Announcing the 3 Scale X Design NYC Challenge Winners!

Congratulations to our five Scale X Design finalist teams on their amazing pitches at last night’s Pitch Night in Brooklyn! Thank you to all our supporters who joined us at New Lab and on Facebook Live for our first-ever Scale X Design Challenge. We are thrilled to announce the 3 Scale X Design Challenge winners who will each receive an award of $150,000.

CHAT!- Cambodia

CHAT! harnesses the reality of young urban factory workers in Cambodia, integrating both entertainment and technology to provide cost-effective and high-impact heath education through a unique combination of hands-on training, relatable video dramas and mobile games.

Krishi Utsho- Bangladesh

Krishi Utsho (KU) is a micro-franchise network of small kiosks that sell agriculture inputs, supplies and services to these farmers, particularly women, in rural Bangladesh.

Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST)- Tanzania

MAST is a mobile application that shortens the time, reduces the cost and simplifies the process for individuals to claim their land rights.

We hope you’ll continue following along on the journey of all the teams as they scale their innovations to impact the lives of millions!

Announcing the 5 Scale X Design NYC Challenge Finalists!

Congratulations to all our Scale X Design Accelerator teams on their inspiring pitches at last night’s Pitch Practice in Atlanta! And thanks to everyone who came out to Atlanta Tech Village to join us for our first-ever pitch event. We are thrilled to announce the 5 Scale X Design Challenge finalists who will compete in NYC on Thursday, January 26 at 7pm. Join us on Facebook Live next week!

CHAT!- Cambodia

Worldwide, young people are leaving their families and migrating to urban areas to seek work. While these workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, traditional NGO programs are ill-equipped to reach them. CHAT! harnesses the reality of young urban factory workers in Cambodia, integrating both entertainment and technology to provide cost-effective and high-impact heath education through a unique combination of hands-on training, relatable video dramas and mobile games.

Chomoka: Digitizing Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs)- Tanzania

For the 2 billion adults without a bank account, Chomoka aims to take traditional village Savings and loans groups and bring them into the digital age with a user-friendly mobile application that provides a pathway to formal financial services by documenting users’ credit histories while streamlining and simplifying the transactions of informal savings groups.

Journeys of Transformation- Rwanda 

When women gain the means to contribute financially to their household, it can upset long-held power dynamics within the family, often leading to conflict and even violence. Journeys of Transformation is a training program that empowers couples to improve communication, positively transform the balance of power between husbands and wives, and reduce the incidents of intimate partner violence.

Krishi Utsho- Bangladesh

While small family farms and plots feed the majority of the world’s population, there are few businesses that cater to their needs and constraints. Krishi Utsho (KU) is a micro-franchise network of small kiosks that sell agriculture inputs, supplies and services to these farmers, particularly women, in rural Bangladesh.

Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST)- Tanzania

For the millions of Tanzanians who don’t have documentation proving they own their land, MAST is a mobile application that shortens the time, reduces the cost and simplifies the process for individuals to claim their land rights.

 

Chat! Cambodia: Filling the Gap

We’re thrilled to share our first blog post written by one of Accelerator team participants! Thanks to Julia Battle for sharing the Chat! Contraception team’s experience with the Accelerator so far. In the Designing for Scale lab, the teams learned that early stage innovation needs to learn from users, looking for “viral” replication, spontaneous sharing or replication,  and unexpected value.  The below is a good illustration that sometimes or “user” is not who we expected it to be at the beginning and that assumptions need to be validated.

Women in the Garment Industry in Cambodia

Earlier this year, the Chat! Contraception package was finally in full swing. We had expanded into 14 factories. We were building closer relationships with factory management so we could get time with participants during working hours instead of just lunch time (when you have hungry workers!). Among the activities that were taking place at the time, we were working out the quirks of downloading the mobile game, an innovative approach in participant engagement. We were getting incredible feedback from participants about what they learned. Though originally designed for young females, we realized that the reality of the factory setting was that participants were varied in age and gender. Older married women were attending and still found the information valuable– for example, to open their eyes to different methods of contraception and to correct misconceptions about those methods. They also felt they could give better advice  to a wider audience– for example, about using emergency contraception or accessing safe abortion– in case their relatives, neighbors or friends were faced with unwanted pregnancies .

The Male Engagement Component

A positive result of the success with the female participants is that male factory workers starting joining the video sessions. Sometimes they would sit quietly and listen, but more and more they would ask their own questions. These were questions about the relationships of the characters and questions about the issues brought up through the films. That’s when we realized the missing piece– we were ignoring the men!

