WCM Report

WomenChangeMakers (WCM) is a Fellowship program set up in 2010 and launched in 2011 by the
Womanity Foundation for leading social entrepreneurs addressing women’s role in society. The
WCM model was inspired by Ashoka’s worldwide experience in driving progress through social
entrepreneurs. Its uniqueness resides in its focus on social entrepreneurs who work for women’s
empowerment and are ready to go to scale after having successfully proven their model, and in its
capacity to mobilize professional support for its Fellows, largely from the corporate sector.
WCM awards its Fellows three years of active support and a lifetime access to the WCM network. It
provides them with access to professionals who can assist them in key areas to successfully scale up
and/or replicate their project, the ultimate goal being to increase their contribution to lasting social progress.
At the same time, WCM’s staff assists the Fellows in identifying partnerships and funding opportunities.
The program is currently in its third year of implementation. The first Fellows were selected in
Brazil in August 2011 and in India in April 2012, while the second generation of Fellows was
selected in Brazil and India in August 2013. The program continues to provide support for the firstgeneration Fellows and helps the newly chosen Fellows, with their different features and diverse
The main criteria to design this process were to identify social entrepreneurs (women or men) who work for
women’s empowerment, who are ready to scale and/or replicate their project and who are looking for
help to do so. In the graph below, we specify the three stages of the selection process, the inputs needed
in each one to assess the nominees, and the process outputs:
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Chart 1: WCM’s new Fellows selection process
Stage 1 – Sourcing/nomination(s): At the beginning of 2013, WCM’s staff invited their selection
partners―Ashoka, UN Women, Avina, LGT VP, Ford Foundation. Oak Foundation, Fundo Elas and many
others―to recommend candidates working on promoting women’s access to healthcare, education,
political participation and economic citizenship and fulfilling the main criteria. They received 21
nominations in India and 44 in Brazil. The nominated projects were screened for their eligibility for WCM
in-situ visits. WCM’ steam analyzed first-stage documentation (short history, vision and mission, nature and
scope of activities, achievements, ambitions) and rated the Fellows (based on criteria such as contribution
to women’s progress, innovation, scalability, replicability, quality, and strength of leadership and team).
There were nine shortlisted nominations screened for the in-situ visits and due diligence in India,
and six in Brazil. All shortlisted nominees were invited to fill out a detailed questionnaire called scorecard.
The scorecard forms the basis for in-situ visits and the due diligence process that WCM’s team conducts
Stage 2 – In-situ visits and personal interviews: The results of the site visits were presented and
discussed with Womanity Foundation’s Global Team and management, including the President of the
organization, to arrive at a list of finalists from the wide array of shortlisted nominations. In 2013, four
candidatures from India passed this stage and were invited to the selection panel held in New Delhi on
July 22, 2013. Also, five site visits were conducted in Brazil so as to prepare strong cases to move
the nominations along to the final panel stage held in Rio de Janeiro on August 26, 2013.
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Stage 3 – WomenChangeMakers Selection Panel: The selected finalists were invited to a panel
interaction where a group of panelists interviewed the (finalist) social entrepreneurs about their work. These
interactions were followed by a scoring of each finalist by individual panel members and a panel discussion
where the suitability of the WCM Fellowship was discussed for the candidates. The India Panel selected
two successful candidatures, whereas in Brazil the decision was to conduct a further in-depth
analysis of the two Fellows that showed highest potential.
Finally, after evaluating each project specifically, Womanity Foundation selected two
projects each in Brazil and India as second-generation WCM Fellows:
Maria Beatriz (“Bia”) Kern (Mulher em Construção)
Panmela Castro (RedeNami)
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh (Bandhan Konnagar)
Neelam Chhiber (Industree Foundation)
Support in the form of consultancies, training and other professional expert services
are delivered by WCM’s professional partners to each of the selected WCM Fellows in
areas such as the following:
Business management - Scaling/replicating: defining strategies for growth and plans
to implement them; funding models, fundraising and development
Information and communication technologies - Data and knowledge management
Human resources - Team building; management skills; capacity building; leadership training;
succession planning
Communication and PR - Public relations, marketing and communication
Legal support - Legal audits; review of procedures; ad hoc legal assistance
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting
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The first-generation Fellows were selected in 2011 and 2012. This section details their
projects and actions, and the activities carried out under WCM’s Fellowship.
2.1 Rede Asta
Alice Freitas, the Founder and Executive Director of Rede
Asta in Brazil (www.asta.org.br), was selected as a WCM
Fellow in Brazil in August 2011.
The Asta Institute was founded in 2003 with the mission to
contribute to the reduction of social inequality in Brazil. Rede
Asta is a social business that helps strengthen production
companies led by women from the base of the pyramid and
provides them with access to market, knowledge and
networking. It builds bridges between micro-companies and the
market by stimulating the productive chain, raises consumer
awareness about inclusive production, and spreads the
concepts of fair trade and solidarity-based economy with the vision of making the consumer a tool for social
and economic inclusion.
Alice Freitas I Rede Asta
In 2013, Alice Freitas became an Ashoka Globalizer Fellow, and received consultancy support facilitated by
Ashoka to review Asta’s five-year strategy.
In 2014, Asta is collaborating with production groups in 5 new states: São Paulo, Fortaleza, Brasília,
Minas Gerais, and Curitiba. Today, 812 craftswomen are part of Asta, organized in 60 production
groups (5 new ones in this reporting period).
