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Power of Storytelling

Every known civilization in this world has been built based on stories. For time immemorial human beings have been using the different type of stories to create civilizations. Humankind has forayed into agriculture by building a narrative well supported by different kind of myths. The ability of stories to usher new changes are immense, that is evident since evolution throughout our history. But it also matters how effectively can we use stories to change the existing situation, lead the society for a better tomorrow.
Fast- forward to present we are facing several issues in the form of climate change, poverty & inequality. To overcome the present predicament that we are in, powerful stories can bring big changes in the collective consciousness of society. The positive stories can not only be inspirational but also can create systematic changes in society. Real-time examples of successful social entrepreneurship models can really act as a direct route to emotions, hence it helps in decision making. Stories can set new patterns that create a positive impact on the way we think and behave. Powerful stories play a foundational role in changing the values, mindsets & goals.

Stories illuminate
Stores can act as light, glue or web, yet it has a powerful sense to change the way we behave, act and indulge. The point to drive home here is that in today’s chaotic world building positive narratives through powerful stories is very crucial. For instance, supporting and promoting niches in innovation for social welfare can create a wider impact in the system, it builds narratives with a purpose to change the world for a better tomorrow. The stories of people who have been making slow changes in the society need to be highlighted with good supporting narratives. Such impactful peoples’ life needs to be amplified to a larger crowd through powerful stories by leveraging the available platforms.

Changing the future
We can use stories to create riveting visions that can bring desired changes with a purpose. The stories can help to humanize issues. For instance, impactful social business models need to be communicated properly, the desired impact aimed from the business needs to be highlighted regularly with personal examples & narratives. The compelling reasons to become outlier by thinking differently for a better cause. Stories should be built in such a way to highlight the success stories more often than usual
Stories can act as a tool to build a strong community through empathy & unity. Though It helps people to connect across communities and as a glue that holds everyone together.

Way forward
The only way forward to tackle the existing problems is through collective responsibility. Any individual or organisation taking up such causes needs to be given due importance and their activities, efforts need to pass on to larger society through effective stories. Because the world needs more such stories more than the past, Those who are making steady progress in such areas needs to be accepted with respect. However, it is equally important to let others be motivated by hearing such captivating stories that can as a catalyst for a change. So lets all welcome and follow such success stories from business, art, environment and other social issues.

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Impact Investment

Impact investing offers significant potential for growth. The term Impact investment in the broader sense means a lot. Impact investing literally means “ a financial undertaking that aims to generate specific and measurable benefits to society & environment in addition to financial goals. Conventional investment models are skewed towards giving more importance to financial gains. However, the impact investment philosophy gives equal importance to social and environmental benefits. It uses private capital to fund to address the issues faced in the society and the environment.
Impact investment has been gaining more traction, as evident on the ground, its growth in the last several years looks promising. The investment seeks innovative solutions and ideas with a dual return of assets, It also aims to measure the impact it has created and its outcomes. The organisation that promotes impact investment also benefits handsomely whilst improving overall reputation in the society.
The individual investor, trust, funds or organisation who applies the principle of impact investment would always believe in taking steps to create long-term value for the society. The art of doing impact investment is by adopting careful design and implementation of programs that are scalable to have a very positive impact on the society. The future of this society and environment largely revolves around making sustainable development goals to tackle the problems faced by society. The realm of impact investment looks beyond the single objective of just making financial gains but deploying capital in such a way that benefits the overall wellbeing of the society & environment.

The united nations estimates that reaching the Sustainable development goals in developing countries will cost around 3.9 trillion per year and private and public capital put together provides just 1.4 trillion.

Amid all the benefits discussed so far, impact investment means different things to different people. Some would see it as a strategy for beating financial benchmarks because a business that target the existing gap in social or environmental needs can be profitable, one other hand inspite of the guaranteed lower returns, still they would like to back the investment for the sake of the society or environment.

Social enterprises and impact creation.
At present mainstream managers are willing to allocate their share of money as capital to a promising company for impact-oriented business or to social enterprise, however, most of them are still reluctant to deploy a that significant portion of the money for such activities. So it is the responsibility of government agencies and large companies to expand markets for impact investing.

Designing new products and practices.
The impact fund managers need to be clear about the overall strategies they are going to adopt and its objectives, also it is equally important how to balance the nonfinancial impact with financial returns. Impact fund managers can also create sector or issue specific products whose impact can be measured consistently. Though impact investment still remains as a novel idea, if adopted across the board has the potential to bring significant changes in the society. Unlike traditional investment models, impact investment takes time to bear fruits also due to its long gestation period. it takes a longer time than usual to create an impact that can be realistically measured. But one thing is sure our world needs more of such impact investment themes, professional fund managers to handle and deploy the capital to its best use. But the overall transformative impact it creates in sectors like education, Healthcare and the environment is huge that can fetch huge dividends for the nation as a whole.