Any document you read about the garment factory industry in Cambodia will tell you that it’s 80-90% women. We had used those statistics in our own proposal. For CARE, focusing on women was a natural fit. But what about the other 15%? Didn’t they need information? More than that, if we were to start to transform gender norms as they related to sexual and reproductive health and right, weren’t men actually an essential ingredient? After realizing this, we embarked upon a male engagement component. Focus groups were conducted with male workers to explore what they wanted to learn about and which activities and approaches resonated best with them. At the end, we came up with a set of five sessions, some additional games, and the start of a communications campaign. We started with the sessions, of which there are five. They belong in a set but can also be standalone, as have become increasingly sensitive to the time constraints at factories. They cover the following topics: (1) Sex and Gender, (2) Communication and Consent, (3) Contraception, (4) STIs, and (5) Putting it all together.

Like the female sessions, they consist almost entirely of games and activities. But this time, it’s all men in the room. In Communication and Consent, men explore and critique audio scenarios between couples about having sex and using contraception. They get to make up their own endings, which allows them to think through alternative ending– those that they would rather live.

Part II of this post is coming soon since the team is just now starting to implement the male engagement component!

Meet the Teams: Chomoka (Digital VSLA)

Over the past 25 years, CARE’s VSLA (Village Savings and Loans Association) model has revolutionized efforts to help low-income women improve their lives. Not only has CARE enabled 5,000,000 women and men to form and manage these life-changing groups, we have driven a global savings-led movement, engaging NGOs, banks, governments and donors in a journey that puts women and their savings first. Our efforts have resulted in over 12,000,000 members of VSLAs and groups like them as NGOs from global to local have replicated the CARE model. Members are routinely improving their lives through investments in education, health and entrepreneurship and women’s increased control over resources is leading to improved quality of life and opportunity for themselves and their families. VSLA has quite simply changed the game for poverty reduction. Through Chomoka (Digital VSLA), CARE is poised to do it again. This new initiative will empower low-income women to build a new generation of VSLAs that not only improve access to finance at the community level but also open doors to the digital economy that is rapidly transforming the world we live in and – until now – far too often leaving low income women further behind.

Chomoka is an emerging social enterprise driven by a proprietary mobile application used by VSLAs to manage their records, access banking services and gain advisory support from a trusted network of Chomoka agents. Once deployed at scale, Chomoka will accelerate and deepen formal financial inclusion while increasing usage of digital financial services in rural areas. The platform will generate an unprecedented, real-time data stream on the financial behavior of un- and under-banked groups and their members and offer new insights into the size, scope and behavior of these groups. Most importantly, Chomoka will enable groups to more effectively and accurately manage their transactions while also establishing digital financial histories and connections that open up a world of new possibilities. Chomoka expects to have over 1 million group members using the application by 2021.

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Meet the Team

Mwimbe Fikirini | Program Coordinator | CARE Tanzania

Mwinbe Fikirini is the Program Coordinator with CARE Tanzania, and for the last several years has planned, lead, organized, directed and evaluated implementations of financial linkage activities to the VSLAs groups in areas of operation including Morogoro and Zanzibar. Mwinbe brings extensive knowledge of VSLAs to the team, having also trained and monitored the adoption of financial linkage and Financial Education skills by VSLA members. Going forward, Mwinbe will translate the proposal into a viable activity at the field level, including VSLA engagement in product design and testing, VSLA training on the developed solution and formulation of a realistic, field-level scaling strategy. For the past two years Mwinbe has been leading the LINK Up project in Tanzania, the largest effort by CARE to enable VSLAs to access formal finance. She holds a Master of Arts in Gender and International Development from the University of Warwick obtained in 2012 and a Bachelor of Laws from University of Reading obtained in 2009.

Christian Pennotti | Senior Technical Advisor | CARE Tanzania

Having worked across CARE for seven years, Christian has a strong institutional knowledge and relationship needed to move the project forward and find the right institutional fit. Christian is the overall LINK Up program manager responsible for program quality, design, M&E, partnerships and donor engagement. He is the chairman of the project steering committee and will serve as the lead in identifying and coordinating with project development partners and other external stakeholders including donors and prospective investors. Christian is a recognized leader in market development and is frequently invited to present at industry events. He sits on the Board of Directors of Farm Shop Ltd in Kenya and is the Chair of the Board of Directors at the SEEP Network. He holds a Master of Arts in International Development from George Washington University obtained in 2005 and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan where he founded a branch of the National English Teachers Association in collaboration with local officials.

Ken Banks | Entrepreneur in Residence | CARE International

Ken Banks, Founder of kiwanja.net and creator of messaging platform FrontlineSMS, devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. He has worked at the intersection of technology, anthropology, conservation and development for the past twenty-five years and, during that time, has lived and worked across the African continent. He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and has been internationally recognised for his technology-based work. In 2013 he was nominated for the TED Prize, and in 2015 was a Visiting Fellow at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. In late 2015 Ken was appointed CARE International’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. He is also a published author, with his first edited book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator,” self-published in late 2013 with a follow-up, published by Kogan Page, released in March 2016.

