AMMACHI Labs’ - Emergency Youth Education (Life Enrichment Education & Vocational Skill Training for Young People in Emergency Situations)
AMMACHI Labs empowers young people and communities in emergency situations through customized education and skill development courses.
What problem does your innovation solve?
Obvious challenges in rural India include poverty, remote locations, low literacy and education, inadequate resources, cast, creed, color, sexism, sexual abuse, sanitation, drugs, and alcohol. Many communities are prone to disasters, and in emergency situations the challenges magnify. Education and skill training along with disaster preparedness/response are necessary for both young and old, but such opportunities are limited, costly, or unavailable in local communities and regional languages.
Explain your innovation.
AMMACHI Labs has developed innovative delivery models for education, skill development, and community driven approaches to learning. Our innovative smart classroom and customized, multidimensional, interactive tools enhance learning and skill development, even among the least exposed and educated members of society. Specialized interactive audio-visual mediums help even low literate users understand the contents, expectations, and end product of the training. We use haptic devices for students to engage in hands-on skill development activities that simulate real-life situations.
We have created E-Content for vocational trades and life enrichment education courses in areas such as: Assistant Plumbing, Fabric Painting, Artificial Jewelry Making, Soap Making, Tailoring, Neck Tie Making, Composting, Hair Styling, Tiling, Two Wheeler Servicing, Mushroom Cultivating, and Toilet Building. We have developed social democratic awareness courses for women on topics such as Alcoholism, Human Trafficking, Child Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence, Right to Information, Legal Awareness, Human Values, Women’s Health, Nutrition, and Sanitation. We teach vital skills such as basic banking, digital and financial literacy, using the internet, and availing government schemes. We empower women and girls. Our courses are available in 10 regional languages, and have been deployed in over 50 training centers across 21 states in India. We have trained over 5000 women and students.
Young people and especially girls benefit from the development of new courses and content customized specifically for them in emergency situations. They are transformed into digitally competent, well-trained members of society; confident; equipped with new skills to engage in productive income generation; with dignity and a new found camaraderie among fellow trainees. Families and communities also benefit from the new skills, income generation, productivity, and knowledge acquired via the training. The life enrichment education transforms lives. Knowledge of threats and opportunities, coupled with democratic participation, make for richer lives and societies. The dedicated focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment particularly benefits women and girls, who as caretakers uplift their entire families.
How is your innovation unique?
The quote below by Ms. Lise Grande of UN India is a testament of our unique innovative work.
“AMMACHI Labs has the most creative way of empowering women. Of all of the projects which the UN funds around the world, this is the one dearest to our heart. It’s the one we are most proud of. And it’s the one that we intend to take to the rest of the world so that they can learn from what you have achieved.”
We have unique experience developing and deploying our customized Vocational Training and Life Enrichment Education in remote and impoverished communities in India. Our long term community driven focus, free training, and blended learning approaches are unique. Our innovative combination of multimedia tools is unique. Our focus on empowering entire families and communities is unique. Our programs combine many activities that are the sole focus of other organizations; for an effective wide-scale intervention that truly transforms lives.
What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?
We don’t know when and where emergencies will strike and for how long and with what intensity, and how many people will be affected. We do not know what complications may arise in deployment to disaster sites. In developing new courses for young people in emergency situations, we don’t know the particularities of where and when the courses will be needed.
We just know that we will have developed E-content and courses using our usual community driven approach to learning; with our interactive tools to enhance learning and skill development; customized for a young audience in emergency situations; with some gender focus; to be available in different languages; for deployment even to the most inaccessible regions after disaster strikes.
Tell us more about you.
AMMACHI Labs is an academic and research center at Amrita University that brings an interdisciplinary approach to addressing societal challenges. As part of Amrita University, we stand out as a cutting edge research facility and social outreach platform. Our parent NGO, Embracing the World, is a global network of regional humanitarian organizations inspired by the India-based humanitarian initiatives of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. We welcome opportunities for new partnerships/collaborations.
What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?
