Global Economy has been plummeting since last year because of trade wars, protectionist policies as well as fluctuation in oil prices. Adding to this, the Coronavirus outbreak has led the stock markets across the world to crash drastically, leaving the industry, workforce as well as the citizens in huge worry.
The revival of the economy is of utmost importance at times like these, which can be done by making sure that there is money in the hands of the poor or the middle-class people of the country. The Union Budget attempted to do the same by increasing the number of slabs in the Income Tax and reducing the tax percentages; by investing more on rural infrastructure and focusing on the development of the rural economy.
Aiding this cause is Credit Suisse who has committed to join forces with Barefoot College International (BCI) to form a three-year partnership that supports BCI’s ‘Women Prosper Initiative’ (WPI) empowering women with the necessary skills to build resilient and prosperous rural communities. The focus of WPI is to address intergenerational rural poverty by harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of rural Indian women.
Through WPI, the company is providing a life-changing journey to 400 women from rural communities in six states in India: Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Nagaland and Manipur. The women will be selected by BCI to undergo a comprehensive three-month training program at its campus in Tilonia, Rajasthan.
The program is designed to equip the women with the financial and digital literacy, critical thinking and enterprise skills they need to establish meaningful livelihoods that are aligned with their geographical location and which facilitate environmental stewardship, biodiversity and carbon reduction at a community level. Areas of focus include renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and nutrition, taught through BCI’s Bindi Solar and B.Barefoot non-profit social enterprises. These topics are aligned with BCI’s Zero Carbon systems change initiative, which was announced in January 2020 at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.
The charity partnership supports BCI’s goal to reach 5,000 rural semi-literate and illiterate women in India by 2022, providing them with viable avenues to increase economic prosperity for themselves and their communities. At the end of three years, around 67,000 beneficiaries will be directly impacted by the charity partnership, including the trainees’ family members and individuals in their communities who will have access to sustainable products that enhance the quality of life in areas such as health and home lighting. This scale of impact demonstrates the limitless potential of women and the valuable contribution they can make to uplift their families and communities.
Mickey Doshi, CEO of Credit Suisse India, said, “Credit Suisse is committed to building an inclusive future where people can access the resources necessary to develop financial, entrepreneurial and other skills to thrive in society. We are pleased to support Barefoot College International’s high-touch education, enterprise and empowerment model specifically designed for rural women. We understand the need for harnessing the potential of rural India, to enable consistent and inclusive growth of the Indian economy. It is imperative to support innovative programs like the Women Prosper Initiative which are highly impactful and can be rapidly scaled as needed.”
Meagan Fallone, Director of Barefoot College International, said, “We are delighted that Credit Suisse India has joined our deeply valued group of charity partners. Together, we are working to build a much-needed program dedicated to serving rural women who may not have had an opportunity to access a formal education but whose wisdom, innovative thinking and tenacious spirit are ideally suited to entrepreneurial action. We are excited to have Credit Suisse employee volunteers as resources for our team and we look forward to learning, unlearning and relearning together over the coming three years.”
A strong emphasis of the program is said to be on aspiration mapping and sustained regular income generation, providing the women with a pathway towards achieving positions as teachers and leaders for their communities. Over the BCI’s unique curriculum of 100 hours, the trainees will undertake courses on topics such as the ethical apiculture for honey production, regenerative farming for coffee production, development of solar-based home lighting, lanterns, and flashlights, the sale and maintenance of clean-tech energy products, and the production and sale of nutritional supplements. Microenterprise skills, women’s wellness, menstrual and reproductive health, human rights and citizenship, and environmental awareness are also covered. The trainees are provided with a smartphone to drive inclusion and expose them to the benefits of mobile technology, such as the ability to make digital payments as well as critically engage with and access public information.