Values and the way its valued: Brief overview of Pecha Kucha Night #20 (Part-II)

Last week , saw the 20th volume of Pecha Kucha Night Delhi, held in the campus of Adianta School for Leadership and Innovation. The theme for the evening, ‘Value’ brought together people from various fields ranging from entrepreneurs, thinkers, lawyers and social workers. The eight speaker for the evening expressed their views, thoughts and perspectives on the topic. Here is a review of our first four speakers :

Daniel Radcliffe from Gates Foundation kick-started the evening by analyzing how economic development is largely about connecting people to platforms. For example, once
people are connected to an electricity grid, they use it for a range of applications, such as lighting their homes, operating a motor, and cooking their food. Once people are connected to a water grid, they can use it to access drinking water, wash their clothes, and irrigate their land. A critical “platform” in the development process is the digital payment grid  and he underlined how $1 in physical cash, disconnected from a digital payment system, has far less value than $1 that is sitting in digital form. When cash is transformed into digital form it is easier for people to move out of poverty. The cash digital conversion network does the same thing as a bank does like savings. Savings is a great way of moving out of poverty and helps protect the poor against shocks and is most useful when done in digital form rather than in cash. He states the example of Kenya where 90% of the people have their healthcare accounts which makes it easier for them to withstand a health shock and recover. A prepaid credit note in Kenya helps one to have access to clean water more easily as opposed to using cash. As a result of this, a school in Kenya opted for making everything cashless including salaries, government fees and other costs as digital footprint gives a better picture of cash flows and helps make payments on time. Money in South Africa is distributed to the poor in cash via trucks, however, if done digitally makes it less cumbersome. His whole point behind underlining the importance of digital payment, is to discourage corruption, bribery which has gripped a country like India. He concludes by saying although transforming cash into digital form will not solve all problems but it will accelerate the rate of people moving out of poverty.

Urvashi Prasad from the Dell Foundation delineated about inequity through social enterprise. We are all aware that most of the social businesses (or any type of business for that matter) is driven towards making customers happy, however economic value cannot be expected if social, cultural and political aspects are ignored. The investment market today in R&D is dominated largely by the Western world especially Europe and the US and India as a nation, hardly makes any contribution to R&D projects. Urwashi emphasize on the disparities in health amongst the developing and the developed nations and the inequity in the spread of tuberculosis between these two polars. India is a land of stark contrasting pictures, on one hand we have a slum in the city while on the other stands one of the most expensive malls. The theme of her presentation touched upon the idea of needs and motivation and how such drives make an individual to try different things. For example, a lady in a village takes a loan of 10,000 INR to build a toilet in her house not for better health and sanitation but because her son  gets married, the rationale for such an act is not personal hygiene rather personal drive. Another example she cited iterated  that some people in remote villages serve their guests clean drinking water and drink non-filtered water themselves. Her findings included that most people send their children to school for a midday meal after which the attendance ratio declines sharply. Economic value cannot be generated unless a company has happy customers and their multiple needs are addressed, hence it is important for the mainstream corporate world today to vouch for the environment and other CSR policies to be truly successful.

Isha Gupta from Halabol spoke about how value can be generated by leveraging technology. Social networking sites, today are the most effective and efficient tools for reaching out to a larger and global audience. Some of her findings includes that gender plays an important role in the kind of the social media platforms being used. For example, pinterest is more popular amongst women than men. She emphasised that social media is a great platform for discussions, debates, campaigns , petitions etc. It enables people from various backgrounds to come together for a common cause and address grievances more effectively. Social issues can catch a lot of attention through twitter and facebook, as a result of which campaigning becomes easier. It is also a great way of collecting funds for certain social causes or purpose, for example a few corporates in Delhi came together for a football match to raise money for an NGO called Make A Difference(MAD) based out of New-Delhi. Another initiative called Hacketorn, an app developed by Google to deal with safety of women used different social networking platforms to promote awareness. She concludes by speaking about how Halabol as a social media platform contributes a great deal towards creating social value for intense discussions and debates

Our next speaker for the evening, Shashi Singh spoke about value generation towards society by economic empowerment of women through her organization called CWEI
(Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs in India). CWEI is an economic empowerment body in  South Asia which works for the poor and marginalized women and helps them overcome poverty through self-help initiatives. The organization helps these women create savings by generating livelihood for them. It works for the needy and poor from the grassroot level, helps them find a market and accordingly, products are manufactured and sold to generate revenue.Their products are promoted and marketed at trade fairs and other art galleries in the city. She talks about IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) and how the organization aims at protecting the creativity and innovation of these people. Agricultural and handicrafts products are protected  through copyrights patents. Exchange of skills and trade in this global world is an important aspect and adds value to this income generation activity. They run many exchange programs in South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan for transfer of skills and technology. She spoke about the youth exchange programs where people from different countries like, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan participate and make use of the opportunity to showcase their work. Such fairs bring together people from over several countries and includes delegates from the ASEAN nations and the European Union network. India has invested a lot on trade and investment in Bhutan and Afghanistan and has started the women enterprise program. She concludes her presentation by stating that design innovations markets are more easily linked to enterprises on a global level which has contributed immensely in alleviating poverty on a larger scale.

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