claude Béglé, COO, DHL Express Germany & Managing Director, DHL
Express Central Europe Committed to personally mentor a young entrepreneur in the
field of express / logistics from a WSIE member country, and use his personal time to
coach the entrepreneur and discuss his/her plans. In addition, Dr. Béglè committed to
organize an invitation for the entrepreneur to come to DHL's headquarters to Bonn,
Germany for introduction to the company and the industry and provide contacts to other
entrepreneurial and innovative teams.

Dr. Jag Uppal, Department of Professional Studies, School of Business &


Management, National University, USA
Committed to professionally mentor two interns/employees of a Tourism Department in
a developing nation from his own time.

David Wortley, Project Manager, NTI Creative Industries Centre for Knowledge
Exchange, De Montfort University
Committed to provide access to the virtual collaboration technologies at De Montfort
University to support and facilitate virtual meetings/seminars for the development of
knowledge exchange. He also committed to promote and profile local entrepreneurs.

Dr. Geoffrey Oldham, Honorary Professor, University of Sussex


Committed to raising the funds necessary for SciDev.Net to launch an Arabic language
portal and to expand its Middle East and North African Regional Network. This will help
promote more informed decision-making about the role of science technology and
innovation in the economic and social development of the region.

Debra M. Amidon, Founder and CEO, ENTOVATION International Ltd.


Committed to (1) create visibility of WSIE findings in published works and throughout
her global network of innovation strategists (E100) in the Knowledge Economy; (2) cre-
ate a youth component of the Network (J100) to develop and empower the future
Leaders of a Knowledge-based Society; and (3) expand E100 participation to include
a new broad representation of talent from the Middle East and beyond. Already new
members have been invited to represent Palestine, Lithuania, UAE, Jordan, South
Africa, Egypt and Oman.

Ms. Suzanne Pahlman, Guest Researcher, Stockholm Environment Institute


Committed to complete a report for WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). The aim is to
highlight positive examples/innovative initiatives in the Arab World, which could lead to
new export solutions, to ensure sustainable development where both people and plan-
et can prosper.

51
Catalyst For Human Development
NGOs

Indian NGOs Meeting


Many Challenges
CATALYST INTERVIEW WITH BART W. EDES, ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

ANY Indian which are unable to make long term plans, as their tradi-
M NGOs are meet-
ing such challenges
tional sources of revenue are purely temporary in nature.

as women's empow- CFHD:How do you view the role of NGOs in India ?


erment, fighting the
dreaded AIDS syn- BWE:India is an amazing country with a vibrant civil
drome, promoting society. Diverse views are expressed with authority. In
education and help- fact I have met many NGOs working at grass root level
ing farmers in crop which are meeting a variety of challenges like empower-
diversification and ment of women, fighting HIV/AIDS, education, promoting
they deserve all renewable energy and educating farmers in diversifica-
encouragement and tion of crops. They are really doing a good job and sup-
support he said in an porting the Government in its developmental activities.
exclusive interview to
Catalyst for Human CFHD: With regard to funding, do you think that the
Development. money that is being released is utilised properly ?