Some new activities were launched in the last year of the WCM Fellowship, giving Asta the opportunity to
increase its market share, strengthen its institutional capacities and enhance the organization’s impact.
Asta’s salesroom in Ramos, São Paolo, was turned into an atelier where the staff creates new collections,
receiving numerous artisans to participate in workshops and producing samples for Asta’s corporate
clients. The organization is in the process of building a waste barn for storing and up-cycling cloth and other
kinds of waste.
Moreover, Asta is improving its marketing, branding and packaging, with the help of Coca-Cola and Tactile
Design. Its new direct-sale catalog is coming out in October 2014. Asta has launched the catalog based on
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the new marketing strategy and it is receiving great feedback, including from the resellers, who are now
applying on-line to receive their ware for reselling. Asta will issue two catalogs per year, with a look-book
appearance, and distribute them among special clients and resellers.
To strengthen craftswomen and production groups, Asta is creating a producers’ manual, which explains all
the rules and logistics. It is also signing terms’ sheets with all their groups, such as a Code of Ethics, which
includes pledges to protect against child labor. Furthermore, Asta is preparing a project manual to regulate
all processes needed to deliver services for client companies such as Coca-Cola or Apex.
In addition, Asta has a new website, which features more group stories and showcases the products. It
newly merges the institutional and business areas to better profile their social mission.
Asta’s highest priorities are presently:
 to attain financial sustainability for the business
 to improve the efficiency of sales channels
 to develop professional training for artisans
Priority areas for technical assistance offered by WCM’s Program
Partners in support of Rede Asta’s growth:
Business management - Marketing & Sales (Partner: ADP, pro bono staff hours;
Chanel Foundation, pro bono technical support)
Support activities have been consolidated for Rede Asta, based on the initial support
strategy and engagement plan for WCM and its professional Program Partners
conducted by Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP). In addition, Rede Asta has
reviewed its marketing and sales strategy with the aim of doubling its sales volume, so as
to include yet more production groups and reach financial viability. Now, Rede Asta is
working with ADP on information technology (IT) support for management, in addition
to its broader strategic support for the organization.
The Chanel Foundation continues to fund the organization and has started helping
Asta’s team with design and branding. One of Chanel Corporation’s senior directors has
joined the Rede Asta board.
Communication and PR (Partner: Francesca Versace; pro bono)
Francesca Versace has created a pattern design for Asta to use on a new line of
products, which will be launched in September 2014, helping the organization extend its
visibility and increase sales. WCM is co-funding the production by Asta.
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Human Resources (Partner: Egon Zehnder International; pro bono staff hours)
WCM continues working with Maitee Camargo at Egon Zehnder International (EZI) to
give support in recruitment and management. Camargo has worked pro bono with Rede
Asta, delivering a Human Resources Report for recruitment and management.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (Partner: ZIGLA; paid)
In the third year of the Fellowship, ZIGLA is planning to offer support in the
implementation of a Customer Relation Management (CRM) based system to capture
data for monitoring, evaluation and reporting. As part of a more strategic approach to
analysis and evaluation, Asta will implement this technological platform, which will
improve the monitoring of their indicators and their data-based reporting.
Apart from the technical support from Program Partners, WCM’s staff has created
networking, partnership and funding opportunities with allied organizations:
WCM’s staff has provided support to Asta in researching grant opportunities and writing grant and
award applications.
Womanity has helped Rede Asta develop its first institutional report and Asta‘s partner documents
(English and Portuguese versions).
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2.2 Educate Girls
Safeena Husain was the first Fellow selected in India, in April
2012. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Educate
Girls (www.educategirls.in). Founded in 2005, Educate Girls
(EG) is a comprehensive school reform model that leverages
existing resources at the government, village, and school
levels, and creates community ownership for school reform.
The program ensures that local governments, teachers,
parents, and girl students themselves become active
participants in the process, and operate independently in school governance, even after the withdrawal of
EG. EG is actively building a cadre of village-based youth leaders, who are called Team Balika, to work as
champions for girls' education and catalysts for school reform. Team Balika work within schools as well as
in village communities, spreading awareness on girl-child education to boost enrolment, retention, and
learning outcomes for all girls.
Safeena Husain I Educate Girls
Educate Girls (EG) currently works in almost 8,000 schools across 4,500 villages and six districts of
Rajasthan, reaching about 660,000 schoolchildren, up from 495,000 during the previous school year.
This growth has been accompanied by an increase in the number of staff and volunteers to the
program. Today, EG has 3,500 Team Balika members, three times as much as early last year.
Additionally, the organization has brought on two new board members.
In the first year of WCM’s Fellowship, 20,226 out-of-school girls were enrolled through EG’s program
across its areas of operation. The overall enrolment rate in their target areas is now 98% with girl students’
attendance at 75%, up from 61%. In addition, 35% of pupils were able to read a story in Hindi in a test ran
across target schools, as compared to 15% in non-program schools. Also, EG has helped the community
obtain the means to build facilities, such as libraries, and acquire new books.
