Finclusion: Empowering Women Through Digital Finance

Did you know that poor women account for 1.1 billion of the world’s unbanked adults, or most of the financially excluded?

Financial inclusion needs to bridge gender gaps for it to become truly inclusive, and India has a long way to go in this respect.

In order for digital finance to reach rural women sustainably, there is a need to bring together stakeholders from policy, government, businesses, digital financial solution providers, community-based organisations, and funders, to discuss pathways to collaboration for sustained outcomes.

To achieve this, L&T Financial Services and Sattva have taken a bold first step in focusing their efforts on digital financial inclusion of women in rural India through the conception of Finclusion: Empowering Women Through Digital Finance – a participatory dialogue on learnings, gaps and potential to harness digital financial inclusion for rural women in India.

The summit will take place on 1st February, 2019 from 9am to 2pm in New Delhi.

In an effort to establish knowledge sharing and thought leadership in this largely untapped ecosystem, Finclusion will bring together some of the most eminent thought leaders in the space, including Shri Krishnan Dharmarajan of Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion and Renana Jhabvala of SEWA Bharat among others.
With discussions on topics of great contemporary significance like “Partnerships in effective delivery of financial inclusion” among panellists like Prabhat Labh, CEO of Grameen Foundation and P. Satish, Executive Director of Sa-Dhan, the national-level platform hopes to facilitate vibrant discussions between stakeholders across the board, and ultimately, enable sharing of best practices, solutions and partnerships around women empowerment through digital finance.

Finclusion: Empowering Women Through Digital Finance is an event you won’t want to miss, especially if you wish to leave a lasting impact in the digital financial inclusion space.

To participate in our event, write to aashika.ravi@sattva.co.in.

Rahul Shah

Rahul is part the Consulting Services team in Mumbai, with experience working on organisational development with both small and large NGOs, CSR design and implementation, development impact bonds, fundraising and impact assessment.

His diverse experience in the development sector has evolved from his time working at the grassroots level in Ahmedabad, India, to community organising in his hometown of Washington, DC, consulting with social organisations across domains and managing multi-year development projects. Prior to joining Sattva, Rahul worked with TechnoServe India where he managed a CSR funded accelerator programme for women-led social enterprises and NGOs, and a USAID funded project transferring frugal agricultural innovations from India to Africa. In addition to his development sector work, he has five years of progressive experience in corporate finance with industry leading, Fortune 500 corporations in the United States.

Rahul has an MBA and an MS Finance from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University.

Bobbymon George

Bobbymon heads Assessments in Sattva and is based in our Bangalore office.

He has delivered evaluation assignments across sectors and with key CSR accounts such as ABG, JPMorgan, ACC, Philips, L&T Infotech, L&T Financial Services, Dell and Fidelity. He comes with over 13 years of experience in the development sector, across programme design, implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation. He has led Programme Delivery, Curriculum Development, setting up Monitoring & Evaluation frame works and tools in non-profits.

He is also a master facilitator/trainer in Life Skills.

Suhas Urs

Suhas is part of our Consulting Services team in Mumbai, designing and implementing programmes for CSR clients.

Before joining Sattva he was a Gandhi Fellow, where he worked with 5 Government Schools across Surat, Gujarat in the School Transformation Program and carried out focused skill based interventions with the teachers to help improve the student learning levels. At Sattva he has worked with a key CSR client of Sattva in designing and implementing a flagship programme. He has also worked with non-profits in designing the organisational strategy for fundraising.

Suhas has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from Sai Vidya Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Mohana Rajan

Mohana Rajan is part of the Consulting Services team in Mumbai.

Prior to Sattva she has worked in the corporate as well as development sectors and as a Legislative Assistant to Mr. Jyotiraditya Scindia. She has worked with Foundations, Philanthropists, Corporate CSR and Non-profits in the areas of skill development, healthcare and children with special needs. She is passionate about gender equality and is keen to look into innovative models that can emulate corporate success in the development sector.

Mohana is a mechanical engineer from NITK Surathkal and a graduate of IIM Bangalore.

Manasi Parvatikar

Manasi leads key client engagements in Africa and Southeast Asia for Sattva’s international business unit, working with social enterprises, funders and donors that are working in the intersection of food security, climate change and gender inclusion in Africa and South-East Asia.

Prior to Sattva, Manasi was an Analyst and Engagement Manager, working on Market Entry Strategy​, Strategic Sales and Channels Planning, Business Modelling, Marketing Ecosystem Planning and more. She has also co-authored reports on topics related to Indian small and medium businesses – operational challenges and opportunities and India IT Report Card – Implications of federal budget. At Sattva she has worked with key CSR clients in helping develop national strategies around waste and water management. She has further helped developed programmes around marine waste management and integrated village watershed development.

