Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], August 28: Non-profits have been at the forefront of addressing societal challenges and promoting sustainable development for a long time. However, the development sector has been plagued by significant hurdles such as limited resources, inadequate skills, lack of technical leadership, and financial constraints. These challenges have impeded the ability of many non-profits and foundations to maximise their efforts and create substantial change.
Now, the sector is undergoing a transformative shift, with the integration of technology revolutionising operations. Non-profits are embracing technological advancements to be relevant, efficient, and responsive. This includes artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, cloud computing, mobile applications, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These innovations empower organisations to leverage data, automate processes, and connect with stakeholders more meaningfully.
MAGIC BUS INDIA FOUNDATION’S TECH-DRIVEN APPROACH
Technology integration lies at the heart of Magic Bus India Foundation, driving the organisation’s mission to empower young individuals from underserved communities through activity-based life skills and employability skilling programmes. To make a significant difference in the lives of millions across the country, technology assumes a pivotal role as an enabler, propelling Magic Bus towards positive change on a large scale.
Here’s how Magic Bus India Foundation harnesses the power of technology, to ensure that no young person is left behind.
Data-Driven Decision-Making: Traditionally, the collation of programme data was carried out manually by NGOs. The entire process, from gathering information at the ground level to translating it into analysed reports, often took several months to conduct. Today, technology has revolutionised data management, particularly for Monitoring and Evaluation processes.
At Magic Bus India Foundation, data plays a fundamental role in understanding the needs of the young people it serves. By leveraging technology, the organisation has boosted data collection, analysis, and interpretation processes, gaining comprehensive insights into the effectiveness of its initiatives. Embracing data-driven decision-making enables the non-profit organisation to make evidence-based choices within a short timeframe. It empowers Magic Bus to design targeted interventions, allocate resources effectively and fine-tune its strategies to ensure they align with the desired outcomes.
Magic Bus India Foundation has introduced various project management software, collaborative platforms, and communication tools that enable seamless coordination among its employees and various stakeholders. By digitising processes, the organisation has reduced paperwork, minimised manual errors, and streamlined workflows for field staff. For instance, Magic Bus’ Livelihood Programme field teams track the roll-out of programmes, disseminate assignments, and monitor participant progress through a learning management system called Sixer Class. Magic Bus India Foundation has also developed an integrated mobile application called OASYS (Operations Automation System), that automates the capture of registration, attendance, and session data in its Adolescent Programme, allowing the capture of detailed insights on programme performance. The implementation of technology has improved efficiency, enabling the NGO to scale up and deepen its impact.
To fund meaningful integration of innovative technology, Magic Bus India Foundation has partnered with Data for Good Exchange (D4Gx), Google, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Fidelity, and Microsoft ERP.
Digital Inclusion: The dissemination of technology can create pathways for education, employment, and socio-economic empowerment, regardless of an individual’s geographic location. Through the implementation of technology, Magic Bus is bridging the opportunity gap for young people from underserved communities by providing access to essential skilling and learning content even in India’s far-flung rural communities. In the Adolescent Programmes, Magic Bus has introduced smart learning by equipping its Community Learning Centers with tablets. The use of ed tech supports teaching and enhances an adolescent’s understanding of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy concepts.
Self-learning with AI Chat Bot: Magic Bus has harnessed AI technology to facilitate self-learning and interactive learning for participants of its Livelihood Programme. Through an in-house developed AI Chat Bot accessed on WhatsApp, participants can engage in conversations and receive online support from trainers. While youth gain valuable skills and knowledge, Magic Bus can expand its reach and programme implementation exponentially. The organisation also integrates e-learning platforms like Mindspark in the Adolescent Programme to enable self-learning and empower participants to confidently use technology.
Amplifying Transparency and Good Governance: To foster a high level of transparency, accountability, and collaboration with their external stakeholders including CSR, government and institution funders, Magic Bus has developed the Partner Connect Portal. This technology-enabled platform allows the NGO to provide funding partners with accurate and timely Fund Utilisation Reports on the impact per rupee spent. Prior to the development of this platform, around 500 funder reports were created manually each month. Now, more than 90% of Magic Bus’ Fund Utilisation Reports are developed with data that is extracted from the Microsoft Power BI platform and then templatised into flexible report formats. Magic Bus India Foundation also uses digital-enabled survey tools to capture feedback from partners to instil a culture of continuous improvement that foster strong partnerships.
