Questions that you may wish to have answers to, and our answers to these !
- What is the ultimate aim of the Head Held High movement ?
- Why Zero educated persons? Why not those who have been to some rural schooling, or those in the smaller towns, not villages?
- How will this model work as a business model ?
- Why Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) at all? BPO is so limited, and its so exploitative, and it does not create new work… why not other vocations, enterpreneurship, basket weaving etc ?
- Why don’t you just focus on this rather than try to do everything from training to jobs and then running BPO’s ?
- How is it possible in 6 months as we all have taken over 15 years of education to learn enough to become work-capable?
- Why there are so many names – FFL, VBPO, Head-Held-High, ….why can’t it be one and simple?
- How is it possible to scale up your training as well as BPO operations quickly to meet the demand of the business?
- Why do you think, overseas customers source business to you in the village where there are questions around data security, infrastructure etc? Shouldn’t you only focus on the domestic business?
- Isn’t 2 million an ambitious number? Shouldn’t you look at something realistic?
- How quick are your candidates to learn something new? Do they take more time than any graduate in the city?
- Agriculture being the backbone of our country aren’t you luring villagers otherwise, won’t this upset the economy ?
- Don’t you think you will be spoiling the environment in the villages, by introducing internet, etc.? How will you preserve the culture?
- What about further development of people trained? What will they do after they have worked for 2-3 years in the BPO in the village? What is their career path? Will they have enough jobs in the village?
1. What is the ultimate aim of the Head Held High movement ?
We intend for the end of poverty in the world. Our focus is the end of poverty in the villages of India by 2025, and the immediate goal is to enable 2 million villagers with zero schooling to work in BPO centers from their villages after a transformative training in 6 months.
2. But why Zero educated persons? Why not those who have been to some rural schooling, or those in the smaller towns, not villages?
Our intention is to impact the most poor persons in the villages, whose generations to come would be impacted by this colossal shift in economic status. Unless there is some external nudge or intervention, the fate of 120 million such villagers is, to put it bluntly, going to be the same as their parents, grand-parents, great grand-parents.
There are many organizations that work with those in towns and larger villages, with villagers who have schooling. We work with the bottom of the bottom of the pyramid villagers, where there is the least effort and the greatest impact in poverty.
3. How will this model work as a business model ?
In the business model, a commercial entrepreneur sells and secures the BPO work, and provides the Quality Control and the Customer Relationship. There is a Village Entrepreneur, who invests in the hardware, infrastructure and waits for 6-8 months of training. The villager invests in the training cost, funded by micro-lending or seed investors. Foundation for Life provides the training. Everyone breaks even in 18 months, at $ 5 per hour of work.
While the entrepreneur and makes a profit, each villager makes 8-10K pm, which is 4-8 times what he earned before this. A part of the money can also get moved into a Village Development Fund, which the village, in conjunction with an NGO can then use for overall development of the village – sanitation, agriculture, health, etc.
4. Why Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) at all ? BPO is so limited, and its so exploitative, and it does not create new work… why not other vocations, enterpreneurship, basket weaving etc ?
There are many reasons why BPO is the best fit for the vision of the movement, as the first Phase of transformation of poverty.
Work can be done in the village itself, by transmitting of data across the internet.
The same work done in another location in the world would cost 10-15-20 TIMES as much it would cost in the village for a villager to provide the same service. This price differential gives rise to the economic model for such a service to be worthwhile.
In BPO, one can train people to do repetitive & pre-structured tasks within a closed framework, as in a process. It would be difficult to train illiterate people in 6 months to do tasks that are not pre-structured and open ended, as that requires more of a wider education.
This is replicable to 2 million persons. There is no other single kind of work / occupation that we know of that can be focused and worked upon e.g housekeeping, retail work, hotel etc. One would then have to have multiple training sessions, multiple infrastructures, and multiple plans to accomplish the same number.
Our team has the ability and know-how in process management, and can break down complex process steps into simple easy-to-train tasks, and use technology to make it simpler to do, as well as to transfer, manage and track the work done across boundaries.
We needed a “dramatic” impact to be seen by the other villagers. Nothing is as dramatic as a villager with no schooling in 6 months being able to use computers, talk, read and write in English, and do an Information Technology job in the village. The dramatic impact enables the other villagers to have hope, aspiration and a new possibility in their lives.
BPO uses the internet, which then opens up the world of possible vocations, thus then enabling a possibility with actual knowledge and training to become reality.
5. Since you have got such a fantastic transformational training, why don’t you just focus on this rather than try to do everything from training to jobs and then running BPO’s ?
