Of the 162 countries listed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Global Index in 2019, India ranked 115th. With a score of 61.1 on the index, the country struggled in achieving almost all the SDGs. A similar state is indicated by Niti Ayog’s SDG India Index as well.
According to the government think tank, India faces multiple challenges in several sectors of development, ranging from health to nutrition, education, sanitation and infrastructure.
At the 11th edition of the Dasra Philanthropy Week 2020 held on 28 and 29 February, the focus was on finding solutions to these challenges - that could help accelerate India’s performance on global Sustainable Development Goals index (SDG index). The event, hosted by Dasra –a strategic philanthropy organization, focused on climate change, urban transformation, technology, and adolescent’s empowerment – brought together renowned philanthropists and key stakeholders from the development sector.
Together, the invitees – including Gagan Sethi of Janvikas and Centre for Social Justice; Srikanth Viswanathan of Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy; Apar Gupta of Internet Freedom Foundation; and Rohini Nilekani and Paresh Parasnis of Piramal Foundation – discussed and deliberated on the core challenges relating to India’s performance on the SDG index and presented a strong case for focusing on vulnerable geographies, populations and sectors.
“Philanthropic efforts have been critical in improving India’s performance on multiple development indicators. However, when we go deeper and move beyond national averages, it is clear that significant pockets of vulnerable populations still require support,” said Deval Sanghavi, co-Founder of Dasra.
He added, “By focusing on these populations and driving work at a systems level, a massive untapped opportunity exists for philanthropist to transform India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity.”
Deval’s suggestion surrounding the need to focus on the vulnerable populations of India, is supported by the India Philanthropy Report (IPR) 2020, co-created by Bain & Company and Dasra. The report, which was launched over the weekend, identifies segments that pose deep-rooted systemic challenges based on the following dimensions of vulnerabilities: Focus on the most vulnerable populations, focus on the most vulnerable geographies, and focus on the most vulnerable sectors.
“IPR 2020 makes a case for philanthropy to focus on the most vulnerable by considering the need and opportunity for investing in aspirational districts (vulnerable geographies), adolescents (vulnerable populations), and sanitation (vulnerable sectors),” says the official release.
In addition to the report and the various panels and discussions, the DPW2020 event also saw the launch of the Ab Meri Baari (Now, it’s my turn) video, which captures the journey of amplifying the voices and demands of girl champions. These young achievers, who were a part of the nation-wide Ab Meri Baari campaign – an initiative to create normative change and drive social accountability through communications and advocacy – also spoke during the event, talking about their lives, aspirations, and the impact of being heard by decision makers through social audits.
“I am 19 and all my friends are married. The dreams they had - to become a teacher, sportsperson, or doctor - were not fulfilled. Everyone was getting married and I was asked why I wasn’t. I wanted to become an artist and that couldn’t happen because there were no teachers in my school,” said Deepa Rani Bagti, Girl Champion and Peer Educator, Child in Need Institute.
She added, “We have all benefited from the Ab Meri Bari (AMB) campaign, especially me. There are teens who dream of becoming a Kalpana Chawla or a Saniya Mirza and they can, if we support this campaign, we can change history.”