The Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship last week announced the finalists of the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award 2011. These include Husk Power Systems (founded by Gyanesh Pandey), Industree Crafts Foundation/Mother Earth (founded by Neelam Chibber), Magic Bus (founded by Matthew Spacie) and Waterlife India (founded by Sudesh Menon). The four finalists were selected after a rigorous process and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on November 12, 2011 in Mumbai, preceding the India Economic Summit.
Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award 2011
The India SEOY Awards identify and celebrate visionary social entrepreneurs who have demonstrated systemic-change models and are at the stage of scaling/replicating their ideas across India and in other countries. Each of the finalists is doing commendable work at building the eco-system of crucial services for unaddressed markets and excluded customer segments – whether in the fields of rural electrification, livelihoods for marginal artisanal communities, access to safe drinking water in geographies with high contamination or developing at-risk children through sport.
Brief Description of the Social Change Models Developed by the Finalists
Mr. Gyanesh Pandey of Husk Power Systems, Patna:
Husk Power Systems (HPS) is lighting up the darkest (and not coincidentally, the poorest) rural regions of India through a proprietary technology that cost-effectively converts bio-mass waste (primarily rice husks, but also such bio-wastes as mustard husks/stems, corn cobs, and some varieties of grasses) into electricity. By installing and operating 25kW to 100 kW ‘mini power plants’, HPS has wired up 350 villages and hamlets of up to 4,000 inhabitants, to deliver electricity to more than 200,000 individuals in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Mr. Sudesh Menon of Waterlife India, Hyderabad:
Waterlife India makes safe and clean drinking water accessible and affordable for under-served communities who live in geographies with high water contamination. It has developed a range of green and cost-effective water treatment technologies that can address complex combinations of water contamination in any area. Since 2008, 1.1 million excluded customers across 6 states have availed safe drinking water from Waterlife’s community water systems by paying a nominal user-fee.
Mr. Matthew Spacie of Magic Bus, Mumbai:
Magic Bus has pioneered a ‘Sport for Development (S4D)’ curriculum that harnesses the transformative power of sport to enable extremely marginalized children to tap into their inner agency, reflect deeply on life choices, and exercise positive development decisions vis-a-vis education, health, gender and livelihoods – levers that are critical for their growth as active citizens and future participants of the India growth story.
Magic Bus has directly delivered the S4D curriculum to 250,000 children in the age group of 7-18 years in 5 states through a trained network of 5,000 Community Sport Coaches and Youth Mentors.
Children who engage with Magic Bus live in impoverished communities with no easy access to role models, inspiration or facilitation to take positive life decisions. 20% of all Magic Bus participants across locations tend to be school dropouts, of which 34% go back to school and stayed enrolled due to the Magic Bus influence; 85% of Magic Bus participants across age groups stay clean of addiction; More than 95% of the youth in Magic Bus have enrolled in higher education courses and 50% of those in employable age have signed up for livelihoods and skill development initiatives.
Ms. Neelam Chhiber of Industree Crafts Foundation (brand Mother Earth), Bangalore:
Industree helps triple incomes of marginal artisans by moving them from being ‘piece rate workers’ to owners and entrepreneurs of grassroots community enterprises. It works both at the production and market ends of complex supply chains to help artisans living below the poverty line to participate in India’s booming retail markets. Industree has impacted more than 10,000 artisans living below the poverty line, by putting them in charge of their own enterprises.