Category Archives: Rural Development

The Increasing Focus on the Rural Indian Consumer

I have been in India for the past week and one of the trends I have noticed is the increased focus on the rural market. Perhaps it is the ongoing elections or maybe the global recession, but companies across the board seem to have a renewed emphasis on targeting the rural consumer.

Culling thru the headlines there are a few key facts that seem to stand out: Continue reading

A visit to the Agastya Center in Kuppam

Last year I had written an article about an interesting organization, Agastya, that was transforming rural education in India by bringing a fresh new approach to teaching and introducing science and technology concepts to parts of the country that are typically ignored. Since then I was fortunate to visit Agastya founder Ramji Raghavan in Bangalore and accompany him to their Agastya Center in Kuppam.

The Agastya center is strategically positioned on 170 acres of rolling hills with panoramic views of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Each day a small flotilla of buses ferry hundreds of kids from neighboring schools to attend a day long series of sessions with Agastya teachers. The center has several discovery centers rooms each dedicated to a subject – biology chemistry and so on. Eager teachers encourage the students to explore, examine and investigate the scientific phenomena being discussed through hands on experiments. Continue reading

Registration Opens for ForSE 2008-Forum for Social Entrepreneurs

In 2007, I helped found an annual conference on Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with Boston University and the Deshpande Foundation called the Forum for Social Entrepreneurship or ForSE for short. ForSE brings together social innovators with leading business professionals, investors, donors, government officials, academics, and students to facilitate the sharing of new technology and business ideas along with hard-earned management learnings to foster informed discussion and action on new social venture concepts. Continue reading

Scaling up healthcare solutions

Last Week’s Time magazine had an article written by Jeffery Sachs titled “Safety in Numbers” that highlights programs that are recruiting community workers to provide basic health services in rural communities. By investing in basic health care training of community workers, these programs provide a safety net for thousands of poor people who would otherwise be unattended.

The article highlights a couple of innovative efforts in India. Continue reading

India’s Poor Get Health Care in a Card

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “India’s Poor Get Health Care in a Card”, outlines a program being launched in India to provide affordable healthcare to the masses.  The key component of the program, which is targeted at those earning less than $100 per year, is the use of a secure smart card to store the beneficiary’s personal data and fingerprints.

By bringing together insurance companies and hospitals to address this segment, it hopes to providing healthcare to a target population that has seldom been able to afford it. The government is going to underwrite part of the costs while hospitals and insurance companies see it as an opportunity for them to extend their customer base. Continue reading