ECCE CSR Landscape in India and it’s Potential for Impact

ECCE CSR Landscape in India and it’s Potential for Impact

Background

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), encompassing the inseparable elements of care, health, nutrition, play and early learning within a protective and enabling environment has long been underfunded by CSR programmes, owing to a lack of awareness on its importance in child development. The Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019, which defines the early learning needs in the age group 0 to 3, and the age group 3 to 8 as a single learning continuum called the “foundational phase”, has added to this with a lack of clarity on the modality of achieving the infrastructural and institutional changes required by the policy.

‘ECCE CSR Landscape in India and Potential for Impact’ is a study by Sattva and DHFL Changing Lives Foundation aimed at raising awareness on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in India and developing a guide to CSR funders to consider ECCE in their portfolio.

The study plots the current landscape of funding and solutions for ECCE enabled by CSR, explores trends and evolution of CSR in ECCE funding over the last three years and maps the solution landscape of ECCE interventions enabled by CSR funding to plot areas of interest, types of funding, gaps and challenges.

Key Findings

ECCE Needs and Trends in India:
1. Nutrition, health and early childhood education are deeply interlinked. A child’s development potential cannot be fully realised unless these interlinkages are incorporated in intervention design.
2. About one fourth of children in the age group 3 to 6 do not attend any form of pre-school in India. Amongst those who attend some form of preschool, almost 50% are not ready for formal schooling.

Policy Landscape:
1. The Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 defines the early learning needs in the age group 0 to 3; and the age group 3 to 8 as a single learning continuum called the “foundational phase”. However, there is a lack of clarity on the modality of achieving the infrastructural and institutional changes required by the policy.
2. The Indian government spends about 0.3% of GDP on ECCE, which is much lesser than the OECD countries’ average of 0.8%.

Interventions by ECCE implementers:
1. ECCE implementers have been instrumental in executing innovative ECCE interventions through contextual approaches on the ground. However, these innovations remain largely localised, with very few translating to systemic change.
2. The implementer landscape has certain white spaces like early stimulation, responsive care, parental capacity building, children with disabilities. There is also a felt need by implementers to increase the focus on the 0 to 3 age group.

CSR funding for ECCE:
1. Despite education and health being top funded areas for CSR funders, only 17% of top education funders and 22% of top healthcare funders make some contribution to interventions related to ECCE.
2. There is little data available on CSR expenditure towards ECCE due to lack of standardised reporting practices. However, aligning schedule VII of the Companies Act to SDGs has the potential to change this
3. Interventions pertaining to health and nutrition are better represented than other components of ECCE in CSR funding.

Opportunities to unlock capital and promote collaboration:
1. Investing in ECCE has far reaching impacts ranging from improved economic growth, creating responsible citizenry, to low crime rates.
2. To enhance their ECCE impact, CSR funders can facilitate collaboration at three levels:

  • a. Collaborate with government authorities/institutions to complement the efforts
  • b. Collaborate with multiple non-profits towards comprehensive ECCE outcomes
  • c. Collaborate with other funders working on addressing ECCE or non-ECCE outcomes

 

The full report can be accessed below.

ECCE CSR Landscape in India and Potential for Impact – Full report

A factsheet for the report can be accessed below.

ECCE CSR Landscape in India and Potential for Impact – Factsheet

This is a first attempt at mapping the landscape of funding and solutions in ECCE in India. We deeply appreciate your feedback, comments, and suggestions. Write in to research.advisory@sattva.co.in.

EdTech – One Size Does Not Fit All

The Sattva View – One Size Does Not Fit All

In this column, Sulagna Datta lists how ed-tech in under-resourced communities differs from typical market-based products, and argues for thoughtful design and customisation of those products.

5 things to keep in mind while implementing ed-tech projects in the impact sector

Education Technology or Ed-tech is a buzz word in the Indian impact space today. There has been a flux of funding into this sector, with behemoths like Byju’s emerging as unicorns, crossing $1bn in estimated worth. The supply side is inundated with products that can be categorised in a multitude of ways: Subjects, target age group, in school/out of school, etc. As per Tracxn research, which is India’s leading data aggregation and analytics platform – there are ~4574 Ed-tech products in India today, and ~17,000 products globally.

Schools and colleges across the country are using these products for a multitude of reasons ranging from improving scores in specific subjects and preparing for competitive exams to practising for job interviews. However, if you work with implementation of Education technology programmes for the bottom of the pyramid, the question to ask is ‘What are the things that no one told you about Edtech projects for this context?’

