Applying Alchemize™ to Award Winning Social Enterprises
Award winners – Teach for India, Fractal Foundation, St. Jude Child Care and Akshaya Patra will engage in an 18 month collaborative exercise. These social enterprises have demonstrated scalability and a unique approach to solving core social challenges. The acceleration methodology is designed to help them uncover key innovation levers for scale and introduce speed in a way that will enable their model to deliver significant impact, beyond organizational constraints.
This forms our first cohort of acceleration projects for the year 2012-13. Last year we applied our methodologies to accelerate social enterprises like Waste Wise Trust and Yuva Parivartan. You can read more about our Alchemize™ process here. A brief about the award winning social enterprises and their scale objectives is provided below.
India has a shortage of about 20 lakh teachers to meet the guidelines for implementation of the Right to Education act. In classrooms that have teachers, the average student-teacher ratio is around 46 at primary level and 34 at the secondary level. Studies also show that in an average municipal school, 25% of the teachers are absent, 50% of children in class 5 cannot read a story and 21% of the children cannot recognize numbers. Therefore, while the 2011 census has provided encouraging news with respect to literacy, efforts need to be made to increase the level of education. (Source: Economic Times)
TFI believes that education is key to break out of the poverty cycle. They have been trying to bridge the education inequality by enrolling college graduates and young professionals to commit two years to teach full-time in an under resourced school and, thereafter, become lifelong leaders working from within various sectors towards the pursuit of equity in education.
Over the last 3 years, TFI has enrolled 373 Fellows to teach in 122 schools in and around Mumbai and Pune (and Delhi in 2011-12) and have impacted about 12000 students. Since most of the students have skill levels of 2-4 years behind their current grade level, the Fellows aim for a minimum enhancement of 1.5 years, on average, of skills growth from their incoming skill level for each student.
Teach for India is looking to bring on board 2000 Fellows in the next couple of years and scale up to other metro cities in India, starting with Delhi and Chennai.
The foundation specializes in R&D and technology development for the textile industry. One of the main products to have come out of Fractal is the Microspinning line of machines, which has the potential to revolutionize the process of cotton spinning in India. The Microspinning machines have made it possible, for the first time, to pre-spin at a scale 100 times smaller than a conventional spinning mill.
In addition to reducing the lead-time and overheads, enabling quick style change, customization and differentiation, it is also extremely energy efficient. In their current model they have been able to eliminate the middle men by bringing together the scattered, piece-rate workers in the value chain (such as cotton farmers, weavers, dyers etc) and have also increased the return to the workers in the value chain.
The end product of all this integration is the Malkha fabric (a combination of malmal and khadi). It has become one of the most sought after fabrics by top designers world over.
Currently Fractal Foundation and its for-profit subsidiary, Microspin, have set up 4 Microspinning units in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Their goal is to set up at least 1000 units all over India in the next 3-5 years, scaling the for-profit business model of Microspin, and building a sustainable, incluysive model for textile production.
It is estimated that more than 5000 children from rural and remote areas travel to Mumbai for their cancer treatment each year. While the families from low income backgrounds are able to get funding for their child’s treatment, these families often have no place to stay once discharged from the hospital and have to resort to living on the footpaths or in equally unhygienic conditions. This increases the child’s chances of contracting an infection or disease, rendering the treatments ineffective. The mortality rate of children suffering from cancer, within such conditions is very high.
To address this issue, St. Judes set up child care centers across the city (most of which are situated next to major hospitals) that provide free and hygienic housing, nutritional support and counseling services to children and their accompanying relatives, who are undergoing treatment for chronic diseases such as Cancer.
They currently have 7 centers in Mumbai which can house about 80 families and have recently started a center in Kolkata, close to the Tata Memorial Centre. Over the last 5 years they have housed over 1000 children who stay in their premises for an average period of 6 months. A majority of these families come from the states of Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and have an average income of about Rs. 1000-3000 per month, making it impossible to afford any kind of proper treatment and support.
This problem is not limited to Mumbai. All large cities with extensive medical facilities attract children and their families for treatment and recuperation. St. Jude is now looking to expand their activities to other cities and reach out to significantly more number of children and their families by scaling up their presence and their model across India.
Close to 13.5 million underprivileged children in India are out of school and have prematurely entered the work force in order to satisfy their basic needs and that of their families. While there may be several laws in place to ensure that a child gets the education he needs to break out of the cycle of poverty, if he is unable to satisfy his hunger, education often becomes the last priority.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has strived to provide substantial, healthy, balanced meals in the form of mid-day meals to underprivileged school going children. Its main objective is to incentivize the children to get off the streets, into the classrooms and gain access to atleast one nutritious, healthy meal every day. The model has proved to be effective in increasing the enrollment, attendance and retention rates in schools to which they supply the mid-day meals.
From its beginnings in June 2000, when Akshaya Patra started feeding about 1500 children in 5 schools in Bangalore; the Foundation today feeds over 1.3 million children across 9 states, 6 days a week. It has been able to achieve these numbers by establishing state of the art, mechanized kitchens which have considerably brought down the “cook-to-consume” time. Akshaya Patra currently has about 18 such kitchens, each of which has a capacity to cook between 50,000- 150,000 meals a day, thus achieving economies of scale.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is looking to reach out to 5 million children by the year 2020.
We attempt to share a lot of our insights and learning through Alchemix, an open Community of Innovation Practice. The community interacts through facilitated open forum discussions between Founders, Entrepreneurs, Innovators, Designers and Engaged Citizens. These sessions are an opportunity to learn more about innovative and impactful social models across India. Read more about the Alchemix platform.