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

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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.

The Parishudh Sanitation Initiative

Introduction

The Parishudh initiative aims to increase access to sanitation infrastructure in rural Northern Karnataka.

The program began in 2011 October, and has the following goals:

  • Help 10,000 families in North Karnataka have a toilet of their own in 40 villages, and educate at least 100,000 families about having a sustainable toilet of their own

  • Encourage entrepreneurs to get started in the area of building sanitation facilities for the public and to sustain this as businesses in the long run

  • Build reusable artifacts including designs, partnerships and processes to make the initiative easily repeatable elsewhere in India

Parishudh has built more than 11,000 toilets for individual families in the region already. The team has also held awareness programs for more than 200,000 people, such as toilets summits, IEC sessions, competitions for school children, sponsoring youth fests and so on. Parishudh has also created Nirmal Gram Samithis in villages with the intention of helping people to organize and implement other developmental initiatives. The NGOs partnering with Parishudh are SPRED, Indus foundation, RUDISET, Vikas Academy Yadgir and Gram Yuva Seva Sangh Kannal.

Methodology

Parishudh has set up a process for the construction of toilets for rural homes.

Awareness

First, it performs a village-wide awareness event to talk about the problems related to open defecation, and the many benefits of having toilets at home. This awareness event addresses several issues such as privacy concerns, convenience for women and children, the problem of female students dropping out of school when they hit puberty, disease and so on. A survey is done on all villages in the area, and this awareness program is usually attended by 200-300 families.

Cost-sharing

When rural homeowners sign up for the program, a cost-sharing arrangement is set up. Parishudh pays for half the costs of construction, the NREGA program pays for a quarter and the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan program pays the remaining quarter (both are government-backed programs). The total cost of construction of a toilet for one family is R. 15,000 ($240).

Construction

When the payment structure is settled, construction is completed in less than a fortnight, using as much local labor and material as possible. Care is taken to ensure strict standards in design and implementation. The handover happens when construction is completed.


Challenges

1. Parishudh Real-Time Progress Webcaster

How can we design a method for people from all over the world to check in on Parishudh’s progress in real time?

An interesting map, video chat, instant messaging and real-time update mash-up would serve to allow people to see the progress of awareness programs, surveying, construction and hand-overs of completed toilets. This can also serve as an excellent method for people to develop a core understanding of the impact being made by Parishudh, and to contribute their time, money and ideas to its progress and expansion.

Program recommendations – Parishudh maintains a Salesforce account to administer master data of all projects – current, completed and planned. The web app could pull the records from here, build necessary custom reports and automatically update real-time progress on a map. The areas the app could generate reports for include – construction dashboard, awareness campaigns conducted, events planned, families in queue etc. Whereas Salesforce will remain to be a management database, the Parishudh Webcaster will use this database to share progress online.

Sustainability – Parishudh will implement and maintain the app, and take it forward after the hackathon. Interested participants could most definitely continue to work with Parishudh in the future. Volunteers who wish to follow up are welcome!

2. The Nudge App – pushing Government programs to deliver on their promises

How can we nudge government departments who run important development-focused programs to complete their deliverables on time?

Need: One of the reasons why toilet construction in rural areas is not up to speed is that the government incentive announced (of Rs.9,200 or $150 per toilet) is NOT reaching the families on time. Currently, the time to deliver varies anywhere between 30 days to 2 years, with many families still not having received the grant. As a result, people keep postponing construction until they are sure that the money will be disbursed.

Functionality:

A benchmarking application that allows for the following activities would help:

  • Downloads the data from government departments of people who have reported that a toilet is built, or submitted an application for construction

  • Keeps periodically checking the progress related to the application

  • Generates a weekly alert on days it is taking for an application for moving from one stage to another (submitted, approved, inspection due, certified for payment, payment done).

  • Publishes a state wide, district-wise, gram Panchayat-wise comparative performance report. A publicly open comparison of performance would create a sense of urgency in concerned gram Panchayat officials and also create more awareness in people about the benchmark.

The crux here is to build interface with the NIC (National Informatics Center) that maintains the government data.

Sustainability – Parishudh will implement and maintain the app, and take it forward after the hackathon. Interested participants could most definitely continue to work with Parishudh in the future. Volunteers who wish to follow up are welcome!


Images from Parishudh on the field

World Bank – Open Data Challenges for India

india-network

The World Bank has given us source material for a lot of interesting data sets on India. The challenges are based on a few seed ideas that can be built around this data. Participants are free to explore all the links, and develop their own solutions on visualization, planning and mapping tools.