1/ The number of Ed-tech products in the market that are actually built keeping the bottom of the pyramid in mind is shockingly low.
From a Sattva research, out of 566 school products catering to Hindi and Mathematics, only 19% had either already partnered with or shown interest in working with government schools. Which means a staggering 81% of products were meant for the private school context.

When products are built keeping private schools in mind, their data and infrastructure requirements are higher, and more often than not, their content is at levels not graspable by students in government schools. Implementation teams have the onerous task of spending time to customise these products for the BoP context.

2/ Even products that are meant for the BoP context cannot be utilised to their full potential Implementers need to be prepared that basic infrastructure varies drastically across government schools even in peri-urban areas in Bangalore and Delhi.
The biggest advantage of education technology over traditional pedagogical methods is the creation of personalised learning paths for students. Students can learn at their own pace with a curriculum adapted to their needs. For this, the ideal device to student ratio is 1:1, and almost all products are built keeping this ratio in mind. However, this fails in an Indian government school set-up. Even in schools that have labs, the device ratio is seldom 1:1, hampering engagement and consequently learning outcomes.

Most products are designed keeping in mind a certain number of modules to be completed at home as practice. However, most children in government schools come from households with an annual income of <1,00,000 Rs. They don’t own devices at home, and hence are not able to complete most of the self-learning that is meant to happen on the product. Additionally, another constraint in the government school context is access to internet. Since the maintenance budget of all government schools in India is ~8,000-10,000 rupees annually [often going into maintenance of buildings, etc.]- covering bills like the internet becomes cumbersome and is ignored. This leads to further interruption of technology-based learning. 3/ From ages 17-23, ~90% of BoP college youth have smart phones. However, they are extremely data conscious and tend to delete any application/product that takes more than 20 MB of space. While choosing products for the vocational context, practitioners have to be very conscious of the product they recommend.
From a pilot to learn English for interviews through applications through 5 top applications in India, 2 applications stood out in performance owing to the following reasons:

i. They functioned fully offline. After the initial download, they didn’t require any data to run
ii. They were between 15-20 MB in size
iii. They were available across all playstores: Android, Jio, etc.
The other three failed on at least one of the above parameters

4/ From qualitative interviews with about ~2000 college students across India, there is a clear set of features that makes an application more successful than another
i. Leaderboards were a clear favourite amongst students. Students were motivated to use applications when they could see their peers use it. They liked to see where they stood in their comparable cohort
ii. Applications that had short modules and progress bars/gamification were favoured. Students used it like a game to finish the stipulated target defined by the product for the day
iii. For a pan India context, the application that was most successful had an 18 language interface. Students preferred to learn in their vernacular language.

5/ The optimum learning time on an edtech product is about 20 minutes a day
A critical element to keep in mind while designing an edtech initiative is to set a target for content consumption a day. Applications that stipulated more than half an hour a day, saw declining engagement and drop-outs. A 15-20 minute engagement/day was seen in about 80% students who completed the entire course.

While private enterprise products are pushed to the BoP context without considering its nuances, the learning experience is less than optimum, and that typically discourages the learner, further jeopardizing the quality of education. It’s important to address this demographic thoughtfully, with an eye on specific needs and access.

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This article was originally published in Impact Magazine.

Sattva has been working with various nonprofits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Connecting to the Idea of Impact – a report from the field

Connecting to the Idea of Impact – a report from the field

Hugh Lupson is from London and studies History and Geography at the University of Leeds in the UK. His recent university projects whetted his appetite for the social sector and he spent some time as an intern at Sattva. This was his first time in India.

Akshaya is currently pursuing M.Sc. (Hons) Economics at BITS Pilani. She has actively volunteered in the programmes of ‘Education’ and ‘Rural Women Empowerment’ undertaken by the Nirmaan Organization at BITS. Her inclination for community work led her to intern at Sattva where she hopes to learn more about how organisations specialise in social service and gain insight into social entrepreneurship.

As part of their internship Hugh and Akshaya visited a school for marginalised communities in Bangalore. Read about their experience here:

This Foundation’s vision is simple: to provide the poorest children from local slums with world-class opportunities, the key is education. However, this Foundation differs from other projects in providing what they call a ‘360-degree development model’, a more holistic approach to education. Besides lessons, the ‘360-degree development model’ focuses on healthcare, nutrition, emotional support and community development.

