Healing Fields Foundation

healingfields

The Situation

Healing Fields Foundation (HFF) is a not for profit organization and has provided a one year
health education training program to over a thousand local village women and given them tools
to impact the health behaviors of their families and their communities. Plans are to scale this to
about 5000 in the next 5 years. With help from HFF, many of these Community Health
Facilitators (CHFs) use their new knowledge and skills to educate the community on health
issues, sanitation, hygiene, government programs in Health and also to create livelihoods in the
healthcare sector providing goods and services. What results is a network of women making an
impact on the ground level and at the same time earning a living doing it.

The Problem

CHFs provide the last mile connectivity to the communities in which they live. Through these
women HFF gets a firsthand understanding of what the health status of their villages. We
collect data from them during the program via surveys and receive constant feedback through
our field staff. This is a labor intensive process and it takes a while before information gets back
to HFF’s main office where it can be together and made sense of in bigger picture. Of particular
interest is the need for CHFs to report spikes in the number and frequency of a particular
disease. They don’t have a quick and reliable means of getting that information to people who
can help address the issue before it becomes a serious community problem.
Additionally, CHFs can use support in the field. When people come to them with symptoms,
sometimes CHFs could use help figuring out what is wrong and refer them to the relevant health
providers which could save time and money and at times even save lives.

The Challenge

CHFs have access to mobile phones. These are basic phones that have voice and SMS, but not
data capabilities. The challenge is to create a system that uses these phones to connect CHFs to
HFF so that they can provide information on their communities and get health decision-making
support. The system needs to be fully automated or semi-automated. It must be kept in mind
that CHFs are functionally literate but not used to technical or complicated processes. The
program must be designed in a manner that it is simple to use, work in areas where there is
limited access to data networks and at the same time can be translated into multiple
languages.

Contact Information

Mukti.bosco@healing-fields.org
sheldon.wallbrown@healing-fields.org

Advertisements

Keep India Beautiful

india-bfulIntroduction

Our mission is to establish a sustainable trash collection, containing and disposal system involving residents, students, businesses and government in India. Motivate the community to keep their neighborhoods, villages and cities clean and disease free and be proud of it.

We have come up with a plan systematically sort, collect, contain and dispose of trash.
Mobilize a team of students and local people to do an initial clean up.
Show them how to have an ongoing cleaning program managed at various levels.
Get government authorities to provide strong and secure trash containers and waste removal program
Provide ideas for proper trash sorting, composting, recycling and containing non-perishable trash in landfills. We have a 35 page project plan ready Find this report here.
This will be tackled using a website touching every village, city and State and similar mobile app documenting location of trash with date, photos, GPS location (heatmap) on an interactive map putting pressure challenging them to keep their area always clean.

Challenges

  • Reaching out to every school, Panchayat, Municipality and City Corporations in India to join the initiative and take action in a timely way.
  • Funding to provide initial supplies like trash pickers, trash bags, gloves and trash containers.
  • Train local mentors and volunteers and run weekly campaigns and report progress
  • Creating a social capital building (points and awards) system based on their volunteer services.
  • Indian language editing support for Android App

Progress

Website in progress – need help with content and points (social capital) system
Mobile Apps – in progress, will need User Interface.

Links to Reports

Detailed document on KIB
KIB Powerpoint Presentation

Contacts:
Thomas Vellaringattu tomvell@gmail.com Ph: 516 655 4317 San Jose, CA
Siby George (India) sibyvell@gmail.com Ph 94470 43430

Cottage Industries in India

cottage_industry

The term “cottage industry” is used when products are manufactured on a small scale. India is well known for its large number of traditional cottage industries. But with the advent of industrialization, cottage industries witnessed a sharp decline. Cotton weaving, carpet making, leather industry, etching, basket making, texile making, pottery, etc are some examples of cottage industry products.

A cottage industry is often characterized by its enormous potential for employment generation and the person getting employed is basically regarded as a self-employed one. It has been empirically found out that cottage industry has given economic independence to the women in the developing as well as developed countries. The income of the manufacturers is harmed by middlemen who offer low prices to them but take heavy chunks of money from the buyers. These workers have given their whole life to stitching and knitting. The skill that they possess is just unmatchable. But still they are at the same place where they had started years ago.