Excerpts from the interview with Bart W. Edes, who BWE: The ADB sees and checks the antecedents and
heads the NGO and Civil Society Center at ADB: records of hundreds of NGOs in India with which we are
associated. We also look at details like
Catalyst for Human Development : The Asian whether they are registered, paying tax
Development Bank has launched a net- regularly and making information
work to bring together all non-govern- Bart W. Edes, available to public, before we
mental organisations and private release funds. Moreover, we are
sector across the Asia Pacific Head, Asian not expected to disburse small
region last year. How is the Development Bank's grants directly. We will edu-
response ? cate the NGOs on their activ-
NGO and Civil Society ities and guide them through
Bart W. Edes: The ADB held a our newsletters. PRAXIS
meeting in Thailand in 2004 which
Center, is all praise for India, which is a not-for-prof-
was attended by some 30 NGOs many Indian NGOs it, autonomous, development
and corporates. The intention was to -- support organisation, has
promote sustainable development,
working at been doing an excellent job to
eradicate poverty and to improve the grass roots facilitate the promotion of par-
quality of life in the region. I am glad to ticipatory practices in human
say that the response was encouraging
level. development initiatives in an inte-
and the network was launched in February gral manner.
2005.
CFHD: What are ADB's views about YES ?
Many corporates are persuading the NGOs to work for
knowledge capacity building. There is a common ground BWE: Asian countries like India and Philippines are in
for both and they can work together in helping the poor advantageous position compared to other continents as
thus complementing the efforts of the Governments. a very high young population who can change the world.
They are forging partnerships to provide disaster relief, As far as YES is concerned, it deserves support. It is
protect the environment, address health needs, promote also working with Governments, NGOs and businesses.
education, and assist marginalized and disadvantaged The members of YES are practical, showing results.
communities. The network would also help the NGOs, ADB will wholeheartedly support its activities.

52
Catalyst For Human Development
Portrait

Portrait by Sathiraju Sankara Narayana

M. S. Swaminathan the Legend


ROFESSOR M S Swaminathan, considered one of the most influential
P Asians of the century, is truly a living legend, who will go into the annals
of history as a world scientist of rare distinction, as the Secretary General of
the United Nations described.
Born on 7th August 1925 in Tamilnadu, Swaminathan, a Ph.D in Genetics
from Cambridge University, used his skills in Genetic Engineering and his
powers of persuasion to make famine an unfamiliar word in Asia. His
immense contributions towards the agricultural renaissance in India led him
to be popularly referred to as 'The father of the Green Revolution'.
Professor Swaminathan's aim was to make India self-sufficient in food
supply. He accomplished this by setting up his own laboratory with a team
of scientists. Seeds developed in Mexico were brought into India and, after
crossbreeding them with local species, created a wheat plant that yielded
much more grain than traditional types, this was a breakthrough in Green
Revolution. He used to spend a lot of time in educating farmers while serv-
ing as the Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi.
Professor Swaminathan is a Fellow of many leading scientific academies
of India and the world and is the recipient of numerous National and
International awards. The United Nations Environment Programme con-
ferred upon him the title of 'The Father of Economic Ecology'. He is the
recipient of 46 honorary doctorate degrees from Universities across the
world and holds many honorary positions in International Committees and
Organizations. He is the President of the Pugwash Conference on Science
and World Affairs and has about 11 honorary positions including that of
UNESCO-Cousteau Professor in Ecotechnology for Asia. He is also
Chairman of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), which
was established with the funds received from the World Food Prize. MSSRF
is currently doing research in areas like Coastal Systems Research,
Biodiversity, Biotechnology, Ecotechnology and Sustainable Agriculture in
order to attain agricultural and rural development in India. 

