Sakhi Group of Social Enterprises
Opportunities for reaching the poorest areas the developing world
rely on delivering information, products and services to remote
rural communities. Through social businesses such as microfinance,
rural mobile technology, retail, women's groups in rural areas have
been consistently effective mechanisms through which new livelihood
opportunities and capabilities can be developed in these poor communities.
It is clear, that the potential skill development and capabilities
to create lasting social impact by grassroots women's groups and
their networks has not been fully reached or recognized.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) is promoting rural "social enterprise"
by partnering with it's network of grassroots of women in the self
help group network. These social enterprises centrally involve women
entrepreneurs who have survived disasters after the Latur and Gujarat
earthquakes (1993 and 2001 and tsunami 2004 respectively).
With the facilitation of SSP, networks of rural women entrepreneurs
now earn sustainable incomes in retail businesses in renewable home
energy products in partnership with BP Energy, food essentials and
health funds with others.
SSP stimulates enabling business environments through it's bouquet
of incubation and business development services that aligns networks
of women entrepreneurs, village institutions, and corporations to
launch profitable enterprises that are governed by a triple bottom
- Everyone in the value chain makes a profit.
- All enterprises are rooted in the principles of clean, renewable
- All businesses fortify the development of village communities
and ensure inclusion of debutant entrepreneurs in networks of
financial and social capital.
Sakhi Group of Social Enterprises
has nurtured 850 women retail entrepreneurs in as many rural communities,
through its Sakhi Retail Co. in rural Maharashtra. For the Sakhi
the village level entrepreneur it has ensured more than 33% income
growth in the last year alone. A social enterprise based on revenue
model, it has partnered with BP Energy to co-develop stoves and
clean fuel, and now sells, markets, and distributes biomass stoves
to 60,000 households across rural Maharastra. The grassroots women
network trained to act as marketers, offer after sales service
and "below-the-line" advertisers in one. Read
Sakhi Samudaya Kosh its community driven micro finance entity,
SSP has launched over 16,000 women in start up self employment
in agriculture, dairy and small trades and businesses. Turnover
of micro finance operations are up to Rs. 140 million over the
last two years alone. Read
up a Rural B- School, building and training micro -entrepreneurs
and starting an Incubator for rural enterprises to enhance opportunities
for women and young girls are key goals of the entity SSEN Sakhi
Social Enterprise Network launched recently. Read
Sakhi Community Health Trust Fund an initiative for rural families
with low access to affordable health to benefit from cashless
health insurance and doorstep health services resulting in improved
health security. SSP fostered a community driven Health Trust
and partnered with SIS Swasth India Services an for profit health
venture to co develop both products and mechanisms that will reach
out preventive health services and provide hospital cover together
with insurance companies. Read
operations launched by SSP are premised on 4 Cs:
Customer- focus - Customers/Members drive the integrated value
Building - Women entrepreneurs train at all levels to be successful
at business and leading social initiatives.
-Women entrepreneurs' are linked to their networks and are empowered
Impact - Social enterprises work on lowering costs, stabilizing
business models. This is done by first providing decent incomes
to entrepreneurs, re-investing even minimum profits and promoting
key strength of SSP is its close connections to and knowledge of
the local communities and the social network and trust relationships
with over 1,300 communities. Most of the teams are locally recruited
and grassroots women are both trainers and leaders of the Federations
and actively participate by investing in and providing valuable
feedback for effectiveness of the enterprises.
SSP works in six districts in Maharashtra and two each in Gujarat
and Tamilandu. SSP has facilitated the formation of 5,000 self-help
groups, with a membership of over 60,000. It has a potential direct
outreach to 300,000 households. And SSP's network is known for expertise
in health, water, sanitation, and building disaster resilience.
With strengthened training and infrastructure, the SSP network itself
could be an invaluable partner to government, businesses and organizations
hoping to reach households.