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Special Edition: Miller Center Social Entrepreneur Alumni on the Front Lines of India’s COVID-19 Surge

With 400,000 cases and 3,000 reported deaths per day, India’s latest COVID-19 surge highlights the human cost of a massive systemic failure. Miller Center’s alumni social enterprise partners are stepping up in the wake of this systemic collapse and not only providing frontline care to save lives and slow the spread, but working to build a more resilient and inclusive system that can better care for the diverse needs of India’s most vulnerable populations.

We invite you to learn more about the important work of these Miller Center alumni social enterprises and to support them if you can.


Sujay Santra, Founder & CEO of iKure explains, “The second wave of the COVID pandemic in India has created a huge catastrophe in India’s public health system with a major crisis in the availability of hospital beds and oxygen deficits in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. The challenges are even greater in semi-urban and rural areas that already suffer from poor health infrastructure. With each passing day, the referral hospitals are overwhelmed with case overload. iKure and the other social enterprises highlighted here are providing innovative solutions to meet this crisis head-on.”

iKure is seeking US$300,000 to fund olfactory tests and to distribute 2,500 medical kits to enable underserved rural communities to participate in remote monitoring.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, iKure has screened and treated close to 100,000 patients. They are now working with a partner to launch an FDA-approved Olfactory Test, which helps early detection, especially in asymptomatic people. They plan to conduct 1 million tests in the next 30-45 days.

They are seeking US$300,000 to fund these olfactory tests and to distribute 2,500 medical kits to enable underserved rural communities to participate in remote monitoring. Contact iKure to donate.

Sevamob is looking for partners (government agencies, corporate CSR, employers, NGOs) who would like to deploy their COVID-19 intervention in additional areas.

Sevamob uses its AI-enabled platform to offer COVID services to customers throughout India, including prevention campaigns, medical advice via telehealth, onsite screening and testing, COVID treatment, referrals for critical patients, and patient data management and analytics.

Sevamob is looking for partners (government agencies, corporate CSR, employers, NGOs) who would like to deploy their COVID-19 intervention in additional areas. Contact Sevamob to discuss.

ClickMedix is looking for social businesses that want to scale their impact through technology — better data collection, analysis, and workflow automation plus AI/machine learning.

ClickMedix, in collaboration with AI Macromed, a UK company, deployed the  “AiM COVID-19” app, which is being used for improved patient monitoring and intervention to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare system in India. This work is being done in collaboration with Dr. Vishwesh Kulkarni (University of Warwick) and Aarogyam UK, a community interest company based in Leicester, UK. Through Aarogyam UK, ClickMedix has an opportunity to work with over 25,000 volunteer organisations in India across 11 states. The focus of this work is on a village-to-district level healthcare system. It spans (1) predictive monitoring and isolation of medium-to-high-risk individuals, (2) tracking the amount of resources in hospitals, and (3) assigning patients to the most appropriate clinics nearby.

Partnerships will be welcomed. ClickMedix is looking for social businesses that want to scale their impact through technology — better data collection, analysis, and workflow automation plus AI/machine learning. Contact ClickMedix to discuss.

Other healthcare social enterprises in Miller Center’s network are responding to the crisis and building more robust healthcare systems in India, including:

  • Noora Health collaborates with health systems to provide medical skills training which positions family members as the cornerstone of patient recovery in facilities and at home. Learn more and donate here.
  • CareNX
  • CareNX provides personalized healthcare solutions built for every hospital and doctor’s requirement. They just launched a self-monitoring solution for pregnant women with COVID infections and high-risk pregnancies that has already saved one life just before Mother’s Day. Learn more in this touching video.
  • Ziqitza Health Care Limited is committed to meet international standards of quality in Emergency Medical Services and be accessible to everyone regardless of their income bracket. Their ambulance network is working to transfer COVID patients to medical facilities.
  • DIVOC Health has developed a state of the art medical diagnostic laboratory bringing digital innovations into the laboratory segment and is developing an infectious diseases hospital and vaccination center in Delhi. Learn more about their COVID-19 test kits.