In its second year as a WCM Fellow, EG rolled out its operations in three new gender-gap districts: Ajmer,
Bundi and Rajsamand. The organization has set up district office infrastructures and hired almost 300 fulltime employees. With this expansion, the geographical reach includes six districts and over 4,500 villages
in Rajasthan. The number of beneficiaries is currently 660,000, with the enrolment/retention process begun
in July. In the last six months, EG has evaluated the impact of its Creative Learning & Teaching (CLT)
methodology on beneficiaries’ learning outcomes. Over 40,000 children have been evaluated for literacy
and numeracy improvements, and the organization has observed grade gains between 35% and 55%
across genders and geographies.
In addition, the organization launched the world’s first Development Impact Bond (DIB) in education with
UBS Optimus Foundation and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) participating as an investor
and an outcome payer, respectively, in June 2014. The DIB will help EG to implement a range of program
innovations designed to enroll marginalized out-of-school girls and improve learning outcomes. EG aims to
impact around 20,000 children in 150 of the most poorly performing schools in Rajasthan. Program results
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will be rigorously measured and, if EG is successful in improving outcomes, CIFF will pay investors back
with returns at around 7-13% depending on the rate of success.
Through WCM, certain areas have been prioritized to support the
growth of Educate Girls:
Here is an overview of WCM India’s professional partners’ engagement with EG from July
2013 to June 2014, which allows the organization to consolidate their main activities,
scale the intervention model and organize internal processes:
Business management (Partner: Strategy&, formerly Booz & Co, pro bono staff
Strategy& continues working with EG on its five-year growth and expansion strategy.
The aim was to refresh EG’s strategic plan and review the organization’s financial model
and partnership strategies. On that basis, Strategy& has recommended appropriate risk
management strategies and tools. Additionally, EG’s long-term strategy, including how to
shift full accountability to the community and reduce the need for EG’s staff, was
developed in partnership with Strategy&.
Fundraising (Partner: Smarter Good, subsidized fee)
Moreover, in 2014, WCM helped EG sign a partnership with Smarter Good to identify,
qualify and schedule funding submissions worth USD 2M in grant pipeline opportunities.
These included funding request submissions amounting to USD 1.6M (two projects were
rejected, both to Swiss foundations), and another USD 1.2M is in progress.
Communication & Outreach (Partner: APCO Worldwide, subsidized fee)
Another unique partnership fostered by WCM for EG was established with APCO
Worldwide to explore government partnership opportunities. EG will work with APCO
Worldwide to identify, through secondary research, key programs within the Indian
Government with which EG could seek to ‘partner up’.
Information and communication technologies (Partner: Peocit Technologies;
subsidized staff hours)
Peocit Technologies started its engagement with EG in December 2012, when it
provided free support to produce the organization’s 2011-12 Annual Report.
During 2013, its second year of support, Peocit Technologies finished setting up a new
organizational email system and it migrated all old emails into the new system. In 2014,
through this partnership, EG was able to complete its Salesforce Integration, which is a
vital milestone for the organization towards better data, resource and contact
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Human Resources (Partner: Mercuri Urval; pro bono staff hours)
Mercuri Urval began its engagement with EG to work on the organization’s human
resource (HR) processes. It has studied EG’s current HR systems so as to make
recommendations for improvements as well as provide appropriate strategies to cope
with increased HR capacities. Mercuri Urval has supported job description for senior
hires and facilitated selection interviews. Moreover, next October Mercuri Urval will finish
consolidating an HR management manual for EG, giving a detailed description of team
management, core values and guiding principles for employees. Mercuri Urval is
currently working on updating the organizational structure with clarification on roles,
responsibilities and scopes.
Apart from the technical support from Program Partners, WCM’s staff has created
networking, partnership and funding opportunities with allied organizations:
WCM India enabled Safeena Husain’s participation in the SoCap Event in the USA by sponsoring
participation fees. Safeena was able to take advantage of this additional support opportunity during her
scheduled trip to the US in 2013.
The Womanity Foundation also facilitated the collaboration between with EG and UBS Optimus
Foundation, which has led to the launch of the Development Impact Bond, first of its kind in the world in
the area of education.
Womanity also introduced EG to the Giving Women Network, which resulted in Educate Girls’
successful funding partnership with Cartier Foundation and other potential funding leads.
The following chart shows how WCM integrates the first-generation Fellow’s Program Partners’ support
with the search for opportunities and networking in order for Rede Asta and Educate Girls to escalate their
growth in the mid and long term:
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Chart 2: WCM’s intervention model at Rede Asta and Educate Girls – Actions and Outcomes from July 2013 to June 2014
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Second-generation Fellows were selected in 2013. This section offers a description of
their projects and actions, and the activities carried out under the WCM’s Fellowship.
3.1.1 Mulher em Construção
Maria Beatriz (Bia) Kern, Founder and Director of
Mulher em Construção (MEC) (Women in
Mulher Em Construção I Brazil
Construction), in Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul. She was
selected as a WCM Fellow in December 2013 for her
innovative work in empowering women, and for helping
them to improve their status within their community: MEC
has trained over 5,000 low-income and disadvantaged
women in Southern Brazil, in construction skills –
masonry, tile-laying, painting, electrical installations,
plumbing, etc.― and in home repairs, thus radically
increasing their employability and revenues.