We visited them on 27th September to observe the model in action. We wanted to experience the influence that Sattva’s programmes have on their beneficiaries. The exploration into the lives of beneficiaries would also help us connect to the idea of impact and visualise it first-hand. The insights gained from this visit could even allow us to perceive the ways in which our new product, Shift 2.0 could give an enhanced picture of impact to all programmes undertaken by Sattva. We spent only a couple of hours at the Foundation, a 4-floor building with a multipurpose terrace. So while our analysis may be far from comprehensive, the visit gave us a valuable opportunity for a qualitative appraisal, shining a light in a way that statistics simply cannot and adding a human element to project evaluation.

Education is the primary pillar of the Foundation’s approach. Their school follows the I.C.S.E, an intense yet balanced secondary-schooling curriculum. We observed several lessons including English and Mathematics. In the Mathematics class the children were using blocks representing groups of ten to form number bonds to 100. Their numerical ability was impressive. Adapting to different styles of question, the children showed an understanding of the relationships between different numbers and functions rather than simply rote learning of the bonds. This speaks highly of the teaching style here. Unfortunately – as the school’s principal mentioned – the quality of the teachers here attracts the attention of fee-paying schools, who are able to lure some of them with higher wages each year.

In the English classes the students struggled slightly when not following memorised sentences. Nevertheless, they articulated to us their impressive ambitions and dreams; from becoming doctors and English teachers, to travelling the world. Through ideas like naming classrooms after planets and asteroids, it seemed to us that the Foundation’s ethos was to encourage the children not to put limits on themselves or the ways they think.

Their focus on emotional development was also clear to see. The happiness of the children is perhaps our most lasting impression of the visit. We were met in each classroom by beaming young faces, excited to speak to us and clearly proud of what they were learning. The school has a ‘friendship corner’ for any child who is feeling unhappy. The pupils are encouraged to sit in the ‘friendship corner’ whenever they are feeling unhappy and other pupils will join them to cheer them up. While we didn’t see this initiative in action, it suggests that developing empathy in children was important to the school.

Unfortunately, according to the school’s principal, the children’s happiness doesn’t always follow them home each day. Many children return home to difficult lives and carry a sizable emotional burden due to past or ongoing traumatic experiences. In response to this, the school has an in-house therapist who will see pupils on demand. However, acknowledging that a therapist will not be able to tackle this issue at its root, the school also invests in efforts to make sure children are happier at home. The community development programme aims to forge a stronger community for children through collaboration with other local schools, for example discussing a book the children had recently read via Skype. An initiative for fathers suffering with alcohol problems was also mentioned as well as teaching parents how to make soap using vegetable peel.

The children also face challenges when they graduate from the school. The strong community spirit at the Foundation’s schools contrasts with normal life as a young adult. We heard that not all graduates have been able to make the necessary emotional adjustments. One solution to this issue has been to extend the school’s structured mentoring system to include alumni. Access to this wider network of the Foundation’s alumni serves as a useful tool for pupils striving to achieve their career goals.

Some areas of the 360-degree model were harder to gain an appreciation of during our visit. We narrowly missed the children’s lunch, which they had clearly been eagerly anticipating. Therefore we had little opportunity to observe the school’s nutrition programme. However, the children spoke about their food with enthusiasm, especially the eggs they get twice weekly. At the risk of making an inference, it would be hard to imagine hungry children being as happy and animated as the ones we met.

Healthcare and extra-curricular activities were also difficult to gain an understanding of during our visit. While some older children had an inter school arts competition, there was a noticeable lack of outdoor space for the children to play sports and little mention was made of activities outside of lessons. With regards to healthcare, we were given only a brief look at the infirmary, which two children were using to revise for a test. The teachers didn’t mention the healthcare programme. However, we noticed that the children’s ID cards were lacking basic details such as their blood group. As such, for the next visit: nutrition, extra-curricular activities and healthcare should be prioritised for a deeper understanding of the Foundation and its impact.

In its 16th year, the Foundation and its pupils seem to be thriving. The school has received several awards for innovation from institutions including the British Council and Tata Communications. Going forward, the principal mentioned that a key objective for them will be to secure a more reliable funding system. Currently, with funding only being guaranteed for one year at a time, it is difficult for the school to plan for future growth. Perhaps with a 5-year funding guarantee, the Foundation could scale-up and reach its true potential.
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Sattva has been working with various nonprofits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

A three-pronged approach can enable positive breastfeeding outcomes

Optimal Breastfeeding can boost maternal and child health worldwide

According to WHO & UNICEF, over 820,000 lives can be saved annually through optimal breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can significantly improve the health of children and mothers resulting in economic benefits equivalent to USD 300 billion worldwide annually.

