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Project Catalyst

Project Catalyst
Lend A Hand India takes an inside-out approach to deepen partnerships with state governments through Project Catalyst. This program supports state governments by providing quality talent support for technical and program management that is required to offer vocational education as part of mainstream education in the state. Qualified staff members identified, trained and employed by Lend A Hand India are embedded within the State department of education to support the state on policy execution.

These team members are co-located and work alongside the government officials at state, division and district levels to prepare a long-term strategic roadmap, draft funding proposals, and execute the policy. This is a noteworthy case of non-profits plugging into a critical gap in service provision, and building strong teams that can deliver on complex and bold outcomes that define the systems approach.

To retain independence and avoid conflict of interest, the support is provided at no financial cost to the government. Lend A Hand India also sets up a demonstration model in government schools located in close proximity to the Government Secretariat to showcase best practices and influence policy.

Project Catalyst operates as a three-way, public-private partnership, where the nonprofit delivers technical and domain expertise, funded by private capital, and backed by policy making and large scale provision of budget by central and state governments.

Impact & Scaling Potential: Currently, LAHI has entered into partnership with 24 states/UTs supporting the state government offering skill education in 10,000+ schools covering 1 million plus high school students. One of the landmark policy level achievements has been the recognition of vocational education as a 100 mark subject within the mainstream government schooling system in 2014. By placing staff members within the government department, LAHI has been able to introduce and scale innovative initiatives like internships for high school students, multi-skill approach to vocational education, an online dashboard to monitor statewide implementation etc.

Partner States/UTs: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra Nagar & Haveli, Delhi NCT, Diu & Daman, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Uttarakhand.

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) describes "Project Catalyst" as follows:
LAHI embedded its staff within the state department of education, so as to provide technical and project management support to Maharashtra’s efforts to offer vocational education opportunities to its students. LAHI staff worked side by side with government staff (at the district, division, and state levels), to prepare a long-term strategic roadmap, draft funding proposals, and launch the initiative. Their close collaboration paid off; Project Catalyst has expanded, with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, to 3,000 schools in 12 additional states. This is a three-way, public-private partnership, where the nonprofit delivers technical and domain expertise, funded by private capital and backed by the central and state governments’ policymaking power.

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Lend A Hand India undertakes the following activities as part of the support, capacity and team building of the State Governments:
1. Assist in preparing strategic long term roadmap for vocational education in secondary schools in the state
2. Help the state authorities to draft funding proposal and doing the preparatory work
3. Participate in the due diligence of the proposal by the government of India
4. Based on the approvals received, prepare the state level implementation plan which involves administrative and policy actions
5. Determination of key performance indicators, prepare templates for MIS and design solutions to get the required information
6. Provide the project management support including issue identification and resolution
7. Monitoring, tracking and third party evaluation
8. Laying foundation for the state's team building process


Participants of the Community Leadership Development Program listening to a guest lecturer.


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