Social Immersion Program (SIP), a unique initiative of IFIM Business School, sensitizes students to the needs of the community and enables to identify their social problems through research. Students will learn to design solutions for social problems through a Techno Economic Viability (TEV) study, thereby enabling sustainable social positive and measurable impact - all this by completely immersing into the community.
The Social Immersion Program was introduced as a 5-credit course in 2016. Since then, 2 cohorts of PGDM students have successfully completed the SIP. The SIP is ongoing for the 2018 – 2020 batch of students. The Social Immersion Program serves a two -fold purpose. It creates in students the desire to give back to society. It also results in actual contributions being made to various communities.
IFIM Business School has tied up with many NGOs to facilitate the immersion component of the program. These NGOs are known as IFIM's partner NGOs for that cohort of students and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) are signed with these partner NGOs.
IFIM has tied up with NGO’s across India who work closely with students, such as World Vision India, Action Aid, Art of Living (AOL), Anti-Pollution Drive, Help Age India, Biocon Foundation, CARE India, CRY, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, etc. to name of few.
Students form themselves into groups of 8 – 10 members. Each group selects a partner NGO with which that group of students will be attached during the immersion period. Each SIP student group is then allocated a faculty mentor and an NGO mentor. Each SIP student group is then assigned a social issue for it to work with.
SIP student groups then visit the NGO's activity area and are immersed in that location for a period of 2 weeks. These areas are usually less developed. There are thus many social issues which can be investigated. The areas where the SIP student groups work span the breadth and length of the country.
The immersion sites are spread out across the length and breadth of India. During the immersion period, students collect data about the social issue they are examining. On the last day of the immersion, students present their findings to their NGO mentor. At the conclusion of the SIP immersion, students return to the IFIM Business School. Most students are deeply affected by their immersion experience. Each SIP student group makes a presentation about their immersion experience to their peers. They then write an account about what touched them the most during their immersion period. Each assignment is read by the Faculty Head, SIP and aligned with one of the 17 United Nations Sustainability Developments Goals (SDGs).
In 2019, students have indicated an interest in contributing to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)s:
SIP student groups are then re-grouped based on the SDG aligned social issue they have indicated interest in. The newly constituted SIP student groups the use techno-economic-viable (TEV) analyses to formulate a solution for the social issue they have tackled. The students work in project mode and present their proposed solutions to NGOs working with the SDG examined.
The Immersion Pathway is built on IFIM’s philosophy of making a positive social change.
These are key learnings are as follows:
It is believed, that to truly affect a meaningful change in a person’s life, we need to understand their lives holistically. The traditional measurement of ‘Rs. X per day’ cannot adequately capture the full effect of a life lived without opportunity. With experience in working with different communities, it is found that ‘Needs’ can revolve around certain key areas, which have been captured in the Social Impact Wheel.
SIP IN KARO VILLAGE, LADAKH
In April 2019, Business Standard presented a SIP group of the 2018 – 2020 batch of PGDM students with certificates, for being semi-finalists in the Business Standard Best B-School Project Award, 2018.
The students had looked at how plastic waste could be managed in Karo village, Ladakh in a way that contributes to the sustainable development of their community. This effort is aligned with SDG 11.
The impact of the Social Immersion Program can be seen in the following select example: A SIP group collected data about the lung conditions of 300 autorickshaw drivers in Mangalore. A spirometer was used to conduct pulmonary function tests. 20% of the autorickshaw drivers were found to have lungs damaged by pollution. This data was presented in the Vidhan Soudha by a sitting member of the legislative assembly. This effort is aligned with SDG 3.
Awards: (a) Won the award for best CSR practices of an institute of higher education from the Karnataka Rotary Club. Passed two selection rounds before emerging the winner. (b) Was a finalist for the NHRDN best CSR practices award and was invited to showcase SIP at the NHRDN fair. (c) Student SIP project was selected for the preliminary round of the Business Standard Best Management Project Award 2020.
Some of the SIP reports were developed into RI papers.
Some headway to make a presence in Kolar was made on April 10, 2020, when 640 one kilo packets of ghee were distributed in the adopted villages of Kolar as a mark of solidarity during the current coronavirus outbreak.
The students and staff of IFIM Business School led by Prof. Nina Jacob led this initiative to help the residents of the adopted villages.