At Samanvaya, consulting services are our prime stay. We work with projects we believe are making the world a better place. Over the years, the consultancy services have evolved to encompass several services that we provide to varying degrees to different clientele.
Our clientele today include academic institutions seeking concepts to develop as research projects, programmes and newer forms of knowledge courses and curriculum, civil society organization seeking to re-work their institution structures and systems to orienting their executives to newer realities, government agencies seeking policy document writing, strategic inputs seeking social ventures and many more.
Our services are with the thought leaders and visionaries - we are sounding board to many of them as they struggle to structure their thoughts on a one to one basis, we also work with them to articulate their vision into language that can be understood by other stake holders, to convert visions into workable plans, to equip and orient manpower towards the plans, to make profiles for teams that can manifest such vision and the train them and orient them towards the vision, to restructure organizations in response to changing realities to pushing the horizon for social entrepreneurs so that they can scale newer heights.
Provided below are the kind of services people often reach out to us.
Creating Future Institutions is one of our core areas of expertise and current interest. Current times requires us to break away from existing forms of institutional imaginations and evolve newer ones both structurally and functionally. It requires foresight, commitment and courage on the part of the entrepreneur / leader to create such institutions today. We have co-evolved some such ventures and continue to provide support to a few of them.
Some of the institutions with whom we are currently engaged in institution creation are -
BlueJay - A eco-friendly media house that is evolving with commitment from a young and talented duo
MediClown Academy - An unique academy that utilizes clowning as therapy for treatment. We are engaged in helping them mainstream their courses through tie-up with a premier medical university
Social sector is all about people driven by vision struggling to shape their vision into practical projects that can reach the stated objective and provide sense of satisfaction. While funding challenge is the one most articulated, the reason for the same is inability of leaders to articulate the same with clarity and conviction.
Currently, Samanvaya is consulting with -
RuTAG, IIT-Madras - to evolve a knowledge roadmap towards achieving rural Net Zero emission for India with concept, pilot and proposals
Having started a social sector institution, often organizations, institutions and efforts are stuck doing work just to survive and the leader wondering whether this is all there is to genuine ventures. We help organizations to get unstuck and move on, responding to changing situations, building different pathways, building knowledge, perspective and orientation to the senior management and leaders in the process.
Since inception Samanvaya has had such relationship with several institutions and organizations in developing their own institutions. Currently, we are associated in various levels with -
Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) - in evolving ideas in diverse entrepreneur network initiatives
River Rejuvenation Project - Naganadhi - the team has been regularly consulting Samanvaya for achieving clarity and getting inputs of policy engagement
Sustainable Livelihood Institution (SLI) - re-imagining the institution that was birthed through samanvaya consulting has been one of the constant engagements of the team
Yellow Bag Foundation - Another initiative with which Samanvaya has been associated from its very early stages in development has been this wonderful social enterprise that is shaping several other such ventures today.
Senior Management Mentoring
Mentorship is provided for senior management and middle level management staff to build suitable strategies in social sector institutions including academia, enterprises, non-profits and research organizations.
Department of Social Entrepreneurship, Madras School of Social Work (MSSW) - as part of the academic council of the Department, Samanvaya provides the academics in the department with a continuous support on emerging thoughts and initiatives in the sector.
Future Institutions Facilitated by Samanvaya Consulting
Sustainable Livelihoods Institute - Sustainable Livelihood Institute (SLI) was created as a joint venture between the Tamil Nadu Rural Livelihoods Mission (TNSRLM) under the Department of Rural Development, Government of Tamil Nadu and the Auroville Foundation - an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
Between 2015 - 2018, Samanvaya deputed Ram to be the co-founder Director of SLI and facilitate launching many of its programmes in Auroville. Since inception (until 2022), the institute has trained over 8000 rural community members from over 5 states and more than 1000 government officials at various levels. The unique pedagogy developed in this institute has since been adopted by many others. Several ventures have stemmed out of this one institute idea, including
- seed savers network in paddy and vegetables: today the networks that have been facilitated by this institute conserves more than 300 varieties of traditional seeds across the state. several of the early ventures have branched off into further larger branches
- annual Auroville seed festival: the annual Auroville seed festival attracts seed conservators and farmers alike, with more than 3000 farmers participating in it each year for several years
- annual Sustainable Livelihoods Seminar: the seminar attracts stake holders from academics, civil society and government as a prestigious annual event
- federation of enterprises and academics: networks for academic institutions working on social entrepreneurship and spirulina production have been created apart from sisterhood of village wellness consultants.
