From entrepreneurship to education, the IIC's six 2016-2017 projects touch on a range of key development priority areas. The projects launched in August of 2016.
We are continuing one of the 2015-2016 education projects with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF). An IIC team is working with the state of Rajasthan to build their education department's capacity to make data-informed planning decisions and ultimately to improve learning level outcomes across the state. In the first year of our partnership, Project Associates focused on reforms in primary education. In the second year, our new cohort is taking best practices learned from year one and applying them to secondary schools.
MSDF SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
We have a new project with two education-focused social enterprises in Delhi that are funded and incubated by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The social enterprises are pitching specific projects to the IIC team. Each project includes a discrete problem that the social enterprises are facing which is inhibiting their ability to have impact. If there is a match between the Project Associates' skills and experiences and the social enterprises' needs, the IIC PAs commit to being "entrepreneurs in residence" devoted to resolving that specific issue.
The Delhi Government and IIC are keen to solve the city of Delhi’s pollution problems through policy, advocacy, technology and research. Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world with poor air quality seriously impacting health outcomes for its citizens. While momentum is gathering towards tackling the issue, there is still a long way to go before the problem is solved. IIC is partnering with the Delhi Government to work on new initiatives in air pollution and solid waste management aimed at reducing pollution levels in Delhi.
The IIC has a new rural economic development project with the Irrigation and CAD Department (ICADD) of the government of Telangana. This project is part of the new Tata Centre for Development at UChicago. ICADD is repairing water tanks in mass across the state to improve access to water for irrigation. An IIC team is helping agricultural communities maximize benefits of this increased water supply by developing a local infrastructure to ensure proper management of tanks and fair distribution of resources. The team is also helping educate farmers about the benefits of diversifying crops and connecting with alternative markets to sell goods at more competitive rates. The University of Chicago is also conducting an evaluation of the project to assess the environmental impact of the water tank rehabilitation project.
We have a health care project with Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) of the government of Karnataka. This project is part of the new Tata Centre for Development at UChicago. An IIC team will assist SAST in the implementation of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a government health insurance scheme for families with income levels below the poverty line. The scheme's objective is to reduce these families' out of pocket expenditures on health and increase their access to healthcare. Project Associates will support data analytics, recommend improvements to the enrollment campaign based on research findings, and help increase awareness about free health insurance to improve access to affordable health care across Karnataka. The University of Chicago is also conducting an evaluation of RSBY in Karnataka to evaluate the impact of RSBY on health and economic outcomes.
IIC has partnered in a consortium with the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and Ernst & Young (EY) in a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded project called "S3 Andhra." The consortium is working in three riverside "pilot towns" in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari District to design and implement a number of sanitation improvements, focusing on Fecal Sludge Management, with the goal of transforming these municipalities into models of total sanitation that the rest of the state (and country!) can follow. Simultaneously, other team members are working in Vijayawada, the state capital, to provide operational assistance and support the state government in developing and scaling up sanitation policies on a statewide level. IIC team members are based both in Vijayawada and in the three pilot towns of Narsapur, Palakol, and Kovvur and work closely with their colleagues from ASCI and EY, as well as with municipal officials and staff from the Swachh Andhra Corporation.
In addition, a Project Associate is partnering with the University of Chicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) and leading an effort deploy water-quality sensors into the Godavari River to develop a cost-effective and system to monitor water quality.