Anudip Foundation - Livelihood Initiatives Through Knowledge

Anudip Foundation - Livelihood Initiatives Through Knowledge

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Anudip aims to bring new IT related job opportunities to rural parts of India that have not experienced India’s IT prosperity. Through imparting knowledge-economy skills and generating sustainable livelihoods, it is Anudip's goal to train and secure jobs for 100,000 unemployed women and youth by 2020. This will be reached through an integrated market and job-focused training program, dedicated job placement services to graduates, entrepreneurship mentoring and financing, and employing Anudip's graduates in its business process outsourcing centers (referred to as MERIT centers).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the West Bengal state of eastern India, where Anudip works today, absence of development initiatives and industrial growth, coupled with poor soil quality, rising sea levels (particularly in the Ganges delta region), annual cyclones and consequent flooding result in limited livelihood opportunities for marginalized people. Inhabitants of these communities, historically agrarian, are being forced to look elsewhere for essential income. The lack of opportunity leaves people with no alternative but to survive in acute poverty or migrate into urban centers in search of employment. Anudip operates training centers in rural and semi-urban areas of West Bengal, and is looking towards expanding to rural Bihar, Karnataka and elsewhere. Anudip delivers its training program through training centers operated in partnership with NGOs spread over 90,000 sq km containing 90 million people, roughly 8% of India’s population. Anudip transforms people who have had no previous exposure to computers into skilled employees earning $5 per day on average, three times their livelihood capability otherwise. These marginalized youth and women come from disadvantaged and minority communities around West Bengal. Anudip’s target group includes men and women of poor rural communities aged 16 to 30, who have at least a secondary (grade 10) school education and who are motivated to improve their own livelihoods through IT skills. While not limited to them, Anudip makes special effort to bring in women, Muslim and other minority and often oppressed communities into its training programs. Engagement efforts require a multi-faceted approach. Mobilization is done on a center-wise basis, with different techniques employed in each individual community. Partnerships with local NGOs provide Anudip with valuable connections into sometimes hard to reach target groups. Anudip often works in politically volatile regions to offer alternative livelihood opportunities. Areas in West Bengal that Anudip operates vary greatly economically, politically, culturally, and historically. This diversity requires unique solutions to serving individual communities. One example is Metiabruz, an impoverished slum and Muslim minority community south of Kolkata. Working exclusively with Muslim women in the community, Anudip operates a training center and MERIT Center, providing local employment for women who had no previous opportunities to work outside their homes. Anudip now employs 40 Muslim Women from Metiabruz in a centrally located MERIT center who provide professional IT services to global clients, earning a viable income for themselves and their families.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

