“The future of India lies in its villages” – Mahatma Gandhi
The iconic Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus in Varanasi, the holy city of India, will host the 7th Ideal Village Conference on Nov 11-13 this year. The conference represents a defining moment for the joint aspirations of Stanford University’s Ideal Village Project, WHEELS Global Foundation, Pan-IIT Alumni, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Federation of Indian Physicians’ Associations, BHU, and their program sponsors to launch a rural transformation movement in India, which can serve as the global model for achieving sustainable growth.
Since 2016, Stanford University in USA has been hosting the annual Ideal Village Conference to serve as a collaborative platform for diverse organizations involved in global rural development to come together and work on a holistic approach to improving rural lives, focused on essential needs in water, healthcare, education, energy and livelihoods.
In parallel, WHEELS Global Foundation (WGF) – an initiative of IIT Alumni, was applying technology to find solutions for the needs of rural communities in India for the same key needs of Water, Health, Energy, Education, Livelihood and Sustainability – the acronym for WHEELS.
India, with 70% of its population in villages and small towns, will be an ideal test bed for creative and cost-effective solutions to many rural challenges that lie ahead in achieving the above ambitious goals.
In 2020, WGF organized a massive funding campaign to send Oxygen concentrators to aid Covid-19 victims in India and conducted 26 global webinars to address both the serious deficiencies in our public health policies and practices, as well as needs of the post-Covid era. The pandemic caused havoc with the fragile economy of Rural India and brought Stanford University’s Ideal Village Project into a synergistic partnership with WGF, given their common aspirations.
Jointly, they decided to hold the 7th Ideal Village Conference in India to maintain the momentum and found an ideal host in Prof. Sudhir Jain, BHU’s newly appointed Vice-Chancellor and former director of IIT-Gandhinagar, where he had initiated a creative program for incoming classes of technology students to be immersed in the realities of rural life for six weeks and inspire them to solve rural problems.
With active participation of the Institute of Management Studies at BHU, these stalwarts of technology, industry, IIT alumni networks, medical professionals, NGOs in rural developments and media partners have secured significant Government participation to form a public-private partnership for launching a “Rural Transformation Movement” at this year’s Ideal Village Conference.
The organizers are also planning a “Best Practices” competition to identify the most effective rural development programs in each of the six tracks. Winners will be chosen based on a set of comprehensive criteria and awarded cash prizes along with endorsements to secure CSR funding, to enable these programs to be scaled nationwide to create thousands of Ideal Villages with regular impact measurements and monitoring of progress.
Our vision is to improve the lives of 20% or more of India’s rural population by 2030 by meeting the needs of rural communities in all six tracks and creating a thriving rural community and an enduring rural economy which impacts India’s GDP.
A Smart Village is a community that satisfies fundamental needs of its citizens: secure food supply, adequate housing, affordable healthcare, skilling forall, clean potable water, electricity, women’s empowerment and employment opportunities. Smart Village can become sustainable bypromoting entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
The rural transformation movement plans to raise $50 million in donations, grants and CSR funds to create a sustainable platform and organizational structure involving IITs, institutes of eminence, regional colleges, and collaborative partnerships with Stanford, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and other major institutions dedicated towards the growth of rural America and the developing world.
The movement is also promoting and co-ordinating major organizations’ role in Rural Transformations like CII, Confederation of Indian Industries, as Industry partner; Pan IIT Alumni as global IIT Alumni partnership; FIPA, Federation of Indian Physicians of America as Medical professional’s partnership and Cybermedia as Media partnership.
India, with 70% of its population in villages and small towns, will be an ideal test bed for creative and cost-effective solutions to many rural challenges that lie ahead in achieving the above ambitious goals; however, as Nelson Mandela often stated “Things are always impossible till somebody makes it possible”
The organizers invite all like-minded individuals and organizations to join us on this path breaking journey and support in whatever capacity they can, by participating in this Conference, either in-person, or joining global audiences via Zoom. Please reach out to your friends–young and old – to register using this link: https://idealvillageconference.com