IDFC Foundation, the biggest infrastructure think tank in Asia with a dedicated advisory team of more than 350 people, currently trains over 10,000 civil servants in management and structuring of PPP projects across the nation. Its youth connect programme ‘In Our Hands’ was launched two years ago and it has received a good response. Animesh Kumar, co-CEO of IDFC Foundation, tells FE’s Abhishek Chakraborty they aim to reach out to 1 million youth in the next three years with this programme.
IDFC is planning to go to 15 cities throughout the country and intends to connect with the youth. How do you think this is going to help?
The campaign ‘In Our Hands’ is an opportunity to make the development debate more inclusive and engage the youth. ‘In Our Hands’ is the medium that will bring youth perspectives to decision-makers and simultaneously increase awareness of the deep and systemic challenges that we face in India. The campaign is focused on building a movement for greater participation and ownership of the development agenda by our youth.
Last year you went to five cities and your topic was education. How was the response then?
We started ‘In Our Hands’ to understand how the youth would react to it, and we received an overwhelming response. Buoyed by our initial success, this year we have extended our campaign to cover 15 cities.
What is your Masoom initiative all about?
Night schools form a critical delivery mechanism for marginalised populations who are unable to attend day schools for various reasons—and this is what Masoom initiative is all about. In this fiscal, we expect to double the number of night schools to 30 and increase student enrolment to 2,400 students from 1,467. The long-term plan is to help Masoom extend its coverage to all the 200-odd night schools that exist in Maharashtra, which will cover about 25,000 students.
Do you intend to extend the programme to other parts of the country?
We’ll need to examine the institutional framework available in the various cities that will support such an intervention. One of the goals of IDFC Foundation is to capacity-enhance civil society organisations and keeping in line with our mandate we’ll be keen to work with NGOs and governments that want to leverage our learning. One area that we could evaluate is the various adult literacy campaigns. However, our immediate focus is to show proof of concept in Mumbai and then expand.
What about your other