Beyond the health issues, the surge in India is taking a toll on organizations and communities already battered by over a year of fighting the pandemic — depleting cash reserves and draining energy and other resources. Yet throughout the crisis, social enterprises have stayed resilient and continue to support those most in need with information, education, access to markets, and livelihood opportunities.

Miller Center alumni social enterprises supporting these vulnerable communities include:

  • India’s number of out of school children is expected to double as a result of the pandemic. Ignis has educated nearly 4,000 students through online learning engagements in poor and marginalized communities and has trained over 600 teachers in online teaching platforms. Hear more from the students in this video. Learn more here.
  • Rural communities are disproportionately affected in this second wave due to lack of access to digital tools and information for COVID protection and vaccination, in addition to supply chain and job disruptions. Frontier Markets is leveraging its trusted rural distribution network of Sahelis to deliver rations and COVID information, and to coordinate vaccinations. Frontier Markets is seeking funding and partnerships. More info here.
  • Video Volunteers uses its network of community correspondents to amplify stories and seek resolution of local issues, notably the Indian government’s failure to prepare health facilities over the last year. Learn more through these videos. Video Volunteers seeks Hindi-speaking volunteers. More info here.
  • The CEO of Pollinate Group issued this passionate appeal for support of their small business owners in marginalized communities. Learn more and donate here.
  • Katha has partnerships with nearly 2,000 schools and began their COVID response by publishing a book on COVID prevention and care in five languages. They are now focused on helping students without devices stay connected to school, while providing relief to their staff and communities, many of whom are either infected or caretakers. Learn more and donate here.

As India faces this devastating crisis, please consider supporting these Miller Center social enterprise partners working tirelessly to slow the spread and support vulnerable communities.

Published Research

Catholic Sisters as Faithful Agents of Sustainable Development

Seeking new ways to express their mission in the world, Catholic Sisters in Eastern Africa are learning and applying social entrepreneurship principles in service to local youth and women. A partnership of the Association of Consecrated Women of Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship has deployed a curriculum of practical learning to mentor the Sisters in developing the skills and strategies for launching and growing social enterprises. Even though this initiative is just in the pilot stage, the Sisters have a bold vision for scaling by engaging a substantial portion of the 30,000 Sisters in this region.

Participating Sisters perceive social entrepreneurship to be a new form of social ministry that is fully consistent with their religious vocations and the missions of their congregations. They are launching social enterprises in the agricultural, cooperative, and education sectors. They bring many personal assets to this work, including relatively more education than many African women and a lifelong commitment to serving the poor and vulnerable in society. They have a deep understanding of the obstacles to development in their local communities, including the role of dependency. They are able to leverage the high levels of trust that local people have in their congregations, and thus lead them toward enterprise-driven economic opportunity.

This study is informed by the vision of Wangari Maathai for African development and analyzes this initiative through the lenses of trusted leaders, honest institutions, and strategies to overcome dependency. Data was collected from Sisters and the Miller Center team, in Uganda and the United States. Equipped with social entrepreneurial leadership skills and inspired by their faith, Sisters can fulfill their vision of leading inclusive and sustainable development in Eastern Africa.

Download the Catholic Sisters as Faithful Agents of Sustainable Development pdf

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Media Mention

“We can find our way around any barriers”: The women driving change in Myanmar’s energy sector

If there was ever a mountain to climb, Myanmar’s energy transition represents the Hkakabo Razi of all challenges. With just 50% of the country able to access reliable power, mostly in urban areas, aggressive and ambitious solutions are needed at scale.

And if ever there were talented and energetic mountaineers to scale this challenge, some of the most courageous and successful include an emerging cadre of private mini-grid developers. And, in what might be a surprising twist for the traditionally male-dominated engineering world, Myanmar is leading the way with women energy leaders that are boldly pioneering rural electrification solutions that will, if they prove to be sustainable, transform Myanmar into one of the most successful decentralised energy countries in the developing world.

Continue reading on medium.com

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