What kind of challenges do you face while working and how do you solve them?
Answer: One of the major challenges of Smile Foundation is the difficulty in finding the right professionals such as doctors, teachers, project managers and community workers to work in remote areas.
Also, retaining these professionals is another major problem as dealing with development issues is a serious, long-term and complex endeavor.
As corporations make up the majority of our resource pool, one of the challenges is bridging the gap between the output-driven expectations of corporates and the results-based impact that the social sector is designed to deliver. Generally speaking, in a growth sector, input does not always equal output.
There are so many subjective processes and consequences that need to be understood and appreciated.
The social impact of a project on the ground cannot be measured immediately and completely in statistics, but is rather long-term and can be seen in the changing behavior patterns and habits of a community.
However, following the CSR mandate, as corporates become increasingly involved in development initiatives, they are also beginning to understand the dynamics of the social sector.
Even though our economy is growing and the income level of individuals is increasing, the culture of giving in the country is still in its infancy.
It will take time for Indian society to wake up to philanthropy, but the scenario has started to change and hopefully will get better in the years to come.
This sector is suffering from lack of trust so changing the perception of people is another big task which we are facing. A major challenge in our region is the lack of regulation and organization.
Sometimes, we have to work in an imperfect environment. Although things are changing now, it will take a little more time to get perfect.
Self-government can be a solution for the development sector. Smile Foundation has always been very specialized in following and promoting the practices of Good Governance.
Question: What are some emerging technologies that will further shape education, healthcare and livelihoods in the next 4-5 years?
Answer: The next few years are going to be interesting for these sectors from the point of view of developing technology. Tracking mechanisms, for efficient delivery of services and measuring the impact of the program on the ground, are going to be more robust.
Organizations operating in these areas can also optimize operational efficiency and enhance results thanks to advanced and innovative technological solutions.
Education will witness new online technology for teaching and learning. There are also possibilities of monitoring tools to see the real time performance of the students. Amidst many innovations in healthcare, virtual consultations with super experts will be a reality even in remote areas. Efficient tracking mechanisms for specific diseases are also within reach. The skill and livelihood sector will benefit from providing in-demand skills and better employability mapping.
Q: What have cloud technology and AWS helped you do that you couldn’t before?
Answer: Cloud technology and AWS have helped us to use data effectively. With the help of Salesforce, we are able to track, manage and build effective engagement solutions for our support providing regular updates and information and on the other hand, AWS provides us with a useful means to host our donation platform which ensures better security. This enables us to reduce costs through continuous optimization and effective use of resources in the long run.
In addition, cloud technology has helped us manage our youth employability skills training program called STEP more effectively across India. In health care, the beneficiary management system is smoothly managing the patient database.
At Smile on Wheels, the mobile healthcare program, we are managing the supply chain of medicines across India with the use of cloud technology.
Education Scholarship Management System has made the entire process of student enrollment, evaluation, scholarship and funding distribution for students from primary school to engineering. We plan to take on some more infrastructure on AWS in the near future.
We are confident that this will help us achieve resource optimization soon.