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Business News/ News / India/  Waste management solutions company among finalist for Social Entrepreneur of the Year award
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Waste management solutions company among finalist for Social Entrepreneur of the Year award

Starting eight years ago recycling a few hundred kilograms of dry waste, the company is currently collecting and recycling 2000 metric tonnes of waste per day in across seven cities

Photo for representational purpose onlyPremium
Photo for representational purpose only

NEW DELHI: An urban waste management solutions company and a venture that looks at training youth for leadership roles are among the finalists for this year’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year award selected by the Schwab Foundation and JubilantBhartia Foundation.

The two and another, that has been working for a decade towards bringing affordable and accessible healthcare to the doorstep of communities in India with the aim of achieving zero mortality, were picked from about 100 nominations and applications received from more than 23 cities across India.

The finalist will be named on Thursday and given the Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award by Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles, Smriti Irani.

For Ashraf Patel, who heads the New Delhi based Pravah and ComMutiny, and who has been working with the youth and preparing them for leadership roles, the nomination this year is the second in a row.

“It feels good because it underlines recognition to this work on youth leadership," she said. Pravah, established in 1993, was launched with the idea of focussing on issues of discrimination and conflict resolution within communities particularly social conflicts in society, Patel said. “We felt social conflicts particularly around discrimination and identity based discrimination can and will not be addressed unless we work on mindset change," she said. This was also the reason to work with children, adolescents and the youth “at the time when they are formulating their identity, their definition of their own selves and their connection to society," she said. Pravah also supports young social entrepreneurs and incubation in the social arena led by young people.

ComMutiny which was formed in 2008 works on the idea of making collectives out of organisations like Pravah, Patel said.

At present Patel and her team were working on building a coalition called “Vartaleap" that works on the idea that every youth is an awakened and active citizen with every space – at home, school and others – contributing to nurturing the young leaders called “jagriks," she said.

For Ahmedabad based Sandeep Patel who helms NEPRA, the nomination for the SEOY Award means that “waste business is being recognized and what we are doing is coming into the mainstream."

“Even though waste management from the outside looks simple, its very complex because its people driven, its highly dynamic in nature," he said.

Starting eight years ago recycling a few hundred kilograms of dry waste, NEPRA is currently collecting and recycling 2000 metric tonnes of waste per day in across seven cities, Sandeep said. The challenge for NEPRA has been creating the infrastructure besides aligning people and local bodies towards the idea of waste management which includes collection, segregation and recycling. The onset of the covid-19 pandemic has ironically helped people focus on the need for waste management and keeping the environment clean, Sandeep said adding that changing the mindsets of people – individuals as well as authorities like municipal corporations -- has been the biggest challenge. In the last two years, NEPRA has successfully recycled 67,108.93 metric tonnes of dry waste. Dry waste piling up in landfills and elements of that leaching into the soil are facts that people are yet to be fully aware of, he said. “The scale of the problem is huge" he said adding that this was a space that could do with more entrepreneurs.

The third finalist was the Kolkata based iKure led by Sujay Santra which has been prioritising primary healthcare, wellness and prevention services through innovative technology. Trained frontline community health workers and a network of clinics try to reach basic health care services across rural, semi-urban and urban environments. The “social enterprise" as it describes itself on its website, combines technology intervention, skill development and outreach initiatives and has so far reached 10.2 million people in 5,200 villages across 7 states.

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Published: 25 Nov 2020, 07:27 PM IST
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