There are 16 Foster students enrolled in the Global Consulting class and that just completed a 2-week trip to India to conduct site visits with their clients. There are four teams working on the different projects and all four projects are working with SEWA – the Self-Employed Women’s Association.
Harialyi Project, which is aimed at distributing 200,000 solar lanterns and energy efficient cookstoves in the Indian state of Gujarat. Once the lanterns and stoves are distributed, members are providing recommendations on how to measure the social impact (call it a Social ROI) of the improved livilihoods. The team is also providing some recommendations for how to go about selling carbon credits for the reduced CO2 emissions that the lanterns and stoves provide. This money will be returned to the users who integrate these products into their daily lives and could eventually cover the entire cost of the new equipment.
Team Ni is working with the SEWA Manager Ni School (SMS) which is a unit of SEWA that serves as a managerial capacity building institution that facilitates economic self-sustainability by developing a cadre of grassroots managers. SEWA Manager Ni School has facilitated development of 50 community-learning centers (CLC) across Gujarat. These centers cater to the training and economic needs of the village community members from the surrounding 15 to 20 villages. These centers also function as an information hub for the community members. Specifically team members are focusing on two areas: 1) creating a business plan for the establishment and ultimate self-sufficiency of a cantina at an identified SEWA CLC and 2) creating a business plan for the implementation and ultimate self-sufficiency of a community radio.
The RUDI team are working to create an operational framework for going into new districts and improving operations in currently under-performing districts. RUDI is the retail distribution network for SEWA’s agribusiness unit. They are looking to increase sales significantly in the next 5 years, but based on our visits to villages while in India, there are many differences in how the different districts operate. We will be looking at Castor Seed procurement and RUDI brand food processing and sales for comparative analysis between the districts. These recommendations will help with overall goals of increasing self-sufficiency and increasing the number of villages benefiting from quality RUDI products.
The STFC (SEWA Trade Facilitation Center) team is working to create a collective marketing plan for the handicrafts brand SABAH, which is the international extension of SEWA’s Indian handicraft brand, Hansiba. SABAH is a nascent brand that includes handicraft work from Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The team will be providing recommendations on how to position this new brand within the Mumbai retail store and throughout India. They will also be working on creating tools for SEWA managers and artisans to more effectively promote the brand and approach pricing their products. These recommendations will help to grow the SABAH brand with the overall goal of creating more employment opportunities for women both within India and in the greater region.
More information about this amazing experience will be posted in upcoming weeks.