Besides, by providing courses and workshops, MEC facilitates women’s employment in the construction
sector. MEC’s pedagogical approach, based on Paulo Freire’s theories, complements the technical training
with psycho-social support, building gender and class self-esteem for women. MEC encourages women to
continue their studies after graduation, supports women in the field of entrepreneurship, and tracks their
Maria Beatriz Kern
In 2013, 1,270 women enrolled in a one-day workshop called "Cement and Lipstick". Bia Kern
estimates that 105,000 people have indirectly benefited from MEC’s work since 2006. The
organization seeks to serve at least 2,000 women per year through courses, plus at least 3,000
women per year through workshops. In the next three years, the organization intends to build the
MEC School, train 2,000 women per year in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Bahia, and Rio de
Janeiro, and help at least 40% of their trained graduates find stable employment in the construction
sector and 28% to pursue entrepreneurial initiatives.
At the beginning, MEC was run with Maria Beatriz (Bia) Kern’s own financial resources and loans. She
used her own capital to pay for MEC’s legal registration, initial training expenses, accounting firm costs, etc.
Later, several public and private partnerships were established in order to provide women’s training. Some
partners cover course materials and logistics for the women.
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Recently, Petrobras offered a one-year partnership of USD 350,000 to pilot the program’s expansion in the
states of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador de Bahía. Petrobras is supporting MEC in training 160 women in
situations of socio-economic vulnerability living in suburban and impoverished communities of the Rio
Grande area; the firm will also help to organize eight groups of 20 students each, who will receive training
in seven areas, including masonry, tile-laying, painting, electricity installation, roofing and plumbing, among
others. It will offer practical lessons that will culminate in the construction of a 50m2 room to be used by
community members. However, Petrobas does not cover the salaries of MEC’s team members―only
course-related expenses (e.g. materials, logistics, and experts’ fees).
Betonex has donated USD 4,500 to MEC for the development of its website. The website itself cost USD
3,500, and the remaining USD 1,000 were allocated to institutional costs, such as fees for the accounting
Priority areas for technical assistance offered by WCM’s
Program Partners in order to support MEC’s growth:
Business management - Marketing & Sales (Partner: Accenture, pro bono staff
hours; Rede Cidada, pro bono staff hours)
WCM has submitted MEC’s needs’ assessment and action plan for growth to Accenture,
which is now preparing a proposal to work with MEC at a subsidized rate to develop its
business model and strategy.
Additionally, WCM is forging a partnership with Rede Cidada to offer qualified mentorship
to MEC.
Legal support (Partner: Thompson Reuters Foundation; pro bono staff hours)
To give support in the legal area, WCM has helped MEC submit a membership
application to the Thompson Reuters Foundation. This would entitle MEC to free legal
counseling during its whole expansion process and beyond.
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting (Partner: ZIGLA, paid)
ZIGLA delivered a baseline assessment of MEC in February 2014 that provided insights
on the advantages/disadvantages of the current approach. Moreover, as of July 2014,
ZIGLA has been providing support to MEC with its monitoring and evaluation (M&E)
system. ZIGLA’s team is helping the organization to improve the tools designed to
measure MEC’s impact and also installing technological solutions to track a set of M&E
 WCM’s team will attend an event hosted by MEC at the end of August 2014 and will speak in a
panel about the importance of women’s empowerment.
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 WCM has connected Bia Kern to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Latin America; she was
subsequently invited to speak at the “CGI 2013 Latin America Series” in December as a participant on
the ‘Women Entrepreneurs: Expanding to Large-Scale Enterprises’ panel. As follow-up, Bia Kern has
been invited to participate at CGI Global, which will take place in New York in September 2014.
3.1.2 Rede Nami
Panmela Castro is the Founder and President of Nami Rede
Feminista de Arte Urbana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(www.redenami.com). Panmela’s organization, Rede Nami, is a
network of urban female artists based in Rio de Janeiro, which
addresses gender inequality through public art, graffiti
campaigns and workshops. Rede Nami organizes workshops
throughout Brazil, teaching about violence against women and
girls, and instructing participants in the art of graffiti as a tool
for advocacy. Rede Nami also teaches graffiti to talented
young women, offering them professional opportunities in this
area, which used to be dominated by men. Rede Nami organizes its activities into an urban arts study
group with 180 members, focused on urban arts and intellectual exchange of experiences; an agency
which runs graphic workshops, paints murals and gives themed lectures; a Street Theatre group that works
to raise awareness on social and gender issues; Rede Nami’s soccer club, to promote the debate on
gender equality through the practice of sports; thematic communities and public school workshops to
promote the Maria da Penha Law, so as to reduce domestic violence and encourage reflection through
urban arts on the position of women in society; and technical and theoretical training offered by Rede
Nami’s artists.
Panmela Castro I Rede Nami
Through its workshops, Rede Nami has reached over 4,000 women from 17 to 56 years old. Women
and girls are empowered to take action and express their opinions in Rede Nami’s workshops through
their participation in interactive sessions based on the methodology of the "Theatre of the
For the mid-term, Rede Nami is planning to change its legal status to organização da sociedade civil de
interesse público (OSCIP), enabling staff payment through payroll, partnerships and agreements with
different government levels (local, state and federal).
With the help from the Oak Foundation, which donated USD 50,000 in October in 2013, Rede Nami has
acquired an office building in the Catete neighborhood, a middle-low income community, in the South of Rio
de Janeiro. The organization has further received a grant from Mama Cash for EUR 30,000 and the Dillervon Furstenberg Family Foundation Award for USD 50,000, which funded it during 2012 and 2013.