More details in the website of the institute link
Development Consulting / Review / Assessment
Because we are associated with broadly the domain of work known as ‘Development Sector’, majority of our past Consulting work has been in this domain of expertise. Broadly the areas in which we have provided services and will continue to provide services include -
- Conceptualizing, Creating Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Projects
- Developing Conservation linked Livelihood Projects
- Conservation linked livelihood in the post-disaster situation
- Performance Appraisal for Community based Institutions
- Conceptualizing and implanting viable and feasible Information Strategic Planning for Communities
- Building Sustainable Local Economy with Local Governance Institutions
- Conceptualizing and Creating Organic Food Consumers Network
- Studying, Building and Capacity Building for Rural Supply Chain
Select List of Past Consulting Clients
- Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, Chennai
- CIOSA Network, Chennai
- COMPAS Network Asia, Chennai
- Covenant Centre for Development, Madurai
- CR Biz, New Delhi
- DHAN Foundation, Madurai
- Gandhigram Trust, Gandhigram
- LEAD India, New Delhi
- MIT, Boston, U.S.A.
- Multiversity, Goa
- CCD, Madurai
- Organic Farming Association of India, Goa
- FAO, New Delhi
- Practical Action, Colombo, Sri Lanka
- SIDH, Mussoorie
- Sri Sarada Ashram, Ulundurpet
- Tamilnadu Organic Farmer’s Movement, Nagapattinam
- TeNet Group, IIT-M, Chennai
- Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia
- ICRISAT, Hyderabad
- Auroville Village Action Group
- INAFI, Madurai
- Pitchandikulam Forest, Auroville
- Auroville IRD
- Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT), Bengaluru
- Sangamam Trust, Auroville
- Ekam Foundation, Chennai
- Upasana Design Studio, Auroville
- ASSEFA, Madurai
- Sustainable Livelihood Institute, Auroville
Ramasubramanian, Chief Samanvaya has also been invited to be in the panel for several Government agencies as a Consultant in his individual capacity though it is based on the background of the work done as Samanvaya. These include -
- State Planning Commission, Government of Tamil Nadu
- State Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Government of Tamil Nadu
- National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Government of India
- National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Government of India
- Tamil Nadu State Rural Livelihood Mission (TNSRLM), Government of Tamil Nadu
- UN Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO), New Delhi
- UN World Bank, New Delhi
- Tamil Nadu State Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (SIRD&PR)
Purpose of social research is to further knowledge that shapes action. The starting block of research often is set based on a pre-determined action that needs to be achieved for betterment of commercial, power centered and / or identity retention objectives. Research may start without a purpose of final end and only as a quest to know and become aware. And when the awareness can in turn inform knowledge and the knowledge with awareness shapes action, the action is whole in its ability to align with and support the global necessity. We do undertake customized research / studies that directly impact rural sustainability / livelihoods and social initiatives elsewhere. Some of the studies and research work that has been undertaken by Samanvaya team is given below.
Social research is increasingly getting complicated with several innovative new techniques being adopted for both the research technique and its outcome presentation. Our strength has been in keeping tabs of the emerging methodologies and also create new forms of studies that can present the social issues in an insightful manner. At Samanvaya we believe that asking the right question is the beginning of a proper research and we often start with the framing of the question and there by adopt the technique to understand issues and present solutions.
Agriculture and environment
Climate Change has impacted life everywhere and livelihoods as well. One of the key sectors most impacted has been the farm sector. We at Samanvaya have launched the Environmental and Social Research & Advocacy (ESRA) group through which we pursue research in these sectors primarily. We have been studying various aspects of these sectors since more than two decades now and our current focus is to shift the livelihoods sector towards a greener economy.
In the social sector, designing of initiatives to academic and management programmes, all take several needs including the need to take things forward.
Social Project / Initiative Designing
Initiating social projects and initiatives needs deep knowledge of what will sustain the effort, who are the stake holders, what forms of strategies need to be adopted as well as what are the partnerships and networks that will support such a venture. Whether it be corporate CSR or just a group of good people wanting to develop something for the betterment of humanity. We have helped all kinds of people to initiate and conceptualize projects.
Future institution creation requires a different kind of design principles and a completely new kind of imagination. Samanvaya consulting has helped shape diverse forms of emerging collaboratives and ensured that they are able to survive and create a change to society at large.
Designing newer forms of academic curriculum programmes has been an area of work that Samanvaya has repeatedly worked with. Currently, we have designed and conceptualized the same as Future Knowledge (more details here).
Sustainable Agri-preneur Course - A week long course designed for the Government of Tamil Nadu and administered by the Entrepreneurship Development & Innovation Institute (EDII), Chennai in 2022. The course provided state-wide entrepreneurs with a perspective and tools to become successful entrepreneurs.
Green Economy Curriculum - designed for the Masters students of Social Entrepreneurship in the Madras School of Social Work (MSSW) as a certificate course offered as part of their post-graduate programme with credits.
Green Enterprise Certificate course - as an outcome of the green economy course, the green enterprise course is offered as an entry level programme for the same students as above at MSSW.
