Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation Honours awards 3 Indian organizations

Anjali, Azad Foundation and Samata are the winners for their innovative and outstanding work for the Girl Child in the fields of Health, Employability and Education. Here are the descriptions of each social entrepreneurship organization:

Anjali: Focusing on mental health issues of mothers and daughters in Kolkata, Anjali has been awarded top honors in Health.

Azad Foundation: Located in Delhi, Azad nabbed the Employability category by training girls from the slums to become professional taxi drivers.

Samata: Finally, Samata provides an innovative education and research curriculum for tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh.

For more information on the Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation Honours, check out their website here.

[TC-I Call to Action]: Schools for Entrepreneurs Grant Competition

Via NGO Post, a competition held by Teach A Man To Fish called Schools for Entrepreneurs aims “to find the best school-based income-generating initiatives in India, projects which are both educational and financially sustainable.”

From student-run cybercafés funding classroom improvements, to schoolyard chicken-runs laying aside profits to pay for books, the competition aims to encourage education initiatives to come up with ways to boost their financial resources at the same time as teaching practical and business skills to their students.

Winners will receive the funding and consultancy support needed to help turn their ideas into reality.

The deadline to apply is April 1, 2009.

[TC-I Call to Action] Business Development Professionals at iDiscoveri Education

iDiscoveri is a social enterprise working towards ushering in change in society by reviving education in India. It is doing this by working at different levels of the education system. It is looking out Business Development Professionals. Read more about it below.

iDiscoveri – a social enterprise with a mission to renew education in India –  iDiscoveri seeks to demonstrate visible evidence of teaching and learning practices that deeply engage learners, nurture their mind, body and sprit, and forge meaningful connections with the world outside. iDiscoveri was founded in 1996 and is backed by a multi-disciplinary team  of 70+ passionate practitioners having expertise in curriculum design, pedagogy, teacher education, leadership development, and curriculum design . Educated in leading institutions such as Harvard, Cambridge, CIE, IIM, and IIT, our team have held teaching and leadership positions at the Shri Ram, Sanskriti, Aurobindo, Krishnamurthy, Montessori & IB schools amongst many others. Our website www.idiscoveri.com has more details about the team and the organization. We are working with over 60 schools across India to implement an innovative curriculum program called XSEED which provides the skills and tools for teachers to make learning more experiential, raise children’s understanding of core concepts and promote inquiry and application. This program has the potential to truly change the quality of learning and teaching in a large number of schools. Further details about the XSEED Program can be found at http://xseed.idiscoveri.com

We are looking for driven professionals to develop our business with schools across Tamil Nadu. iDiscoveri is an exciting place for people who bring a passion for education and have the drive to excel in a startup environment launching new products and services. The role we are recruiting for is:

Education Associate (EA) – (Chennai & Coimbatore) A thinking person, passionate about education, with excellent English and Tamil communication skills, extroverted personality and ability to generate business. MBA with 2-3 years experience in business development or a former teacher with a knack for business would be ideal – we are open to alternate profiles as well. Knowledge of the local geography, willingness to travel and establish contact with a large number of schools is required. He/She would be responsible for creating a database of schools in their territory, organize meetings and make presentations to school correspondents and principals and generate business opportunities.

Discoveri will generously rewards performers with competitive salary and performance-linked incentives. Exposure to cutting-edge learning methodologies, exceptionally competent team members and a high energy working environment are some of the other benefits we offer. This role requires extensive travel to cities and towns in your region. We are looking for associates in Chennai and Coimbatore. Interested candidates may send a resume and cover letter to Anustup Nayak (anustup@idiscoveri.com)

Tech Winners Starting Small, Scaling Up

Remember the Tech Museum Awards? The award “honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.” The 25 winners were announced yesterday, with two innovators from India. MercuryNews.com covered the ceremony in San Jose, California and met with the winners, including DESI Power and Digital StudyHall.