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The Avon Institution is presently Rede Nami’s main funding and activity partner, and together they have
recently piloted a campaign to prevent violence against women. The project involved 26 workshops in
public schools in Rio de Janeiro engaging young boys and girls between 15 and 18 years old in debates to
combat gender-based violence, and six other activities in Brazilian cities that hosted the 2014 World Cup.
Rede Nami now aims to establish medium- and long-term programmatic and strategic partnerships instead
of raising funds for specific projects. This would support organizational growth and help it to replicate its
methodology in other geographies. The Street Theater initiative is well rounded, systematized, and ready to
be replicated. It also has the potential to create a new revenue stream for Rede Nami if companies and
public entities are interested in sponsoring this kind of creative, educational activity.
Moreover, Rede Nami hopes to boost Agência Nami’s social business potential by selling services and
products (e.g. workshops on the Maria da Penha Law with graffiti art interventions and the sale of
paintings). The Agency offers professionals trained in urban arts, focused on women’s rights, for workshops
and thematic murals. Panmela Castro is planning to organize her company’s portfolio (combining top artists
and entry-level artists from Agência Nami) to help position it in the market while allocating 6% of gross
income to fund Rede Nami’s advocacy work.
Priority support areas for technical assistance offered by WCM’s
Program Partners in order to support REDE NAMI’s growth:
Business management - Marketing & Sales (Partner: Reza Shahcheraghi,
Independent Consultant, paid; Rede Cidada, pro bono staff hours)
WCM has proposed working with an independent consultant to support Rede Nami
develop its business model and strategy to build up the organization. The objective of this
consultancy is to design a long-term strategy to make Rede Nami sustainable over time.
Additionally, WCM is negotiating a partnership with Rede Cidada in Rio and São Paulo,
whereby they will offer a mentorship to Panmela Castro. Mentors are expected to be
selected by the end of August, and the mentorship will launch in September 2014.
Legal support (Partner: Thompson Reuters Foundation and Independent
Consultant; pro bono staff hours)
WCM has put Rede Nami in touch with the Thompson Reuters Foundation. The
Foundation will help Rede Nami with free legal counseling in all their areas once it is
registered with Trust Law.
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Monitoring, evaluation and reporting (Partner: ZIGLA; paid)
ZIGLA has elaborated the Rede Nami Needs’ Assessment Report to identify the
organization’s strengths and weaknesses. It has diagnosed Rede Nami’s current situation
and proposed key required partnerships.
Apart from the technical support from Program Partners, WCM’s staff has created
networking, partnership and funding opportunities with allied organizations for Rede
 WCM’s staff invited Panmela Castro to speak on a gender justice panel at an international football
exhibition held by DISCOVER and Guerreiras Project in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World
Cup. The event was a good opportunity to publicize Rede Nami’s mission and gave it visibility amongst
an international social justice audience.
 Through Womanity Foundation’s partnership with Hublot, WCM created an opportunity for Castro to
showcase Rede Nami’s work at the Hublot VIP 2014 World Cup party. Castro’s graffiti performance
was enjoyed by a high-level audience, including the world-famous footballer Pelé and musician Wyclef
 WCM arranged for a global group of Lex Mundi lawyers, traveling to Brazil, to tour Rede Nami and
experience Castro’s work in November 2013.
3.2.1 Bandhan Konnagar
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh is the Founder and Mentor of
Bandhan Konnagar, (www.bandhan.org) and has been
Bandhan Konnagar India
nominated by Ashoka India. CS Ghosh founded Bandhan
Konnagar in 2005, with the dual objective of poverty alleviation
and women’s empowerment. The model incorporates two
entities: through a non-banking financial company (NBFC),
Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (BFSPL) is bringing
financial stability to poor women through microloans in 19
Indian states in which it operates. To date, it caters to 4.8
million disadvantaged women. In March 2014, Bandhan
Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (BFSPL) received its banking license from the Reserve Bank of India. It is one
of only two microfinance institutions in India that have been granted a banking license.
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh
Bandhan Konnagar, the non-profit arm of the organization, aims at fostering a deeper systemic
development by focusing on ultra-poor women (or the ‘hardcore poor’, such as destitute or homeless
women), who fall outside the lending net of most microfinance institutions (MFIs). Through its ‘credit plus
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approach’, it brings them on par with those to whom MFIs and banks will give credit. Bandhan Konnagar
lends muscle to women’s financial advancement through community-based programs targeted at
education, health, and livelihoods. The model also incorporates a development arm, which is seeded by 5%
of the surplus income generated by the microfinance programs. The WomenChangeMakers Fellowship
was extended to support Bandhan Konnagar’s growth.
In February 2014, Bandhan Konnagar received the Economic Times Benegal Corporate Award granted by
the Association of Corporate Advisers and Executives (ACAE).
In 2013, Bandhan Konnagar covered 1,082,135 households under various welfare and
development programs spread over 7 states of India, i.e. West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Bihar,
Odhisha, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. In the next three years, the organization wishes to expand
to 10 states covering 2,000,000 households through 5 community development programs. WCM
Fellowship will support the development of IT capacity for Bandhan Konnagar, which will impact the
organization’s data gathering and analysis in the long run. Also, WCM India will support the
improvement of the gender perspective of Bandhan Konnagar’s development programs by
engaging them with several of WCM’s partners with expertise in gender issues.
