#1 Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University (DSEU) - Lighthouse Program
Aditya Ajith, India

Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University (DSEU) - Lighthouse Program

Aditya Ajith, India

Initiative's goals and main activities 

As a Lighthouse guides a wanderer to a safe shore, the DSEU Lighthouse project in Delhi is a unique urban initiative to guide youth from low-income communities towards an aspirational future through skill development.

 The unique collaborative project between Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University (DSEU) - a state government University based in New Delhi, Lighthouse Communities Foundation (a non-profit), MSDF(donor agency) along with multiple private delivery partners attempts to leverage the capabilities of public - private - people to create a deeper social impact and long-term human transformation, making it a model with great potential for scaling up.

The DSEU Lighthouse project aims to build sustainable livelihoods for youth from marginalised communities. The DSEU Lighthouse offers high-quality, short term vocational skilling courses and is a step towards solving the unemployment crisis in India, which has been exasperated by the pandemic. In addition, the project consists of elements of life-skills, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for empowering and bringing disadvantaged communities out of the poverty trap.

A typical DSEU Lighthouse is set up adjacent to a slum cluster to enable easy access to the youth from the low-income settlement, while the interiors of the Lighthouse are designed in such a way that the space becomes an oasis of knowledge and learning within an otherwise blighted neighbourhood. Having launched the first DSEU Lighthouse in Bhoomiheen Camp, Kalkaji and with another three in the works, the program aims to skill and provide agency to 5000 youth from underprivileged communities within the two years.

In order to get to the next level, the project needs:

a. Collaborative action: The project needs sustained collaborative action by different stakeholders in the conceptualisation, designing, implementing and rolling out of the spaces as well as skill-packages. There are multiple actors with different interests associated with the program, which needs alignment and troubleshooting for successful delivery of intended project outcomes.

b. Unlocking of spaces: The State holds many buildings and vacant plots which are either in derelict state or lying vacant. These spaces must be unlocked for the successful delivery of the program and impact at scale.

c. Donor support and willingness to innovate: A sustained donor to back the project, who is willing to think outside project guidelines is of utmost importance, as local conditions are dynamic and ever evolving within such a project with large number of stakeholders.

d. Strong branding and communication: It is important that the project is branded, marketed and communicated in an effective way to attract learners, delivery partners and keep the stakeholders united in achieving the aim of sustainable livelihoods.

e. Mentorship and collaboration: The project requires mentorship support in various fields such as skilling, pedagogy, fundraising, communication, etc and forging key partnerships with agencies and organisations with complimentary roles.