[TC-I Call to Action]: Programme Head, Centre for Micro Finance

Lakshmi Krishnan of the Centre for Micro Finance, IFMR writes to us about a new opening in the organization.   This is particularly exciting for anyone interested in microfinance, research, and traveling throughout India.  Several classmates in graduate school had worked with IFMR and came away with good experiences after participating in breakthrough research.

IFMR CMF is now hiring a Programme Head in Chennai to manage a portfolio of 4-6 projects with a variety of partners. Read about the IFMR CMF Programme Head position for further information and contact information.

Intl. Conf. on Social Entrepreneurship in India – Day 1

I had the opportunity to attend the International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India on the 4th and 5th of December. In this post I will try to narrate my experience at the conference. In the posts following this one, I will talk about people and organizations I got in touch with, and most importantly discuss some issues that came up for discussion during the conference.

photo credit Sonia Rai

photo credit Sonia Rai

The theme of the event – Inspiring|Connecting|Sharing – set the right expectations for the attendees and, to be sure, lived up to it. The event was organized by UnLtd India and Center for Social Initiative and Management(CSIM).

The conference was spread over two days and events were well planned to facilitate formal as well informal discussions and networking. It was eye-opening and engaging in many ways. Participants from almost all parts of India, and with interests ranging from micro-lending to rural tourism, attended.

Day 1

Proceedings were kicked off by Bert Cherian of Meta Results setting the tone with his humour and energy. The ball was set rolling by an interaction with Nachiket Mor of ICICI Foundation, facilitated by Neera Nundy of Dasra. Nachiket talked about his personal experiences that shaped up the path to his current position as President at ICICI Foundation. He narrated how people in rural areas are not exactly used to the apathy and standard of living prevalent in urban areas. He also talked about evolution of ICICI Foundation. Answering to a question, Nachiket questioned the value of experience as the only source of answers to problems. In his opinion, many a times a fresh look at things from a total outsider can give us out-of-box solutions. On a related note he said that the ability to pay or finance an initiative is not always a plus point. Many an innovative idea has come out in crunch times.

Nachiket Mor photo credit Sonia Rai

Nachiket Mor photo credit Sonia Rai

Nachiket was of the view that the term “Social Entrepreneurship” should not have been a groundbreaking term or concept at all. Enterprises should be socially conscious and socially motivated by default. Talking about scaling up organizations, he cited example of Starbucks which had to operate in centers which were poles apart in their culture.

As you have seen, Nachiket gave us some really interesting perspectives of social entrepreneurship.

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Photos from International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India

International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India Banner

International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India Banner - photo credit A. Mishra

Bert Cherian of MetaWorks, the Master of Ceremonies for the event

Bert Cherian of Meta Results, the Master of Ceremonies for the event - photo credit Sonia Rai

Delegates at the conference [photo credit Sonia Rai]

Delegates at the conference - photo credit Sonia Rai

Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation [photo credit Sonia Rai]

Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation - photo credit Sonia Rai

More details about the conference, which took place Dec 4-5 in Chennai, are coming from Aishwarya. Stay tuned!

[TCI-Changemaker] CSIM: An NGO to groom social entrepreneurs

The ThinkChange India staff is committed to providing our readers with interviews with people we believe are at the brink of something special but have for the most part been overlooked by the mainstream media. Readers will be able to see other conversations under our TC-I Changemakers tab.

In this edition TCI-changemaker focuses on Prof. K.L Srivastava, chief Coordinator of Center for Social Initiative and Management (CSIM) Hyderabad. A charitable organization cum learning centre that first started in Chennai, it has quickly spread to Bengaluru and Hyderabad and Mumabai with an aim to groom professionals from various fields to be social entrepreneurs by providing affordable and non-intrusive training programs. Badhri explores the Hyderabad wing of this unique organization and the gentleman at its helm in this conversation.

Badhri: Prof. Srivastava, Thanks for taking time off for this interview. Before we discuss about CSIM, can you please quickly outline your professional and educational background?

K.L. Srivastava: My pleasure. I grew up in a village in UP and completed my B Tech (Agricultural Engineering) degree from the GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in 1966, and M Tech (Agricultural Engineering) with specialization in Soil and Water Management from IIT Kharagpur in 1972. Some of the positions I have held before joining CSIM in 2006 are: Associate Professor at the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar; Senior Scientist, Natural Resource Management, ICRISAT, Hyderabad; Consultant, Indo-Dutch APWELL project on participatory irrigation and rural development; and Natural Resource Management Specialist in some NGOs in Hyderabad.

Badhri: How did you come to be part of CSIM?

Prof. Srivastava: I have always believed that we can achieve equitable and sustainable development in India in a free market economy by strengthening the citizen sector. Due to my interest in social entrepreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility and management education in the social sector organizations, I acquired knowledge in these fields through self study and also by joining several discussion forums. While working with PRDIS (an NGO dealing with agriculture and rural development), I started working as a guest faculty at CSIM in 2005. Subsequently, I was invited to take over as the Chief Coordinator of CSIM in June 2006.

