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.

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.

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.

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


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 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


A Mumbai-based non-government organisation operates the world’s largest 24-hour toll free emergency phone service for children in distress. Currently its reach is spread across 420 districts in India. The NGO wants to restructure itself internally and establish better processes and systems to scale their programmes to 710 districts in India. Sattva played a role in helping redesign the organisation across three broad elements: structure, people and processes.

To enable the NGO, we first had to identify key capabilities essential to deliver its mission and diagnose current strengths and gaps across these areas. This was all through the lens of ensuring future priorities and scale. We then designed the new organisation across three elements of structure, people and processes. Finally, we defined the step-by-step transition plan required to build the new organisation along with possible risks and mitigation measures. Simultaneously, a detailed resource mobilisation plan was created, defining donor segments most relevant to the NGO, product positioning and other recommendations.

The major recommendations to organisational structure included creating new departments such as human resources, and strengthening existing departments, along with a physical decentralisation to ensure ground teams are closer to field. The physical decentralisation essentially retained their existing regional centres as ‘hubs’ while instituting state level offices as ‘spokes’, further deepening their presence on-the-ground and ability to cultivate relationships with important stakeholders. On the people front an HR department was recommended to ensure the organisation remains employee-centric, redefined role descriptions as required and ensure it attracts, retains and develops top talent within.

Major recommendations surrounding processes were to ensure the organisation becomes more systems-driven and not dependent on any one person. This included a performance management rhythm system to ensure relevant individuals were speaking at required frequency, and identifying key SOPs to ensure standardised operations across the country. All recommendations were made to ensure the organisation is better able to scale across the country in a seamless manner.

The Sattva Consulting team engaged with stakeholders including the governing board, senior leadership, field teams and partners on-the-ground in order to get a full understanding of the organisation. Being an NGO working with the Government of India was another layer of complexity which brought about many opportunities along with challenges. A deeper understanding of district complexity in regards to geography, population and child-related issues was garnered in order to project the number of partners and associated people count, followed by budgetary requirements. Sattva Consulting will now support the organisation throughout the transition plan, and drive the change management within the organisation, with the intention of enabling them to deepen their presence and create child friendly environments across every district in India.

● New department structures included monitoring & evaluation, partner management unit, human resources and technology & systems.
● Strengthened departments included research & advocacy, finance and fundraising.
● New organisational model included: 5 regional centres and 22 state level offices
● Empowered regional centers to ensure decentralised operations.
● Recommendations regarding a vice chairman for a tenure of 3-5 years, to ensure continuity across board chairmanship
● Expected growth in three years: 72% increase in districts coverage.


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.”