Agrini: Digital Aanganwadis (government schools) are attracting rural children towards Education

Founder Agrini a non profit working in rural areas of central India, innovating for better education & sustainable livelihood for allName: gourav jaiswal : Founder Agrini a non profit working in rural areas of central India, innovating for better education & sustainable livelihood for all.
Organization: Agrini

Gourav jaiswal Born in Kurai village of a tribal block in Seoni district he went on to do his schooling in Seoni. Just like others, the lure of Engineering took him to Bhopal. While studying engineering in electronics and telecommunication, he got involved with a Volunteer group SWANS.

Helping the group in its formative years, he volunteered for education, teaching underprivileged children. His employment with two telecom companies as a Network Test Engineer, took him to remote villages in West Bengal and MP, to set up and test the mobile network there. This gave him a chance to see and observe village life in various parts of the country, and the plight of the education system there. His earlier tryst with volunteering and now the exposure to education in villages, made him believe that any permanent change in development of a place and its people, can be done through a radical change in schooling. The belief had to be tested on the ground. But the ropes of comfort and a growing salary held him back. FINALLY, one fine day he cut the ropes, grabbed his last pay packet and walked out into the unknown. Back in his village home, the challenge of imparting quality education to tribal children, stared blank at his face. Gourav decided to test his belief at the first level of education, the Anganwadis (pre-primary centers). He thought “Why can’t Anganwadis themselves attract children?”.
AGRINI started off as an organisation, transforming Anganwadis into nursery schools, using technology as a tool for teaching. The next week when the children arrived, their eyes sparkled in disbelief. Before them was a colourful house painted with smiling animals and flowers, and with lots of toys and a TV inside. They jumped to joy, when the TV started playing their favourite rhymes with animated cartoons. By evening, every child was singing the rhymes, a feat they could not accomplish even after a month of memorising. “The impact that was observed by these initial interventions in existing education system, motivated me to go ahead and try new experiments” says Gourav. Starting in Feb 2010, Agrini’s mission became ‘to bring education and awareness in rural areas as a tool to strengthen social and economic status of communities’. A three pronged strategy on Shiksha (Education), Swarozgar (Livelihood) and Swaraj (Governance) was designed to achieve the mission: The novice Social Entrepreneur had started learning and speaking the social sector vocabulary. His first experiment NEEV helped 21 Anganwadi centers become child friendly, and using video assisted learning for teaching. Neev laid the foundation for 2134 children directly and 10,000 children indirectly.

Since Govt primary schools were not too forthcoming to experiment, he started a Community School in his village. Agrini Public School caters to the educational needs of 115 children in tribal block Kurai in M.P. During this intervention, he found the adolescent and youth roaming around aimlessly, and ready to move to city as labor. He started knowledge resource centres called Shikshalaya to equip them with Computers skills. Three such centers operational in three districts engage almost 200 youth on daily basis. Inspired by Gourav, some of them got enrolled in Bachelor in Social Work course at IGNOU. This brought them directly into local governance by engaging with panchayats. Currently the youth groups are engaged in strengthening Gram Sabhas, parents-teachers associations, and monitoring MNREGA, by accessing MIS system through mobile phones. Agrini also started two rural enterprises; a) Shellac (natural resin) production and; b) an innovative backyard poultry using indigenous species. These enterprises gave home based livelihood to 150 villagers grouped in 12 Self Help Groups.
He belong to a tribal village, when he see tribal people depressed of basic rights like education, health and food it motivates him to do what he is doing. He is working in villages around the place he was born and everyday when he witness new problems people face it push him more. 80% people live below poverty line, malnutrition 45% , no health facility, schools not running, in such conditions when we witness a small positive change, it gives him and his team energy to work harder. At Agrini they believe in two ways of solving these problems first is elimination of poverty by generating more sources of earning livelihood which is a short term solution, and second is to prepare a strong value based education system which will make the upcoming generation self sufficient to take their community forward. He and their organization are working on the same lines, at one hand they are working with community and organizing them as SHGs and groups, connecting them to sustainable sources of income like organic farming, organic poultry etc. And on the other hand they are working with children and youth to support them earn value and skill based education. Gourav jaiswal have a deep belief that conventional problems in education system can be solved through innovative methods….!!

Few Awards and achievements till date
2013 – “Prerna Award” from IIM Lucknow & Network 18.
2012- Agrini model “Neev” has been accepted as Ph.D. research topic at Jabalpur university.
2012 – Round winner and grand finalist at Mahindra Spark the rise.
2012 – Selected as partner NGO for Vodafone World of Difference program by Vodafone.
2012- Completed Dasra Social Impact Program.
2011 – First prize in Social innovation competition “iPreneur” at Tata Institute Of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai.

Agrini- sustainable skills for sustainable development

Oct 30, 2013 in Citizen participation, Community development, Rural development, Sustainable development
‘AGRINI – Aims to chalk out a new path of development, by creating a generation of youth believing in sustainable development from rural areas.

Multimedia Learning for Children in India

May 09, 2012 in Early childhood development
We at AGRINI are working to evolve a new model for public pre-schooling which works with the existing government pre-K school (anganwadis) infrastructure. We have developed a model of multimedia learning, using discarded old computers to deliver fun and engaging multimedia curriculum packages we develop in-house. We have installed our systems and trained teachers in two villages Binjhawada and Darasi Kala located at tribal areas of Southern Madhya Pradesh, India.


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