53
Catalyst For Human Development
Awards

Three Indians Win Global Awards


For Best Human Service
ARVIND KEJRIWAL
Good Governance

About mid last year Transparency able to citizens, who can file petitions
International released a survey detailing under the Act to request information, docu-
corruption trends in India. After polling ments, status of work and thus question
over 14,000 respondents in 20 Indian governmental negligence, misuse, corrup-
states, the organisation assessed that tion or apathy.
Indians pay some 20,000 crores in bribes Heading Parivartan's small team of vol-
annually while availing services from one unteers, Kejriwal began work publicizing
or more of eleven public utility services. the Act, encouraging people to use it and
The trend reflects more than just vast urging that they not be cowed down by the
amounts of illegal money transfer. It epito- open hostility unleashed by politicians and
mizes what has become a way of life - bureaucrats who were often being ques-
62% of citizens polled said that they tioned for the first time.
thought corruption was "real" and admit- Five years on, Kejriwal acknowledges
ted to having used a bribe or a "contact" (euphemism for that there have been "huge changes-cultural changes" -
getting work done by not strictly transparent methods) to on both sides. Bureaucrats were getting used to the fact
get a job done. that they have to be transparent. People have now start-
Even as Transparency International India was releas- ed demanding accountability.
ing its dismal survey findings, a movement for change Once the Right to Information Act came into effect in
had already taken root and begun at the grassroots, 2001, Kejriwal began training programmes to spread
with the everyday citizen demanding his right to know. awareness about the potential of the act. Parivartan
Spearheaded by a Delhi-based citizen's group, began work in a slum in East Delhi. Launching the Drive
Parivartan (change), working for transparency and Against Bribe campaign with the support and coopera-
accountability in governance, local politicians and tion of the media, Kejriwal has been trying to encourage
bureaucrats were being challenged by the very citizen every section of society to get involved with the RTI Act.
they were elected to serve. What began as work in Delhi has now spread through
The face of Parivartan is the dynamic and capable the country. Trainers from various NGOs came to Delhi
Arvind Kejriwal. Recipient of the prestigious to be taught under a special model and then went back
Magsaysay Award in 2006, Kejriwal activated India's to their cities to swing the RTI into motion.
right-to-information movement empowering New Delhi's Kejriwal is still trying to "develop linkages". Work also
poorest citizens to fight corruption. Kejriwal was granted began with student groups in Delhi to show them how
an Ashoka Fellowship in 2004, four years after he relevant the RTI Act can be to their lives.
founded Parivartan after watching opaque government Kejriwal now hopes to move Parivartan's work beyond
procedures first hand at an earlier job as a tax officer RTI. "It gives you information but doesn't ensure your par-
with the Indian Revenue Service. ticipation in governance," he points out, about the Act. So
Parivatan was set up to deal with bribery and extortion Parivartan will move logically into the crucial areas of
which the common man experiences for everything he local empowerment in matters of governance. 
needs-from a license to a passport. If there was a prob-
lem getting a job done, Parivatan would intervene on www.parivartan .com
behalf of the citizen. But how far could they go and how
much could they cover?
The question was answered with the passage of the
Right to Information (RTI) Act in Delhi in 2001, a land-
mark piece of legislation applicable in all Indian states
except Jammu and Kashmir. It holds officials account-