Bandhan Konnagar is making efforts to expand three of its main programs. These include:
Targeting the hardcore poor (THP): This initiative targets the extremely destitute women who
have no asset base or alternative source income, are highly vulnerable to crisis, have been
abandoned by their husbands, or are mainly dependent on begging, wage labor, etc. At this
moment, THP has presence in 1,379 villages and helps 15,000 beneficiaries.
Employing the Unemployed Program (EUP): In 2009, Bandhan Konnagar launched this program
to integrate skill development into unemployment mitigation programs. The HSBC Bank has
supported Bandhan Konnagar’s EUP in 2012 through a grant facility, which will spread over the
next three years. This support from HSBC helps the organization to run training centers where
unemployed youths receive multifaceted skill development courses, enhance their abilities and
become eligible to apply for jobs. In this context, Bandhan Konnagar is running the EUP in Mumbai
in association with Godrej. As part of this alliance, the organization identifies unemployed youths
between 18-30 years old. Presently, the EUP covers 4,209 families in three states, and 19
members of Bandhan Konnagar’s are working on it.
Renewable Energy Program: With the objective of providing sustainable electricity at low cost
without harming the environment, Bandhan Konnagar has taken a step forward in serving the
deprived rural population. The initial idea is to use this renewable form of energy in lamps and
lanterns (varied shapes and sizes). The benefits of these lights are that they improve health,
support extended hours of livelihood activity, and are a safer option, as there is no risk of fire or
burns. Above all, they harness the unlimited natural source of solar energy.
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Through WCM, certain areas have been prioritized to support Bandhan
Konnagar’s growth:
Business management - Marketing & Sales (Partner: Accenture Development
Partnerships (ADP); subsidized staff hours; all engagement related expenses borne by
Bandhan Konnagar)
WCM has kicked off a partnership between Bandhan Konnagar and ADP in the area of
Information Technology with the goal of developing an IT roadmap for Bandhan Konnagar so
that the organization is able to cope with its expansion and data management. Currently,
Bandhan Konnagar has a manual data entry process, which accumulates at head office and is
preserved without the use of any management information system (MIS) solution. ADP’s
scope of work includes defining a technology strategy ensuring scalability to support the
management of relations with current and additional beneficiaries over the next five years;
establishing a well-defined data management process that integrates information systems and
consolidates large data volumes from all beneficiaries to present meaningful reports; and
identifying strategic options to implement the technology strategy along with cost/benefit
analysis (build vs. buy decision).
Human Resources (Partner: Oak Foundation; pro bono engagement)
WCM India is working with Bandhan Konnagar to sensitize the organization’s workforce
towards the importance of improving the gender perspective of its development programs.
Oak Foundation is offering its advice to Bandhan Konnagar on this subject and resourced a
sensitization workshop with the leadership team in July 2014. The idea for this engagement is
to first sensitize Bandhan Konnagar’s team towards the gender continuum and then engage it
with various WCM network partners’ experts in the area to work on an internal gender policy.
WCM aims to support Bandhan Konnagar’s capacity to hire a resource person who could
study the organization’s current programs and recommend ways to improve their gender
perspective. Multiple partners from the WCM network are being roped into this engagement,
including Ford Foundation and UN Women.
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting (Partner: ZIGLA; paid)
ZIGLA has delivered the baseline assessment of Bandhan Konnagar in the areas of proposed
collaboration. This document specifies institutional needs as indicated in the collaboration
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3.2.2 Industree Foundation
Neelam Chhiber is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of
Industree Foundation I India
(www.industree.org.in). She was nominated by the Schwab
Foundation. Neelam co-founded the for-profit Industree Crafts
Private Limited (ICPL) in 1994, which was set up as a social
business, where the profits were ploughed back into production
and the skilling of artisans. The non-profit arm, Industree Crafts
Foundation (ICF, later renamed Industree Foundation, or IF)
was established in August 2000 to focus on the organization’s
work with rural producers and its capacity building on design development, and technical and skill initiatives
in the natural fiber sector. In time, the IF’s mandate broadened to include other crafts as well. IF also
sought to build up the production base and enable artisans to become owners of their enterprises. In a
nutshell, Industree is a hybrid social enterprise that works at two levels: it i) supports the livelihoods of rural
producers and agricultural workers in the natural fiber crafts sector across India by manufacturing
contemporary products, mainly home accessories; and ii) connects rural producers to urban markets, thus
ensuring sales outlets. 90% of the 10,000+ producers engaged presently with Industree are women.
Industree Foundation will support Industree Craft Pvt. Ltd. with its focused skills development and
capacity-building programs, to improve the producer base for the company, as well as the artisans’
production capacity.
Industree Foundation (IF) works towards making women employable and encourages them to take
leadership of their enterprises. As a result, these women are able to increase not only their income
but also their self-confidence, which enables them to be better decision makers for themselves,
their families and the community at large. IF’s main partner is the office of the Development
Commissioner - Handicrafts, through which it has already skilled 7,500 artisans in 10 states across
India and is hoping to reach 200,000 craftspeople in three years. Industree Crafts Private Limited
(ICPL)’s brand Mother Earth is aiming to open 20 more stores in the next three years and reaching
yearly sales for INR100 crores. Industree Foundation has aligned its mission to support Mother
Earth’s scaling plans and the Government of India’s focus on skill development so that a wider base
of potential producers may be built. IF is also planning a multi-state expansion over the next 3-4
years to boost its capacity building mission.