Stewardship for Sustainable Livelihoods - a 20-day sandwich flagship course of SLI that provides the rural livelihoods officials with the knowledge, skills, tools and methods to design and deliver sustainable rural livelihood programmes
Contemporary Gandhi - designed as an elective paper for B. Tech students pursuing their course in Information Technology in the IIIT, Sri City in the outskirts of Chennai in Andhra Pradesh. The 13 week course provided the students with an ethical and moral framework to approach their own work in technology with reference to several Gandhian concepts and techniques.
Process Design for Social Change
What are the processes and systems that you need to have in place to bring about social changes? What are the areas of work that needs to be concentrated on? Who are the people to choose? Institutionally what cultures needs to be adopted? If you have these questions, we help you design the same for you. We draw our expertise from working and observing diverse social ventures of traditional and modern kind.
You have created something that looks valuable for yourself, and everyone asks you why you have not documented it and shared across the world. In the current world of excessive communication, it is a surprise how many great efforts are often not written about as a process that others can learn from and not merely to celebrate limited idea of ‘’success’’. We look at process documentation as a knowledge repository and a product rather than a presentation or a marketing material.
Project writing from concept, proposal, presentation to reporting are often crowded too much with the needs of the specific target. Projects particularly in the social sector need to have far more integrity in terms of the idea, its conversion into actionable plan, details of the plan, budgets and timelines. Often institutions that have specific focus have one or the other under represented and in the process fail the integral test. We help you to articulate your projects far better.
You have had a good impact, you know it, but, yet when you are presenting it to an audience, self-doubts creep in – are we over stating something? Or we being too modest? Should we present scale? Are we of the right scale? How do we contextualize? Are our costs high? What does one answer for the sustainability question? All of these have a bearing on how we present our impact. It is important that the impact is presented in a fair manner but linked to the original purpose and at the same highlight the achievements significantly. We help you with these.
Often we are called to deliver lectures to government officials, civil society, professionals, students, farmers, and entrepreneurs. The lecture could cover the specific areas of work that we are engaged in as well as some generic topics in which we have a clear opinion on.
Some of the institutions, universities, conferences, that have invited Ram to give lectures are given here (not necessarily in the chronological order) - RWTH Aachan University, Germany, Xavier University, Bhubhaneshwar, Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officers Refresher course organized by the Department of Environment & Forestry, IIT-Delhi Course on Sustainability for candidates from several countries, Stanford University course on Sustainability, Development Studies Students at Yale University, Mahatma Gandhi Hindi University, Wardha, National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad, IIT-M (several departments), Consumer Action Group (Chennai), Third World Network (Penang, Malaysia), Society for Integrated Development of Himalayas (Mussoorie), Azadi Bachao Aandolan (Sewagram), State Institute for Rural Development (SIRD) Tamilnadu, Gandhigram Trust & Gandhigram University, DHAN Academy, Himalaya Lok Vidyapeeth (Kousani), IIIT Hyderabad, Xavier Institute of Management & Xavier University, Bhubaneshwar, Central University, Hyderabad, Hindu College Chennai, Mata Amritananda Mayi Vishwavidhyapeeth, Ettimada, Centre for World Solidarity, Hyderabad, IIT-Chennai, IIT-Delhi, Inaugural Sustainability Oration at IIT-Gandhinagar, Multiversity, Goa, Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), Hyderabad, SRM College of Engineering, Ramachandra Medical College, Centre for Ocean Studies, Sathyabhama University, AIC RAISE, Coimbatore, Institute for Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha, Centre for Gandhian Studies, Jain University, Keynote at the Nammalvar Annual Memorial Programme in Vaanagam, Manonmaniyam Sundaranar University, among others.
Almost all our services have a training component that is designed as part of the assignment. However, we also offer to develop customized training based on the institutional needs in the areas of focus.
Workshop mode of training that involves having a hands-on programme for the clients are also conducted so that they can gain knowledge and also experience in critical areas of focus for their organization, be it climate change, sustainability, development or community work.
At Samanvaya mentorship is offered to young social activists, entrepreneurs and workers as part of our commitment to future. Though it is not organized into a specific mentorship programme, we provide need-based inputs to several younger professionals and friends who are pursuing planet friendly work.
Samanvaya is a good place to intern if young people are on their own and pursuing ideas and issues that are planet friendly and they want to work with an organization that is both committed to the future of the planet being safer and healthier as well as recognizes the power in the hands of the youth. Internship is typically for not lesser than a month in the case of students and customized for professionals.
Volunteerism with Samanvaya is to be involved in any of the several areas of interest and work that we are engaged with. We have had volunteers from all kinds of professions as well as students, academics, retired professionals and many more at various times with us. We are able to often launch and manage large response to a natural disaster or a social campaign only because of the large number of people who volunteer with us.