Wednesday, May 24, 2023 06:30 [IST]

Last Update: Wednesday, May 24, 2023 00:47 [IST]

SBI Youth for India Fellowship

Q&A with Mr. Lalit Mohan, President & COO, SBI Foundation


Q1. What is the SBI Youth for India Fellowship? Who is eligible to apply?

The SBI Youth for India (SBI YFI) Fellowship was launched in 2011. It is a unique 13-month-long Fellowship programme of the SBI Foundation that aims to provide a framework for best young minds to join hands with rural communities, empathise with their struggles and connect with their aspirations. The YFI Fellowship is an excellent opportunity for the educated and urban youth to create a positive change at the grassroots level in rural India.

The SBI Youth for India Fellowship is open to Indian Citizens, Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) and Citizens of Nepal/Bhutan. These include highly motivated graduates, fresh out of college or young working professionals aged 21 to 32 years, willing to commit to a 13-month-long rural Fellowship programme and adapt to life in challenging rural conditions.

Q2. How does the Fellowship bridge the gap between the urban youth and rural masses?

Our Fellows work in tandem with the rural population and the NGO partners to make a meaningful intervention in one of the 12 thematic areas. For a period of 13 months, the Fellows stay in rural locations, interact with the local community, and develop an understanding of the challenges that hinder the path of development in those regions. The Fellowship enables them to think proactively and plan solution-based projects that can lead to consistent change at the grassroots level. The NGO partners working in these regions also benefit from the support they get from having an aware and educated Fellow whose skill set can be utilised for the betterment of project planning and delivery. The Fellowship is a platform to share ideas and contribute towards rural development.


Q3. What are the thematic areas that the Fellowship supports? How does this contribute to nation-building?

The thematic areas the Fellowship supports are Health, Rural Livelihoods, Food Security, Environmental Protection, Education, Water, Technology, Women’s Empowerment, Self-Governance, Social Entrepreneurship, Traditional Crafts and Alternate Energy.

These thematic areas are carefully selected and directly impact the nation’s economy and social fabric. They align with the 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals.  If you notice, some of these areas are directly linked to the G20 goals of our nation, and that makes us very proud of our work.

We endeavour to make interventions in these areas along with partner NGOs to uplift the rural economy and benefit the local ecosystem.



Q4. What impact has the Fellows’ intervention achieved in the past 10 years?

SBI Youth for India Fellowship program is premeditated to assist our Fellows to live in a village location and work with the partner NGOs to benefit the community.  

SBI Youth for India today has a network of more than 500+ alumni who have made a difference in over 200 rural locations across 20 states of India. We are pleased to share that around 70% of our Alumni continue their work in the development sector.


Q5. What is the kind of work that the Fellows have undertaken in past for the North-east region? Any notable social enterprises that have continued their work in the region?

SBI Youth for India Fellowship’s one of the partners Barefoot College, works in 20 States in India to empower marginalised communities sustainable and self-sufficient since 1972. They believe in the Gandhian philosophy that knowledge, skills and wisdom found in the villages should be used for villagers’ own development. With respect to their work in Sikkim, they have extensively worked on interventions pertaining to solar lights, water and livelihoods in the places like Sukrabarey and Sadam in South Sikkim region. SBI Youth for India Fellows have supported the same cause through interventions in water.

Karthick Sakthivel, SBI Youth for India Fellow 2021-22 worked on mobilizing the local community towards efficient rooftop rainwater harvesting techniques and ergonomic water storage solutions by piloting Poly Ponds. Every pond directly benefits the landowner his neighboring landowners and 2- 3 families for their off-season farming.

SBI YFI 2015-16 Alumni, Ruchinilo Kemp founded Kenono Foundation, a community-led organisation to usher in a vision of collective ownership and responsibility for holistic community development of forest-dependent communities in Nagaland and other similar regions. It works to strengthen community conservation work and develops conservation enterprises to support conservation and create precedence for scalability and policy.

SBI YFI 2015-16 Alumni, Neil Kamat co-founded Sauramandala Foundation, which addresses the challenges faced by remote and inaccessible communities by accelerating social and economic change through collaborative action. We cater to remote and inaccessible communities with specific solutions pertaining to the needs of the people in Meghalaya.

Q6. Which NGO partners is SBI Foundation working with in the rural development sector in North-East region especially Sikkim region. What are the thematic areas that they look into?

?        The ANT - SBI Youth for India NGO partner

?        Barefoot College - SBI Youth for India NGO Partner

?        AIDA - Gram Seva & Sanjeevani in Nagaland and Arunchal Pradesh

?        SEWA International - (Fish Farming) Livelihood Project in Tripura

?        Adhyayan - Education (Programme for Effective Governance through School Complexes) in Tripura

?        SBIF - Army Centre of Wellness & Excellence - Education Project in partnership with Indian Army & NIEDO in Manipur

?        Red Panda Conservation Project in Sikkim & WB in partnership with WWF

?        AROH Foundation - Gram Seva in Sikkim

?        ACRD - Gram Seva in Baksa, Bodoland - Assam

?        Goodwil Foundation in Mizoram - Gram Seva

?        BAKDIL in Meghalaya - Gram Seva

?        Learn Play Grow - Education project with Sesame Workshop India Trust in 3000 plus Anganwadis in Meghalaya.


Q7. What is the impact of the Fellowship on capacity building in India?

The Fellowship, through its Fellows has been able to leave a remarkable footprint in over 200 villages where the Fellows have worked alongside 13 partner NGOs. Their work in the 12 thematic areas has not only offered unique solutions to the native people of the region but has also created employment opportunities leading to self-sustenance. We have more than 50+ Alumni who started their own enterprise/organisation, increasing the impact even post their Fellowship. It’s interesting to note that over 1,00,000 lives have been impacted in 20 states of the country through various initiatives and interventions of the Fellows in the past 10 years. Currently, the 10th Batch of the Fellowship has 69 Fellows working in 15 states.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi