Acumen Blog

india

Announcing the Inaugural Cohort of the Acumen India Fellows Program

Acumen is proud to launch our newest leadership program this year in India, and we’re excited to announce the selection of inaugural class of India Fellows.

indiaAfter a competitive selection process, we’ve chosen are a diverse group of 21 inspiring individuals who are fighting poverty and changing lives of people all over India. Each Fellow is driving an innovative social change initiative addressing a variety of development issues, such as working with the government to increase access to quality maternal and child health care, building football programs in the urban slums, promoting livelihood development for poor sheepherders and goatrearers in rural Andhra Pradesh, and running a solar energy business to light up off-grid villages across India. See below for photos and bios of everyone in the incoming class of India Fellows:

Abbas Dadla

abbasAbbas is a Regional Manager with Avanti Learning Centres, an organization which combines technology and peer collaboration to reduce teacher dependency and provide a world class education at affordable rates. Avanti currently prepares over 600 low income high school students across 7 cities in India for the competitive engineering entrance examinations in partnership with affordable school systems. Abbas manages Avanti’s Mumbai operations. He hails from Mumbai, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Bombay.

Abhijeet Barse

abhijitAbhijeet is the CEO of SlumSoccer, an organization that runs football programs for the most disadvantaged members of Indian society. The decrease in harmful activities such as violence and drug use and the improvement in the participants’ lives inspired SlumSoccer to expand its programs to over 15 cities. Previously, Abhijeet was a Lecturer in the Department of Zoology at Nagpur University. Abhijeet is from Nagpur and has a PhD in Inland Aquaculture from the Central Institute of Fisheries Education.

Abhilasha Sinha

abhilashaAbhilasha is a Product Manager with Avanti Learning Centres, an organization which combines technology and peer collaboration to reduce teacher dependency and provide a world class education at affordable rates. Avanti currently works with over 600 low-income high school students across 7 cities in partnership with affordable school systems. Abhilasha manages the development of curriculum at Avanti. She is from New Delhi and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi.

Achyutha Sharma

achyuthaAchyutha is the Founder of Collaborative Community, which offers design consulting services to social sector organizations and to businesses driving positive impact. He has worked with several companies in branding, retail, and design consulting, and has an active interest in the cultural sector and creative entrepreneurship. Achyutha holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

Arushi Chowdhury Khanna

arushiArushi heads the Enterprise Support Program at AIACA (the All-India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association), which conducts market-based, value-chain interventions to build sustainable artisan-based enterprises in rural India. Prior to AIACA, she has worked at the grassroots level with a broad spectrum of commercial, governmental and non-profit organisations in the craft sector. Arushi is from Mumbai, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, a certificate in Mathematics for Economic Application from IIT-Bombay and a Master’s Degree from the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

 Ram Barigela

barigela

Ram is the Senior Program Officer with Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN), a resource support organization involved in natural resource management and livelihood promotion in rainfed areas of India. He focuses on working with shepherds and goat rearers in the Mahabubnagar district, one of the largest and most underdeveloped districts of Telangana, by promoting viable business models for economic development. He holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Osmania University.

Charu Chadha

charuCharu is the Country Manager for CycleTel India, a mobile-enabled family planning tool developed by the Institute of Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. Previously, Charu was as a Shell Foundation Fellow where she worked with Dharma Life, a company that supports rural entrepreneurs. She also has significant experience working with state governments in India to formulate public policy. Charu is from Delhi, is a trained architect, and holds an MBA from the University of Oxford.

Girdhari Bora

girdhariGirdhari is an ICT Advisor at IntraHealth International, which works with governments, NGOs, and the private sector to empower health workers to better serve communities in need. Girdhari developed mSakhi, an innovative mobile based learning and counseling tool for Community Health Workers and leads execution of the same in several villages in Uttar Pradesh. He is a native Himalayan and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Indore.

