Students from Harvard University will head to India this summer to work with various govt and non-profit organisations such as the Planning Comm, Gujarat admin and Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) on areas ranging from healthcare, agriculture to micro-financing and disaster management.
The University’s South Asia Initiative (SAI) has partnered with about 30 organisations based in India, providing its undergraduate, post-graduate and research students an opportunity to work as interns for 6-10 weeks in cities like Ahemadabad, Bihar, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune as well as villages across India.
Organisations where the students would be working include the Cancer Patients Aid Association, NGO Pratham, World Wildlife Federation – India, Teach for India, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, National Alliance of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) as well as the Planning Commission, the government of Gujarat and IIT Mumbai, SAI said.
The students would be required, among other things, to make business models, conduct policy research and analysis and work on innovative healthcare solutions for the organisations.
Internship at the Planning Commission would “familiarise” the University’s post graduate and research students with the “overall process of planning at the country’s apex body including formulation of Five Year Plans, Annual Plans and their appraisal”.
The students would be attached with different divisions of the Commission.
Working with the government of Gujarat, the students would focus on projects in areas like human development, agriculture, infrastructure, employment, governance and disaster management.
Through New Delhi-based research organisation PRS Legislative Research, students would get an insight into the legislative process in India.
“The interns will also attend one session of Parliament during the 2011 Monsoon Session” to be held in July-August.
For SEWA, the students would prepare a business plan to upgrade its Community Learning Centres into Business Development Centres.
They would also help SEWA in preparing a mechanism for setting up and managing new funds to support the organisation’s clients and households, especially “the poorest of the poor at the bottom of the pyramid”.
For NASVI, the students will work with legal experts in developing a model bill aimed at protecting the rights of street vendors as well as design kiosks and model markets for new types of vending structures.
SAI said after returning from the internships, students would have to submit a written/multi-media report detailing experiences of their internship.
Launched in 2003, the Initiative facilitates scholarly exchanges among Harvard faculty and students and visiting academics and prominent public figures from South Asia.