Resource constraints are the primary obstacles in the path to development. To a layman, resource constraints could simply mean a lack of funds. However, this could not be further from the truth. To channel and utilise funds effectively, skilled manpower is a necessity. A significant section of the development sector has woken up to this reality, giving rise to a number of volunteering and/fellowship initiatives. These programs are designed to provide skilled human resources to organisations and at the same time, to be challenging and intensive learning experiences for the fellows/volunteers.
(IDEX cohort 2011; Image Courtesy IDEX)
‘The IDEX fellowship is a 10-month program that offers professional, cultural and social immersion into the field of social enterprise for college graduates interested in launching a career in the sector. Fellows are strategically placed to work with entrepreneurs to develop a blueprint for change. Fellows work in enterprises that span across five focus areas:
- Market Knowledge & Insights
- Strategy & Operations
- Business Development
- Innovation & Sustainability
- Impact Assessment & Analysis
The IDEX program was launched in 2010 by Gray Matters Capital (GMC), a private operating foundation based in Atlanta GA (Founder, Bob Patillo). The foundation first identified a need in the marketplace to invest in the ecosystem of supporting services and businesses. This would help deliver financial services to the world’s underserved with greater scale and expanded social impact. The IDEX fellowship is a key program component in GMC’s mission to transform the lives of the poor by researching and co-creating initiatives with partners to build sustainable, replicable business models.
With an initial focus on Affordable Private Schools (APS) in Hyderabad, 2012 will see this program expand to two other cities, Bangalore and Mumbai, to include Social Enterprises under its purview. Relatively new to this sub-sector of development, IDEX began looking for partners to assist in the fellow management process. Enter Atma.
Since its founding, Atma has hosted over 120 volunteers from 29 countries. Skilled volunteers are one of the four basic services provided by Atma to its partner organisations. Atma’s goal in building the Volunteer Program was to support partner organizations by providing much needed services, while also providing volunteers with incredibly relevant and challenging work experience opportunities in a supportive environment, both personally and professionally. Through a combination of local and international volunteers, this program aims to identify, nurture and harness talented human resources.
Collaborating with IDEX (GMC) seems only natural at this point. They are two different programs with one common goal-to positively impact the development sector through an exchange of experience and expertise.
Combining our talent pools to create a common cohort of intelligent, sensitive and courageous change-makers is a unique opportunity. IDEX’s expertise in the area of affordable private schools can compliment Atma’s knowledge of NGOs to create a mutually rewarding experience.
Atma has engaged over 120 volunteers since our founding in 2007.