A rural youth in Telangana, until recently, did not have many options to understand better his or her career choices and the various skill-based programmes available to become more employable. But Vidya helpline, a toll-free counselling platform manned by well-qualified academic counsellors deployed by an NGO named Nirmaan, has systematically filled this gap. In the past five years, the helpline has received close to two lakh calls per year, guiding the callers on various fronts like vocational education, open education, scholarships, exam counselling, among others.
A cloud-based solution for delivery of primary healthcare services in rural India, a hi-tech device to streamline the voting mechanism and make it more efficient, and a daily monitoring system for the mid-day meal scheme in schools – these and many such innovative projects have been winners of the NASSCOM Social Innovation Forum (NSIF) in the past eight years.
NSIF, a ‘Tech For Good’ initiative by NASSCOM Foundation, is a platform that recognizes, encourages and supports the development of technology-based solutions designed to reduce serious social gaps.
Solutions that have the potential to impact underserved people are supported by the forum so that they can scale up their reach and enhance the depth and sustainability of the current solution.
It is ICT-based social innovations like these that NSIF, launched by NASSCOM Foundation in 2008, strives to identify, recognise, and support. The platform fosters these innovations to address the gaps in key development areas in the country and drive large-scale impact towards an inclusive India. Every year, NSIF receives over 1,000 applications from NGOs, social enterprises, and individuals. The winning solutions receive seed grants and mentoring support from Industry veterans, along with visibility on a national platform. This year, the platform will focus on innovations in the field of primary and secondary education, healthcare, livelihood and agriculture, accessibility and environment, and more. Winners in education technology area will receive a total of Rs. 60 lakh and mentoring, supported by industry leader Mphasis. Selected winning NGOs will receive high-value technology advisory and consulting from Accenture.
The different categories that people can apply for include the following:
• Primary and Secondary Education
Submissions in this category should show how they can enhance learning outcomes for the underserved children and thus create a strong foundation for further education and life. These could be solutions around teacher training, modes of delivery, parent awareness, teaching and learning aids, and others.
• Primary Healthcare
Entries in this category can include innovative projects to make healthcare services more accessible and affordable in remote areas as well to the urban poor. Solutions can address early detection, remote diagnosis and treatment, improving nutrition access, awareness building and trauma care.
• Livelihood and Agriculture
NSIF selects projects that make innovative use of Information Technology to create livelihood opportunities, including in the field of agriculture. These can be ideas for better training and capacity building, improving livelihood, increasing access to employment, providing better farm practices, and more.
Entries to this category are around ideas that can help make the world a more inclusive place for people with disabilities. Examples include adaptive devices, wearable safety devices, aids for movement, text to voice solutions, learning solutions for children with disabilities, etc.
Conservation and protection of the environment and natural resources with the help of technology is a major need in today’s day and age. Entries can include solutions around responsible waste management, conservation and protection of natural resources, promoting awareness about environment conservation, urban environment improvements etc.
• Other Social Causes
Those with innovations addressing any other social challenges hindering inclusive growth in India can apply in this category. These can be technology for the safety of women, child protection, financial inclusion of masses, public services and governance, etc.
Thanks to such projects, technology has created an immense impact on lives across India. From people getting access to clean drinking water and doctors being able to save babies, to women gaining access to financial services and markets gaps bridged for farmers – award winning NSIF projects have left an inspiring trail.
If you have created a technology-based solution that has the power to change the world and address an important social issue, you too can apply and let your solution achieve its true potential. Find out about the process here and apply by clicking below.
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