By Digital Empowerment Foundation
Published on: June 15, 2023
The beauty of a sustainable and holistic enterprise is that everyone engaged with it benefits from it, constantly learns and grows throughout the journey and most of all expands its reach by providing better opportunities for more people to be involved in a cause. The Smartpur project has proved this time and again.
Smartpur is a rural entrepreneurship-based model designed to create ideal smart villages in India. The entrepreneurship-based model helped us to create a niche for sustainability from the beginning of the project. For the projects to be sustained, certain metrics and standards need to be set from project identification and implementation through baseline and feasibility studies, formulation, design, funding, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and the right amount of training and capacity building as and when required by the staff.
The design of Smartpur is such that, once the centres were established keeping in mind the above metrics, one of the most crucial parts was to identify people who have the knack to be social entrepreneurs and willing to serve the community at large. Once the right identification is made, half the battle is won. After selecting such people across all the locations of Smartpur (Barabanki, Nuh, Bharatpur, Alwar, Ghazipur, Visakhapatnam, Chirala, Kollegal, Choutuppal), Smartpur centres were established which provides services to the community on six pillars- health, finance, governance, education, livelihood, and entertainment.
Setting a great example of sustainability, the centres in Ghazipur have been generating continuous revenue and serving the society simultaneously. The spoke coordinators were always the entrepreneurs who were provided with the assets initially, post that from the revenue that they generate, they usually take care of the daily running cost of the centres. So far, the coordinators not only successfully generated enough revenue for themselves, but they in turn hired staff for the smooth functioning of the Smartpur Centers, thus providing more employment opportunities. Some examples from these centres are worth understanding.
Jalalabad Smartpur Centre
The centre was initially taken up by one coordinator, Pramod, who used to provide all the services to the community by himself. Gradually, he upskilled himself enough to impart continuous training and capacity building and now he has hired three more people for the smooth functioning of the centre. People who help him are all his salaried staff.
Dullahapur Smartpur Center
Kalicharan was the only individual taking care of all the pillars in his centre. Post the new set of learnings, he hired two more teachers to help the students coming to his centre. Santosh Gaun and Aryan Sharma, help him in teaching the students which are managed in the morning and evening in batches.
Vikrampur Smartpur Center
Initially Abhay Singh, managed the centre single handedly, post the community mobilisation and awareness about the centre, his centre saw huge footfall. Therefore, to manage and provide better services to all, he hired Kishan Kushwaha to help him in teaching students.
The Smartpur centres in Ghazipur, sustained themselves and in turn created employment for others too. The constant training, capacity building and refresher training helped them to upgrade their knowledge and in turn provided enhanced opportunities to the community. This establishment was possible due to the mix of system, structures, plan, resources, laws and regulations and other mechanisms put together. The constant effort of the social entrepreneurs to serve the society has been the driving force.