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A look at initiatives for India in Dell Social Innovation Competition 2010

Badhri Jagannathan
27th Mar 2010
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The University of Texas, Austin and Dell have come together to conduct, The Dell Social Innovation Competition, which would award $50,000 of seed funding to the winning social venture idea presented by a participating team of college students. This year, the competition has reached the semifinals stage which is represented by over fifty college teams around the world. Of these teams, we present five front-running ideas targeted towards India’s social development that has impressed ThinkChange India.

Kosh – Universalizing Access To Educational Content

The idea that leads the race is submitted by a team from the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.

Kosh, a social venture, is an online knowledge repository that will aggregate and create engaging educational content in all formats. This virtual library will make educational media accessible at a nominal price and in regional Indian languages, to over 200,000 educators and school administrators, and through them to young students in rural India.

Kosh seems to have a well defined implementation plan which they have neatly represented as in this picture.

Computer Learning on Wheels

A team named “The Pioneer” from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar (XIMB) , India envisions taking quality computer education to rural population by bus. They hope to target the schools during their survey and course development, expanding later on to other members of the rural society like teachers, school drop-outs and farmers. In their words, the key differentiating factors would be

Year round program, systematically covers the target student segment, custom designed curriculum, teaching in local language (along with English), use of customized software and talent will be mapped to job opportunities to facilitate earning of livelihood.

AAHAR: Wholesome Food for Rickshaw pullers and Slum dwellers

For this initiative by a team called “CIMPians” from a little known institute called Chandragupt Institute of Management, Patna, India simplicity of the idea seems to be the strong point

Ever heard of Restaurants for Rickshaw pullers and slum dwellers? For 8 million Rickshaw pullers and 60 million slum dwellers of India, we are coming with the same and we call it AAHAR food point. Where the Rickshaw pullers and Slum dwellers would get a clean, hygie`nic and complete food at Rs 10 i.e. 0.22
#xA0;In this whole project the wives of Rickshaw puller would get employment of cooking food and education for free of cost.

A social venture to uplift the Indian hanidcraft industry.

ThinkChange India has extensively reported on initiatives to provide opportunities for poor but skilled artisans by fabindiaMoralfibre and XLRI. Here is another initiative in on similar lines, this time proposed by a team called FusionCraft from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India.

Through our venture we help the artisans in making new and contemporary products and help them in marketing their products. The prodcuts are designed by our designers who are from reputed design institutes, the artisans manufacture them using their art and we market them.

Cost effective solar water purifier for rural people of India

Access to clean drinking water is an unrealized dream not only in rural areas, but also in many urban areas of India. A team of engineers from Vellore Institute of Technology, India hope to manufacture and sell to Indian villages, affordable water purification unit that uses basic science principle .

According to our estimates our product will cost upto 1300 INR which can be brought down by mass production and subsidizing. We will be able to provide 21 litres of water per day. The team claims that the two most notable aspects of these are that, this equipment
1) makes clean, drinking water readily available for the village community
2) does not consume electrical energy and rural India is not electrified completely as well.

These are neither the only projects aimed at India’s social development, nor are they the top five projects. For the teams to be short-listed for the next stage of competition readers’ votes count. If you wish to explore other projects competing for the top spot and vote, click here.

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