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Job Opportunities with the Centre for Microfinance

The Centre for Microfinance, an organization that focuses on research, training, and strategy for MFIs, posted about exciting new job opportunities:

The Centre for Micro Finance (CMF) has recently posted several new job openings, and we thought that some of this blog’s readers may be interested. New positions include:
• Programme Head – Analytics Unit
• Regional Field Director – West Zone
• Visual Basic Programmer

To learn more, check out the job openings section of CMF’s website, linked here. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at cmfhr@ifmr.ac.in.

TC-I FundWatch

Here is a recap of the major investment activity in India’s social venture space and also traditional investment that will directly affect the poor:

Social

  • Chennai based Equitas will secure $12.5 million in funding from two private equity firms over the next few months. The organization intends to use the money to expand its branch office footprint in Southern India.
  • Building upon the increasing interest by both domestic and foreign capital in top tier MFIs, the Ford Foundation and Intellecap have created “Making My MFI Investment Worthy” that will identify and handhold 10 MFIs over the next 2 years to scale them up to where they are attractive to commercial investors.
  • While this story is a little unrelated, Citi — the major US bank — has committed $1.5 million to the Indian School of Business to promote financial inclusion for small investors and enterprise.

Traditional

  • The Indian government is investing a $2 billion fund for expanding broadband internet to rural India. $1.5 billion should come from the private sector.
  • Intel Capital has invested $2.5 million in a new online education company titled Vriti Infocom.

TC-I Tidbits

Here is the daily dose of headlines:

  • Water supply: In Chennai, city officials have made it mandatory that buildings connected to the main water supply install meters to measure consumption.
  • Government transparency: The Central Information Commission (CIC) will now require political parties to make their income tax returns available to the public. Sending the exact opposite message, the Lok Sabha may put forth measures to make it more difficult for the common citizen to access records relating to parliamentary proceedings. Moreover, the Chief Justice stated that the Supreme Court’s proceedings fall outside the ambit of the recently passed Right to Information act.
  • Education: The creamy layer of OBC quotas will likely reflect preexisting norms used for central government employment. Along these lines, children, organized by NGOs, knocked on parliament’s door to deliver a petition addressed to the PM reminding him about the right to education for all.

Various Trainings/Workshops – CSR, Participatory Learning, and Livelihoods Promotion

We thought you might find the following trainings/workshops of particular interest. If you happen to attend any of these events, please let us know how useful you found them to be:

1. Workshop on Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility, 24-25 April, Chennai

The programme will help participants to increase their awareness of the CSR and its various components. They will also learn how to design their programmes keeping in mind the interests of the company’s stakeholders, including employees and local communities, and enable them to make value added contributions towards building the company’s brand image and reputation.

The registration deadline for this workshop is April 15th.

2. Training Programme on the Techniques of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA), 26-31 May, Bangalore

Read more after the break. Continue reading

OneRoof aims to be a one-stop shop for essential services

Operating as a for-profit SE, OneRoof through its subsidiary in Chennai (and another in Mexico) intends to build out franchises throughout the country that offer what it considers nine essential services to the world’s poor.

OneRoof's Essential Services

You can see from the organization’s website the services they plan to offer. They currently have 20 locations between India and Mexico where they are building out their business model.

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Late Night Edition

Headlines:

In yet another maternal care project aimed at benefiting rural women, the State government has decided to provide free food to all pregnant women who visit primary health centres (PHCs) for a check-up…the decision to provide ‘full lunch’ was taken because it took about four hours for a woman to complete a check-up, which included scanning and multiple tests.

A day care centre and hospice offering free palliative care for patients with degenerative illness will be soon set up here by the Palliative Care Association of Tiruchi.  The centre would cover patients with chronic ailments including HIV/AIDS, cancer, renal failure, and neurotic and psychiatric disorders. Resources would be raised locally and free medicines distributed.

Wanted: Bridegroom, who is HIV positive, for an HIV positive bride. These were the words with which a non-governmental organisation in Tamil Nadu recently started the first ever marriage bureau for HIV positive people.

The All India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board today introduced its own version of the nikaahnama or marriage contract, looking to ban instant talaq and safeguard the wife’s interests after divorce.  The “sharayat (conditional) nikaahnama” denies the validity of the triple talaq as well as divorce through text message, email, telephone or videoconferencing. 

Lending a Helping Hand in Hand

Based on last year’s success, Hand in Hand is hosting interns again this summer. The projects will take place in Kanchipuram, 2 hours west of Chennai. Projects range from solid waste management to enhancing entrepreneurial skills among MFI clients:

Every summer, Hand in Hand offers a four-week internship programme focused on well-defined projects and deliverables. The deadline for applying to this year’s programme is 31 May 2008. We welcome master and PhD students from universities all over the world to apply to the programme, and we are especially looking for graduate students in the fields of development economics, sustainable development, economics, entrepreneurship, and business. Hand in Hand will provide for room and board during the intern’s stay in Tamil Nadu, India, as well as for local transportation. However, Hand in Hand cannot bear the cost of international airfare.The deadline for applying to the Global Leaders Internship Programme 2008 is 31 May 2008. A full application, including a résumé/CV, cover letter stating your motivation, and two letters of recommendation, should be sent tointernship@hihseed.org.

Read more here.