Mark Malhotra | Innovation Advisor | CARE International UK

Mark Malhotra, Innovation Advisor for CARE International UK supports a number of social enterprises that CARE owns and operates globally. He provides technical support to the teams from business planning and financial modelling to operational guidance and hands on support. Prior to joining CARE Mark spent six years working in the telecommunications sector with a focus on marketing and partnerships. He has extensive experience working across organizations with IT, finance, sales and brand teams. He moved into the NGO sector through overseas placements in Jamaica with a local organization and in Egypt with the Aga Khan Foundation.

Karen Vandergaag | Analyst | CARE Access Africa

Karen is an analyst with the Access Africa program where she supports the LINK Up program’s monitoring and evaluation, CARE’s VSLA management information system, and the human-centered design process for the Digital VSLA project. She has previously spent time in Malawi working a youth entrepreneurship initiative, and a year in Brazil on a cultural exchange through Rotary International. Karen holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Honours from Okanagan College.

Meet the Teams: A Different Cup of Tea

The tea plantation community of Sri Lanka – over 1 million people of Indian origin brought as slave labor by the British – is the poorest and most disempowered segment of the country’s population. Denied Sri Lankan citizenship until 2003 and completely dependent on their employers for over 150 years, they have been subjected to various forms of discrimination and currently experience limited livelihood security with little or no access to alternative economic opportunities.

More than 55 percent of tea plantation workers are women. They are expected to work almost twice as many hours per day as male laborers before their “second shift” of work begins at home. They are rarely able to hold positions of authority which would enable them to influence changes which impact their socio-economic conditions. Also, disenfranchised youth with a higher level of education and greater desire to change their socio-economic circumstances than the previous generations have also become dissatisfied with conditions in the plantations and are leaving their communities en masse for greener pastures in urban areas. However, due to a lack of suitable qualifications and basic documentation, they are often limited to menial work in overcrowded cities.

For the past 35 years, the Community Development Forum (CDF) has been a cornerstone of CARE Sri Lanka’s work with the plantation communities. It is a proven method of inclusive governance where members of the community are skilled, empowered and given a voice to engage with relevant stakeholders with the aim of achieving social transformation for the entire plantation community. It has resulted in dispute resolution, informed decision-making, improved communications, better working and living conditions, and general upliftment of the plantation community and the tea industry.

Different Cup of Tea

Meet the Team

Ananda Alahakoon | Plantations Advisor | CARE Sri Lanka

Ananda Alahakoon is a Senior Advisor for the Plantations program at CARE Sri Lanka, and brings extensive knowledge regarding Plantations to the team. Ananda has more than 15 years of working experience with CARE International Sri Lanka and has previously served as Project Director for the SHAKTHI project and Plantation Community Empowerment Project. The Community Development Forum (CDF) was nurtured under these two projects and Ananda had a hands on role in its expansion of membership. He has experience working with workers, management, community members and other stakeholders, including state and trade union representatives to make joint decisions that he will be able to bring to the team going forward. He holds a Bachelor of Art in Geography from the University of Kelaniya obtained in 1978 and has received a Post Graduate Diploma in Community Development from Colombo University obtained in 1995.

Faizal Cader | Area Director, Plantations | CARE Sri Lanka

Faizal provides expertise in innovative leadership in strategic planning, institutional development and program management to coordinate and support all programs operating from the regional office of central region, Sri Lanka. Faizal has worked with CARE Inernational in different portfolios since 2003; and has over fifteen years of management and technical experience in development and humanitarian programs with special focus on community empowerment, governance, food security and livelihood, agriculture and coordination of emergency operations. As a development and humanitarian professional, Faizal has contributed to the origination and execution of over US$ 10 million of funds for beneficiaries in development and humanitarian responses. Faizal holds a Master of Business Administration from the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya obtained in 2003, a Master of Arts in Sociology from Kamraj University of India in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Peradeniya obtained in 2000.

Lahari de Alwis | Manger, Private Sector Engagement | CARE Sri Lanka

Lahari de Alwis is a Manager with CARE Sri Lanka focusing on private sector engagement. Lahari is keen to expand the work the team has been doing to impact more people effectively, culminating better lives for plantation communities. Through innovative thinking and dedication, Lahari will assist in the engagement of the private sector to catalyze the reach and impact of the team. Lahari has experience organizing events, meeting with prospective companies to initiate collaboration and liaising with government contacts. Before joining CARE, Lahari served as Project Coordinator of the IUCN and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, responsible for setting up a platform for collaboration between the private sector and conservation agencies. Lahari holds a Master of Science in Biological Mathematics and Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Warwick obtained in 2005, a Master of Advanced Study in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 2004 and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Warwick obtained in 2003.