54
Catalyst For Human Development
Awards

SUNITA NARAIAN
Environment

Sunita Narain, 43, has been with the She has written numerous articles in
Centre for Science and Environment newspapers, magazines including a
from 1982. She is currently the director of weekly/fortnightly/column on environment
the Centre and the director of the Society and development, Green Politics and
for Environmental Communications and Down To Earth for leading dailies.
publisher of the fortnightly A crusader of pollution-pre Delhi, Sunita
magazine,Down To Earth. In her years at Narain dreamt of world’s cleanest-public
the Centre, she has worked hard at trasport-network for the city. Says Sunita,
analysing and studying the relationship “New Delhi was choking to death. Air
between environment and development polution was taking one life per hour.”
and at creating public consciousness According to Time Magazine, in the
about the need for sustainable develop- mid-1990s, Narain filed a lawsuit to force
ment. Delhi's buses, taxis and rickshaws to convert to clean-
er-burning compressed natural gas (CNG).
AWARDS 2005: Stockholm Water Prize (2005) for In July 1998, the Supreme Court ruled largely in her
CSE for its work in promoting effective water manage- favor and adopted many of her proposals. It ordered a
ment along with improved human rights" under the ban on leaded fuel, conversion of all diesel-powered
dynamic leadership of Sunita Narain. buses to CNG and the scrapping of old diesel taxis
2005: Padma Shri by the Government of India, New and rickshaws.
Delhi. But busmakers and oil companies--supported by
Over the years, she has also developed the man- government ministers--objected loudly. So the court
agement and financial support systems needed for the formed a committee, led by Lal and Narain, to enforce
institution, which has over 100 staff members and a its judgment.The unlikely duo immediately ran into
dynamic programme profile. She is currently in charge roadblocks. Bus companies took vehicles off the road,
of the Centre's management and plays an active role stranding angry commuters. Mile-long queues of rick-
in a number of research projects and public cam- shaws formed at the handful of gas stations with CNG
paigns . pumps.
Her research interests are wide-ranging - from glob- Oil companies trotted out scientists who claimed that
al democracy, with a special focus on climate change, CNG was just as polluting as diesel. But Narain and
to the need for local democracy, within which she has Lal fought back. By December 2002, the last diesel
worked both on forest-related resource management bus had left Delhi, and 10,000 taxis, 12,000 buses and
and water-related issues. 80,000 rickshaws were powered by CNG. Although
She began her career by writing and researching for air pollution in Delhi has stabilized, the fight for clean
the State of India's Environment reports and then went air is far from won. Some 400 to 600 new private cars
on to study issues related to forest management. roll onto the city's streets every day. Narain and Lal
For this project she travelled across the country to don't claim to have slowed global warming. But their
understand people's management of natural efforts have attracted requests for advice from as far
resources and in 1989 co-authored the publication away as Kenya and Indonesia. "Delhi leapfrogged,"
Towards Green Villages advocating local participatory Narain says with a grin. "People noticed." 
democracy as the key to sustainable development. In
the early 1990s she got involved with global environ-
mental issues and she continues to work on these as www.cseindia.org
researcher and advocate.
Narain remains an active participant, both nationally
and internationally, in civil society. She serves on the
boards of various organisations and on governmental
committees and has spoken at many fora across the
world on issues of her concern and expertise.

55
Catalyst For Human Development
Awards

VINEET RAI
Best Business
The Mumbai-based Aavishkaar represents the collective assets of
India Micro Venture Capital Fund more than 80 investors.
(AIMVCF) is among the top ten The company has thus been able
best global business houses which to bring together a new blended-
received the World Business value asset class by merging main-
Awards on May 10, 2006, at the stream venture capital principals of
United National Headquarters in risk capital and intensive hand hold-
New York. ing with the kind of nurturing needed
World Business Awards are by sustainable businesses that aim
sponsored jointly by the United to address rural development
National Development Programme issues.
(UNDP), the Prince of Wales Aavishkaar's Co-founder and
International Business Leaders CEO, Vineet RaI, believes that the
Forum (IBLF) and the International World Business Award is an
Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and acknowledgement that small initia-
are given away annually to the best tives have a critical role to play in
business models across the world. meeting challenging global issues enshrined in the
The selection panel of the World Business Awards Millennium Development Goals.
identified 10 finalists out of 77 entries received from AIMVCF is now in the process of expanding its fund
33 countries for year 2006 awards, for striving size and is aggressively engaged in identifying new
towards fulfillment of the Millennium Development investment opportunities in innovative rural initiatives
Goals (MDGs). and start-up microfinance service companies that
AIMVCF is the only recipient from India of the pres- enhance commercial and social value. 
tigious award and the second Indian company so far,
after ITC got it in 2005. www.aavishkaar.org
Set up as a social venture capital fund in 2001 to
provide early-stage capital to micro and small enter-
prises that lack access to conventional financial insti-
tutions, Aavishkaar India reaches out to hundreds of
thousands of firms with resource-efficient products
and solutions that enhance livelihood options in a sus-
tainable manner.


It approved 9 equity investments before being
picked up for the award. And the range of investments
is Rs. 10 Lakh to Rs. 50 Lakh (US $ 20,000 to $
1,00,000) from its corpus fund, which

If you think you are beaten, you are. If you


think you dare not, you don't! If you
want to win, but think you can't, It's almost a
cinch you won't. If you think you'll lose,
you're lost; For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will; It's all in
the state of the mind. Life's battles don't
always go To the stronger and faster man,
But sooner or later the man who
wins Is the man who thinks he can.

