The Bridge Project

Why does one want to solve problems in the society? Our mind is a river and these problems around us are like rocks which obstruct its flow. When the mind-river get obstructed, one cannot live in peace. Some rocks smaller, some bigger, some huge. This article is about one such huge rock that affected me 4 years ago and how I tried to alleviate this obstruction. My name is Dhananjay. I am 37 years old, an engineer by profession and I also has spent 20 hours a week for last 4 years trying to solve some problems around me. I co-founded an NGO (non-governmental organization that is not-for-profit), Joining the Dots Foundation predominantly run by volunteers.

Problem

Around late 2015, I was browsing through MHRD website reports to understand the state of education in India. I learned about the ASER reports there. Out of curiosity, I went on to read through the entire ASER (Annual School Education) website. The reports that I saw that day had a very deep impact on me. Probably a little less today than that day with best hopes that our efforts will change this condition. One of the findings in the report said 40% of Grade 5 students cannot read Grade 2 text books. Continue reading “The Bridge Project”

2 Stars for that for that pothole!

Do you even remember how many times you have seethed in rage over a huge portion of your street being ripped open for laying some wire or pipes only to be never closed again? Or when the public works lays a new road on top of the existing one repeatedly such that your front gate is now below the road level? Or when the storm water drains fail miserably during heavy rain? Or how about going to government office to get any work done?  Getting your pension or birth or community certificates, almost any government service under the sun has always been irritating in our country, irrespective of the party in power. You have to admit that even when your favorite political party is in power, these blood boiling irritations remain.

Now as a Product Manager, I have to think a lot about user experience, i.e such as ease of use, how quickly and efficiently the user’s objectives are accomplished. So we’ll have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and objective metrics to track Continue reading “2 Stars for that for that pothole!”

Zero to 1: Private Governance as a Service

By the turn of this century Africans will constitute 40% of the world’s population. At approximately 1.3 billion people Africa’s population is presently lower than that of China. Over the next 80 years that will change in an incredibly massive way. Whilst this transformation happens, something else equally impressive will be taking place; Africa will be urbanising at unprecedented levels. Almost 20% of the world’s urban population will end up living in African cities; that is some 2.5 billion people. Whats more, at that point in history, Africa’s total urban population is likely to only be 60% of its population versus ~86% in the U.S. today. I believe it’s urbanisation and population growth story will likely persist into the 22nd century; with population growth beginning to slow as Africa becomes more affluent, but with urbanisation likely continuing to be fairly rapid. In many ways the story of Africa over the next two centuries will be one of existing cities growing into mega-cities on the one hand, and completely new cities being built from scratch on the other. Lagos is expected to grow into a city of ~100 million by 2100, up from ~20 million today. Lusaka, where I live, may grow into a city of >30 million by 2100 up from ~3 million today. In both cases I’m doubtful that municipal or central governments will be able to finance the infrastructure rollout required to make such growth in populations sustainable. Financing the growth & the existing deficits at the same time would prove to be an insurmountable challenge. Rather I believe that the private sector will be the means by which the growth of city populations in Africa will be made not only sustainable but rather—possible. The alternate reality will be urban sprawl that consists mostly of shanty cities. A future I believe most people in Africa would prefer not to see unfold. Continue reading “Zero to 1: Private Governance as a Service”

No good excuse to deter #MeToo

So the MeToo wave has finally crashed our shores in India and we are starting to see many famous celebrities getting hit by this wave surfed by some brave women. News channels are discussing these celebrities, people are writing about celebrities are who are exposed, some are shocked, some don’t want to believe anything. But the point of view of everyone whether they support or hate the movement, the MeToo movement from when it picked up steam in Hollywood to its recent strong arrival in India is somehow still largely viewed as a phenomenon that affects celebrities and some of the critics of the movement describe it an as a movement that only gives voice to the urban elites.

And there lays a big problem of this perspective, Continue reading “No good excuse to deter #MeToo”

#MeToo in India

I am disturbed by the number of posts in the social media against various celebrities be it a minister or an actor or a lyricist or a musician in the past week or 10 days. This is not a very good sign of civility in public life if the news feed is in fact correct and it is time to act against such persons whoever be them. This does not create any aspersion on the genuineness of the allegations made but a detailed investigation only can bring out the truth and the malady surrounding these instances can be addressed through coercive or legislative pronouncements.

On going through the history of such incidents, Continue reading “#MeToo in India”

Changing Education and Jobs

Consistently across the world, the criticism continues to be with the education system existing in every country. The education system that was established to help the Industrial Revolution era find skilled ’employees’ to make or maintain or handle men and machines. The same system still manufactures “graduates” in batches, eligible to work in Industries for wages. Historically, the system was established to aid the Capitalists and the Industrialists, and not the individual growth. Though many economies and governments have tried to amend it to serve both midst populist promises, however, it has hardly made a dent.

Continue reading “Changing Education and Jobs”

The difficulty in discernment of Truth

We, humans, have had challenges in identifying the Truth throughout, but never before have the challenges been so tall and so complex than the coming days. Today, the intellectual capacity necessary to filter the falsity and curb the ‘fake news’ is rather very high. Earlier, we could just point at a print for proof of facts, but today, the falsity is so profusely mixed in an uncommon unusual proportion that our education doesn’t help us to tackle this future. Thanks to the magnification tool of Internet’s social media and it’s organizational ease, now we can communicate rumors at a speed so much faster Continue reading “The difficulty in discernment of Truth”

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