Survey for NGOs

Hey all, as you may notice on the sidebar, we have a new featured survey for you all to participate in. Here is some additional information directly from the survey makers:

NGOs: Dig into your strengths and opportunities AND win great prizes!

Ethos Advisors and NGO Post have created a short survey to assess the needs to the NGO community and identify concrete solutions to improve motivated, high-impact NGOs across India. And we’ve got three great reasons to complete the survey:

1. A free assessment tool for your NGO. The survey is based on questions that leading NGO’s around the world have asked themselves and, by finding the answers, have found new ways to succeed and scale. Take a moment and complete this survey to better understand your stregnths and opportunities.

2. Tell us and tell the world: what are the new tools, websites and training that you need? This is your chance to help funders, service providers and corporate CSR departments design and customize new services for the NGO sector based on the information you share.

3. Submit to Win Excellent Prizes!!! Including:
-A new fuly-customized website for your organization based on cutting-edge technology that is simple and easy-to-use.
-Be selected as Grassroutes.in featured NGO that includes a custom Media Package that tells your organization’s story and an independently managed marketing     campaign for any purpose you choose
-Be featured in the CitiZen Section of the Deccan Chronicle

Hope you all take the survey.

Solar lanterns for street vendors

NGO Post has an interesting story on a solar micro-enterprise in Hassan District in Karnataka. The business operates a battery charging station powered by solar photovoltaic panels and rents out solar powered CFL lamps street vendors. On an average, the vendor pays $0.25 per day for renting out the lamps and the business services 120 street vendors.

The business is supported by Small-Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund (S3IDF), a pioneering organization supporting small enterprises in India. The technology support comes from SELCO India a leader in affordable solar solutions for the poor (our previous coverage of SELCO is here)

Read the complete story [via NGO Post]

NGO to push for compulsory licensing of cancer drugs

Update: A recent Times of India article discusses the actual effectiveness of the Public Interest Litigation provision and its current troubles. You can read the article here.

An NGO called Cancer Patient Aids Association (CPAA) has embarked on a campaign to mandate compulsory licensing for 20 different drugs used to treat cancer sufferers. These drugs include those manufactured by some of the largest pharma companies in the world, like Pfizer, Roche, and GSK. CPAA is an experience advocate for affordable medicines, and are building off of the momentum of their success from last year. The Economic Times of India reports:

CPAA was one of the healthcare groups in the forefront of the successful legal battle against Novartis’ Glivec last year. While the NGO plans to first approach the health ministry for invoking the CL provision, it is ready to go the Supreme Court if the government rejects to the demand.

Instead of taking a piecemeal approach of individual clients which is inefficient and cost prohibitive for most people, the NGO aims to take on the entire industry in one coordinated attack to require that pharma companies allow generics to produce these pills in India. The generic manufacturers would then pay royalties to the original pharma companies.

In order to achieve this strategy, the organization has framed their argument to say that the current high prices of these drugs is a violation to a constitutional right to life for the patients.

“There is no point in fighting patent cases for individual drugs. How many patents will we fight against? It is just unaffordable for patients to pay lakhs of rupees for these drugs, in addition to paying for other treatment and medicines. It’s an emergency situation when thousands of cancer patients are being denied their constitutional right to life. Hence, the government can invoke CL in the public interest, “ CPAA president Y K Sapru said.

This approach is interesting, because in India, such public interest litigation can be invoked by the Court itself and does not require that a specific party come to bar.

“Under the Indian Patent Act, all life-saving and essential drugs which are patented and expensive can be granted CL if it they are unavailable, unaffordable, for government’s use and for public non-commercial use. It is wrong to say that it can be granted only for extreme national urgency or in the case of emergency, “ MSF’s access campaigner in India, Leena Menghaney said.

[Source: NGO Post]

Featured Interview: NGO Post

Recently, we interviewed Nitin Gupta, co-founder of NGO Post, about the vision and mission of their site, including plans for expansion in the future.  Please find a summary of the interview below: 

About NGO Post:

Nitin Gupta and Parul Gupta’s passion lies in building connections between NGOs around the world.  Their method, however, is an unconventional one.  The name of their online portal is NGO Post, the goal of which is to adopt cutting-edge Web 2.0 technologies to enable NGOs to share information, catalyze meaningful discussions, and build relationships with peer organizations from around the globe.  One of the most important Web 2.0 elements of the site is the ability of users to submit and rate stories through a simple, Digg.com-like interface, a process which empowers NGO Post users to set their own terms for information and idea exchange.

The idea is an inherently revolutionary (and bold) one – after all, only you, the user, can know what best suits your needs in terms of news, information, and networking.  The site, therefore, serves as a catalyst for enabling the exchange of ideas and information through the most knowledgeable party of all – the users themselves.  In the future, Nitin and the other developers of NGO Post hope to expand to an interface that allows for more advanced interaction between users, including a multi-dimensional events calendar searchable by location and issues and the further personalization of stories, thereby enabling users to get access to recommendations/resources regarding their work. Continue reading

Awesome video on human ingenuity in India

This video, brought to our attention by NGO Post, highlights a few great grassroots innovations. My personal favorite is the modified scooter as I believe it could be scaled up substantially. Check out the video below.

MBAs Without Borders

From NGO Post:

MBAs Without Borders (MWB) is bringing innovative solutions to developing countries by matching experienced business volunteers with local businesses and NGOs to unleash a big secret… Business can do Amazing Things!

MWB’s volunteers provide a wide range of business support services in Africa, Asia and Latin America which includes locations such as: Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine and Vietnam.