- Walter D. Wintle
56
Catalyst For Human Development
Book Reviews

How to Change the World The Difference a Day Makes


Social Entrepreneurs and the 365 Ways to Change Your World
Power of New Ideas in Just 24 Hours

BY DAVID BORNSTEIN BY KAREN JONES

What business entrepreneurs are to The Difference a Day Makes


the economy, social entrepreneurs presents 365 simple actions that
are to social change. They are, writes you can complete in the course
David Bornstein, the driven, creative of one day -- most in just a few
individuals who question the status minutes or hours, with no check-
quo, exploit new opportunities, refuse writing required -- to make a dif-
to give up and remake the world for ference in your community, the
the better. nation and the world. Organized
How to Change the World tells the into 16 topical categories -- from
fascinating stories of these remark- environmental preservation and
able individuals --many in the United youth support, to animal welfare,
States, others in countries from Brazil violence prevention, conscious
to Hungary-- providing an In Search consumerism and more -- The
of Excellence for the social sector. In America, one man, J.B. Difference a Day Makes is a practical resource for achiev-
Schramm, has helped thousands of low-income high school ing meaningful change and affirming our common human-
students get into college. In South Africa, one woman, ity. While conventional volunteers have known for years
Veronica Khosa, developed a home-based care model for how helping others transforms their own lives, now people
AIDS patients that changed government health policy. In whose hectic schedules keep them from committing to
Brazil, Fabio Rosa helped bring electricity to hundreds of service programs can savor the same satisfaction. "A lot
thousands of remote rural residents. Another American, of people are searching for greater meaning in their lives,
James Grant, is credited with saving 25 million lives by lead- but they're not sure what to do, and they have full calen-
ing and "marketing" a global campaign for immunization. Yet dars," says Difference author Karen M. Jones. " The
another, Bill Drayton, created a pioneering foundation, Difference a Day Makes serves up practical options for
Ashoka, that has funded and supported these social entre- effecting small change every day. That can be equally
preneurs and over a thousand like them, leveraging the powerful."
power of their ideas across the globe.
This timely compilation features 365 simple actions peo-
These extraordinary stories highlight a massive transforma- ple can take to change the world, one day - or even five
tion that is going largely unreported by the media: Around the minutes - at a time. Each suggested action, in 16 "helping"
world, the fastest-growing segment of society is the nonprof- categories, can be started and finished in a day or less,
it sector, as millions of ordinary people--social entrepreneurs- and none requires a cash donation. Readers may choose
-are increasingly stepping in to solve the problems where to accomplish a different altruistic step each day of the
governments and bureaucracies have failed. How to Change year, activate the same tool every day, or take actions that
the World shows, as its title suggests, that with determination address a personally favored issue, such as animal wel-
and innovation, even a single person can make a surprising fare, or the pursuit of peace. Possibilities for compassion-
difference. For anyone seeking to make a positive mark on ate service include acting as driver for a battered women's
the world, this will be both an inspiring read and an invaluable shelter, planting trees or a garden at a schoolyard, recy-
handbook. It will change the way you see the world. cling running shoes into a playground surface, taking a
day off from consumerism, aiding low-income students in
Comments finding grants and scholarships, helping unemployed
"Wonderfully hopeful and enlightening.... The stories of these workers put together resumes, and much more.
social entrepreneurs will inspire and encourage many people
who seek to build a better world." About the author
- Nelson Mandela Karen M. Jones is a creative strategist, social entrepre-
About the author neur and founder of Benevolent Planet, a source of prac-
David Bornstein is a journalist who specialises in writing tical strategies for purposeful living through simple acts of
about social innovation. He received a Bachelor of social consciousness and everyday altruism. A profes-
Commerce degree from McGill University in Montreal and a sional writer and communications consultant for more
Masters of Arts from New York University. In addition to writ- than 20 years, she has been published in national and
ing, he has worked as a computer programmer and systems regional magazines, and has produced marketing materi-
analyst. Bornstein's articles have appeared in The Atlantic als for national membership organizations and internation-
Monthly, The New York Times, New York Newsday, Il Mundo al corporations. Karen makes her home in Rehoboth
(Italy), Defis Sud (Belgium) and other publications. Beach, Delaware.

