Kavya Conference


Swaniti Initiative in collaboration with Harvard University’s South Asia Institute presents Kavya  – Empowering Women in Policy & Social Development (13th April 2013)

 About Kavya:

“When women can stand on their own feet, then development comes for all in the community”

– Bhavana Damor (Sarpanch, Dungarpur Gram Panchayat, Rajasthan)

Female leadership is critical to successful development. Though India too has seen a strong presence of women leaders, yet there is a tacit apprehension about the participation of women in state affairs. Kavya is a program that selects 25 passionate and talented young women to inspire, empower and engage them in conversations about leadership and development.

The conference will be broken up in to two components:

Our daylong seminar will inform our participants about the challenges and opportunities in the social and development field in India.

Our daylong seminar will also focus on training women by giving them the tools to become successful leaders.

Kavya Program Schedule:

Session I: 9 AM – 11 AM

India – A Country for Women: The Road Ahead for Us

Speaker: Smriti Irani

A recent study conducted by Prof. Lakshmi Iyer at Harvard showed that one of the most effective ways on bringing down crimes against women in India is by increasing political representation of women. Our opening session for the day will be an interactive session between participants and the speaker where a senior political leaders perspective on some of the core issues that make it harder for women to rise in the political sphere and our participants will conversely share their experiences and ask questions about the speakers experience in becoming a successful politician. Some of the questions will include: what does it make it hard for a woman to emerge as a leader? Why is it that so few women choose to be in politics and even few make it at the topic? How do make these numbers go up?

Session II: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

A Life-givers Dilemma: Gender and Healthcare in India

Moderator: Neera Nundy Speaker: Prof. Richard Cash

India maintains dismal health indicators especially in the area of women’s health. Though the government has invested significantly in increased health outcomes in India through multiple centrally sponsored schemes, most solutions have not kept in mind the need for women in health. While some of the more socially prominent issues like maternal mortality have received significant attention, there are other equally important female health issues that have not received attention. This session will focus on innovative healthcare solutions in India that have addressed issues of female healthcare in India (and perhaps in globally).

Session III: 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Empowering women through self-sufficiency, entrepreneurship, education and financial aid

Speaker: Dr. Nachiket Mor, Ms. Revathy Roy

In order for women to grow and emerge as leaders it is critical to create an ecosystem that will support them. Education and transition in to the labor-force have the most measurable impact in improving the stature of women in society however major gaps exist in India in both these spaces. Some interesting models on a micro-level exist though that has empowered women in their respective communities. This session will focus on those innovations and hope to inspire solutions in the space of entrepreneurship and microfinance.

Session IV: 5 PM – 7 PM

Learning Activities

Moderator: Geeta Ramakrishnan

The best way to learn is from each other. This last session is focused on creating an environment where our participants can exchange concerns and ideas amongst each other that focus on the challenges and solutions in becoming a female leader in India. Moderated by a Swaniti Fellow, Geeta, who has seen the close quarters of politics, we hope to have participants take away ideas that can become solutions for tomorrow.

Indicative List of Speakers at Kavya:

Ms. Smriti Irani – Member of Pariliament, Rajya Sabha

Smriti IraniMs. Smriti Irani is an honorable Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha. She joined the BJP in 2003 and her commitment and hard work made her a member of the National Executive and also a member of the Maharashtra Executive. Through her NGO, People for Change, she has made clean drinking water accessible to people in the rural most areas of the country. She was also appointed as All India President of the Women’s Wing of the party i.e. Bhartiya Janata Party Mahila Morcha. After becoming President of the women’s’ cell, Smriti has raised various issues like women empowerment in Indian Military and has shown a red eye towards crime against women and has urged government to take necessary steps to ensure safety of women.

Prof. Richard Cash – Senior Lecturer on Global Health – Harvard School of Public Health

Dr. Richard CashDr. Cash and his colleagues conducted the first clinical trials of Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) in adult and pediatric cholera patients and he was the Principal Investigator of the Applied Diarrheal Disease Research (ADDR) Project, a program that assisted developing country scientists to hone their research skills by conducting their own research projects.

Presently he is a Visiting Professor at the Public Health Foundation of India in Delhi and has visiting faculty appointments at the James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Achutha Menon Centre for Health Sciences Studies, in Trivandrum Kerala India, and the Graduate School of International Health Development at the University of Nagasaki.[/toggle]

Neera Nundy  – Partner and Co-Founder, Dasra

Neera NundyNeera’s expertise in maximizing social return on investment is rooted in her strong corporate background advising investors and valuing companies. Her five years of investment banking experiences at Morgan Stanley and UBS Warburg bring an analytically rigorous, impact-oriented perspective to portfolio organizations Dasra supports such as SNEHA and Mann Deshi.

One of Neera’s key successes is the pioneering partnership between Dasra and Social-Impact International, and the highly successful executive education program that she and her team have designed and delivered to over 100 of India’s leading social entrepreneurs that include Husk Power Systems, Embrace, Industree and Lend-a-Hand. Neera also led the international launch of Village Capital supporting successful organizations such as Milaap, SMV Wheels, Sabras and Under the Mango Tree. Neera continues to play a crucial role in bringing knowledge and analysis to Dasra’s research with specific expertise in improving public education, child malnutrition and employability.

Revathi Roy – Co-Founder, Viira Cabs

Revathi RoyRevathi Roy is a pioneer in the Womens Fleet Taxi Service which is a large platform for providing employment to women from below poverty line families in this unique profession. She has a great passion for driving, and converted the same to a business by starting the first ever Taxi Service driven by women for women only (Viira Cabs) in 2007. She has been awarded many awards, the latest being the GODFREY PHILIPS NATIONAL BRAVERY AWARD, Entrepreneur of the Year by Bombay Management Association, The Veerangana Award and other similar category awards from institutions such as The Indian Merchants Chambers, Inner wheel Club of Mumbai Airport, Parmanand Foundation Certificate of honour. Revathi was invited by Hilary Clinton to participate in the Summit conducted by the Hilary Clinton Foundation last year and was recently awarded the LIONS GOLD AWARD for FAVORITE WOMAN SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR at a glittering award ceremony.

Conference Logistics:

Location: Welingkar School of Management, Mumbai

Conference Dates: 13th of April 2013

 Application Process:

Young Female Professionals are welcome to apply for the Kavya Conference. The mandatory requirements to complete the application process are:

  1. Duly filled up application form
  2. Submission of updated resume

Ideal Candidate must possess the following:

  1. Undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) from a respected university
  2. Between 22 – 35 years of age at the time of application
  3. Minimum 6 months of professional work experience

Application Deadline: 7th April 2013, 11:59pm IST.

In case of any queries please email us at kavya@swaniti.in