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WOSCA: An Emulative Saga of Social Enterprise*

CASE STUDY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP & STARTUPS
ET Cases - GSMC, 23 Pages

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WOSCA: An Emulative Saga of Social Enterprise

 

When passion is cemented to determination, any engagement can unfold seamless avenues of accomplishments. A group of educated young women, in the early 1990s, decided to consecrate their life and skill in an endeavor to improve the lot of marginalized and impoverished women in their locality. Driven by an emulative altruistic benevolence, these youngsters flocked together for a social cause, by venturing into an untrodden path by mobilizing their neighborhood women and started imparting some training on alternative income generation activities in one among the most-backward areas in the country. As they scaled up their activities, the requirement of an institutional mechanism was felt to gain credibility and to smoothen its networking process. This led to the establishment of Women’s Organization for Socio-Cultural Awareness (WOSCA), which was registered under Charitable Society’s Act in Keonjhar district of Odisha in 1993. An NGO, with a humble  eginning, became a major catalyst of socio-economic upliftment of the poor in that district.

The spark of forming a women-oriented organization is for enhancing the quality of life of rural women by ensuring livelihood, security and empowerment. It was their fundamental belief that every human being on the planet must be able to access their basic requirements, irrespective of their assumed socio-economic status and deserved to be treated with dignity. The humane benevolence rolled out around 22 years ago has, now, metamorphosed itself into a social enterprise propelling the rural growth trajectory and socio-economic equity. What made this initiative special was their focus on rural and tribal women in their operational jurisdiction.

Various developmental projects were facilitated by WOSCA to address the pertinent issues in the district, especially the marginalized women folk in the rural hinterland. The effort to bring about any change would substantially be challenging, when it disrupts the status quo and precedence, and so was the with WOSCA initially. Despite umpteen schemes for the socio-economic betterment, the target group remained impoverished....................

Teaching Note Preview

WOSCA: An Emulative Saga of Social Enterprise

 

Synopsis

There has been little or no improvement in the status of poor and marginalized people despite plethora of programmes and schemes implemented by the government. For a country like India with perceptible rural urban divide the role of a social catalyst to mobilize and move community for a good cause need no emphasis. The underlying motive of such intermediary organization is to work for the welfare of the poor, upliftment of their socio-economic status, to bring changes in their life style by sensitizing them on importance of nutrition, clean and hygienic sanitation practices, etc. For the past two decades, WOSCA has been addressing issues concerned with tribal poor in Keonjhar district. They have implemented various projects and programmes in partnership with Government and  non-governmental organizations. Their main areas of expertise are addressing Governance and livelihood issues, health and nutrition practices, conservation of environment, introduction of modern methods agriculture and various social issues.

The case study highlights the potential mismatch between demand and supply systems of developmental programmes which, stem, acts as an obstacle to bring in the desired changes in the community. The case study aims to underpin the claim that empowering at the grass root level workers is the first step leading to the success of any developmental project or programme. The participants could analyze and understand the potential obstacles that an NGO might confront with, in  terms of skilled manpower, community mobilization, community acceptance, networking and sustainability in the system. Despite all odds, strong determination and passion exhibited by a group of women for the past two decades has truly been impressive. This case broadly outlines about the role and impact created by WOSCA in Keonjhar district. It provokes the participants to critically analyze how such an intermediary organization is able to make a tremendous impact in the community when the government schemes and policies fail to withstand or reach out the beneficiaries. This case also helps the readers to explore the possible building blocks of a non-profit business models. The discussion will kick off the inquisitiveness of those participants who intend to be associated with NGOs in their professional life.

Learning Objectives

This case has comprehensive learning objectives as follows:

  • • The case will give a promising insight about the information of social enterprise and its gradual growth into a compulsory antecedent for socio-economic change
  • • The case envisages to examine the various programmes undertaken by WOSCA to address the contesting issues of development
  • • It is also endeavored to pose certain observed changes in the system that likely to offer challenges to its further momentum

 

Assignment Questions

  • I. What is the business model of WOSCA? How do its learning experiences give a sense of direction to the institutions of same genre?
  • II. What do you understand from forging collaborations to address various issues in the society?
  • III. ....................

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Abstract

This case study attempts to recount the pro-active interventions of an NGO in one of the remotest and inaccessible terrains of rural India, and their far reaching outcomes. Women’s Organization for Socio-Cultural Awareness (WOSCA), a dedicated NGO, rolled out its activities as a social enterprise since 1993 and has been  instrumental to the welfare of the tribal community in Keonjhar district, Odisha. A pioneer to implement various projects with wider dimensions namely governance livelihood, health, environment and culture, WOSCA has been a catalyst for women empowerment through participatory initiatives and joint accountability in its operational jurisdiction. The case study aims to unravel the organization's stake in terms of rural development strategies by a civil society organization, resource pooling, networking and perpetuating community empowerment for social cause. The case analysis illuminates the patterns of change demonstrated by WOSCA based on community needs, sustaining capacity/sustainable development albeit financial constraints, the latent challenges at the community level to fructify the intended outcomes and the evolving change in the project area/community over a period of time. An appraisal, in retrospective dimension, on its decades-long journey in social sector endorses the significance of such institutions being the channels of socio-economic empowerment of deprived communities. Accordingly, this case study analyzes the constraints faced in grass root level governance, underlying challenges in working with various donors, sustainability in social sector and community building.


Pedagogical Objectives

  • To give an insight about the information of social enterprise and its gradual growth into a compulsory antecedent for socio-economic change
  • To examine the various programmes undertaken by WOSCA to address the contesting issues of development
  • To examine certain observed changes that offer challenges to its further momentum


* GSMC 2016, IIM Raipur

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- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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