Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Get paid for your grades!?!

Rather unusual way to get children excited about getting an education. Read along this article from NY Post LEARN-

Friday, April 24, 2009

Going green should be easier to cause desirable impact!

I have come across enthusiastic appeals to contribute towards saving the environment by modifying the way I go about my everyday life. For example, I am piling up dozens of used batteries simply because I am yet to find an environmentally safe way of disposing them, even after actively searching for a recycling plant or safe-disposal facility close to Hyderabad. The same predicament applies to anything that can be connected to electricity from cellphone chargers to television sets. More importantly,

I find it very difficult to avoid using plastics. I buy juice in a tetrapack as against a plastic bottle, only to find that even they use plastic linings to make it waterproof. After little research I come to understand that there is no environmentally safe, affordable water-proofing alternative to plastics available to common man. If such a solution is not available, how is one going to avoid plastics?

Often those who make the transition to the green lifestyle would be forced to spend more on a regular basis!(either as cash or as time trying to figure out a green work-around). As a result, such a community will always be small. Worse, there will always be someone who says, "You know. Its too tough to be green" and will get back to the bad-old ways! (Consider the poor. They generate a lot of waste, but don't participate in waste management in proportion. But is it their fault?)

On the other hand even when solutions are available for an environmental problem, common man is not effectively sensitized. Consider the case of disposing kitchen wastes. Composting them to manure and using them as manure for plants is a tried and tested solution. However, the process of composting or the fact that such small compost bins are available in the market are known only the to environmentally conscious. Good intentions of appeals to be environmental consciousness not withstanding, a tangible impact can be achieved only if proven green alternatives are available and affordable so that common man doesn't really have to subscribe to the green movement to be green

Friday, January 16, 2009

Get them young

It has been a long time I wrote a post on this blog - any blog for that matter. The immediate cause of this post has been request from a friend in E4SI to spread the word around about their fellowship program.

Make sure you do visit their site, get more details, join and spread the word. They have some really good and respectable companies as their partners and the list is longer this time.
I came to know about E4SI at the International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship held sometime back in Chennai. Thereon I came in contact with Nitin Rao, the founder. Luckily, he stays in Hyderabad and Badhri n I could catch up with him. An oft discussed topics, nowadays, in regard with the social sector has been the interest that youngsters have shown in the area of social development. This was a big theme at the conference too where I met many young people who were associated with organizations in the social sector. One example I can cite is socialsync.org These organizations, which themselves are quite young have brought in a refreshingly new prespective in the way societal development is looked at.

They are aiming at a paradigm shift from charity and grant based model to one which is profitable and also accountable to its stakeholders. As one friend opined "You do not need to be poor to help the poor". Going to the next step is the understanding of this sector. This again has been a widely debated topic and opinions exist on both extremes. Intentions alone cannot help us in achieving our goal. We need to understand the problem that we are trying to address. In this respect I often cite an example.
Today I am in a helping mood and I say "I will try and help someone'. I see a visually impaired person standing across the road. I dart across the street grab hold of his hand and get him to "MY" (symbolism intended) side of the street. I pat myself on the back and move on. I did not even ask the person if he really wanted to cross the road. To make matters worse, now the person does not even know where he is.
Thus it is very important to understand the dynamics - without complicating and overdoing things. Oppotunities like E4SI try to create that bridge between the willing and those who need the services of the willing, by getting them to "start to understand" the way things work. I personally feel that such initiatives are required so that young graduates with good intentions get a sense of direction. Though I am not very enamoured by the choice of colleges, - the top ones - that is a topic of some other post where I will try to include Nitin's views too.
Readers, do put in your comments, even if you disagree with what is written here!