Dayal Perera | Project Manager, Governance Project | CARE Sri Lanka

Dayal is a Project Manager with CARE Sri Lanka, and has overseen the implementation and evaluation of the Strengthening Policy and Action through Citizens’ Engagement (SPACE) Project. Dayal has 12 years of experience in the private sector and 17 years in the development sector providing leadership for projects funded by USAID, Norway, HelpAge International (UK), UN Habitat and many others. Prior to joining CARE, Dayal worked for HelpAge Sri Lanka for nearly 9 years and become the Director Programmes. He has participated in overseas exposure visits, seminars, conference and training programs across Europe and Asia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Moratuwa and a Diploma in Psychology & Counseling from the Institute of Psychological Studies. He is a visiting lecturer for Statistics at the University of Kelaniya and a lecturer at the Institute of Psychological Studies.

Roshan Prashanth | Project Coordinator | CARE Sri Lanka

Roshan Prashanth currently serves as a Project Coordinator for CARE Sri Lanka. Roshan supports the day-to-day implementation and management of projects, and is dedicated to the initiatives of the team. Roshan brings innovative thinking and understanding of the people and their needs, as well as a wealth of experience in planning and implementing projects. Roshan is eager to expand the current work of the team to catalyze the reach and impact of the approach.

Kalani Ranasinghe | Senior Advisor, M&E and KM | CARE Sri Lanka

Over the past several years, Kalani has monitored and evaluated projects funded by OAK Foundation and European Union while maintaining the projects information systems, including databases. Kalani has also provided technical guidance on M&E strategy at the programme and project level and designed M&E activities and new initiatives. Kalani has worked with CARE Sri Lanka on several different portfolios and has expertise on tea plantation community related governance and gender and inclusivity programmes. Before joining CARE, Kalani worked with the Institute of Social Development, an NGO based in Kandy, where she designed and maintained project M&E plans, and guided field staff. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Development Practice course at University of Peradeniya; and she holds a Bachelor of Arts Second class Honors degree from the University of Peradeniya obtained in 2010 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management at University of Colombo.

Meet the Teams: Decent Work and Empowerment of Paid Domestic Workers

Female domestic workers in Latin America are largely unprotected by labor laws and denied basic human rights. CARE Ecuador has worked with labor unions and women’s groups to build a movement around this issue and has generated important policy positions regarding the rights of domestic workers. This approach includes promoting the voice of women by extending labor unions to more provinces, which empowers women to engage in the decision-making process around labor rights, and strengthening inter-institutional joint working groups to provide a larger platform for advocacy.

The advocacy efforts have resulted in increased labor union membership and Ecuador’s ratification of Agreement 189, which recognizes domestic work as a job with the same status and rights as all other jobs. Scaling up this initiative and pushing for the compliance of Agreement 189 will support the rights of 19 million women in the region.

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Meet the Team

Nubia Ximena Zambrano Mendoza | Project Coordinator – Gender Equality | CARE Ecuador

Nubia has several years of experience in empowerment and gender equality advocacy and has supported numerous activism efforts for the world’s most vulnerable people. In particular, she has focused on women and children who are discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, economic status, and sexual orientation. These efforts have included building networks to support the implementation of policies that advocate for the education of working children and designing public awareness campaigns. Nubia will serve as a co-lead on this project, and will draw from her strengths and expertise in advocacy methodology and management, strategic planning, social organizational networks and relations, and gender issues. Nubia has a Masters in Education with a concentration in Multiculturalism and a certificate in Social Intervention and Local Development and Citizen Participation. She has previous work experience as a Professor of Educational Administration and Supervision.

Miriam Moya Herrera | Regional Coordinator- Gender Equality | CARE Latin America & the Caribbean

Miriam has 16 years of experience supporting the rights and equality of women, children and workers. She has designed and implemented formal processes to advocate for equality and human rights and has supported the planning, monitoring and evaluation of health, economic development, citizen participation and education programs at the local, national and international level. She has also developed strategies to bolster the rights of children, women and indigenous workers and has assisted in building the inter-institutional networks and partnerships to support those strategies. Miriam will serve as the lead for this initiative and will bring to the project her extensive experience in working with large political actors and organizations to develop public policies. Miriam holds a Doctorate in Medicine and Surgery, a Masters in Health Management for Local Development, and a Masters in Gender Development and Planning, specializing in Human Rights and Public Policy.