The optimal breastfeeding practice recommended by WHO is to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusively breastfeed (EBF) for the first six months, followed by breastfeeding and complementary feeding for a minimum of two years thereafter.

India has not scaled its breastfeeding rates as desired
Research has shown breastfeeding rates have not scaled as desired in India (NFHS 4). While institutional deliveries have increased from 40% in 2005-6 to 78% in 2015-16, breastfeeding initiation in the first hour is still low at 48.5%, with EBF rates for the first six months at 55%. These numbers point to a missed opportunity to enable breastfeeding at birth and sustain those practices effectively thereafter.

In public hospitals, the front-line workers (FLWs), doctors and nurses are expected to provide information and support on breastfeeding. However, inadequate staffing, low awareness and incentivisation for other activities over breastfeeding play a role in why this is not prioritised. In the private sector, where regulation is limited, there is low awareness and limited incentives for doctors and nurses, who are the key caregivers to mothers. Many caregivers encourage mothers struggling with breastfeeding to lean towards formula food.

Why are breastfeeding rates low?
Considering breastfeeding is a natural process, we assume that it comes naturally to every mother. However, issues range from incorrect latching, doubts on milk sufficiency, lip and tongue ties, delayed onset of milk (which require individual counseling) to mastitis and breast abscess (which require medical intervention and sometimes, surgery). Predominantly, lack of timely awareness and sustained support mean that mothers are ill-equipped to address such issues and this can ultimately, lower their confidence to breastfeed.

A three-pronged approach is required to address these barriers:
1. Awareness generation to ensure that families have the right information
• Counselling should start early (during pregnancy) and be extended to the family, especially the primary support system (spouse, mother, siblings, mother-in-law) to ensure a supportive and encouraging environment.
• Ensure adequate and frequent training to all who impart breastfeeding counselling (including frontline workers, doctors and nurses). Training should also be a part of the curriculum for medical and nursing students.

2. Skilled counselling to overcome barriers and enable appropriate behaviour
• Invest in dedicated skilled lactation counsellors for breastfeeding counselling at a public district hospital level. A cost-benefit analysis (EPW ) has shown that it will strengthen the government’s agenda on breastfeeding and promote best practices.
• Invest in sustainable models of skilled counselling in private facilities that focuses on demand creation along with ensuring a pool of trained counsellors.
• Boost private and public partnerships to address availability and quality of care by filling gaps in the public sector through appropriate incentivisation

3. Peer support groups to sustain the behaviour for the desired period
There is strong evidence to show how support groups improve breastfeeding rates. It is important that such groups work with families, as they play a significant role in busting myths and stigmas and stopping mothers from abandoning breastfeeding. . We need to:
• Institutionalise and sustain peer and mother support groups in the public sector by working closely with frontline workers and communities
• Strengthen and replicate successful existing peer networks and use them to accelerate breastfeeding outcomes in the private sector through enabling the right partnerships

It is critical these strategies all work in tandem to achieve favourable outcomes.

Finally, it is the choice of the mother
In India, we see a gap between intent and implementation. Strengthening policy, enabling working parents, increased funding and rigorous monitoring are critical enablers in reducing these gaps. In addition, catalysing the private sector to focus on innovation and demand-led models to increase breastfeeding rates are important, especially as the private sector starts to play a larger role in healthcare.

The choice to breastfeed lies with the mother. What the ecosystem should ensure is that her choice is backed by the right information and the necessary emotional and medical support throughout her breastfeeding journey.

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An edited version of this article was published in BW Wellbeing World to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Breaking Breastfeeding Barriers for Working Women

Breaking Breastfeeding Barriers for Working Women

India needs stronger legislation, better maternity policies and quality childcare, to enable women employees in the formal and informal sectors to achieve positive breastfeeding outcomes

India has set a target for an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 69 percent by 2025. A big part of this puzzle will be to enable working women to breastfeed.

Overall, India ranks 78 in the World Breastfeeding Trends initiative (WBTi), of 97 countries that participated. Only 48 percent of children initiate breastfeeding within the hour and only 55 percent follow exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

The target can be met only if we address barriers that working women face through legislation. Essentially, this means creating mother-baby proximity for the first six months to allow for exclusive breastfeeding without wage loss and facilities to pump, store and feed expressed milk once work is resumed by the mother.

Sattva_Insights_Lakshmi-BFWeek

While there are some big wins for women in the formal workforce, the legislation can be further strengthened.

