Innovation for Social Impact – WIN NewsletterJune, 2020 Vol.1 No.2
Welcome to this 2nd issue of the WIN Newsletter.
When we brought out the 1st newsletter, the Covid19
pandemic had very limited presence in India and we could not have then
imagined the huge adversity it has created worldwide and in India. In
India, it has brought about following:
Economic distress with severe adverse impact on employment, livelihoods, industry and small businesses.
of several millions of labour back to their villages and towns, and
even return back for work, which has put further stress on the
migrants as well as industry and businesses operations. Some of this
reverse migration can have also a positive impact, if the home
locations use skilled migrants for constructive work e.g. in water
conservation structures, as some states are trying to do.
sector’s attention and budgets have been majorly reoriented
towards emergency and sustenance relief with likelihood of lower
resources in the coming year for the other critical issues.
WIN Foundation’s chosen domains, (i)
Water and Sanitation and (ii) Maternal and Child Health, have become
even more relevant and critical. The coming onset of monsoon and new
agricultural season again brings to fore the water conservation needs
while the largescale dislocation, due to covid19, make mother and child
nutrition a major focal point in health.
Our new initiatives in these domains, with our partners, include (i)
nutrition through building community expertise and capacity, together
with microentrepreneurship, (ii) water conservation in a new
hydrogeological zone to prove extension of learnings from the PGWM
project in Kutch, an arid region, (iii) support for innovative products
introduction among poor communities for social impact through
Also in this issue, our Founder and Chairman, Mr. Chirag Patel,
talks about his vision for WIN, stemming from his background, his
sources of inspiration, success in industry and challenges for all of
us in social impact space.
We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter, and look forward to your feedback (email to email@example.com)
for this issue. We also invite contributory articles, case
studies etc. for future issues.
With Warm Regards
Director – India Operations
Interview with Mr. Chirag Patel
Founder and Chairman, WIN Foundation
Can you tell us a little about your thinking and vision to focus on
innovation and sustainability / scalability in social impact while
establishing WIN Foundation? Also about WHEELS as partner? Over last several years,
as we moved deeper into philanthropic activities, we clearly saw need
for innovations which can drive much stronger impact, say at a 10x
scale, and also be sustainable. Then we looked at how we can source the
innovations, and WHEELS, formed by IIT Alumni across the world, was
clearly best partner. WHEELS members have strong technology background,
and have strong connect with IITs as well as Tech industry across the
globe. We see this as a long term play, and hope to see such
relationships bring substantial benefits for society.
2. What were the reasons to select the two domain areas: (i) Water and Sanitation and (ii) Maternal and Child Health? We
saw very major challenges in these two highly inter-related domains,
almost across the country. We felt that if we focus our energies in
these two domains, we can achieve large and measurable impact. There is
a huge scope for innovations and innovative approaches in these two
domains, which we and our partners are continuously trying to take.
3. What are the major challenges you see for WIN Foundation to achieve its goals in next few years? The
major challenge will be to identify the right innovations in
technology, products, services and processes, to provide society
benefits at a much higher scale. We will also need to identify and
nurture, over time, the best teams and talent to plan and execute our
programs, both inside WIN Foundation and through our partners.
Please tell us little bit about growing up in India and then migrating
to the US at age of 20? What and Who all have inspired you towards your
work and achievements? While
growing up in India, the hard realities for major sections of society
does register very strongly on a subconscious mind. Later on, once I
achieved success in industry in US, this translated into a strong
conviction that it is everyone’s job to help tackle the challenges and
not merely that of government. Observing a much higher level of public
services and facilities in US, generated a desire that we should try to
achieve the same in India as well.
of my paternal and maternal Grandfathers were social workers in their
local communities and they were my major inspirations. Among the
leaders, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, with his vision and work in bringing
science and technology to solve common man’s problems, and Sardar
Patel, in terms of his iron determination, courage and conviction in
public life, have been strong beacons for me. Growing up near the
Gandhi Ashram, Gandhiji’s message to industry promoters to act as
trustees of their industry and wealth also had a deep impact on me. My
father, through his own work, instilled a strong sense of hard work,
honesty and integrity. My father and my wife not only encourage, but
also play an active role in all of our philanthropic activities.
