Section I: About the Fellowship

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You! That is, if you are:

  • A highly motivated graduate, either a young professional or fresh out of college
  • Aged between 21 and 32 as on the date of commencement of programme
  • An Indian citizen
  • A team player with proactive approach and strong leadership skills
  • People-oriented as you will be interacting with rural communities on a constant basis
  • Willing to commit to a 13 month long rural fellowship programme and adapt to life in challenging rural conditions

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SBI has always believed and worked towards the progress of the country. Through the SBI YFI Fellowship, we are investing in the future of the nation. On one hand, we are trying to create leaders of tomorrow and on the other hand, a much needed difference in rural India. To learn more, continue reading.

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SBI Youth for India is a fellowship programme initiated, funded and managed by the State Bank of India in partnership with reputed NGOs. It seeks to solve rural India’s most pressing problems by:

  • Providing educated Indian youth with an opportunity to touch lives and create positive change at the grass root level in rural India.
  • Providing NGOs working on development projects in rural India with educated manpower whose skill sets can be used to catalyze rural development.
  • Promoting a forum for the Programme alumni to share ideas and contribute to rural development throughout their professional life.

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Living in rural areas not only takes you closer to the complexity of the issues plaguing rural India but also to the rural community. It equips you with an ability to see the world from their point of view, which ensures that the solutions you come up with are practical, feasible and sustainable.

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  • The programme is about solving challenging rural problems and will train you to think innovatively, act proactively, exhibit leadership and acquire management skills.
  • You will gain hands-on experience of rural markets, its linkages and an insight into the mind of the rural consumer and what comprises the 'bottom of the pyramid'.
  • This combination of knowledge and skills will be highly valued by many organisations in India, and will be of relevance in any career that you choose to pursue thereafter.

Section II: Application

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Yes, the application form should be filled within 7 days of registration, else the form will be suspended. Second, a timestamp of 50 minutes is provided to feed responses to all the 3 essay questions.

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The programme has two cohorts: First cohort has commenced in August 2017 and the second cohort will commence from October 2017.

Key Dates:

  • 31st May, 2017 – Last date for submission of online application.
  • 1st week of June, 2017 – Candidates shortlisted for personal interview will be intimated
  • 5th July, 2017 – Candidates selected for the Programme will be intimated.
  • 7th August, 2017 – Candidates join the August 2017-18 cohort.
  • 2nd October, 2017 – Candidates join the October 2017-18 cohort.

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Shortlisted candidates are notified on an ongoing basis during the application period. We continuously engage with shortlisted applicants over an online forum to get to know them better as well as to clarify their doubts about the Fellowship. The earlier you apply, the more you will be able to interact with us and you really don’t want to miss that!

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Please write to us at contactus@youthforindia.org and we will try to accommodate your request.

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We do not require you to have a specific degree or experience. If you have the passion to make a difference at the grass root level, you will most certainly be able to find an opportunity to contribute.

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Our aim is to achieve as much diversity as possible in terms of professional experience, education and cultural background, to be able to bring fresh perspectives towards rural development.

Former SBI Youth for India fellows are all graduates or postgraduates from eminent institutes such as the IITs, IIMs, premier design schools, foreign universities and others.

In terms of work experience, fellows have previously worked in a range of sectors including information technology, education, infrastructure, non-profit, healthcare and others. Corporates such as the Tata Group, CapGemini, and MindTree have given their employees a sabbatical to join the fellowship. For more details, refer to the section on Fellows.

Section III: Post Selection

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Post selection, you will have access to further material about the programmes of our partner NGOs. You will research, read and familiarize yourself with these to be able to decide on your preferred programme area and partner NGO. Any doubts, questions, suggestions can be clarified and discussed with the partner NGOs, other fellows as well as our alumni. As the fellowship is physically challenging, maintaining good health and high fitness levels are advised.

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The programme begins with a carefully designed orientation and training programme which includes both classroom sessions and field visits. Thereafter, you will be sent to a rural location to work on a project. For the entire duration of the project, a mentor from the partner NGO will ensure that you are able to successfully address the challenges you may face. There will also be 2 periodic review workshops to provide you with necessary guidance and support.

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Based on a combination of your interests, skill sets and the needs of the partner NGOs for their various projects.