Other (please specify in next question)
Emergency Setting - Elaborate
Emergencies are not predictable. They can happen anywhere at any time. In response to disasters globally, Embracing the World (ETW) focuses on rapid response and extensive long-term rehabilitation. AMMACHI Labs participates in relief efforts independently or as part of ETW. The setting may be in India in any village where AMMACHI Labs works. Or it may be in a completely new community in India or elsewhere globally. AMMACHI Labs must be prepared to intervene for either a short term or long-term.
Where will your innovation be implemented?
Chancellor of Amrita University, Amma, has inspired charity projects in more than 40 countries. This worldwide humanitarian movement is expanding daily; and any emergency situation globally may be targeted for intervention, and AMMACHI Labs may be called to provide training. However, initial deployment of this project may be most practical in rural India where AMMACHI Labs already has in place a social and technical infrastructure for training projects. This includes 21 states across India.
Experience in Implementation Country(ies)
Yes, for more than one year.
AMMACHI Labs’ parent NGO is Embracing the World; a global network of regional humanitarian organizations inspired by the India-based humanitarian initiatives of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. Embracing the World exists to help alleviate the burden of the world’s poor by helping to meet each of their five basic needs: food, shelter, healthcare, education, and livelihood; wherever and whenever possible. We are especially focused on helping to meet these needs in the aftermath of major disasters.
I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.
Sector Expertise - Elaborate
AMMACHI Labs specializes in developing innovative content and delivery models for education and skill development courses. We successfully completed a series of women’s empowerment projects with UN agencies to deliver our smart classroom and skill training courses. We are currently running a project to introduce innovative syllabus and new teaching methods in rural schools. We are well prepared to develop new innovative content and courses for youth, especially girls, in emergency situations.
Roll-out/Ready to Scale: I have completed a pilot and am ready or in the process of expanding.
Amrita University, Amritapuri, Kollam, Kerala, India
How has your Idea changed based on feedback?
The feedback from our team members and the OpenIDEO community helped us to clarify the details of our new program. Preparing our user experience map helped us to get a better understanding of the needs of end users. We began to understand even more clearly that the next step in our growth, development of our vulnerability mapping exercises and toolkit will be most essential to understand the specific vulnerabilities in the communities that we serve and to devise solutions to address them.
Who will implement this Idea?
Our team at AMMACHI Lab headquarters will execute this idea. Our team includes over 100 persons, ranging from our Director, and other university and management officials, a research and development team, a content team, technical teams responsible for the various courses, engineers, writers, artists, designers, translators, our deployment field officers, our vulnerability mapping research team, our community facilitators, etc. All are full-time workers.
What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?
We have explained the challenges in the communities that we serve. Our end users face the same challenges, key among them are poverty, remote locations, and heightened vulnerability in disaster prone environments. The impact of specific challenges vary in the different communities and among different users, but poverty may be the greatest challenge. Our vulnerability mapping toolkit, once developed, will help to determine the biggest vulnerability factors affecting the end users in the different communities.
How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?
AMMACHI Labs is a research department within Amrita University; and our parent organization is a global non-profit organization. We are constantly engaged in research, and we create innovative educational tools and skill development solutions to uplift communities; which are also marketable for business. We actively seek business partners who are interested in our devices. We used our rebar-bending simulator, to devise an innovative training method for India’s largest construction and engineering company. Our other tools can be scaled out for use in enterprise.
Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?
(1) In 5 years we hope to have scaled out to many more communities and collaborated with many more partners in new ventures, training thousands more people in India and the world, directly impacting their lives and communities, understanding their vulnerabilities and constantly devising new solutions for empowerment.
(2) The biggest hurdle relates to the development of our vulnerability mapping toolkit; as we are now only in the early stages and software development.
How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?
We are currently working with a two-year framework, where we have planned the numbers of communities where we wish to intervene, the number of training programs we will roll-out in these communities, and the number of trainees who will participate in the training. We always meet our targets. In research and development, we have set certain deliverable targets and goals within certain time-frames, and we work towards meeting those deliverables and targets within the established time-frames.
What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?
Specific project timelines and goals for AMMACHI Labs’ - Emergency Youth Education have not yet been determined.
My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:
Between $100,000 and $500,000 USD
How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?
Over 50 paid, full-time staff
Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?
We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.
How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?
What do you need the most support with for your innovation?
Business Development / Partnerships Support
Understanding User and/or Community
Other Technical Expertise