CAP FOUNDATION’S FOOT PRINT IN LINKING LEARNING AND LIVELIHOOD:
CAP Foundation is a registered Trust, initiated as an innovative public-private-partnership. It demonstrates a model that addresses poverty alleviation by linking learning and livelihood needs of working children and disadvantaged youth (at risk) to equitable qualitative learning that provides market-oriented vocational training opportunities. The Foundation works with the most deprived, vulnerable and difficult to reach sections of young men and women in poor urban and peri-urban communities at risk; CAP has a strong gender perspective.
CAP’s vision is to be an end-to-end community based solutions provider in quality education to build safer, healthier and productive communities of young people capable of supporting self-directed growth and positive citizenship. Its mission is to promote access to sustainable and affordable integrated learning opportunities for all young people from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their career and life aspirations. Initiated as a successful learning program for children working in hazardous conditions along with school drop outs, over the last few years, CAP has moved forward to provide a comprehensive academic, vocational and occupational support programmes. It also provides life skills, career guidance, and placement support to children and young people.
Started as a community based intervention for rehabilitation of child workers removed from hazardous working conditions with the help of police, the Child and Police (CAP) Project grew to become an independent registered entity in 2003 and later as the CAP Foundation in 2005 to encompass more innovative interventions to link learning and livelihoods for young people.
The skills development training projects have spread across partnerships with several Central and state Government 15 states of India covering 6 maoists affected states and LOC districts in Kashmir . CAP Foundation has also incubated the CAP Workforce Development Institute in partnership with the national Skill Development Corporation to cover 1 million youth by 2020 across india. The model has also been adopted and replicated through partnerships to overseas destinations including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Kenya.
THE SKILLING OF YOUTH – THE CHALLENGE IN OCCUPATIONAL PREPARATORY AND THE BEST MODEL
The philosophy of CAP is based on the following three convictions
- Education system in this country has failed its young people! This means solutions have to provide transition pathways that support those who have been failed by the system to get a second chance at learning and moving forward in their lives
- All that the youth need is not charity or pity – but just an access to opportunity.
- Collaborations and partnerships are inevitable to achieving scale and sustainability as no organization can make it alone –
All these three principles have led to the expansion of CAP from a small Rs. 60 lakh organization with 20 staff members in 2005 to Rs. 25 crore organization with over 450 staff members by 2010 – a growth that stands testimony to the mission of CAP in linking learning and livelihood. CAP started its journey of providing occupational pathways to disadvantaged youth in 2005 with one corporate partner PepsiCo, One government partner in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and one International donor organisation Plan International and since then there is no looking back.
Addressing the livelihood issues of these youth, with supporting transition pathways that help them move out of poverty and towards secure futures remains at the centre of the Basic Employability Skills Training program (BEST) of CAP Foundation. As one of the pioneers in the space of community based programming for young people and building on its considerable experience in India and other countries, CAP Foundation over the last 8 years has developed a full-fledged accelerated skills training programme to link learning and livelihoods for young people with forward linkages to regular employment with decent wage avenues, savings and entrepreneurship.
The intervention targets below poverty youth with special focus on school dropouts, unemployed secondary school graduates, migrant youth and youth from resettlement communities. The program supports employment opportunity oriented workforce preparation with a strong focus on life skills and work readiness. Post training, the project connects the youth to job opportunities that allows them to earn and to access peer sharing networks. This implies involvement of business, vocational training service providers and industry professionals in developing integral components to learn, acquire skills, become employable, access jobs, earn, save and advance.
This is a new-economy livelihood promotion training program which is exclusively designed for the school dropouts/ unemployed secondary school graduates/ trafficked victims/ street youth/ retrenched workers/ migrant youth/ resettlement community members from the poorest 15% of the Indian population. The program supports both employment opportunity oriented workforce preparation as well as tiny and micro-enterprise development that is specifically and clearly oriented to identified labour market requirements and opportunities. It bridges the emerging demands in the new economy with changes that need to happen in the educational pipeline for workforce preparation in the country. This implies involvement of business and industry professionals in developing integral components to education reform including contextual employability competencies; work based learning, career academies, acquiring workplace skills and advancement of employability competencies.
CAP has tested this model in various settings for different target groups. The tenacity of the model is tested both for geographic locations as well as target groups. The beauty of the model is its ability to blend with the settings. This model is applied to the
- Trafficked victims who after being rescued by the police and the NGOs lead a life of indignity and uncertainty
- Fishermen community who after the Tsunami only wanted to diversify their livelihood base
- Garment workers who were at the risk of losing their livelihoods due to the closure of garment making units
- Labour working on the lands that have been sold to make way for SEZs
- Migrants who come to the urban areas with a hope making livelihood but land up with exploitative jobs due to lack of skills
- Youth who are at risk of taking up routes which are not only dangerous for themselves but also to the nation
The model has time and again proved that whatever may be the geography, the basic elements of youth remain the same and the ability of the model to understand the expectations and needs of the youth has always ensured the success. The process is successful because it is community based, youth oriented and market driven. Mostly importantly it addresses the individual and economic development needs of the disadvantaged target groups. Its learning methodology is practice driven and experiential making it suitable for heterogeneous groups of learners from different academic and socio-cultural backgrounds to easily assimilate and gain from the teaching learning process besides being learner centric and peer-learning facilitated. Above all, it is an aspirational learning and training model that allows students/ trainees to be aware of and recognize their own potential, their own learning needs and aspirations and make their own learning plans for their self-development and independent growth.
The Basic employability Skills Training Model of CAP offers demand driven courses in the following high entry level job placement potential making the last mile connection to jobs possible.
Various stakeholders had their own reasons for investing in this model.
- For the government, this is a quick fix solution towards poverty alleviation and nation building. The results can be touched, felt and seen within a period of 3 months. The outputs are measurable and the family of the beneficiary can be brought out of poverty within less than a year. There can be hardly any other scheme of the government which can promise such a turn around
- For the corporates, the reasons for investment vary depending on the lens used by them. For few corporate it is building of good will, for few others it is pacifying an already agitated neighbourhood, some invested in the model to build the economic capacity of the community to ensure higher consumerism of their services and payment for the same. For many it is building a pipeline of skilled manpower for their business.
- For bi lateral agencies, the investment was a safe bet as it ensured accountability and results.