Moreover, new consulting assignments have now started in Cooch Behar, West Bengal, and the farm-toshelf model in banana fiber units is increasing the number of people impacted. The Cooch Behar project,
which is at the baseline and mobilization stage, will bring 100 self-help group members into productive
enterprises over the next four months. The orders for ICPL’s Bangalore Green Kraft Producer Company
have increased tenfold as the partnership with IKEA has been strengthened.
As productivity increases, members’ income levels go up. Since 85% of the artisans working with Industree
are women, there is a direct impact on education and health in their families.
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Through WCM, certain areas have been prioritized to support IF’s growth:
Funding model and strategy (Partner: Ernst & Young (E&Y); subsidized fees)
The Development Services Global Deputy Head in E&Y, Mr. Parul Soni, and his team will
support IF in developing a viable funding model and strategy to enhance its sustainability. This
engagement will entail a three-pronged approach–diagnosis of gaps in current funding model
and understanding untapped opportunities, proposing the most suited funding model and longterm strategy, and finally, handholding to rise strategic funding. This partnership will include
vital aspects, such as stakeholder mapping, budgeting and potential contributor mapping,
networking and connecting to potential funders, which will benefit IF in the long term.
Human Resources (Partner: Mercuri Urval; pro bono staff hours)
Mercuri Urval has helped IF with its visioning exercise, and now it is in the process of
reviewing the organogram to redefine the roles and responsibilities of the IF team. After
defining the team’s role(s), Mercuri Urval will carry out a workshop with all IF’s key internal
stakeholders to guide team members in their expected responsibilities and facilitate smooth
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting (Partner: ZIGLA; paid)
ZIGLA has provided IF with a detailed baseline assessment with specified institutional needs
as indicated in the collaboration synopsis. ZIGLA’s team will provide support to IF to improve
the tools designed to measure the organization’s impact, and also offer it the possibility to
implement technological solutions to track a set of M&E indicators.
Apart from the technical support from Program Partners, WCM’s staff has created
networking, partnership and funding opportunities with allied organizations for
Bandhan Konnagar and Industree Foundation:
During May 2014, WCM organized the first India Partners’ Meeting in Mumbai, which brought
together WCM’s Program and Selection Partners and Fellows for a highly interactive and engaging
daylong meeting. The meeting helped establish a deeper connection among all participants and
there was a high degree of participation and interaction from the different stakeholders. The
meeting was rich in ideas, from understanding the specific needs of the Fellows, to identifying
opportunities to improve the partnering models and developing a structured way forward. This was
a significant opportunity for the Fellows to learn from other Fellows’ and Partners’ experiences, for
the existing and new Partners to explore different aspects of collaboration, and for WCM to finetune the model and to collectively create better impact.
The following chart shows how WCM integrates the second-generation WCM Fellows’ Program Partners’
support with the search for opportunities and networking in order for MEC, Rede Nami, Bandhan Konnagar
and Industree Foundation to escalate their growth in the mid and long term:
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Chart 3: WCM’s intervention for second-generation Fellows – Actions and outcomes from their selection in 2013 to June 2014
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As of July 2014, the program had consolidated a network of 19 active Program Partners to offer technical
support for its six Fellows and created networking and financing opportunities through allied organizations.
This model allows different Program Partners to channel their social investments through the program in a
strategic manner for the scaling-up of WCM Fellows’ organizations.
Between July 2013 and June 2014, and through its 19 Program Partners (8 new Program Partners in 2014,
17 organizations and 2 Independent Consultants), WCM mobilized over 1,450 work and technical
assistance hours, amounting to over USD 265,000 (of which USD 148,000 pro bono and USD 116,000 paid
by WCM). Overall, WCM’s staff has invested over 1,900 direct work hours with Fellows, amounting to over
USD 45,000 in value. Thus, for every USD 1 mobilized directly by WCM, Program Partners and other
allied organizations have mobilized USD 0.6 towards the Fellows.
Besides mobilizing funds at a global level, WCM strives to increase the program’s institutional capacity
through a wide array of actions, such as:
Alliance with Folha de São Paulo & Schwab Foundation Award: WCM Brazil has partnered
with the Folha de São Paulo newspaper - Schwab Foundation Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship
Award, the most significant recognition of social and environmental entrepreneurship in Brazil. This
partnership aims to bring a specific focus on women’s empowerment to the existing award.
Hublot partnership: Womanity and Hublot (a renowned brand of luxury watches) worked together
on an event in Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which featured Panmela Castro from Rede Nami. As
a result, WCM’s project and work gained significant promotion and visibility.
Partners’ Meetings 2014 (India in May and Brazil in September): By organizing an event for
Fellows and partners from each country to gather, WCM strengthened its relationship with its strategic
partners, as well as among partners and their Fellows.
The following chart shows all of the organizations that participated in the Partners Program in this WCM
edition, as well as the funds mobilized and the first- and second-generation Fellows’ mid-term objectives:
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Chart 4: Value created by WCM between July 2013 and June 2014
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WCM is constantly learning and incorporating improvements to better consolidate an intervention model
that allows it to drive change for its Fellows’ organizations. Here, we identify lessons learned, suggestions
for improvement and next steps to integrate new Fellows.
During WCM’s second and third year of implementation, in the support provided to the first-generation
Fellows, and in the initial phases of support for the second-generation Fellows, a series of lessons learned
were identified over the different stages of work. The associated corrections and adjustments will be made
in the next implementation steps, both with the first- and second-generation Fellows, as well as for future
The success of the technical support offered by Professional
Program Partners depends on good timing, agreement on the
objectives and clear expectations.
