FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
The co-founder of Gram Vaani, Aaditeshwar Seth, started his journey to rural empowerment by trying to bring Internet to the rural regions of India during his PhD. Soon he realized that just availability of the Internet will not empower the rural regions. It will also need right content on the Internet, ability to create content easily, and literacy among the rural folk to create the right eco-system. While sustained technical efforts to address the former two, addressing illiteracy is a daunting task.
His realization coincided with the Government of India setting up a licensing procedure to enable non-profit organizations to start running CR stations. CR stations by nature do not require literacy. In addition, with right motivation, such stations can be crucial in providing locally relevant information to its listeners. He returned to India and brought four others together (including me), to work on enabling CR stations in India. GRINS is a result of this effort.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
GRINS has been deployed at 15 CR stations across India. It will be deployed at 4 CR stations in South Africa by 15th September.
Being a tool for CR station staff it directly impacts their work flow and efficiency. CR stations have found playlist scheduling, generating reports, and handling telephone calls easy to do. Arti Jaiman, station manager at Gurgaon Ki Aawaz had this to say about GRINS:
"The GRINS content management and telephony system has allowed our community radio station, to seamlessly broadcast 22 hours a day, which includes daily live telephony sessions handled by community reporters. Despite none of our reporters having a technical background, they have been able to easily grasp the fundamentals of preparing playlists, scheduling live sessions, and managing rapid fire phone-in programs, because of the deceptively simple user interface of GRINS."
GRINS answering machine system was used by one CR station to collect information about children not attending school for various reasons. The station then aired the same information and encouraged the parents to send the children to school. The station was able to bring school drop outs to zero through this effort.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
Within the next 3 years we intend to have a large scale presence in Africa and South America. We also intend to build teams of technical people to enable low cost installation and support in both these continents. We intend also to make GRINS open source to enable others to contribute in making GRINS more robust and relevant for CR stations.
Our continuous effort on GRINS also includes building SMS capabilities and advanced IVR capabilities to enable greater community engagement.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Enable more community participation through GRINS than current state
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Make GRINS a viable choice for CR stations in Africa