First, DESI Power is based in Bangalore and utilizes affordable and reliable electricity:

Hari Sharan employs 19th-century biomass gasification technology to bring electricity to rural Indian villages. His company, DESI Power, converts vegetation — such as rice hulls and corn husks — into energy. Not only does that provide power to poor communities, it also creates opportunities for micro-enterprises that keep residents from migrating to the slums of big cities.

TC-I covered another unique way of converting vegetation to energy via rice husks. There is tremendous potential to scale up with these plants, and DESI Power is already operating four plants and increasing to twenty next year.

Another creative use of technology aims to strengthen education. MercuryNews reports on Digital StudyHall, which is actually a research project out of a US university. Continue reading

[TC-I Call to Action]: Teach for India

A spin-off of the popular Teach for America, Teach for India is now in place and accepting applications. For the inaugural year of TFI, 100 fellows will be placed in schools in Mumbai and Pune. Fellows will receive support from staff and mentors, training before and during service, formal reviews, and will be exposed to a variety of career options after their two-year fellowship.

Applications will be available to submit online soon, or alternatively, you can email a copy. More information on applying can be found here. They will be reviewed on a rolling basis and are due December 1, 2008 or February 1, 2009.

Teach For India (TFI) is a national program that aims to narrow the education gap in India by placing India’s most outstanding college graduates and young professionals, of all academic majors and career interests, in low-income schools to teach for two years. In the short run, TFI will provide a source of dedicated teachers who will work tirelessly to expand, in a measurable way, the educational opportunities available to hundreds of thousands of India’s most underprivileged children. In the long run, TFI will aim to build a powerful and ever-growing leadership force of alumni who, informed by their experiences and insights, will work from inside and outside of education to effect fundamental, long-term changes necessary to ultimately realize educational opportunity for all.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to “teach, lead, and transform.” Apply now!

Blog Action Day and American Express Winner Akshaya Patra Foundation

Today, October 15th, is Blog Action Day, and as Aishwarya mentioned before, the theme this year happens to be “poverty” – a topic that TC-I touches on in all of its posts and through the belief that social innovation and social enterprises can contribute to alleviating poverty.

TC-I is rife with examples of how social enterprises work in action, and this week’s announcement from the Members Project American Express competition includes yet another success story from India. The Akshaya Patra Foundation was a finalist in the competition, receiving $100,000 towards its goal of feeding 1 million children daily.

The impact of the foundation is described:

For less than $30 a year, a child in India can receive a school lunch for the 220-day whole year. These programs have resulted in greater attendance, reduced drop out and truancy rates, and better cognitive development for children – often by 10-20%. It will also shield many children from the impact of these tough economic times and the rising cost of food around the world.

WIth organizations like this, large-scale solutions to lessen poverty are becoming more and more successful. TC-I encourages its readers to get involved with the issues surrounding poverty, both through Blog Action Day and in countless other ways.

Films, Popcorn, and a Girl Child’s Education

Next time you go to a cinema in India owned by Adlabs, you can contribute to a girl child’s education, thanks to a CSR partnership between Adlabs Cinema and Nanhi Kali, an NGO that focuses on this issue. As Indiantelevision.com reports:

The company has joined hands with Nanhi Kali, an NGO which supports and spreads awareness on the issue of education of the disadvantaged girl child in India. As part of the initiative, Adlabs will introduce a special food combo called the “Classroom Combo” – a certain percentage of the sales of which will be contributed to this cause of nurturing a girl child’s education.

The initiative highlights the role that corporations of any type can play in contributing toward social issues, given a little creativity and the willingness to see a bottom line beyond mere profits. And at the same time, they may even rope in customers that otherwise may not be interested in the product. As someone who rarely buys concessions at the cinema, I might make an exception and consider indulging Rs 120 for a “classroom combo” the next time I find myself in front of a Bollywood film in India. A sucker for well-crafted corporate marketing? The lazy man’s answer to giving back to society? Perhaps. But the point is, I would become a cinema-going customer that now thinks about the girl child’s education. And that twist may lead to other contributions to the issue. Continue reading