Jojo Mehra, a seasoned professional in the technology space, embarked on his journey during the nascent days of the internet in India, pioneering digital start-ups like rediff.com and Yoomedia Plc. and co-founded a shared accommodation platform and an HR-Tech startup. His foray into the development sector began only around 8-9 years ago, when his curiosity led him to explore how digital technologies could be harnessed to address societal challenges. He began to immerse himself in understanding the complex challenges of the society and the potential to leverage technology for effective solutions. This journey took him through some pro bono work within the development sector, and a return to school for further knowledge where he pursued a master's programme in Technology Governance and Digital Transformation from the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance at Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia).
Jojo recognises the growing appreciation of the power of digital public infrastructure in India and its relevance across various sectors. He believes that the sanitation sector is poised for transformation through digital public infrastructure, and he is determined to drive this change. Jojo’s involvement in the sanitation sector was kick-started by his work at eGov Foundation, a philanthropic mission that creates open digital infrastructure and ecosystems, to enable city administrations to deliver services that are accessible, affordable, and inclusive. Their approach involves leveraging digital public infrastructure, building state capacity, and catalyzing market ecosystems to address complex challenges within the sanitation sector. Over the past few years, the sector has witnessed the expansion of their work. At a crucial point, eGov Foundation launched the DIGIT Platform which was meant to enable good service delivery by engaging with all key stakeholders including citizens, government employees, vendors, administrators and policy makers to collaborate and exchange information in real time. The platform was taken to Odisha for faecal sludge management as part of the ‘Sustainable Urban services in a Jiffy by Odisha Government (SUJOG) program. Their current focus is on catalyzing a nationwide scale-up of this open-source platform by collaborating with multiple partners in the ecosystem.
He emphasizes the collaborative nature of this space, where multiple stakeholders come together to address various aspects of sanitation. Inclusivity, in his view, necessitates collaboration across multiple dimensions to make safe sanitation easily accessible to all. Being part of the NFSSM Alliance has been an enlightening experience for Jojo. He appreciates the energy and dedication that different individuals and organizations bring to the sanitation sector. He particularly mentions the pivotal role played by the WASH Institute, whose interactions were instrumental in shaping his understanding of sanitation and influencing his approach to solving related challenges.
Jojo's journey in the digital realm has transitioned into a quest for inclusive sanitation, driven by the goal of leaving no one behind. His aspirations for the sector and the NFSSM Alliance include catalyzing a nationwide transformation in sanitation by leveraging digital infrastructure, creating a future where safe and sustainable sanitation services are easily accessible to all.