Data Sources

Development Data

http://data.worldbank.org/country/india

Here you will find jumping off points to several datasets, including:

  • Development indicators

  • Micro survey data

  • Climate change data

Financial Data

https://finances.worldbank.org/countries/India

Here you will find links to data related to:

  • Lending/grants to public sector projects from the World Bank (IBRD, IDA)

  • Major contracts from Bank-supported projects (Public sector)

  • Private sector projects supported by IFC

  • India as a donor to World Bank trust funds


IBRD and IDA Projects in India: Public Sector*

Includes data on locations and results:

http://www.worldbank.org/projects/search?lang=en&searchTerm=&countrycode_exact=IN


IFC Projects: Private Sector

https://ifcndd.ifc.org/ifcext/spiwebsite1.nsf/$$Search?OpenForm


IFC Investment Services projects:

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/India-IFC-Investment-Services-Projects/s343-989r


IFC Advisory Services projects:

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/India-IFC-Advisory-Services-Projects/av9t-itqd


Strategy for World Bank Group in India for the Next Five Years

Provides a macro perspective of what, where, how, and why the Bank Group will invest in India:

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/04/15/000350881_20130415145549/Rendered/PDF/7617600CAS0REV0PUBLIC00R20130005004.pdf

Also includes poverty projections till 2030


Challenge Ideas

1. District-level indicators base map for mapping development projects

Challenge: With the detailed district level household data available in Census 2011 (and other open data sources as they become available), there may be an interesting opportunity to create district-level base maps with indicators that correlate closely with poverty – such as households with no toilets (see example below), and plot the relevant World Bank projects, contracts etc. (in a particular sector)  to visualize the granular patterns of Bank’s funding spread. This will be especially relevant for visualizing the Bank’s work (and the work of other development organizations) in the low-income and special category states* that are being targeted by the Bank in the next five years.

Example

http://datastories.in/blog/2013/09/09/a-toilet-map-of-india-2/

Data Sources

India Census

http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011census/PCA/pca_highlights/pe_data.html

WB Projects

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/World-Bank-Projects-Operations/rnku-kcby

http://search.worldbank.org/api/v2/projects

WB Maps

http://maps.worldbank.org/sa/india

Special Category States


2. India’s Open Data Landscape

Challenge: India has a large, evolving open data cataloguet http://data.gov.in/catalogs/. It would be an interesting exercise to map the data dimensions, coverage, usage crossed with the Open Data Census: http://census.okfn.org/. This could perhaps also include some kind of analysis of what data published by India makes it into international sources and what data that isn’t published may also be of interest (e.g. related sub-national data or disaggregated / source data)

Reference

http://thomaslevine.com/!/socrata-summary/


3. Inspector Crowd: Local Development Data in Action

An auto-rickshaw driver outside the World Bank office in Chennai openly wondered – “They have no ATMs?”.  Jokes apart, World Bank may still be a distant entity for some citizens. You read about it in the press but do you know if the road built outside your house was supported by the Bank?

Challenge: How can the World Bank data be made comprehensible for common citizen to track money related to Bank supported development projects in their local contexts: public and private sector? Simple, clean, localized UI – possibility to provide feedback on projects, contracts, and ensure that funds are being spent for the intended purposes? Can an application help mobilize citizens impacted by project in specific locations visit projects/share their feedback on contracts data?

Data Sources

Contracts

https://finances.worldbank.org/Procurement/Major-Contract-Awards/kdui-wcs3?

Tenders

http://search.worldbank.org/wprocnotices

Projects

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/World-Bank-Projects-Operations/rnku-kcby

http://search.worldbank.org/api/v2/projects

Financing

https://finances.worldbank.org/Loan-and-Credit-Administration/IBRD-Statement-of-Loans-Latest-Available-Snapshot/sfv5-tf7p

https://finances.worldbank.org/Loan-and-Credit-Administration/IDA-Statement-of-Credits-and-Grants-Latest-Availab/ebmi-69yj

References


The Parishudh Initiative – Nudge

Parishudh Awareness

The Parishudh Initiative aims to increase access to sanitation infrastructure in rural Northern Karnataka.

One of the reasons why construction projects in rural areas are not up to speed is that the government incentives announced do not reach the families on time. How can we nudge government departments who run important development-focused programs to complete their deliverables on time?

Find out more about the insights that the Parishudh team has learnt from the field, and how to start nudging the government to deliver. To learn more about this challenge (and several others), check out the hackathon here.