Manasi is a Mathematics graduate from the University of Delhi.

Lakshmi Sethuraman

Lakshmi currently leads the sales function at Sattva. She has been with Sattva since 2010 and has led a diverse set of projects during this time working extensively with leaders of social organisations in building and scaling their operations sustainably. She has also worked with key CSR clients of Sattva in designing, implementing impactful programmes.

Prior to Sattva, Lakshmi has worked with the Manipal Group, Jubilant Retail and ITC Hotels across sales, business development and strategy functions. She holds a PGDM from T.A.Pai Management Institute.

Anita Kumar

Anita Kumar leads the Strategic Initiatives group at Sattva. She has over a decade of experience in both the private sector and the development sector and has worn various hats – employee in a large corporate, freelancer, and entrepreneur. She was with Procter & Gamble for five years in Sales & then Go-to-market Strategy for All-India. In 2009 she shifted to the development sector to use her skills to solve more complex social issues, and was consulting with different social organisations through her firm InsightsApplied including the Tamil Nadu Government, and various Foundations. For about 1.5 years, she consulted full-time with one of the large skill training organisations in the country helping them across a range of activities including mission alignment, impact measurement, sales strategy and partnerships.

Last year she co-founded a social enterprise which used technology to bridge information gaps about learning and livelihoods for disadvantaged youth. Anita is a graduate of IIM Calcutta (2004) and has an MSc in Development Management from LSE.

Sumit Joshi

As part of the Sattva Leadership, Sumit Joshi heads the Consulting Services practice in New Delhi, India. Sumit manages the thematic programmes of several international foundations and leads the CSR and sustainability advisory of multi-national corporates. He has designed and scaled solutions on micro-entrepreneurship, livelihoods, access to safe water, integrated village development, and organisational development.

Prior to Sattva, Sumit traversed various roles in his career from consulting for the United Nations and working for multinationals to running his own social enterprise. His company APART Education trained thousands of young graduates and improved the employability skills and quality of Indian workforce.

Sumit is an alumnus of the University of Oxford where he studied MBA as a Skoll Scholar.

IMPLEMENTATION – MICRO-ENTREPRENEURSHIP

OBJECTIVE
A solar power company delivering viable electricity solutions through decentralised renewable energy mini-grids, wanted to spur socio-economic growth in rural and semi-urban areas. They wanted to create an ecosystem to encourage this segment of people to become entrepreneurs on the back of reliable supply of energy. Our work as knowledge and implementation partners was to bring rural women into mainstream employment through setting up of micro-apparel manufacturing centres.

SATTVA’S APPROACH
We designed and executed a programme based on an entrepreneur-led model here. The first step was developing a site selection framework using certain basic criteria:
– choosing a location for the manufacturing centre close to a solar plant to ensure a steady supply of electricity, – within a radius of 200 kilometres from the market,

The focus was on selecting married women to train since the study suggested that such selection would help maintain high retention rates. We covered 8-10 villages under outreach to encourage women to visit the centre and gauge their interest in joining the programme. Selected candidates were charged a monthly sum of Rs 100 to ensure accountability and retention. This 20-seater centre, in Kamalapur near Lucknow, trained women in apparel making over six months. Our on-ground training partner trained women to use automatic machines. Post this we worked on a job-order model securing bulk orders from vendors (wholesalers or retailers) in Lucknow which in turn were executed by these women over the next few months as part of on-the job training.

KEY LEARNINGS
The program had far reaching socio-economic impact as it saw women from orthodox families venture out of home into mainstream employment. As a result they were now empowered to improve personal livelihood and educational aspirations. In parallel, it highlighted the importance of creating market linkages for rural entrepreneurs as a crucial component for any skilling program. Our approach demonstrated that a well-designed model is imperative, but motivating and building trust with women is as important to mobilise them. During the course of the programme we saw women build personal relationships with each other and work together with complete solidarity. The company was able to make the first crucial step in solving problems of migration, gender gap in mainstream livelihood opportunities and unemployment in Uttar Pradesh. The Kamlapur centre served as the anchor in that area, enabling the energy service company to be sustainable enough to provide energy at community level covering more beneficiaries. Also, the client is now confident of replicating the model for similar projects in other locations.

OUTCOME
No. of women in program: 20 women
Centre location: Kamlapur, Uttar Pradesh
Increase average income: Rs 2000-3000 per month from Rs 200 per month
Age bracket: 21+ years