A global social development incubator had developed a programme, funded by a large investment bank, to improve gender diversity ratios and quality of candidates entering the retail sector. This was a one-of-a-kind innovative pilot programme designed to upskill and employ underprivileged women at premium and luxury retail brands in India. We played a key role as programme management partners to deliver and manage the programme in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

In order to reach the desired outcome for the customer and other stakeholders, we needed to ensure that the programme developed was aligned to the market. So, we built a training curriculum based on feedback we got from two large market players who gave us an outside in perspective. The curriculum focused on English skills and conditioning women to nuances of the retail sector — customer service, understanding the segment, corporate brand sensitisation. This was co-developed by the on-ground training partner. Our role was focused on pre-screening and evaluating fitment to the programme based on select criteria – educational qualification, basic English proficiency, and alignment to retail sector. Alongside, we actively engaged with potential employers in the market who gave us feedback on gaps in training and other value-adds needed, if any.

This two-month long programme clearly identified that training candidates on high quality customer service for premium and luxury brands, has a definite advantage over mere English proficiency even though the latter is a key requirement. Training women on softer aspects – confidence, communication, presentability – helps them engage with customers better and eventually find employment opportunities across sectors. As the next step in our endeavour, we are now looking to expand to other aspirational industries which value customer experience as a core skill.
It also gave us and other stakeholders useful insights about this segment of women. For instance, most women or their families don’t want to be associated with retail due to long shifts and physical labour involved. Many came in to learn English therefore mobilisation was a key challenge. These findings helped us relook at the programme to bring in more value-additions. The duration, for one, was not enough to build both English and soft skills. As added benefit, the company was able to assess the aspirant needs better from the programme. Overall, these insights helped develop skill sets for candidates to be more aligned with demands of this job.

No. of women trained: 34
No. undergoing training: 37
Placement rate: 76%
Average salary: Rs 11,000 in Mumbai and Rs 10,500 in Bengaluru
Companies placed: Fossil, Madura Fashion, W, FabIndia, Reliance Trends, Tata Trent, Louis Philippe, Aurelia, Shoppers Stop.
Educational qualification: Std 12th and Graduates


A Mumbai-based financial services company wanted to design and implement a programme focused on women’s entrepreneurship development and digital financial inclusion across rural Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. We, Sattva Consulting, came in as knowledge partners to give further inputs on the programme design and strategy, as well as support in planning, implementation, monitoring & evaluation and reporting.

The programme has a two-pronged strategy to enable the company reach its goal of empowering women in their households and communities alike. The first track involves mobilising and training 100 Digital Sakhis – women from the rural areas – in personal finance, digital financial literacy, leadership development and communication skills. These women in turn go out to train the larger community on same skill sets. Each Digital Sakhi has individual targets of reaching 1,000 rural community members which culminates to a total outreach of 1,00,000 rural population. The second track is focused on building the capacity of women entrepreneurs to help further develop their business. The first step was finding an implementing NGO with a background in enterprise development, financial inclusion and women empowerment with the ability to implement in the mandated geographies. After a thorough due diligence and selection process, we conducted a two-day co-creation workshop involving the financial services CSR team, business team and implementing NGO. The first day was focused on aligning all stakeholders on the aspirations, values and indicators of success for the programme, while on the second day we dived deep into the operational planning. This included open and honest conversations with all relevant stakeholders regarding the process of community mobilisation, batch sizes for women entrepreneurs, timelines, risks and mitigation measures among various other granular details. Once implementation began, spearheaded by the implementing NGO on the ground, Sattva conducted the programme management and M&E for the project duration and subsequent proposal development for phase two of the programme.

This project successfully demonstrated the impact financial services companies can make through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to do good for business and in turn, benefit the entire community. Our efforts as knowledge partners with end-to-end implementation support were found immensely useful by all stakeholders in helping drive this programme and moulding it to what it is today. In the end, the company was able to spread awareness on digital financial literacy and promote women’s enterprise development, while increasing their brand visibility on the ground in strategic geographies and strengthening their customer base.

● 100 Digital Sakhis trained on Digital Financial Literacy, Leadership and Communications
● 1000 women entrepreneurs upskilled in their respective trades, trained in enterprise development and digital financial literacy
● 1,00,000 rural population trained on personal finance and digital financial literacy
● Increase in income, knowledge and adoption of formal financial services
● Maharashtra: Pune, Osmanabad and Solapur districts
● Madhya Pradesh: Dhar and Barwani


A Nashik-based company in the construction industry wanted to bring unskilled and semi-skilled youth into their value-chain through a model of micro-entrepreneurship. They were trying to bridge the gap between those who are unemployed inspite of graduation or ITI courses (as they lack the right skills), and job demand in the construction sector. Sattva’s role as on-ground implementation partner was to create, design and manage a skilling programme for the company across eight locations to mobilise this segment and encourage them with cost-effective business ideas for employment.

We designed an integrated curriculum combining theoretical and practical aspects of roofing and entrepreneurship. This was initiated with a framework to mobilise and train youth to bring them into the programme that spanned four months. Our foremost step to achieving this was a selection form with ‘must-have’ and ‘may-have’ criteria. The former ensured all candidates wanting to join the programme should have at least completed primary education and aged between 18-38 years. The latter selected youth based on their interest in becoming entrepreneurs, willingness to take a loan, prior experience in the construction sector and overall motivation to join the programme in order for us to understand their future plans for livelihood generation. Technical training involved working on a 6×6 shed as a practical exercise while classroom sessions involved simulation exercises, group activities and case studies. On the last day of training we brought in the company’s dealers from its local ecosystem and sales team to give candidates a better understanding of business and dealership. We handheld them as they set up enterprises including helping with financial and market linkages. We diversified opportunities for candidates breaking them into the following buckets: dealer/sub-dealer, contractors, enterprises apart from roofing; self employment: home based sales agents; employment: skilled labourers/roofers.

