India has the largest adolescent population in the world with 253 million categorised as young people. Every fifth person in India is in the age group of 10 to 19 years (UNICEF). Some of the major challenges for this group include physical and mental wellbeing, access to education and opportunities for skill development, and youth participation in local governance.

Building a healthy environment for young people is critical for improving adolescent wellbeing throughout the country. This is especially true for intermediary cities, which tend to see fewer opportunities and investment.

HCA activity in India began in 2019 with a rapid assessment to identify opportunities and entry points. The programme put a special focus on the Indian government’s Smart Cities Mission.

Led by Ennovent, a business venture catalyst organisation in India, the rapid assessment analysed the ecosystem and potential partners across the country, focusing particularly on Rajasthan and Odisha − priority states for Fondation Botnar.

From this analysis, the HCA identified five areas of focus in India:

  • strengthening local governance;
  • building life skills;
  • improving gender equity;
  • creating healthy environments; and
  • knowledge building to drive a learning agenda.

Jaipur and Bhubaneshwar were identified as smart cities with particular enabling environments for youth-led transformation.

In 2020, Ennovent oversaw the management of two twelve-month ‘demonstrator’ projects in these cities, led respectively by WRI India and Haqdarshak. Read more about the demonstrator projects in Phase I (2018−2022).

In August 2022, the demonstrator project led by WRI India was selected for further investment and expansion under Phase II (2022−2026) of HCA. Click the link below to read about the Phase II project.

Ennovent continues to be actively involved in Phase II as an In-Country Advisor for India. In addition to supporting the current project, Ennovent is taking the lead in exploring future opportunities for HCA in India.

Start date:

Safe, Vibrant and Healthy Public Spaces