Our intention is not to run BPO’s, it is to enable transformation of poverty, to which a BPO is a means to that end. If there were sufficient takers to provide jobs to transformed uneducated villagers, we would not need to run a BPO . We run the BPO to ensure that the transformed villager has work to do in his own village.
6. What training is this? 6 months!! How is it possible in 6 months as we all have taken over 15 years of education to learn enough to become work-capable?
We have evolved a technology called “Learning through Conversations” – which uses paradigms like Transformational Training (Ontology), Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences in teaching and Accelerated Learning.
Each of the above paradigms has been used in the past in various parts of the world to scientifically train people and proved extremely effective. These paradigms are used to arrive at methodologies used in “Learning through Conversations” – and applied to train the candidates in the different Skill Packets
This training enhances the skills of the candidate by providing only knowledge that is relevant to work. It also enables the candidates to obtain knowledge on their own through various means like the Internet.
The training is conducted through a ‘Replicable Model’ which details the processes and activities that need to be followed in the training. The methodologies and the model are continuously revisited and refined through research and feedback.
7. Why there are so many names – FFL, VBPO, Head-Held-High, ….why can’t it be one and simple?
Foundation for Life (FFL) designed, created the concept and the transformational training. However, FFL also has other activities in personal transformation areas. Thus, the Head Held High program warranted a separate organization and Foundation, which is formed to focus on the Head Held High movement.
V Village BPO is a commercial arm of the Head Held High Foundation, which is run like any professional company, but whose ownership lies with the Foundation. VBPO’s customers would require specialized interaction, and this needs a commercial organization focused to working with these demanding customers.
8. How is it possible to scale up your training as well as BPO operations quickly to meet the demand of the business?
From a numbers standpoint, this is do-able. From a funding, business perspective, there are considerable challenges.
9. Why do you think, overseas customers source business to you in the village where there are questions around data security, infrastructure etc? Shouldn’t you only focus on the domestic business?
Like anything, persistence is the key. The global Outsourcing business revenue is much much larger than India’s outsourcing revenues, both in terms of volumes and in terms of value.
10. Isn’t 2 million an ambitious number? Shouldn’t you look at some thing realistic?
In the end, 20,000 or 200,000 is as difficult as 2,000,000 ! The intention is to enable the transformation of poverty, not to achieve high numbers. Poverty exists in 400 million persons in India. 2 million is a small fraction of this, but is what we believe will be the tipping point to provide a domino effect in transforming all of 400 million people in a short span of time.
11. How quick are your candidates to learn some thing new? Do they take more time than any graduate in the city?
Our candidates have not been to school. They have no width of knowledge, which we all take for granted. However, whatever they are taught, they are typically better than most graduates, simply as they are dramatically much more motivated. Not wanting to die of hunger or poverty is a considerably strong motivation.
So, they take longer to learn things that are unstructured knowledge. They take the same amount of time to learn process-based tasks, and over time, we believe and intend that the quality will exceed that of Graduate BPO’s.
12. Agriculture being the backbone of our country aren’t you luring villagers otherwise, won’t this upset the economy ?
It does not take 70 persons out of 100 to grow enough food for a 100 persons. Typically, 5% of the populace would suffice to grow enough food for all of us. The truly poor, who we work with, do not own land that they can cultivate and grow food from. They work like slaves for other land-owners.
Should our vision be realized, the economy would have a dramatic positive impact.
13. Don’t you think you will be spoiling the environment in the villages, by introducing internet, etc.? How will you preserve the culture?
Knowledge is always dangerous. Yet, we all send our children to school. The converse is to know that there is a better world, and not to share that with others. We do not take stands on what is best for others. They will design, decide for themselves what they would like… so far the results have been far better than the results in our cities !
14. What about further development of people trained? What will they do after they have worked for 2-3 years in the BPO in the village? What is their career path? Will they have enough jobs in the village?
This is posing a considerable challenge. While we do not take on responsibility for the lives of those who we work with, however those candidates typically see us in that light. We are therefore building a volunteer group who are prepared to mentor the villagers who wish to grow to new levels.
Once you reach your target of transforming 2 million villagers with BPO work, what is your next goal ?
Our eventual goal is to transform all of poverty in rural India, which would mean that 80 million families have at least one bread earner at a reasonable level. Our next focus areas would be micro-entrepreneurship, innovative vocations like diamond cutting, e-tailoring, etc where we would build similar self-sufficient programs like the BPO program to enable this transformation.