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The fellowship provides fellows with a platform to focus their efforts effectively. However, rural problems are of a complex nature and sustained effort and time are required to bring about visible change. Some projects are able to effect tangible change in a year, others not so much. Few of our past fellows, through small steps, have been able to sow the seeds of change. From past experience, we find that those who picked up and continued work on projects of previous Fellows, have been able to achieve remarkable results. You can read about the ongoing projects in the Projects section.

The thirteenth month also ensures an overlap with the forthcoming batch to facilitate smooth transition and handover of projects.

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The Fellowship cannot be extended by SBI. However, interested fellows can try to work out an arrangement with the partner NGO, to continue to work on mutually agreed terms beyond the fellowship. A number of our alumni have done so.

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The Fellowship will conclude with a valediction and award of a Certificate of completion.

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Apart from the jobs or positions that you previously might have held, the fellowship opens up a host of new avenues for you. You can choose to:

  • Continue working with NGOs or organisations in the sphere of public policy, planning, research and advocacy.
  • Become a social entrepreneur.
  • Return to the corporate world and leverage the insights you have gained to influence perceptions and policy and develop products and services suited to rural markets.

Post fellowship, SBI YFI continues to support fellows through mentorship, guidance, recommendation and referrals.

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The Fellowship is a full time programme requiring you to stay in the project locations for the entire programme duration. To make your stint successful and to really make your efforts count, it is advised to give your complete attention to the Fellowship. Furthermore, there is no scope for part-time participation in the programme. Many alumni had taken sabbatical from their organizations to take up the fellowship so that they could rejoin post-fellowship.

Section IV: Living in the Project Location

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The projects will be located at Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, among others. To encourage people to explore the Indian diversity, we follow a strict ‘no home state’ policy. Staff of our partner NGO will be there to help you solve any problems in settling in that you might face including the language barrier.

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Financial Support:

  • A monthly allowance of 15000 INR for the duration of the programme to meet your living expenses.
  • A monthly allowance of 1000 INR for the duration of the programme to meet your transport expenses.
  • A readjustment allowance of 30000 INR upon successful completion of the Fellowship.
  • The cost of the return 3AC fare from your residence to the project site location as well as expenses incurred on travelling for training programmes.
  • You will be covered by a med claim policy.

Other Support:

  • You will be assisted by the local NGO staff to find suitable accommodation with safety in mind.
  • The partner NGO will also arrange for necessary medical attention when needed.

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At least two fellows will be located at one project location.

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Yes. Our partners are reputed and well-established NGOs with many decades of work at the grass root level with rural communities, which have earned them their goodwill. The location of your stay is decided keeping in mind your safety and security. Our past batches of fellows which have included several women, had no untowardly incidents. Our partner NGOs have local networks to help during medical or other emergencies. However, it is advised to be aware, alert, align with local customs and closely follow the advice of your local NGO mentor.

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Adapting to stay in rural India is an integral part of the learning experience. Erratic mobile connectivity, poor power supply and unreliable internet facilities might help you to reduce your dependency on the props of modern living. You might not have ready access to a lot of shops and markets, although basic provisions will be available. Challenges vary based on the project location, and you can know more about them from the experiences of our alumni.

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Daily tasks differ from fellow to fellow and project to project. After the orientation programme, you will be defining your project in terms of achievable milestones. Based on the requirements of your project, you may have to spend long hours attending meetings, interacting with the rural community, being a part of community activities and having to deal with an unpredictable work schedule.

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The programme is not restricted to any specific area and offers you a wide variety of projects to choose from as well as the flexibility to design a feasible project of your own liking within the focus areas of the partner NGO's work. You can get more details in the Projects section. However, the projects in the Fellowship need to be necessarily in the form of an intervention attempting to bring about positive change and not simply administrative work, research work or surveys and assessments.

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Upon completion of the fellowship, fellows went into a variety of fields:

  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Jobs in Rural Development Sector - NGOs or Corporate Foundations
  • Jobs in the corporate sector
  • Development Studies
  • Management Studies
  • Return to a previous job (for fellows on sabbatical)

Around 55% of our alumni continue to be professionally engaged with the development sector. For more details, you may write to us at contactus@youthforindia.org

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