In order to improve the articulation with the Fellows in each
instance of collaboration, it should be unambiguously established
whether the timing is right for implementation, whether there is a
shared view of the objectives, and whether expectations are clear.
The Fellows view the value created by WCM’s partnerships as
a way to rethink their organization strategically, with long-term
sustainability in mind. However, for this to materialize, WCM
may need to intensify the hand-holding aspect of its work,
particularly for those Fellows that are in a less mature
development stage.
In the even that a Fellow requires further support from the program,
WCM’s staff will allocate more coaching and hand-holding hours so
that partnership implementation is successful and not limited by the
Fellow’s degree of organizational development.
The process of needs’ selection and identification is robust.
However, the Fellows lead organizations that are in full swing,
and which have dynamic support needs. This requires an
agile, swift and concise process.
Fellows’ action plans are a very useful tool when it comes to
planning partnerships. For this tool to be up to date with the
continuous changes in the organizations, it should be updated
every six months, and objectives must be agreed on with the
Fellow-to-Fellow and Partner-to-Partner relationships have
shown to have great potential. The program offers the
possibility to build bridges between the initiatives in the
different countries as a way to share experiences and
Based on the experience of the Partners’ Meeting in India, as well
as the meeting to take place in Brazil, the relationship process
among the different Fellows and Partners can be strengthened. For
that aim, more meetings will be facilitated and a project
management tool will be available so that all Partners may share
information and assess progress with the Fellows.
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These are the main steps the program will take in the next few months:
 Hold the WCM Brazil Annual Partners’ Meeting on September 24, 2014 (tbc) in São Paulo, with
Rede Asta, MEC and Rede Nami’s team, main partners, and prospective partners.
 Implement the support program for WCM’s first- and second-generation Fellows in Brazil and India
with the contribution of WCM’s professional Program Partners. This will be based on the in-depth
needs’ analysis, the growth strategy and action plans.
 Enlist new professional Program Partners as needed, privileging pro bono and subsidized
engagements but also hiring quality paid services.
 Implement the system to measure and evaluate the impact created by WCM’s Fellows and its
aggregate program.
The Trafigura Foundation is supporting the WomenChangeMakers program of the Womanity Foundation in its
pilot phase from 2012 to 2015 with strategic advice and funding.
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WCM teams were set up and trained in Brazil and India. WCM Country Representatives were recruited in
each country: Caitlin D. Fisher (outgoing) and Andrea Piazza (incoming), based in São Paulo (Brazil);
and Indrani Sharma, based in Gurgaon (New Delhi), India. They report to the Executive Director of
Womanity, Antonella Notari Vischer. The Womanity Foundation is an organization founded and presided by
Yann Borgstedt.
Yann Borgstedt
Yann Borgstedt is a Swiss entrepreneur who manages a range of businesses in real
estate development, relocation, logistics and storage in Switzerland, England and
France. He graduated in 1993 with a degree in Finance from Babson College,
Massachusetts, US, and later joined a venture capital fund in London for six years. He is
a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) in Geneva and London and is
involved in the YPO’s Economic Development Network and Disadvantaged Kids Network.
In 2005, he started the Womanity Foundation (at the time called Smiling Children
Foundation). Coming from a privileged environment and being aware of what is
happening around the globe, he felt the need and duty to do something to create a fairer
world. In a further evolution of the work in favor of women’s progress, the
WomenChangeMakers’ program was launched in 2009. The program was inspired by the
Ashoka model, which Yann Borgstedt became familiar with through his participation in the
Ashoka support network in Switzerland and France, where he mentors two Fellows.
Antonella Notari Vischer
After working for over 18 years with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
as a field-based delegate and as the main spokesperson, Antonella entered the
microfinance sector as director of corporate communication at Blue Orchard in Geneva
from early 2008 until November 2009. From January 2010 on, she has headed the
Womanity Foundation. She also sits on the board of directors of “Geneveroule” and
“Giving Women”. Antonella holds an MSc in Media & Communication from the London
School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a Licenceès Letters from the
University of Geneva.
Caitlin Fisher
Caitlin, a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts (US), recently finished her Fulbright
Fellowship in Brazil. She has been carrying out ethnographic research on gender, the
body, and economic development through the lens of football and she is co-founder of
the GUERREIRA SPROJECT, an international multimedia initiative on gender and
development. She previously worked as a Portfolio Specialist for the Nike Foundation in
New York City and Portland, Oregon, where she contributed to the launch of the “Girl
Effect”. She is a former professional football player, who played internationally in Brazil,
Sweden and the USA, while simultaneously carrying out anthropological research for
FIFA. Caitlin received her BA in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University (2004),
and her MSc from the Gender Institute, London School of Economics (LSE) (2010).
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Indrani Sharma
Indrani Sharma has been engaged in the non-profit sector for the past 13 years and has
worked with various national and international organizations of repute on a wide range of
development projects, which include social entrepreneurship, microfinance and livelihood.
Her area of involvement has been community mobilization, capacity building and
community engagement. She has experience not only within India but also in Nepal, Sri
Lanka and Pakistan, and has represented South Asian projects at a global level. She has
successfully worked with organizations like Ashoka and PlaNet Finance and is currently
also involved with Ashoka Changemakers.
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