5. Can you tell us a little bit about your current corporate initiatives? Amneal
Pharmaceuticals is involved in multiple community activities, in US as
well as India. This includes supporting job creation, schools and labs,
drug donations, support for green initiatives in US, while in India, it
includes several initiatives in health and education initially in
rural and tribal areas. On corporate side, Amneal
continues to be focused on delivering outcomes that meet important
medical needs, make quality medicines more accessible and more
affordable, and provide solutions for tomorrow’s health challenges. 6. You can also feel free to express your thoughts on any other aspects of WIN Foundation We
are committed to achieve long term scalable social impact, through
strong collaborations with like minded groups and organizations, to
bring synergy and momentum innovative approach to challenges.
Covid19 lockdown implemented countrywide since end of March, had a
serious impact on all projects, halting all field activities. In short
run, it has also led to near exclusive focus on Covid related distress
NGO partners have also supported Covid related relief efforts,
including sustenance food ration kits for marginalized families. WIN
made modest contributions to our partners for these efforts. We also
coordinated discussion between on how to make the kits nutrition
balanced, with good results.
and Child nutrition has become very important as bread-earners lose
employment, family incomes reduce, putting women and young children at
risk in getting critical nutrition inputs. WIN Foundation, through
multiple partners, plan to launch a project to promote nutrition among
urban slums through knowledge/awareness building among community,
creating ground level health champions as master trainers and
microentrepreneurship among community to provide nutritious food.
situation remains challenging, and only a widespread participatory
conservation effort, in both rural and urban areas, can reverse the
trend. Our partner, ACT has started PGWM in another hydro-geological
zone of Gujarat, with aim to apply the common approach / methodology to
develop model for different climatic and hydrogeological regions.
Innovations for Social Impact scheme has started showing results in
bringing innovative products and technology from promising startups to
rural/tribal or other poor communities through NGOs in close touch with
them. This aims to enable such communities to improve their quality of
life through understanding of such technologies and products.
As part of our outreach and collaborations, we partnered with IIT Gandhinagar in their Climate Action Now (CAN 2020) workshop series, sponsored by GEER Foundation, Government of Gujarat.
WIN Foundation was a Sponsor and Outreach Partner for this event, which
included a series of workshops, seminars and other programs on Water,
Energy, Ecology and Sustainability, spread over 3 months.
We also partnered with icreate, a Government of Gujarat incubator, in their EarthXHack 2020,
as a Network Partner for this event scheduled from 13th April 2020 to
3rd May 2020. On the 50th year anniversary of the EARTH Day, icreate in
partnership with the EarthXHack organised a challenge to all
innovators. The theme of the hackathon was COVID19 and post
Title : Participatory Ground Water Management (PGWM) Program
change, deforestation and population growth, have created water
availability and quality issues, particularly affecting the communities
with natural resource based livelihoods, like agriculture and animal
husbandry. Both surface and ground water have seen depletion and
degradation. Incidentally, even the water rich areas, i.e. those near
perennial rivers, near irrigation canals or regions with high rainfall,
have seen widespread problems of soil degradation and water distress in
summer due to inefficient use of water and outdated agricultural
Participatory Ground Water Management (PGWM) program in Kutch has
proven that participatory & trans-disciplinary approach to (i)
conserve surface water and groundwater in a coordinated and
complementary manner, and (ii) sound water usage practices, by
knowledge equipped stakeholders, can provide for present requirements
and secure their future as well. The intense participatory action
research in PGWM includes:
Institution and Capacity Building for sustainability through practice led training of village youth
into Bhujal Jankars, with practice based training on hydrogeology,
water budgeting and coordinating village level action, Farmer Groups
and Women’s Groups – formation / mobilization for cooperative decision and action.