There are a few vocational IT-training providers in India, however they are located primarily in urban areas. What makes Anudip's approach entirely unique is that it aims at providing these services at a marginal cost to rural youth and women, and providing employment opportunities in areas where they previously do not exist. Unemployment is a very big problem for young men and women in rural India. As agricultural work becomes less viable as a source of family income, they are left with few alternatives. Anudip sees huge potential in these young people: with 2-3 months of skills development and job placement assistance, its graduates demonstrate a transition from unemployed with unpredictable futures to professionals ready to enter the modern work force. In most cases they quickly become the highest contributing working member of their family once they are employed. The most differentiating factor about Anudip's initiative is that IT enabled livelihood opportunities can be created from within the local, rural community. Three reasons make this a reality: 1. Market Aligned skills Training allows Anudip to train its students for jobs in their local areas 2. The entrepreneurship development program allows rural people to start IT enabled micro-enterprises in their communities, raising not only their own incomes, but increasing local economic activity. 3. The business process outsourcing centers provide local employment opportunities without forcing employees to migrate to an urban center.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Anudip brings new economy livelihoods to rural and semi-rural youth and women in India through its Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) program. The course curriculum is developed in conjunction with local employers out of their job-skill needs, and equips its students with the knowledge and confidence to secure jobs in their local communities. MAST is a well-developed training methodology of the American India Foundation ( that is adapted, customized and implemented by leading skills development organizations, including Anudip, across India. Through its chain of rural training centers, the MAST program provides integrated courses in IT, spoken English, workplace readiness, soft skills, entrepreneurship, accounting, resume writing, and job interviewing. Courses are designed to provide students theoretical and practical knowledge of basic and advanced computer skills that are aligned to needs of IT-enabled employers. MAST provides a base of knowledge for Anudip’s graduates to gain permanent incomes in three main areas: 1. Formal Job Placements: Anudip's placement staff works with employers to quickly place its graduates in IT-enabled and mainstream jobs in back-office, customer service, retail, telecom, government, healthcare, business process outsourcing (BPO), microfinance, tele-calling, and other areas. 2. Micro-entrepreneurship: Anudip’s Developing Rural Entrepreneurs through Adoption and Mentoring (DREAM) program empowers its graduates to start their own IT-enabled businesses. DREAM provides entrepreneurship training and high-touch mentoring in addition to the MAST curriculum. Graduates are assisted in starting group-based micro-enterprises and facilitated with leased computer equipment. The business owners are provided continuous mentoring during the business incubation phase with guidance in planning, marketing and budgeting. Anudip continues to monitor the business's progress and provides on-going support to help it grow. 3. Employment in Anudip's Mass Employment through Rural IT (MERIT) Centers: Anudip's MERIT Centers employ its graduates to offer low-cost, high-quality BPO services to global and domestic clients. MERIT Centers deliver a range of IT services, including data entry, digitization, data scraping, accounts preparation, database creating, video tagging, image editing, and other revenue producing projects. Anudip currently operates three BPO centers in West Bengal and plans to replicate them in second and third tier towns across India. These initiatives help reduce the adverse effects of migration of rural people to the city by upskilling unemployed people and bringing jobs directly to them. Hence, Anudip is allowing people who are geographically dispersed to learn new skills and tap into a marketplace of IT job opportunities. Anudip envisions enhancing its current programs with partnerships with technology companies such as eBay. Anudip has identified many linkages between eBay and its own programs, especially from an employee engagement standpoint. With its portfolio of businesses, such as Microplace and the Global Citizenship Program, eBay is aligned to Anudip’s mission of bringing people together to create a marketplace. In Anudip’s case, it is focused on new skills and IT job opportunities. Anudip foresees a long-term partnership with eBay to provide access to an expert workforce in the following areas: -Deploying new technology -Enhancing Management Information Systems (MIS) -Monitoring and evaluation processes / impact measurement -Supporting of micro-enterprise growth through its DREAM program -Availing IT projects for its MERIT Centers
About You
Anudip Foundation for Social Welfare
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Anudip Foundation for Social Welfare

Organization Country

, WB

Country where this project is creating social impact

, WB

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Dipak and Radha Basu founded Anudip Foundation in 2006 after years of management and entrepreneurial experience with telecom, technology and social development organizations. Radha is widely recognized as a leading woman entrepreneur in technology companies and as a pioneer in the Indian software business. Dipak has spent most of his life employing technology in humanitarian missions worldwide. Both share a passion for IT and have demonstrated its ability to create opportunities in rural India.
While a Reuters Fellow at Stanford University in 2005, Dipak visited project sites of international nonprofit, Actionaid, in the Sundarbans region of eastern India. There he found the dramatic monsoon beauty of the estuarine mangrove eco-system counterpointed by stark poverty and absence of resources for 5.4 million farmers and fisher folk. Meetings with local groups strengthened his belief that people were poor because of absence of job opportunity and geographical remoteness.
To test this hypothesis, Dipak, in collaboration with Actionaid and Reuters, led an ethnographic study, which showed that economies of desperately poor and marginalized people can be impacted dramatically by increasing local employment. The study determined that the local level of education has not transcended the economic gap because of the lack of access to livelihoods other than subsistence farming, fishing and manual labor. After numerous interactions with the communities, Dipak and his team decided to embark on the novel idea of teaching IT skills in rural areas and Anudip was born.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

