Where Social Business and Community Health Programs Intersect

The success of community health programs, particularly those based on volunteers, are often threatened by high rates of volunteer drop out and inconsistent performance. For organizations like CARE, who champion dignified work and raise-awareness around unpaid work being a barrier to women’s empowerment, asking some of the poorest communities to simply volunteer their time is difficult to do.

Financial incentives have been found to be one of the most important factors associated with improving retention and performance in urban slums, but lack of financial rewards remains a substantial challenge to implementation and success of community health worker (CHW) programs. Social enterprise is one method many in the development community are now looking at to solve this lack of financial motivation.

Watch this video from CARE UK CEO Laurie Lee’s visit to the CARE social enterprise Live Well in Zambia; read more of his story and learn how Live Well is empowering community health workers (CHWs) through entrepreneurship.

 

 

 

 

Meet CARE at SOCAP 2016!

SOCAP

 

 

 

 

SOCAP16 will gather impact investors, social entrepreneurs, foundations, corporations, global nonprofits, and other valuable strangers all contributing to a vibrant marketplace for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable solutions in San Francisco  September 13-16, 2016. These are part of the Impact Hub Global Network, a global changemaker community and network of co-working spaces with over 11,000+ members in over 70 locations

This annual flagship event is the leading gathering for impact investors and social entrepreneurs. The focus is on cross-sector convening and gathers voices across a broad spectrum to catalyze impactful connections. SOCAP16 provides three full days of information, inspiration and connection with like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, collaborators and thought-leaders.

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CARE will be there! Our very own Whitney Adams, Senior Technical Advisor for Design & Innovation for the CARE Impact Accelerator, is attending and Marilia Bezerra, Managing Partner of CARE Enterprise Inc. (CEI), is a panelist on the “The Frontlines of Blended Finance: INGOs Combining Philanthropic and Investment Capital” panel during SOCAP Open. It’s from 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM on Thursday, September 15!

This panel will bring together leading international NGOs to discuss lessons for impact entrepreneurs raising philanthropic capital or creating blended finance models. The non-profits represent diverse experiences blending philanthropy and investment including: CARE, which transitioned a donor-funded project into an independent company; Mercy Corps, which uses philanthropic capital to invest in early-stage enterprises; Winrock, which is creating environmental impact bonds; and World Vision, which launched a private company to support their economic development programming. Each speaker will focus their comments on the implications and lessons learned for impact entrepreneurs seeking to create raise philanthropic capital or create a blended finance model.

CARE will  specifically describe their experience transitioning two traditional, donor-funded CARE projects into separate, independently operated social enterprises – JITA in Bangladesh and LiveWell in Zambia and the critical role that blended capital is playing in that transition.

Please stay tuned for a recap blog after SOCAP 16 San Francisco September 13-16!

5 Minutes of Inspiration – How Krishi Utsho Improved Income in Bangladesh by 31%

How the Avon Lady Improved Income in Bangladesh by 31% by Emily Janoch

Krishi Utsho (KU) in Bangladesh has improved farmer incomes by 31% using a model that make-up sales in the United States pioneered more than  century ago.  Find out how below.

The Avon Lady in rural Bangladesh: it’s actually a more apt metaphor than you think. Avon uses a direct sales model that aims to get products to people who would not normally be able to access them, and that’s exactly what Krishi Utsho is—a way to get products closer to people.

Instead of selling makeup, they’re selling fertilizer, feed, and veterinary services. They may be getting more beautiful cows (IFPRI refers to some of these approaches as the “pampered cow project”), but the real impact is on the farmers.  With the support of the Finn Brooks Family Foundation, they’ve been working since 2012 to improve access to goods for the poorest families in Bangladesh.

What did we accomplish?

  • Higher Incomes: Farmers in areas covered by Krishi Utsho had a 31% increase in their incomes, and vendors were able to earn $1,394 per month.  That’s more than 8 times what the average farmer makes in a month, so being a vendor is an attractive option.
  • Cheaper, easier access to products: Because the shops are closer to home, farmers cut the time they spent going to get inputs in half (a 58% reduction), and dropped their cost on items like feed by 92%.  So people have more money to spend from income, but also on savings from the goods.
  • Stronger businesses: Besides the income, shop owners saw a 25% increase in their sales—and now they’re serving nearly 17,000 people a month.
  • Healthier families: Farmers in Krishi Utsho areas increased their spending on protein and vegetables by 15%, so they have better diets.  56% of families increased their spending on health care and education with the new money they had available.
  • More empowered women: in Krishi Utsho areas, women were 84% more likely to be able to influence household decisions in 2015 than they were in 2012.  They were 250% more likely to be able to make decisions about income generating activities at home.

How did we get there?

  • Set up shops with a quality brand standard: Krishi Utsho helped set up 64 branded shops that have a common brand, but are individually owned businesses—the franchise approach.  To be a Krishi Utsho approach, they have to stock quality products and provide high quality services.
  • Build Better Businesses: Krishi Utsho trained shop owners in business skills, and helped them make connections to providers of quality agricultural products. Once they have the necessary training, CARE can provide certificates and quality of service standards that people trust. CARE also serves as a trusted broker between the big brands and the KU owners.
  • Got the extra (last) mile: because the KU shops reach thousands of people that normally would never access products in bigger cities or farther away, they are attractive options for makers of inputs like fertilizer, vet services, and seeds to change their marketing and pricing to reach new customers.  It also makes products more accessible for women, who have less mobility, and for people who cannot spare the time or money to travel.
  • Build demand: By training poor, rural farmers in improved agricultural techniques and the need for services, and then connecting them to solutions that work, CARE helps the local market strengthen for everyone.  CARE’s Monitoring & Evaluation and technology platforms also help track demand and see what needs to change in the future.

Want to learn more?
Check out the Krishi Utsho Innovation Brief  and the Impact Assessment.

5 Minutes of Inspiration – CARE’s impact at scale

This month, the accelerator teams are jumping into our “Designing for Scale” lab.  To kick us off, Emily Janoch, Senior Technical Advisor and communicator extraordinaire, gives us the big picture of CARE’s impact at scale.  We are so proud to work here and humbled to think about the impact that the ideas currently in the accelerator might have one day!