In India, the revised maternity bill accounts for six months of paid maternity leave for up to two children. However, the burden of wage payment during this time lies solely with the employer; experts say that this could be counterproductive and discourage organisations from employing women. In 2017-18 alone, about 11-18 lakh jobs were lost because of this. In addition, enforcement of legislation for contract workers need to be strengthened.

Here’s how the legislation can be strengthened:

– Provide incentives to employers such as underwriting part of the wage payment, tax breaks, or even introduce employee taxes to encourage employers to continue to hire more women • Create appropriate paternity leave provisions to ensure spouse support that is especially critical in establishing breastfeeding

– Sharpen guidelines on workplace enablement to include providing appropriate pumping equipment and having a designated pumping spaces in addition to providing nursing breaks

Workplaces need to sensitise all employees such that they can encourage breastfeeding mothers. They must also create mechanisms for mothers to seek out the right information and support through connecting peer groups and breastfeeding support organisations.

Large corporate governance must ensure that this applies to workers across across their value chain, including contract workers across SMEs and MSMEs .

The maternity act does not apply to the informal sector, which is estimated to be over 80 percent of the women workforce. Informal workers are also forced to return to work early because of poor economic conditions. A recent study on childcare practices of mothers working in the informal sector by Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) showed how close to 50 percent of the women surveyed returned to work within three months of birth, and only 21 percent of the total women continued to exclusively breastfeed.

Informal workers require convergence across maternity schemes and better childcare facilities to enable positive breastfeeding outcomes.

A critical need for informal women workers is wage protection. Today, schemes that support maternity benefits for informal workers at both a central and state level are inadequate:

– Informal workers are entitled to only Rs 5,000 as a fixed benefit from the government for their first child under the scheme PMMVY (Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna).
– There are also some state schemes (such as in Tamil Nadu and Odisha) that provide financial incentives that are higher; however, they are few and far in between.
– Nowhere are these financial benefits linked to wages.

Secondly, implementation is weak: only about 3.2 million women have benefited under PMMVY till August 2018, in spite of over 25 million births in that time as found by an RTI request.

Thirdly, as women in the informal sector are forced to return to work—in many cases before six months—there is a need for effective childcare. Childcare legislation in India is very limited. Recently, the funding from the central government on the National Creche Scheme has been drastically reduced, in a blow for informal workers.

Going forward

There needs to be a strong focus in bringing convergence around maternity schemes for informal workers addressing key current gaps, such as linking financial benefits to wages and allowing for the fluidity of informal work (no fixed employer, multiple job changes, etc) and ensuring that the schemes complement each other. This also means ensuring adequate childcare through the public health system for women from whenever they resume work (even earlier than six months).

For example, anganwadis can be equipped with breast pumps and storage facilities to help mothers express and store breast milk. Finally, Self Help Groups (SHGs), which have successfully organised several million informal workers, should be enabled as vehicles to create solutions and engage and lobby with the government to ensure adequate legislation—a wonderful example is the SEWA Sangini programme that has created a sustainable model of childcare for informal workers and had big wins through engaging and working with the government.

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This article was originally published in Forbes to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

5 insights on the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship

5 insights on the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship

A lack of access, skills and business acumen often prevent women and women-owned enterprises from being able to participate in markets or scale their economic participation. The numbers reflect this—46% of women-owned enterprises in India classify their business as stagnant, and only 20% earn more than INR 5000 (~US$71) a month (compared to 73% of men-owned enterprises). Addressing this disparity is essential to improving economic empowerment outcomes for women, and stakeholders across sectors, be it government, private sector or civil society, have a vested interest in solving for the barriers to women entrepreneurship.

Sattva_Insights_ecommerce women entrepreneurship

A recent solution that has shown promise in improving the type of work and market opportunities available to women is the advent of e-commerce. Internationally, models such as Taobao (Alibaba) and Grab have shown results in linking women to livelihoods and markets, and in India, nascent platforms such as Amazon Saheli and GoCoop are looking to do the same. Aside from market linkages, these platforms often provide a basket of different enablers in order to allow these small entrepreneurs to participate in online value chains, such as access to digital finance, support with logistical services, and flexible work opportunities.

The Potential: What can e-commerce bring to the table?

E-commerce platforms have the potential to improve gender outcomes

These platforms can potentially increase the revenue share available for women producers by eliminating middlemen and reducing barriers to entry. They can use the data generated on consumer preferences to enable better production choices as well as help women achieve visibility and discoverability for their businesses. For example, the Saheli storefront on the Amazon India website directs traffic to products from their partner women-owned enterprises to provide greater visibility. Finally, they can make the process of procurement and purchasing gender blind, thus addressing any normative barriers associated with women participating in traditional value chains.