57
Catalyst For Human Development
Essay

Why Do We Need Social Entrepreneurs ?


DR. SRINIVASA RAO

HE life of primitive mankind was "solitary, poor, nasty, (approximately 10 million children annually) die - mostly
T brutish, and short," as Thomas Hobbes, a 17th
Century English philosopher, described it. Perhaps, the
from preventable diseases.4
The advantages of civilization are clearly not reaching
origin of human civilization stems from the desire to at least a billion people. Harvard economist Kenneth
change this. Agriculture, planting and collecting cereal Rogoff warns that the unfair distribution of wealth within
grains or tending animals, made meaningful settlements most countries will lead to serious social tensions all over
possible for humans 10,000 years ago. In the following the world. (KenRogoff. 2006)
thousands of years social organizations evolved. This To have a fair distribution of resources we must provide
can be chiefdom, where a chieftain rules the people, or a access to basic needs, income generating activities,
state society, where a ruling class is supported by a health care and basic education for all. During one of my
bureaucracy. At every stage of progress until present- visits to India, Mr. Krishna Mohan, a grass root worker of
day, more and more people benefit from access to natu- an NGO, took me to small villages near Jetni, Orissa on
ral resources, opportunities power and wealth to live their a hot summer day. I observed him in action. He met peo-
full potential. Yet, a large section of the population is left ple who are among the 1 billion we count in the extreme
behind. poverty category. He was making them realize their
Ours is a world of extremes. The poorest 40 percent or potential, by providing the means and tools to do small
2.5 billion of the world's population lives on less than US vegetable garden-
$2 a day 1. There has ing, tend goats, sell
been a reduction in eggs, get basic
poverty due to various medical check-ups,
development pro- attend literacy
grammes in the last classes and train
decade. But due to an women to deliver
increase in population, babies to reduce
today's world still has 1.1 child and maternal
billion people living in mortality. In him, I
extreme poverty. The see the means to
World Bank defines bridge the gap. But
extreme poverty as living one Krishna Mohan
on $1 or less per day 2. can do only so
Most of those in extreme much in his life
poverty are in Sub- time. The problem
Saharan Africa and South is a billion people
Asia. Here, where poor large. Today we
health and the lack of have the knowl-
education deprive people edge, technical
of productive employment, deplete environmental skills, tools and means to bridge the gap. But the
resources and create corruption, conflict, and misgover- resources, money and time are the problems. We need
nance, waste public resources and discourage private faster, better solutions that can be multiplied 1,000 folds
investment. to reach millions of people. Only then can the problems
Sixteen percent of the total wealth available in the of the billions be solved.
world is produced capital.3 Everyone in the world should A social entrepreneur can create new solutions to
have equal access to the remaining 84 percent of the social problems and implement them on a large scale.
wealth on this planet. However, natural resources are not Therefore we need them. We need them by the
available to all equally. This results in the gap between thousands!. 
the rich and poor. Approximately 50 percent of the world's srao@afhd.org
population has 10 percent of the world's wealth and the Reference:
richest 20 percent has 71.2 percent of the world's wealth.
(Dr. B. Milanovic, Personal Communications, World 1. http://www.undp.org/publications/annualreport2006/
equitable_growth.shtml
Bank)The life expectancy to a child in the developing 2. http://devdata.worldbank.org/wdi2006/contents/
world is short. The under-5 mortality is a very good indi- Section1_1_1.htm
cator of human development. Everyday in the developing 3. Where is the Wealth of Nations?' World Bank 2005).
world, 29,000 children under the age of five years 4. http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/impact/index.htm

58
Catalyst For Human Development