My work with Non-Profits

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I  provide technical support to non-profits. I do not get paid for this work unless I am paid by a donor specifically to monitor, evaluate or train the non-profit project. I earn my income from working on short term consultancy contracts totalling 50 to 60 paid days in a year and that income keeps me going for the rest of the year. My start up social enterprise Methodlabs India is not yet able to pay for my time investments.
I have experimented with the idea of social enterprises through non-profit organisations. The problem is, if a non-profit takes up a social business and if the business is genuinely profitable such as micro-finance or micro-enterprises with a profitable set of products/services , the attention of the team gets completely diverted and ultimately the whole activity becomes yet another business with all the associated ills including ending up benefiting only a handful of individuals.
For now I advocate NGOs to focus on a specific contiguous set of communities and obtain all funding only for work in the region. When they do take up some profitable activity, their focus remains in the same constituency among the same communities. The communities understand that their social worker also needs an income and would not sell anything to them that would harm them or cheat them.
I am still working on more sustenance models for these social workers and trying to develop an ethical training and support infrastructure to make more of them successful.
A major part of my work at Methodlabs India is to develop a box of methods to audit local communities for self sustainability and encourage them towards specific steps to reduce their dependence on the outside world for their energy, food, agricultural inputs and ultimately consumer products and anything else that comes from far away. When they need any product or service from outside they will be encouraged to seek barter with other neighbouring communities. The social worker/entrepreneur inspiring all these changes would withdraw from the community once a local community enterprise takes over the businesses of making the community more and more self sufficient.

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About Gunasekar C Rajaratnam

Social Entrepreneur, Guna has been working 28 years with market research and social research agencies and as an independent research consultant. Volunteers most of his time on social and public causes and has travelled extensively within India and has visited Africa. Trained as a barefoot manager, Guna leads a de-cluttered life of simplicity and personal Integrity and aims to be a 'Karmayogi'. He works with marginalised and rural communities and helps them set up sustainable enterprises in rural and urban areas. He holds these Positions: Director - Methodlabs Services Private Limited Co-Founder - Coworking Chennai Started as a freelance field data collector in 1985, grew up to a Senior General Manager in 1998 working for professional research agencies and as an Independent Research Methodology Consultant since 1998. He has designed and played a role in implementing a variety of research and analytic projects in retail markets, consumer behaviour, health, environment, social development, hard to reach communities and indigenous people. Specialities: Research Methodology, recruiting, training and managing large research teams, online collaboration tools, open source software, qualitative and quantitative research techniques, clinical and laboratory research practices and Knowledge management. Domain knowledge in Industrial diversification, marketing, retail markets, appropriate technologies, social development, health, sexual health, environment, urban wildlife, communities and indigenous people

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