Ihitashri Shandilya

IhitashriIhitashri is the Founder & CEO of MITHILAsmita Art & Craft Pvt. Ltd., a folk art organization working to generate employment for women artisans in north Bihar through preserving and promoting the centuries-old Madhubani (Mithila) painting form. Prior to starting her enterprise, Ihitashri worked as a SAP Consultant for several years. She is originally from Madhubani, and is currently based out of Bangalore. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra.

Jyotirmoy Chatterji

jyotirmoyJyotirmoy is the Co-founder of Project Chirag, a youth-led initiative to provide rural households with solar lighting. Through Project Chirag, Jyotirmoy has been instrumental in helping light up 6,000+ houses across 156 villages in 4 Indian states. Jyotirmoy also works with FirstRand Bank as a CSR Consultant, apart from consulting for various social enterprises and NGOs. He is from Mumbai and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from H.R. College, Mumbai.

Kaushik K

kaushikKaushik is the Project Manager for Special Projects at B-ABLE, an organization providing sustainable market-driven vocational training and livelihood services to under-privileged youth. He joined B-ABLE in 2009 as part of the start-up team, setting-up and managing the organization’s first training center. Kaushik is from Hyderabad and has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from IIT Kharagpur.

Kirti Vardhana

kirtiKirti is the Head of Consulting at LabourNet, which is a social enterprise that enables livelihoods for workers in the informal sector by providing access to training, employment and financial inclusion. In his current role, he leads the development of LabourNet’s products and manages consulting projects within the vocational skills development domain. Kirti is from Bangalore and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning.

Manjushree Patil

manjushreeManjushree is a seasoned education professional with more than 20 years of experience. She is the founder of Aatman Academy, a specialized instruction school that caters to the learning needs of students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. She is from Mumbai and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from the SNDT Women’s University along with a Master’s Degree in Teacher Education from IIP Lucknow.

Prerak Mehta

prerakPrerak is an independent research and design consultant working to improve healthcare in rural India through projects in neonatal & maternal healthcare, diabetes, medication adherence and remote diagnostics. He has been working with entrepreneurial as well as established ventures like Embrace, Quetzal, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and Oracle. Prerak holds a Master’s Degree in Design from IIT Bombay, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Nirma University.

Prerit Rana

preritPrerit is the Co-founder and CEO at Agrasar, an organization committed to sustainable socioeconomic development of marginalized communities through systematically helping them build capacities and realize their true potential through skills development. He is a social development professional with training and capacity building as key focus areas. He is from New Delhi and holds a Master’s Degree in Rural Management from IRMA.

Ramakrishna NK

ramakrishnaRam is the Founder and CEO of Rang De, a platform to support low-income entrepreneurs access low-cost capital for education and health. Prior to starting Rang De, Ram has held various positions in the technology and software development fields. Ram is from Bangalore and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Production Engineering from Nagarjuna University. He is also an Ashoka Fellow.

Rupal Nayar

rupalRupal is the Co-founder of Zaya, a non-profit working to bridge the achievement gap for students in low income schools around the world. Prior to Zaya, Rupal worked as a Business & Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company. Rupal is from New Delhi, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Xaviers College and a Master’s Degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Warwick.

Sapna Surendran

sapnaSapna is a Research Associate with the Columbia Global Centre – South Asia, which supports the Government of India in improving access to quality maternal and child healthcare and strengthens service delivery in rural India. She is from Bangalore and is currently based in Mumbai. Sapna is a dental surgeon from the KLE’s Institute of Dental Sciences, Karnataka and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University.

Sathya Raghu

Sathya is tsathyahe Co-founder and CFO at Cosmos Green Pvt Ltd, an organization that works for the emancipation of small and marginal farmers from penury through an inclusive development model of partnership with farmers. His role involves devising the organization’s business strategy for financial sustainability, marketing, and performance monitoring. In addition, Sathya has trained 15,000 students of Chartered Accountancy in Accounting , Auditing & Finance and is a Professor at the Spellbound Centre for Professional Studies, Hyderabad. Sathya is from Hyderabad and is a trained Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, India.

