The Lavasa Challenge is to define a process for local community and economic development with the goal of increasing self-reliance and opportunities for the most vulnerable members of the community. From its inception Lavasa, a new city in India, has been determined to integrate the indigenous population, transient labourer populations, and lower income residents into the life and economy of the city. Lavasa has provided schools for the underprivileged, vocational training, subsidised workforce housing and it has a preferential hiring policy to ensure that marginalized people have the first chance to fill job vacancies with Lavasa and its numerous joint-venture partners.
But, in the long-term, the community’s interest is best served by instituting practices and policies that enable more underprivileged people, such as women and girls, the disabled or low-skilled to become self-reliant. This entails the creation of development goals – both at community and individual levels – and facilitating progress against measurable results and indicators such as educational attainment, increased self-reliance, successful access to finance such as micro-loans and social mobility and integration.
Lavasa seeks innovative approaches to both setting and implementing these development goals as well as the business model of such a community development organization. Social impact bonds, impact investment and other models of results-based financing could thrive in the unique context of Lavasa and its stakeholders. Ultimately, the objective is to partner with or create a non-governmental organization that can take responsibility of all aspects of community development reporting on measurable short- and long-term goals.