Creating jobs and livelihoods is the biggest challenge for any country, more so for India with a huge demographic dividend where lakhs of youth are hungry for work.
Sensing this, Social Ventures Partners (SVP) India, a non-profit organisation founded in 2012, has decided to focus on sustainable livelihoods for social transformation.
“There are individuals and organisations who have been doing their bit to help people get an opportunity to lead productive and meaningful lives. The SVP has made its mission to cultivate effective philanthropists, strengthen non-profit organisations and invest in collaborative solutions and strategies and tackle social challenges at a faster pace,” said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of SVP India.
The SVP India is a part of SVP International, founded in Seattle, the U.S., in 1998 to promote venture philanthropy with 3,400 partners globally.
Former Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan founded the SVP India in Bengaluru with the goal of enabling one million sustainable livelihoods in India by 2022 through the Million Jobs Mission (MJM) across healthcare, farming, manufacturing and service sector.
Degrees sans skills
“The focus on vocational courses/trades has been lacking in our curriculum and they are not marketed well. The obsession with degrees sans skills has made our youth mostly unemployable,” Dr. Natarajan said.
The SVP supports 42 skills that include gym instructor, medical assistant, office assistant, tailoring, beautician, digital literacy, communication skills and others that are in demand in the service sector through various NGOs.
“Growing unemployment and under-employment can be a recipe for social unrest and disaster. Hence the SVP’s focus on Million Jobs Mission,” he emphasised.
In the last four years, the SVP has expanded to Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata. These chapters support NGOs that have been doing good work through grants, capacity-building and networks. “We now have 200 partners who are mostly business leaders and philanthropists, and hope to have 1,000 partners in 20 cities by 2022,” he said. The SVP has impacted over two lakh lives so far and its goal is to increase it five-fold in four years.
The SVP also supports aggregators who motivate youth and integrate skill-providers. Most importantly, larger social organisations have been identified to scale up work through the power of SVP’s research, and the wisdom of its partners, Dr. Natarajan told
Explaining SVP’s philosophy, Dr. Natarajan said it’s venture philanthropy that requires both time and money of its partners
to ensure sustainable change. “We are not a cheque-taking organisation. The key enablers of the SVP process are our partners, high quality NGOs and social organisations who were chosen through a curated process and the consortium partners who support us with research and finance,” he said.
For instance, Youth4Jobs founded by Meera Shenoy in 2012 has grown to be the country’s largest organisation with 24 skilling centres across 14 States providing placement-linked training to the differently-abled. It has helped corporates bring diversity and inclusion at workplace and society. The SVP is partnering with Youth4Jobs to increase its impact from 3,000 jobs per year to 10,000 jobs per year in five years.
Ms. Shenoy said India’s demographic advantage can turn into demographic disaster if youth are not skilled and equipped to find employment and livelihood opportunities. “With the SVP’s collaboration, we hope to have a strategy and capacity building to scale up our placements of people with disabilities,” she added.
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