However, digital platforms are not a silver bullet solution

They may provide market linkages and end to end support, but they cannot guarantee demand for products, or insulate enterprises from global competition. They are also often not able to directly provide credit, inputs or physical infrastructure, but multiple models provide tie-ups and support addressing these issues.

While competition is a major concern, models based around service provision are better suited to mainstreaming through digital platforms

E-commerce platforms can create market linkages for niche products (such as handicrafts), but small enterprises producing in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market with mainstream players will often have issues competing on price, quality etc. On the other hand, enterprises based on service provision are more insulated from global competition as service provision is limited to local geographies, while manufacturing products can be easily replicated in other markets where production and prices may be cheaper, crowding smaller players out.

Is the ecosystem ready?

There is a need for money, skills for business, quality and timely production and quality production services to drive efficiency of enterprises and enable them to compete on a global scale

There is a need for handholding, additional services and solutions such as clustered service centers, common branding across enterprises to create product awareness, and business consulting services to aid first time entrepreneurs survive in mainstream markets. Experiences from companies like Rangsutra and Industree show that in order to achieve the quality and compliance expected on such platforms, technical capacity building and support is often needed, along with some level of guaranteed and predictable revenue for these risk-averse entrepreneurs. Other necessary pre-requisites to work with women entrepreneurs include buy-in from the men in a household, and of course, basic internet access.

The viability and scalability of e-commerce as a route to women’s economic empowerment needs to be further explored by stakeholders across sectors

While the potential exists, and some stakeholders are exploring this as a solution; it is important for further research and discussion to explore which types of digital solutions are most relevant in addressing the barriers plaguing women and women-owned enterprises, how feasible these models are, and their potential for scale in different contexts.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that while these solutions could solve for barriers faced by enterprises, these entrepreneurs may not have the access or ability to engage with digital solutions. Solving for this will require a tri-sector approach, and stakeholders from civil society, government and the private sector must come together at platforms like AVPN and identify a way forward both in terms of potential and for readying the ecosystem to take up these solutions at scale.

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REFERENCES:
[1] Data from the 73rd NSS and 6th EC in India.
[2] Taobao is a Chinese online shopping website, owned by Alibaba.
[3] Grab is a transportation, food delivery and online payment provider founded in Malaysia.
[4] The Saheli store is a dedicated storefront on Amazon India to display women entrepreneurs’ products and facilitate sales.
[5] GoCoop.com is an online marketplace that enables handloom and handicraft co-operatives and artisans in connecting directly with buyers (both consumers and other businesses).
[6] Rangsutra is a craft company in India that produces a variety of textile handicrafts, collectively owned by over 2000 artisans.
[7] Industree works to create ownership based, organised manufacturing ecosystem for artisans and micro-entrepreneurs, and runs 2 producer-owned enterprises that employ over 1400 women.
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This article was originally published by AVPN and can be accessed here.

You can find more Insights from Sattva here.

To talk to us for collaborations or partnerships, you can write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Tailored Healthcare Solutions for Tribal Women

Tailored Healthcare Solutions for Tribal Women

16-year old Nirmala weighed 43 kgs and had a haemoglobin level of 5.8 when she was eight months pregnant. Hers was a “high-risk pregnancy”, and after much coaxing over multiple visits by the on-ground health worker she agreed to travel 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) on foot and 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) in a bullock-cart to the nearest hospital for her delivery. She is now the mother of a healthy six-month old boy.

She was lucky; more than half of the maternal deaths in India are among the 8.6% tribal population . Less than 15% of tribal women meet the recommended protocol of ante-natal care . Across the continuum of care, tribal women have poorer access to adequate maternal and child health services than their counterparts elsewhere in India. By increasing access to quality maternal health services and emphasising on two important social determinants of maternal health – literacy and age of marriage – India has succeeded reducing maternal mortality by 77% in the last 19 years.

However, the last leg is the toughest. How do we reach the most marginalised women in remote villages to ensure safe deliveries for them?

Sattva_Insights_TribalHealthcare

There is no data on health, healthcare and finances specific to the 104 million strong tribal population in India, and the budgetary plans and allocations for the tribal population remain buried under “rural healthcare”. Alarmingly, there are no existing institutional mechanisms to even gather or generate such data!