Vasumathi Kothuru

vasumathiVasumathi is the Vice President at Indian Grameen Services (IGS), BASIX, a micro-banking solutions company with a mission of incubating innovations for pro-poor sustainable livelihoods. Vasumathi has worked in livelihood promotion, micro-banking and agriculture extension services for the past 15 years. She is from Hyderabad, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture and is a Certified Associate of the Indian Institute of Banking (CAIIB).

The India Fellows Program is made possible through the generous support of our partner Dr. Reddy’s Foundation. To learn more about the India Fellows Program, visit our website. We will begin accepting applications for the next class in July 2014.

Comments

ANNOUNCING A NEW INVESTMENT, FIRST ACCESS

Acumen announces its new investment in First Access, a data analytics company improving access to formal financial services for low-income East African communities. In East Africa, only 22 percent of the population has access to formal financial services with the region’s poor having even less at 10 percent. First Access presents an opportunity to increase the ability of these low-income communities to save, manage risk responsibility, invest in such critical services as education, and ultimately rise out of poverty. [Read More]

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 PAKISTAN FELLOWS

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our third cohort of Pakistan Fellows. After a competitive application process, we’ve chosen a diverse group of 20 leaders working in provinces across the country. This year’s Fellows are fighting poverty and changing lives across Pakistan through unique initiatives that range from advocating for vulnerable prisoners’ rights, to creating solutions to address low-quality education, to developing branchless banking channels for low-income customers, and more. Read more about each Fellow and their inspiring work below. [Read More]

Lean Data Goes Deeper

One of the most interesting questions we’re grappling with right now on the Impact team at Acumen is how to develop a more robust, rigorous, and transparent form of quantifying the social value our companies create. While I don’t believe we will ever fully understand all the social value created – and while there will always be room for debate and interpretation – I do think today we have the tools to get a lot closer to customers and hear how they value products. [Read More]

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 INDIA FELLOWS

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our second cohort of India Fellows. After a competitive application process, we’ve chosen a diverse group of 20 leaders working in 13 states. This year’s Fellows are fighting poverty and changing lives across India through unique initiatives that range from providing affordable menstrual hygiene products to marginalized women, to making quality education available to children in conflict zones, to designing innovative sanitation solutions for the urban poor, and more. Read more about each Fellow and their inspiring work below. [Read More]

ACUMEN NAMED ONE OF WORLD’S TOP 10 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES IN NOT-FOR-PROFIT BY FAST COMPANY

Fast Company today announced its 2015 ranking of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Not-For-Profit, honoring leading organizations and rising newcomers that exemplify the best in social and philanthropic innovation. Acumen earned the No. 7 spot on the annual list in recognition for its Lean Data Initiative—a project launched in 2014 to find more efficient, cost-effective ways to measure and evaluate social impact. [Read More]

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 EAST AFRICA FELLOWS

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our fourth cohort of East Africa Fellows. After a competitive application process, we’ve chosen a diverse group of 21 leaders from five different countries in the region: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and, for the first time, Ethiopia. This year’s Fellows are fighting poverty and changing lives across East Africa through unique initiatives that range from providing much-needed ambulance services to helping make hygienic sanitation more accessible and affordable to empowering young women to start viable agro-enterprises and more. Read more about each Fellow and their inspiring work below. [Read More]

We Are Each Other’s Destiny

To reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to consider deeply our human interconnectedness and the world we want to build. Each year on this day, I re-read his extraordinary, elegiac “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to remember his commitment to human equality and the price he paid. I read it to remind myself of the power of idealism grounded in pragmatism. I read it to renew my belief in our individual and collective abilities to help bend the moral arc ever more toward justice. [Read More]

Let’s Work Together

Acumen has offices in New York, Mumbai, Karachi, Bogota, Nairobi and Accra. Last August, Avinash Mishra, a Senior Portfolio Associate in the India office, and Keya Madhvani, the Internal Communications Associate in the New York office, were nominated to attend the One Young World Summit in Dublin. Below, they share lessons learned at the summit.  [Read More]