Ensuring Integrity, Accuracy and Enriching Impact: At Magic Bus India Foundation, a high level of integrity is strongly emphasised in all areas of operation. The organisation has set up a Fraud Prevention and Detection (FPD) team to monitor and track the daily operations of programmes using a tech-enabled Network Operations Centre. This team oversees and continuously monitors the programme processes and authenticates data to identify and detect any gaps or deviations. The FPD also verifies programme participants’ attendance through the triangulation of biometric data, surveillance camera footage and physical verification.
Tech-Powered Fundraising: Technology has revolutionised social work, especially in the realms of advocacy and fundraising. And interestingly, online fundraising platforms have emerged as game-changers, transforming how non-profits raise funds. These platforms enable non-profits to diversify funding sources and engage with a global donor base. This also gives individual donors the freedom to donate anywhere and at any time. According to a report by the Charities Aid Foundation, online donations increased by 12% globally in 2021, highlighting the increasing popularity of digital fundraising. Through compelling storytelling and interactive campaigns, non-profits can reach a wider audience and secure crucial financial support for their initiatives.
Towards The Future: Magic Bus India Foundation is a future-forward organisation that has brought technology into play at every touchpoint and continuously looks to improve processes to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. In this endeavour, Magic Bus’ FutureX Programme is working to usher in the future of skilling through the implementation of AI and other technologies in the life cycle of youth programme participants. This begins with mobilisation, enrolment, mentoring, employer connect and alumni engagement, alongside continuous upgradation. By connecting all processes and leveraging AI, the NGO can effectively scale skilling programmes to more young people across India. Additionally, Magic Bus is now working on developing procedures to create programme narrative reports using AI for greater productivity.
In order to enhance transparency with its funding partners, Magic Bus is working on providing partners with access to real-time programmatic updates through their Partner Connect Portal. This is in the form of session-wise attendance information, images, programme event updates and more.
As Magic Bus India Foundation amplifies its programmes through partnerships with government bodies, there is a need for contextualised content that is translated into local languages. These challenges call for the organisation to ‘Reimagine Training’. The non-profit is now exploring avenues to leverage AI and AR technologies for virtual learning, to reach out to millions of young people, teachers and employees and deliver strong and impactful programmes.
Technology: An Indispensable Tool
Today, the development and non-profit sector understands that technology is a must-have rather than a good-to-have. Technology integration ensures a high level of efficacy, transparency, and good governance, which is essential for any organisation aiming to scale up operations and amplify impact. As Magic Bus India Foundation continues its mission by operating a wide range of programmes across 24 states, technology is a transformative force that has allowed the non-profit to create meaningful change in the lives of over 2 million vulnerable young people and counting.
About Magic Bus India Foundation
Magic Bus India Foundation is one of the leading NGOs in the education and skilling space in India. Over 24 years, the organisation has established its presence across 72 Districts in 24 states and UTs of India. Magic Bus works with young people in the age group of 12 to 25 years by equipping adolescents and youth from underserved communities with life skills and employability skills that enable them to thrive in the transition from childhood to livelihood.
The Childhood Programme is designed to empower adolescents (12-18yrs) with life skills and education enhancement to enable them to complete secondary education. Magic Bus has established a network of 302 Community Learning Centres (CLCs), reaching 2,770 schools with 51% girl participation. The Livelihood Programme equips youth (18-25yrs) with skills that enhance their employability and enable them to adapt to the ever-evolving job market. With 95 Livelihood Centres, 825 college tie-ups and 8 Entrepreneurship Incubation Centres, the programme has a girl participation rate of 56%. Over the past two decades, Magic Bus has empowered over 10 Lakh adolescents and placed more than 2 Lakh youth in sustainable jobs across India. Magic Bus India Foundation’s exemplary work has garnered several awards, most recently, the ASSOCHAM award for Best NGO, recognised by HundrED as one of the top 100 education innovations, Great Place to Work® certified for three consecutive years and recognised as one of India’s Top 10 NGOs to work for.
Magic Bus has offices in India, the US, the UK, and Singapore.
For more information, visit: https://www.magicbus.org/
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