Well-known organizations like Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is working towards the development and endorsement of cottage industries in India. Other premier organizations are Central Silk Board, Coir Board, All India Handloom Board and All India Handicrafts Board, and organizations like Forest Corporations and National Small Industries Corporation are also playing an active role in the meaningful expansion of cottage industries in India.

What can we do to help Cottage Industries, avoid middlemen from taking away large chunks of profits, and help streamline resources and funds to these unmatchable skilled labor all over our country?

Etsy for India

Can we develop a common platform where a seller of retail cottage industry goods (for example, decorative pots, pretty etchings, hand woven clothes and carpets, etc) is able to directly sell his or her product to consumers without any middlemen? The seller can make much higher profits. Instead of building the brand name of a company, the sellers would brand themselves through the system. Based upon the quality and creativity of their product they would receive reviews from customers and get higher visibility.

The biggest challenge here is that these artists don’t have access to internet. So there needs to be a good amount of groundwork to get their products online and sellable. There should be an organization that aggregates goods from cottage industry artists and directly supplies them to the consumers, making the artists visible on the internet, and taking a small cut for process costs.

Can we possibly link the cottage industries to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR of Medium and Large Scale Industries ? One idea is to supply hand made paper and cloth bags to big grocery stores like Reliance Fresh in India, and including this as part of Reliance’s CSR to directly help the individual cottage entrepreneurs.

Food Security Bill

food-security
India recently passed a very important piece of legislation, the Food Security Bill. This is an ambitious piece of legislation. It has dramatic costs, and equally dramatic outcomes if successfully implemented.

The task is to read the text of the food security bill and other relevant documents, and produce a summary sheet of the principal provisions, costs and putative benefits of this bill.

Resources

PRS Legislative Research:
http://www.prsindia.org/
@PRSLegislative on Twitter

Text of the bill
http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Food%20Security/Food%20Security%20Bill,%202013.pdf

Teenage Menstrual Health

Ayna Agarwal is a Symbolic Systems undergraduate major at Stanford (class of 2014). She is a co-founder of she++, Stanford’s first conference on women in technology. You can find out more about she++ at http://sheplusplus.stanford.edu/.

Ayna wants to pose the following challenge.

Problem

Teens do not have an easily accessible, and reliable way of obtaining information about their periods while on the go. They do not feel a sense of community and often do not have a support system to ask relevant questions.

Goals

• A period tracker that acts as a daily educational tool and myth buster based on the individual female’s data and determine trends unique to her menstrual cycle to be able to provide relevant feedback
• A community of sisters to ask and answer bold and candid questions

Mobile Market and Girls

• Pew Research Center, “Teens and Technology 2013” a new survey of 802 teens, ages 12-17, and their parents:
– 78% of teens now own a smartphone
– 71% of teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is the one they share with their family members
– Older girls are especially likely to be cell-mostly internet users
– 34% of girls ages 14-17 say they mostly go online using their cell phone

• Neilsen Company: The percentage of US smartphone owners in the 18-24-year-old bracket grew 60% between Q3 2010 and Q2 2011, according to August 2011 data.

Competition

•Period Calendar/Tracker
–Over 5 million users and 5 mil-10mil installs in the last 30 days
–309,300 ratings with 4.5 stars

•iPeriod: ~12,000 stars in the app store 4.5 stars
•Period Tracker Deluxe
–Installs in the last 30 days (1 mil – 5 mil)
–24,799 ratings with 4.75 stars

Requirements

Part 1: Calendar
The calendar will be the main draw for the users of the app — it is a period tracker. Most fundamental period trackers have these features:
A) Symptoms and Moods for each day
B) Calculation of menstrual cycle lengths
C) The ability to log your periods through the calendar

Part 2: Forum
The ‘Teen Issues’ forum on one period tracker app has 1,992,796 posts on it. Clearly, there’s a need. Create a forum that enables teachers, nurses, peers, and parents to respond.

Part 3: Education: “The Facts”
This will be official information we gather from public sites:
1) Pads +Tampons; 2) Signs of your first period; 3) PMS; etc.

Contact: Ayna Agarwal
ayna1 (at) stanford (dot) edu