Water Security Plans (WSP)
for 19 villages were prepared by Bhujal Jankars, detailing sources and
uses of water, population, land, cattle population, crops, topology etc.
Supply side projects
included: (i) Ground water recharge: in village water bodies,
river-bed, abandoned bore-well in farms (over 100 through the
program + over 250 by well off farmers through awareness building),
(ii) Desilting and repair for village water bodies, and ground water
recharge from excess water flow.
Demand Management Projects include:
Farming intervention support like drip irrigation, fodder crops, silt
application, SRI Wheat cultivation, bore-water metering, village level
STP plant etc. for water demand control.
Knowledge Management initiatives included: (i)
Field measurement lab at Bidada, with water and soil measurement tools
and protocols at lab as well as field level (ii) Building
extensive database through monitoring of water levels and quality, soil
quality, at multiple locations, and (ii) Standardization of Practices,
Protocols, Data sets and decision tools to develop a virtual Centre of
Excellence for water management for the Kutch hydrogeological region,
and with key concepts distilled to apply to other hydrogeological
In spite of a poor rainfall year, 12% deficit covered (3.32MCM out of
total deficit of 29MCM), with significant improvement in water levels
and quality. Significant reduction (10% to 50%) in groundwater TDS.
Good rainfall was used fruitfully to recharge water for coming years.
Community mobilization, enabled technology introduction e.g. low cost
water and soil testing in field and several demand side farming
Now, PGWM has been extended to the Khambhailya, Devbhumi Dwarka Dist.,
Gujarat, to apply the concepts and develop specific strategies,
practices and protocols for the Coastal Saurashtra hydrogeological
1. What have been your most satisfying outcome of the project personally for you? Personally I have felt satisfaction on 3 major counts,
First, as a geologist and a native Kachchhi, I have been able to use
education and knowledge to serve my own land and people to i) address
critical issue like water in an arid region, ii) create a platform to
transform complex science down to earth. Second, the knowledge
transformation process through Bhujal Jankars and their recognition for
resolving national groundwater issues is highly satisfying at being
instrumental to help to re-start our intergenerational knowledge
transformation culture. Third, we were able to prove importance of
groundwater knowledge centre like ACT, as a need of hour
for the society.
2. Your experience of working with WIN Foundation.
never felt that WIN foundation is donor agency, but felt that it is
motivational institution that guides and shows us directions which
really helps us to more strongly deliver on our vision of “empowering
community through people centric technologies”, by practically
introducing and connecting us with such technologies, technologists and
institutions e.g. IIT's. We are heartily thankful to WIN Foundation for
holding our hand at the right time during our journey, when we have
planned to demonstrate community operated Bhujal Gurukul in one of the
geo-hydrological sub regions of the state.
User/Government’s voice: Mr. Vinod Joshi, Block Development Officer,
Nakhtrana (earlier Taluka Development Officer, Mandvi Taluka)
I was TDO of Mandvi, we along with ACT have planned to recharge
our groundwater sources and we demonstrated this in Maska village where
our Taluka Panchayat office is located. The water, earlier, was too
salty to drink, it was hard to grow plants. After seeing the highly
positive results of these recharge activities, now we are planning to
spread these activities in many villages. Now I am BDO at Nakhtrana
block, and I will continue with such recharge activities in this block
also and will motivate farmers to take this activities based on my
participatory experiences of Mandvi block.
Venture Name : Parisodhana Technologies Pvt.Ltd.
is a platform created to develop solutions to problems facing the
mankind through applied research and affordable product development,
for social impact. “Team Parisodhana” is focused on developing
alternative technologies and affordable solutions with commercial
viability. Areas of interest include energy, health care and
Product : Neowarm Self Heating Blanket for Pre-Term Babies
2018 UNICEF records indicate *23 new born children die per 1000 live
births* that are recorded in India. Prematurity and low birth
weight is two critical aspects leading to mortality. As high as 50% of
the babies are reported to become hypothermic during transport, which
further leads to mortality in new born children. About 1 million new
born babies die worldwide due to this reason.