The challenges and needs of the tribal population are unique and need to be addressed differently. Tribal populations suffer from the “triple disease burden”: infections and communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and mental illnesses . The nutritional parameters are poorer: anaemia among tribal women is 38% higher than it is in the non-SC-ST population in India4 and the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) among tribal children is 20% higher than the national average.

Continued disproportionate health outcomes indicate the need for a different approach to address the maternal health challenges in these communities. To paraphrase American writer and activist Audre Lorde, “it is not our differences that separate us, but our inability to accept and acknowledge them”.

Maternal health services for tribal women need to be tailored to their needs, instead of being replicated naively from modern health practices or relying on monetary incentives to motivate health-seeking behaviour. To improve maternal health outcomes, we need to adopt a three-pronged strategy: provide last-mile access to care, leverage technology to provide better quality care, and increase utilisation of services provided by being more culturally sensitive and building trust in the community.

Solutions to combat poor maternal healthcare Last mile access can be improved through effective community-based care, adequate ante-natal counselling, and provision of emergency transportation services. The Government of Madhya Pradesh, along with UNICEF, piloted a 24×7 Free Referral Transport system for pregnant women (home to facility, inter-facility and drop back) which contributed to the increase in institutional delivery from 47% to 83% in Madhya Pradesh over a five-year period.

We also need to preserve and build beneficial traditional practices by integrating last-mile health workers into the system and focus on safer deliveries – at home or in a health centre.

There is tremendous scope to leverage technology to improve health outcomes. Mobile applications can help identify and track high-risk pregnancies, increase on-ground reach by incentivising field workers, and strengthen the referral chain to make patient data accessible. Tech solutions can conduct point-of-care diagnostic tests, improve the performance of field workers by providing training support and work as job-aids to guide them through complex tasks. Telemedicine centres and electronic medical records also hold great promise.

Through our research, we learnt that tribal communities view pregnancy and childbirth as a natural phenomenon that does not warrant external interventions. Doctors in white coats and sterile, whitewashed, multi-storeyed hospital buildings are viewed as intimidating. Respecting tribal culture and community beliefs, the Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) has built a tribal-friendly hospital in Gadchiroli . The clinics are modelled on a typical tribal home with mud flooring and thatched roofs. Outpatient departments feature large, tree-lined open spaces for patients to wait and mingle. To overcome access barriers, the state of Jharkhand established Sahiyya Help Desks in District Hospitals and Community Health Centres to help patients navigate complex, often culturally alien and unfriendly health facilities. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these desks significantly reduce the fear of being misunderstood on account of language and socio-cultural differences and improve awareness of entitlements and services, grievance redressal, and feedback regarding services.

To drive community behaviour change, we need to go beyond acknowledging the distinctiveness of the tribal population and learn to understand their culture and beliefs. We must eschew the cookie-cutter approach that seems to characterise many proposed solutions to this challenge. Tailoring interventions to the needs of tribal people will promote health-seeking attitudes, improve the overall nutritional status and enable better integration. This will facilitate better outcomes for mothers and children.

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This article was originally published in Impact Magazine and can be accessed here.

You can find more Insights from Sattva here.

To talk to us for collaborations or partnerships, you can write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

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i.Name changed to protect identity
ii.India’s maternal mortality rate is 167 per 100,000 live births- Census 2011 data
iii.Tribal Health Expert Committee Report
iv.NHFS-3 data
v.SEARCH website: http://searchforhealth.ngo/tribal-friendly-hospital/

Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises

Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises

Background

A decline in rural jobs, the one-sided burden of unpaid care work, along with other structural and underlying issues, such as unequal pay structures, have compounded the decreasing female labour force participation of India—56.1% of working women in India were self-employed as of 2014. There are 8.1 million Indian women-owned enterprises as per the 6th EC, making up 13.7% of enterprises in India. Only 20% of these report their Gross Value Added (GVA) as over INR 5,000 per month compared to 73% of men-owned enterprises.

There are multiple different approaches that have been used to promote and address the variety of barriers faced by women-owned enterprises, ranging from programmes driving financial inclusion to the provision of skilling initiatives. Of the plethora of different approaches to solving for these barriers, e-commerce and digital solutions offer a new and potentially scalable pathway to potentially solve for some of these issues and generate market linkages for these women-owned enterprises. Digital solutions are only just beginning to be explored in India and could provide a scalable means of linking women to markets and job opportunities. The effect size of such interventions (both in India and internationally) could extend beyond market connections and livelihood linkages, to providing layered social empowerment outcomes.