To date Anudip has trained over 5000 marginalized women and youth in West Bengal and maintained an 70% job placement ratio, with average monthly incomes of Rs 6000. These new livelihoods have increased incomes to about $5 a day on average and impacted over 30,000 people (5,000 graduates, average family size of 6). This creates increased saving and purchasing power, which in turn further enriches the communities in which Anudip works. Prior to starting training, students are counseled to develop a baseline against which their progress and economic change can be measured. Concrete metrics used to track training success include breadth of courses, number of students trained, gender breakdown, number of students placed, percentage of students retained in employment after 3 and 6 months, and change in family income.
Since the DREAM (Developing Rural Entrepreneurs through Adoption and Mentoring) program began in 2008, Anudip has incubated 30 startup business units employing 75 micro-entrepreneurs. Anudip conducts high-touch business mentoring and consequently the number of successful startups is increasing rapidly. Success of the DREAM program results in successful entrepreneurs irrespective of gender, religion, or age, new jobs created in small towns and villages, socio-economic uplift of the community, and increased number of women and minority owned businesses.
Anudip’s MERIT Centers began in 2010 employ 60 Anudip graduates, including graduates who have moved on to supervisory positions. MERIT has been successful in expanding its client base to academics, corporations, governments, startups and non-profits worldwide. Anudip has become increasingly self-sustainable using proceeds from MERIT operations. Success of MERIT Centers results in spread of IT-based prosperity to small towns and villages, reduces urban migration, and generates New Economy jobs in non-urban locations.
Ultimately Anudip’s success depends on the degree of economic empowerment it can impart on its graduates. This success comes in small increments through achievements that happen every day. One moment Anudip staff treasures most happened when a rural graduate who previously would not look trainers in the eye, ascended the podium at an anniversary celebration and said, “Before Anudip’s training program, I did not know I could dream. Now I have a voice. I have a business. I will not be married to the highest bidder. I have a place in life and I have made place for others.”
Anudip is looking for partners who can help increase its ability to make an impact. A big area for further enhancement of its programs is in the area of monitoring and evaluation and impact measurement. Anudip seeks a partner such as eBay that can assist in capturing, assessing and documenting the success of its skills development and job creation programs and creating processes for future evaluation.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001- 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

In 2011-2014 Anudip aims to directly impact 15,000 livelihoods in India. In total, its skills training and job creation will impact over 90,000 individuals in this period. As operations in West Bengal become sustainable, we will expand into Bihar, Karnataka and elsewhere. Anudip’s MERIT Centers will expand along with skills training, and MERIT will employ an estimated 1000 staff at outsourcing centers across multiple states. Surpluses generated by MERIT outsourcing centers will create full sustainability of an operation aimed at impacting these 90,000 lives. In addition, Anudip will expand its management team and board of directors, enhance its monitoring and evaluation processes, train MERIT employees in new projects, and engage more international volunteers and partners.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The following are inherent barriers and Anudip's solutions to overcome them:
1. Lack of electric power: lack of electricity as well as rolling power outages in rural areas can seriously hinder the learning process. Anticipating this, Anudip invests in backup generators, UPS and inverters. Anudip is exploring the possibility of solar and other alternative energies.
2. Lack of motivation of rural youth: Some young people with no formal employment exposure tend to lack ambition, which affects their confidence. Anudip integrates role-play into its curriculum, creating a space in the classroom for experimentation. Students are not judged, rather they work together to improve their individual skills.
3. Unfamiliarity with work environments: Having not had formal work, students require knowledge on professional etiquette. Things as simple as riding an elevator up a multi-story building or talking to a receptionist can be daunting, so Anudip works hard to make sure its students know what to expect in professional settings.
4. Poor English skills: Many students come to us lacking basic English skills. Anudip teaches spoken English with a practice-based approach where students do their best to speak on the first day of class and learn from interacting with their peers. Despite different levels of English knowledge, students work together and network between themselves to supplement the lessons presented by the trainers.
5. Infrastructure: Anudip's unique model of operating its training centers in partnership with community-based NGOs eliminates the need for investing in dedicated infrastructure.
6. Political Disruption: By operating its training centers in partnership with community-based NGOs, Anudip is able to expeditiously carry out its mission as India goes through enormous social change, resulting in political turmoil.
7. Credibility in rural areas: Many times Anudip will operate in communities where credibility is not automatically forthcoming. Partnership with local NGOs who have worked within a community for years and even decades imparts Anudip with a sense or reliability and ability to reach into rural regions.
Anudip believes strongly in disruptive innovation and the notion of a holistic approach to development. While Anudip works in livelihood development and job creation, it is looking for partners that are creating new, innovative market-based solutions to other challenges in the communities in which they operate. For example, organizations providing an affordable, alternative energy would be an ideal partner given electricity poses a big challenge in rural areas.

Tell us about your partnerships

Anudip has built a model for operating its training centers in partnership with local NGOs. Local NGOs provide infrastructure, which minimizes Anudip's operating costs. Anudip currently works with 20 NGOs across 3 districts in India.
Anudip partners with Cisco and Microsoft, which are instrumental in donating computers and enabling courses to be Microsoft certified. Partnerships exist with American India Foundation, Tata Trust, and Yale University.
Anudip wishes to enter into an active, capacity building partnership with eBay. Anudip is aligned to Team TOP's goal of engaging employees interested in dedicating their skills to social enterprises. It is no doubt that eBay would bolster Anudip’s credibility and increase its ability to make a stronger impact.