Our on-ground partners played an important role in identifying the right candidate for the programme – those with a strong will to commit to investing time and energy to grow in life. All candidates were certified by NSDC and CIDC at the end of the programme declaring them as ‘Masters in Roofing and Fabrication’ to help them access jobs or business opportunities in the market. More importantly, we have piloted a collaboration with an FMCG company who is providing loans to our candidates in Nashik at subsidised rates and helping them scale their business.

The multi-regional project, undertaken in collaboration with the company, successfully demonstrated that micro-entrepreneurship is a viable solution to creating future jobs in a country where we require to train 500 million people by 2022. It is also a must-have extension of any skilling programme to reduce placement attrition. We have experimented in the first year, replicated in the second year and will scale in the third year. The intervention thereby proved its potential as a fertile ground for social investments. The programme added to the company’s value-chain with an inflow of candidates who started enterprises or became dealers. This ultimately spurred the company’s sales. Therefore it successfully showed that a company’s CSR initiatives can positively impact rural entrepreneurship as well as contribute to business.

Age Group: 18-38 years

Mobilised candidates
Jamshedpur: 36
Burdhman: 36
Kharagpur: 32
Nellore : 52
Tumkur : 38
Madurai : 46
Jaunpur : 51
Saharanpur : 35


The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of a Mumbai-based bank wanted to understand the impact of its programme aimed at improving livelihoods of Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking, implemented with an on-ground NGO partner across five states. We conducted a detailed assessment of the impact of the project.

We studied 400 women from three of the five states using a hybrid methodology combining qualitative and quantitative data. These women, who had been part of the programme before September 2015, were interviewed through focus group discussions along with multiple stakeholders – implementation partner, local NGOs and anganwadi workers. The discussion was a means to gauge improvement in livelihood patterns, changes in income levels, overall empowerment in taking household decisions for those who chose to opt out of this trade, and more importantly reduction in social exclusion. These parameters formed the qualitative side. Quantitative data, on factors like increase in household income, improvements in family’s standard of living, and education opportunities for their children because of higher income, was collected through a survey.

Working and studying a sensitive community brought out valuable insights for us as well as the ecosystem at large. This programme successfully demonstrated self-employment is a sustainable model for livelihood for this group of women, and one that can be institutionalised. Our hybrid methodology, that blended quantitative and qualitative data, proved to be innovative as well as a disciplined and systematic approach leading to desired results within designated time-frame. Also, liaising with an external expert, who came with in-depth understanding of this community, helped us communicate effectively in order to gather valuable information. Collaborating with the NGO provided balance in field dynamics, as they gave us necessary inputs and direction on broaching sensitive questions. This, we believe, was a crucial aspect of the assessment. As a result, the CSR arm was able to assess the programme’s impact well, and the programme proved to be feasible for this community.

● Studied a sample set of 400 women in three states
● States covered: Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow), Andhra Pradesh (Vizag) and Maharashtra (Pune)
● Duration: 2.5 months
● Age group: 20-50 years
● Adopted a scientific research methodology blending qualitative and quantitative data
● Assessed a complex socio-economic and cultural setting

“Adopting a hybrid methodology was an extremely disciplined and systematic approach leading to desired results within the time-frame earmarked for this assessment.”


A Mumbai-based paint-manufacturing company wanted to implement an employee volunteering programme as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to engage employees on social causes. We developed this project end-to-end, that included identifying and building a rapport with high performing, credible partners across 17 locations.

Our first step was to review NGOs in each location. A few selection parameters to select these CSR partners included financial data, due diligence based on a check list of documents, prior work experience, focus on emerging and underdeveloped areas in education (digital classroom/sports), ability to work in multi-stakeholder environments with agility, as well as provisions for infrastructure and events centred around schools. Partner NGOs were asked to propose a Programme Plan – which comprised of weekly activities, infrastructure support and final culmination event, a crucial aspect for selection. The Programme Plans of activities by 23 selected NGOs were shared with the company’s CSR team. We then designed and executed necessary internal communication campaigns to get employees to volunteer. As employee sensitisation tool, we were able to successfully use in-house workshops as well as region-wise WhatsApp groups for continued engagement and motivation. To ensure smooth functioning of on-ground activities and their monitoring, we set up a robust progress monitoring and communication system involving designated SPOCs (points of contact) within the company.

This project clearly demonstrated that a company’s CSR initiatives can be a great way to make the future generation more socially conscious and aware. Also, as a result of this engagement many employees were encouraged to continue volunteering with these NGOs independently. Through our efforts we managed to mobilise 695 employees who put in 2000+ hours of volunteering time. This project reinforced a positive perception of the company with its workforce across the board.

23 partners onboarded across 17 locations
Total investment outlay: INR 55 Lakh+
695 volunteers engaged
2000+ volunteer hours contributed
7,234 beneficiaries reached
Focus Areas: Digital Literacy, Education, Sports & Life skills, Elder Care, Child Welfare, Health and Well-Being, STEM, WASH, PwD

“This project clearly demonstrated that a company’s CSR initiatives can be a great way to make the future generation more socially conscious and aware.”