Sattva_Woman-market-india

Sattva organised a roundtable to understand this potential through three lenses — the viability of e-commerce as a solution, the enablers it provided that could solve for specific barriers, and the feasibility of implementing such a solution at scale. ‘Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises’ takes forward the insights from the roundtable to better understand the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship.

Key Findings

1. The high potential of B2B e-commerce
The B2B customer segment of e-commerce offers high potential for women-owned enterprises to access markets and scale as it helps producers procure bulk amounts of raw materials at a lower cost, and have larger order sizes and more predictable revenue.

2. Three B2C sectors with opportunity
Three sectors in B2C e-commerce provide maximum potential for integration of women-owned enterprises. These are:

  • Sale and manufacture of apparel and home furnishing
  • Retail sale of food and beverages
  • Hyperlocal services like hairdressing and beauty services, or repair and alteration of clothing

3. E-commerce enables enterprises in multiple ways
E-commerce platforms can enable enterprises to access larger markets, understand market dynamics and tailor their products/services, get easier access to credit and other inputs, and improve their technical and business skills.

4. There are five key enablers that need to be provided or developed in order to ready women for integration into e-commerce

  • Willingness to participate in e-commerce
  • Functional and technical skills
  • Access to and usage of mobiles and technology
  • Market intelligence and business support
  • Access to working capital and inputs

5. Similarly, there are five enablers required to achieve readiness at an ecosystem level

  • Developing infrastructure in partnership with telecom providers
  • Creating a favourable policy and regulation environment
  • Adding a gender lens for e-commerce platforms
  • Reducing entry barriers on e-commerce platforms
  • Facilitating technological access for women (by developing familial and community support)

The full report can be accessed below.
Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises – Full Report

Our research shows that even though the e-commerce sector in India is experiencing major growth, the effects of e-commerce growth have been concentrated amongst a few of the larger vertical and horizontal players, with the bottom of the pyramid not yet having any real benefits.

There are a few industries that show high promise for women entrepreneurs to integrate with e-commerce value chains, such as; restaurants/online food delivery, groceries, and the manufacture of textiles and home furnishings. Additionally, the operational models of e-commerce platforms provide a host of enablers that address the constraints faced by women entrepreneurs and women-owned enterprises, building a solid market case for the potential of incorporating women into these value chains. However, in order to truly incorporate women into these value chains, there is a need for mentorship, hand-holding support, financial and digital literacy and technical guidance to be provided. Further, there is also a need for infrastructure to be strengthened, a supportive environment to be developed (by addressing normative and social constraints as well as by enterprises providing support). Favourable government policies towards e-commerce growth, like we’ve seen in other countries such as China, and enabling its decentralized access are also necessary for these women entrepreneurs to thrive in parallel with the rapidly growing e-commerce space.

Would you like to partner with us to further the conversation around the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship? Write in to knowledge@sattva.co.in.

Parvathy Ramanathan

Parvathy leads the Transformation Advisory Services portfolio at Sattva, where we focus on enabling ambitious organisations achieve their highest impact. In addition, she also leads Sattva’s technology CSR Programme Management product – SHIFT.

Parvathy has worked extensively in both the US and India at the intersection of systemic transformation and technology, in sectors including Government, Healthcare and Education.

Parvathy is an entrepreneurial leader, now focused on solving urgent problems in the development sector, leveraging over 18 years of global experiences in strategy, marketing, product innovation, services delivery and business development. She has launched, generated and managed global revenue streams across products and services. Her leadership roles range from Accel-Partners funded Big Data Analytics start- up to Fortune-500 firms like Amazon, IQVIA and McGraw-Hill. Her experience spans sectors including Government, Healthcare, Financial Services, Education and Retail.

Parvathy has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelors in Engineering from RAIT, Mumbai University.

Shaivi Chandavarkar

Shaivi is a Senior Consultant based in our Mumbai office. She works in CSR Advisory and is currently focused on a project to build the paediatric liver transplants ecosystem in India and the tribal maternal health space. She brings with her a diversity of experience in strategy consulting, project management, business development and marketing communications in healthcare projects.

Prior to Sattva, Shaivi worked in healthcare consulting with IQVIA in Singapore, was the Medical Project Lead for a multi-specialty hospital in Mumbai – Namaha Healthcare (voted #1 Emerging Hospital in India by TOI in 2017) and worked in healthcare communication with DDB Remedy. She is also the founder of a non-profit Swasyah, to conduct camps to identify undiagnosed patients and direct them to appropriate health care.

Shaivi is a physical therapist by training from Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai. She also has an MA in Economics from SNDT University and an MBA from INSEAD.