15th March, 2022
XLRI- Xavier School of Management recently hosted the '5th Social Entrepreneurship Conclave'. The conclave, anchored by the Social Initiative Group for Managerial Assistance (SIGMA), XLRI was organized under the aegis of Fr. Arrupe Center for Ecology and Sustainability (FACES) in association with Destiny Reflections. The conclave sought to deliberate and have an enriching discourse over Rural Healthcare in Modern India and to create a platform for the exchange of ideas, challenges and their solutions among the speakers and the attendees by means of interactive sessions in the conclave.
The theme of this year's conclave was, ‘Strengthening Rural Healthcare in Modern India.’ The Conclave brought together social changemakers, pioneers and young dedicated social entrepreneurs hosting insightful discussions on the topic. The conference saw six esteemed speakers who have boldly ventured out of their comfort zones to bring tangible changes in the society. They have made significant contributions in areas such as Nutrition, Covid Relief and Rural Healthcare and Development.
The conclave was inaugurated by Dr. Anand Bang, Joint Director at Society for Education, Action & Research in Community Health (SEARCH), a non-profit of Maharashtra. He delivered the key-note address and covered the broad aspects of rural healthcare. In the context of identifying a problem and working towards the solution, He spoke about the need for social entrepreneurs to ‘go where the problems are and work to resolve them’. Dr. Bang shared his story about the inception and growth of SEARCH, the impact they have created in the rural communities of Maharashtra, and further elucidated on the need to find a cost-effective solution to bridging the gap in rural healthcare programs and implementations.
The first panel included discussions on the topics of ‘Bridging the last mile in Rural Healthcare.’ The speakers for the first panel were Mr. Sujay Santra, Founder and CEO of iKURE; Mr. Thulasiraj Ravilla , Founding Member and Director of Aravind Eye Care System; and Dr. Radhika Batra, Founder and President, Every Infant Matters.
The panel discussed how accessibility was a major problem when it came to rural healthcare, and how technology, while being a powerful tool, is not enough. They discussed the issues with logistics and how it was a major challenge in the healthcare sector. The conversation extended into how healthcare providers need to have the mindset to provide accessibility to the rural communities. The panel concluded as the panelists agreed that true transformation could only be brought by the young educated generations who can do a lot for their hometowns and villages. It is a continuous process which will take time, but the persistence will pay off. Perseverance is the key to success. Lastly they encouraged the budding social entrepreneurs as well as everybody present to do their bit irrespective of the field they were in.
The second panel was on the topic of Challenges in Achieving a Nutrition Secure India. The speakers of the panel were, Ms. Indu Capoor, Founder-Director of CHETNA; Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder of ARMMAN; and Mr. Jaydeep Mandal, Founder of Aakar Innovations.
Dr. Aparna discussed the importance of leveraging technology along with infrastructure and healthcare personnels in strengthening the nutrition profile of our nation. She also enlightened the audience about the renowned mMitra, free voice-call service that has provided preventive care information to around 2.6 million women so far. According to Ms. Indu Capoor, nutrition is not limited to food intake but extends to nurturing. She emphasized on the significance of spreading awareness along with empowering communities to tackle the problem of undernutrition. Finally, she believes that nutrition as a concept is complicated which requires the government departments and private players to converge across various levels to improve the nutrition indicators. Mr. Mandal focused on what are the challenges and how to identify them. According to him, challenges arise due to a lack of awareness. Often people are misled by religious and cultural beliefs which act as a hindrance from approaching a conscious healthcare mindset. He specifically focused on the plight rural women have to go through and the lack of menstrual hygiene awareness. He highlighted the various programs his organization has been spearheading to deal with the issue of menstrual awareness.
The Social Entrepreneurship Conclave highlighted the journeys of the speakers and the challenges that they overcame in their pursuit of bringing change to society. The idea behind the conclave largely rests on providing direction and hope to budding entrepreneurs from various walks of life and instilling in them the belief that no matter how distant and insurmountable their goal might seem, there have been individuals that found a way to realize their ambitions which have brought significant changes in the lives of others.