Bandicoot to replace manual scavenging

The group of young innovators from Genrobotics couldn’t have done anything better than bringing a smile on the faces of people who are involved manual scavenging works for decades. The shocking images of the people who earn their lively hood by risking their lives cleaning the sewage by immersing themselves in neck deep of liquid waste has prompted everyone with a question , when are we going to change the ordeal of this community who risks their life every time while clearing the clogs in the sewage pipes underground. The group of young innovators from Genrobotics, Technopark Trivandrum has come up with a semi-robotic device named “Bandicoot “, which has the potential to address the problems and rescue the workers from risking their lives.
The semi-automatic robot with its inbuilt arms can get into the bottom of sewage pipes and scoop up the liquid waste and get it dumped into the collecting vessel. The Safai Karmachari Andolan has been fighting to eradicating the manual scavenging in India for many years, In spite of their mission to wipe out the manual scavenging from the society, Our deep-rooted and century-old caste system always prevailed over the basic humanity to rehabilitate all the scavengers from this undignified profession. The team of youngsters had spent weeks in the different parts of the country studying, how the manual scavenging has been done, After spending some much time watching the ordeal of cleaning the waste from the sewage pipes prompted the innovators to find a solution to address the problem through the means of the technology. The team from Genrobotics after careful analysis of the situation designed a “Bandicoot” completely functional robotic model within a span of two months. The device is equipped with a user interface and can be controlled easily by training the workers. Social Innovation by this youngster devoting their time and effort to improve the lives of this vulnerable section of the population should be considered as an activity having the elements of compassion, empathy. Great step with innovation can save the lives of people who often die breathing toxic gases emanating from the sewage pipes.

Social impact

Although in 1993, manual scavenging practice was banned, it is still very prevalent and continues to claim lives. According to Socioeconomic and caste census 2011, 182,505 households in rural India with at least one member doing manual scavenging , According Wilson Magsaysay award award winner , 2016 says as per the study carried out by his organization revealed that around 1.6lakh manual scavengers in India, But the government figures are much lower, also 99 % of them who are involved in this activity are Dalits. The apathy towards this class of people still continues unabated and the government gives less priority to rehabilitate them. The innovation by Genrobotics is a great step in the right direction to protect the interest of these peoples. The “Bandicoot” semi-automatic robot can replace the manual scavenging jobs and in future, it can save many lives which otherwise could have lost if allowed to continue without any respite.

A sample survey of manual scavengers(A Summary of documented cases submitted to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment )

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Manual scavengers who left manual scavenging after sample survey and awaiting for rehabilitation

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Manual Scavenging : A Real measure of progress as a society

imagesIn spite in last 65 years since independence , we as a society still lives and breathes the old practices of treating , discriminating people on the basis of caste and creed, The old practice of Dalits as a marginalised community being who are being heckled and brutally treated still continued without any change . We all are living in a highly technocratic environment with more advances in technology happening everywhere across the world , we as  a nation is largely following the trend of a free flow of information, access and use of technology to improve one’s life for better. But I feel  so ashamed that we as a society still feels the same in the way we treat marginalised communities like Dalits.  They are still being allowed to all those menial and risky jobs like manual scavenging , I heard no politicians   expressing  in strong words against this decade-old practice , we call ourselves as an empowered society who knows how to fight for their rights . But so far society has not stood to fight against the practice of manual scavenging.

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Bezwada Wilson and his movement Safai karmachari Andolan

Bezwada Wilson from Karnataka a Dalit by himself  stands apart , he   has started  Safai karmachari andolan which fights against the manual scavenging , the removal of human excreta using their hands  and disposing the waste to disposal sites by  carrying  it on their heads, sometimes their predicament is so bad they have to get themselves immersed in sewage canals for long hours to drain the waste from it, they often  involve in this activity  in bad light with lesser oxygen to breathe , by putting their own lives at huge risk . But we care very less about the plight n of such people who daily fights for their lives  by scavenging the human waste to earn their living. Don’t we have a  better system still  in this country to dispose of human waste ?

Swach Bharath Abhiyan & Cess

Our  Govt takes pride in the Swatch Bharath Abhiyan  and celebrities from all walks of life openly promote the need  for having a toilet in every household , To build toilets  across the length bad breadth of this country we as a society is in fact paying an indirect cess to the govt  .  But we as a society never felt the importance of highlighting the issue of manual scavenging , No celebrities or the media has shown interest in stopping this practice and empower those people who are involved this activities generations after generation.  So-called sophisticated, elite or upper class treat those people with contempt , insanity.  When are we going to get way from the shackles of this oppressive system  of caste and creed create,  divide within the human beings?

Govt is the biggest culprit

The  2016 Magsasay award winner MR Bezwada Wilson is fighting for the cause of around 180,000 thousand households cleaning 79,0000 dry toilets in which mostly are women folks who deliberately pushed to this profession as hereditary , see the biggest violator is the successive govt  in spite of having constitutional rules and laws prohibiting this practice , but govt failed miserably to enforce the rights of this people.  The biggest irony is that this problem is faced not  by majority community , but a lesser cross section of the population who are very many minorities , who are sidelined . So their rights for a better living  don’t have much value for the society as a whole.  I think as a progressive society we should have collectively fight this practice , stopped by all means if anybody saw promoting this. It is shame collective as a society that we are still allowing this to continue even after having suitable protection under the constitution for a decent living with dignity and respect. As per the 2011 census shows , UP tops the chart with more no of dry toilets.

 

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