Kerala, a state located in southwest India, is one of the lowest-income places in the world, but it has remarkably high levels of social development. Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen classified Kerala as one of the three models of places in the world with high quality of life indicators with low per capita income. However, while Kerala has indicators that are considered exceptional, the Wayanad District in northeast Kerala is a pocket of incredible difficulty and deprivation, mainly due to challenges faced by the tribal population living in largely inaccessible forests and hill areas.
The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are the most prestigious business schools in the country and IIM Kozhikode is located about 40 kilometers from Wayanad. In collaboration with Notre Dame, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, seeks to revitalize key children’s programs to be more effective, especially regarding issues related to children’s health and nutrition.
Definition of Problem
There are currently 177 government run Integrated Children Development Services (ICDS) in the state of Wayanad, which is the largest interface with government and the community in the state. These ICDS provide health, nutrition and non-formal education opportunities for children up to the age of 6 plus interventions for adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women. While extensive services exist, the community is not taking full advantage of the services. The Last Mile Project is working with the ICDS to help improve the status of people, particularly children, in the Wayanad district. In collaboration with Notre Dame, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, seeks to raise the profile of key children’s programs among community members, especially regarding issues related to children’s health and nutrition.
Initial Steps and Options
A team of IIM students will work with a team of Notre Dame’s DAT students to identify and highlight local and international examples where effective marketing and promotion have led to greater usage of available health, education and nutritional services targeting children. A focus on successful interventions that have worked with marginalized indigenous populations (North American Indians, aboriginal populations in Australia and New Zealand for instance) will be of particular interest. The IIM, alongside Notre Dame, also seeks to link this promotion work to corporate social responsibility, and explore longer-term roles for academic institutions (particularly the IIM and Notre Dame) to contribute to this work.