Acumen launched its first ever India Fellows Program this year. The Acumen India Fellowship is a one-year leadership development program for up to 20 emerging social professionals solving India’s pressing social problems. The inaugural batch of Acumen India Fellowship was a diverse one with fellows working in varied social impact sectors. Their initiatives included expanding access to affordable education, mobile health technologies, livelihoods for rural farmers and artisans, and soccer programs for youth in slum communities.
The Fellowship provides opportunity for the fellows to remain in their jobs while coming together for five seminars throughout the year. Following the graduation of the first batch, Acumen has opened applications for the 2015 class of India Fellows. The Acumen India Fellowship is supported by Dr Reddy’s Foundation and run by AF Trust.
Yourstory spoke to Bavidra Mohan, India Fellows Manager, to learn more. Bavidra was a part of the Acumen Global Fellows Program in 2011.
Bavidra shares that his global upbringing across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America has deeply influenced his career choices. He says “I was exposed to poverty at a very young age and hence the decision to work in the impact sector was never really a decision as such, it was more of an automatic path forward. I started volunteering with NGO’s around the world at a young age, and while I was inspired by the intentions and heart, I was left wanting for greater efficiency, impact and opportunity to scale. I realized that the challenges these organizations faced were actually business challenges – things like brand building, talent retention, cash flow management, etc. That is when I realized that the greatest potential for impact is at the intersection of business and social.”
Bavidra returned to Acumen 6 months ago to lead the Acumen India Fellowship program. The Acumen India Fellowship program is hoping to provide a platform for social change leaders working to solve the intractable problems.
Bavidra explains, “The Acumen India Fellowship is the perfect opportunity for emerging leaders and social change makers to stay immersed in their organizations, and the problems they are trying to solve, while simultaneously growing themselves as leaders, and becoming a part of an ecoystem to lean on and learn from.”
Talking about the structure of the India Fellows Program, Bavidra explains that it is fully sponsored, non-residential program, in which all 20 fellows come together periodically for 5 seminars for a duration of 5-7 days each.
The Fellowship year is broken out into 5 modules, including:
- Moral Imagination
- Adaptive Leadership
- Operational Skills training – Human Centered Design, Lean Start-Up & Financial Skills.
- Systems Thinking through a Learning Trip
- Wrap-up and Graduation
Here are the profiles of a few Fellows from the current batch:
Abbas Dadla: Abbas 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.
Ihitashri Shandilya: Ihitashri 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.
Abhijeet Barse: Abhijeet is the CEO of SlumSoccer, an organization that runs football programs for the most disadvantaged members of Indian society.
Vasumathi: Vasumathi works at at Indian Grameen Services (IGS), BASIX, a micro-banking solutions company with a mission of incubating innovations for pro-poor sustainable livelihoods
Ram NK: Ram is the Founder and CEO of Rang De, a platform to support low-income entrepreneurs access low-cost capital for education and health.
Sathya Raghu: Sathya is the 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.
The deadline for applications is September 1st. You can apply here.