Explain your selections

Individuals: Individuals are encouraged to make donations to Anudip, registered as a 501(3)(c) with the IRS. Individuals can make donations to a specific Anudip program or to its organization-wide operations. As part of the Developing Rural Entrepreneurs Through Adoption and Mentoring (DREAM) program, individual donors are encouraged to give to Anudip's DREAM Fund which is directed to Anudip graduates who are starting their own businesses. These donations go towards equipment loans, and the entrepreneurs typically repay the loan within 2 years of continued business after which the money is put back into the DREAM program.
Foundations: Anudip partners with the American India Foundation, one of its key funders. AIF provides resources and monetary support for training and job placement. Through the Clinton Fellowship for Service in India, AIF also sends a young professional from the U.S. to work with Anudip for 10 months each year.
NGOs: Anudip's partnerships with community NGOs within are critical for its day-today operations in India. For its MAST courses, the partner NGOs provide necessary infrastructure as well as access into the target communities Anudip wishes to serve.
Customers: Anudip's MERIT Centers offer IT project services, which are actively marketed to clients around the world. MERIT Centers provide services including data entry, video analysis, digitization, database projects, desktop publishing, and video editing. Customers include academics, corporations, governments, startups, and non-profits.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

In the next 3 years Anudip will demonstrate sustainability and replicability in West Bengal. Full sustainability of an operation that has created 15,840 livelihoods and hence impacted 95,000+ lives (15,840 graduates with average family size of 6) in rural West Bengal in three years (by May 2014) through surpluses generated by its MERIT rural outsourcing centers. Anudip will demonstrate reliability by opening operations in one district each in Bihar and Karnataka in 2011, that has impacted 12,960 lives and created 2,160 livelihoods and attain 50% sustainability through surpluses from its local MERIT Center(s) March 2014.
As a modern social enterprise Anudip is committed to long-term sustainability. The attributes that encompass Anudip's sustainability approach in the next three years include:
-Earned Income Model: Anudip has four sources of revenue in order to achieve its goal of becoming sustainable within 3 years: Student course fees (about $10 per student), placement fees paid by employers, fees from training to external organizations, and IT services through MERIT Centers.
-Training of the Trainers: Anudip has Master Trainers and Associate Trainers who learn best practices from each other. Master Trainers conduct "training of the trainers" sessions.
-Hiring its own graduates: Anudip hires its own graduates as MERIT Center staff resulting in high motivation and low attrition rates.
-Value system: Anudip's work environment prioritizes growth and promotion. Its participatory management style encourages participation in strategic decision making at all levels.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Lack of skills/training


Restricted access to new markets


Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Lack of training - Anudip addresses this by providing Market Aligned Skills Training. We believe that a lack of applicable skills is a reason these communities have been neglected from the IT workforce. MAST is aimed at providing new skills, demanded by the local business environment, to unemployed youth.
Restricted access to new markets - Anudip provides its trainees the knowledge needed to be employable in emerging IT related markets historically only accessible in urban areas. We are creating a marketplace for new IT jobs in rural areas by bringing employers that see value in this new trained workforce.
Restrictive cultural norms - Anudip works with partner NGOs and students' families to overcome social obstructions which prevent rural minorities and women from gaining employment.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.



Other (please specify below)


Grown geographic reach: Global

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Anudip's immediate growth activity is expanding geographic reach within India. In 2011-2012 Anudip aims to increase the number of MAST centers it operates to 23 and establish two additional MERIT centers. The number of students graduating from MAST will grow from 714 to 3234, with an 85% placement rate and a 93% job retention rate. Additional MAST Centers will be opened in multiple districts of West Bengal. Centers will also be started in Karnataka state before March of 2012.
Secondarily, Anudip wishes to add vocational skill training areas and build competency in its MERIT staff. We will do this by developing new curriculum and courses, and cross training our MERIT staff through on the job learning.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Technology providers: Anudip has strong connections with IT companies that have provided technology equipment. Microsoft's partnership has also enabled Anudip's courses to become Microsoft Unlimited Potential certified.
NGOs/Nonprofits: NGOs provide necessary infrastructure as well as access into the target rural communities Anudip aims to serve.
For profit companies: Anudip works with for-profits for job placement purposes. To align its course curriculum to employers’ needs and help students be job-ready, Anudip keeps close contact with managers at some of India’s biggest IT companies.
Academia/universities: Collaborations with Stanford, Yale, Santa Clara University.