“Team Parisodhana” has innovated an air activated Self-heating blanket
for transporting pre-term babies from remote areas to hospitals. No
electricity or hot water or any external heat source required. This
enables keeping the baby temperature at required level for upto 8 hours
in a controlled manner.
With WIN Foundation support,
the self heating blanket has been tested in Gujarat, Telangana and
Maharashtra, with over 200 trials. Encouraging results and feedback
from medical practitioners, in turn, has resulted in support by other
donors and investors to fund more trials and further progress. To know more, CLICK HERE
started Parisodhana with a dream to use our patent pending technology
based product, Neowarm - self heating portable blanket, for saving
lives of one million pre-term babies in India and across the world, in
a cost effective manner. WIN Foundation recognised our unique
technology, design and desired social impact goals, and agreed to
provide support for the very crucial phase of product validation and
refinement trials and also supported us in establishing the important
links with Gujarat medical fraternity for these trials in rural and
urban settings. WIN Foundation's encouragement and quick decision
helped us role out trials in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana rapidly”
WIN Innovative Product Market Validation Support Program :
Impact Startups face a major hurdle in reaching target user
communities, as such communities are often remote, not easy to approach
and cannot easily pay for new unproven products. Hence, it is a major
challenge for them to undertake the critical stage for initial
product prototype ->trial -> refinement stage and market
validation with actual user communities. The WIN scheme provides for
this by connecting them to our NGO partners who are in close touch with
target communities and provide the support for the product,
installation and training cost.
Thus, the scheme addresses the twin objectives : (i) enable the
communities to try innovative products to better their quality of life,
and (ii) enable the startups to get critical inputs on product and
We have received very good response from both start-ups and community
partners. We provide below details of two such innovative products. We
will cover others selected in future issues, and welcome more startups
1. Low Cost and Field usable Water and Soil Testing Kits by Foundation for Environmental Monitoring (FFEM), Bangalore.
Supporting Community Partner : Arid Communities and Technologies, Trial location : Kutch Dist.
Product : Soil tests enable estimation of the concentration of
nutrients, in order to determine fertilizer recommendations in
agriculture. Water quality testing is critical for determining
suitability for various uses. These kits are usable by farmers and
field workers, and provide instant results to enable timely corrective
2. Borewell water level sensors by CFar Sensors India Pvt.Ltd.
Supporting Community Partner : Arid Communities and Technologies,
Trial location: Kutch Dist,
Product: The product enables farmers, businesses and regulating
bodies, the ability to monitor the level of water in tanks, borewells
and dugwells, at low cost, and also remotely control the operation of
pumps if required. The piezoelectric sensor, lowered to the bottom of
the borewell, transmits changes in water level to a cloud server,
through a gsm modem.
19 pandemic and the lockdown in response severely impacted the daily
wage earner. In most cases their livelihood was gone, leaving them and
their dependent women, elders and children along with themselves highly
vulnerable. Several partners of WIN Foundation rose to the challenge to
provide ration kit support to such families. WIN made a contribution to
Saath Charitable Trust, Ahmedabad, as well as Kutch Mahila Vikas
Sangathan (KMVS), Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat (Associated with ACT, Kutch)
for this support.
Our collaboration building outreach efforts also enabled our partners
to get nutrition suggestions from our nutrition partner Dr. Rupal Dalal
and her associates, senior faculty members from Nutrition department of
Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, a highly reputed institution. This enabled our
partners to achieve better nutrition balance in the ration kits being
distributed by adding locally available grocery items to add proteins
and micronutrients, at a very minor incremental cost.
Amneal Pharmaceuticals, the company founded by the WIN Foundation Founder and Chairman, Mr. Chirag Patel and his brother Mr.Chintu Patel, donated 3.4 million hydroxychloroquine tablets in US
to various state government agencies and hospitals in effort to fight
the Covid-19 pandemic. Amneal is a major producer of hydroxychloroquine.