What was the motivation or defining moment that led to the creation of this innovation? Tell us the story.
While studying in the 12th Grade of Lahore American School, I was deeply affected by the teachings of my English professor. His teachings encouraged me to question the issues we took for granted and to debate and propose ideas that challenged status quo.
In College, I was puzzled by phrases like “development”, “third world”, and “poverty” in my Political Science Class. I had led a privileged life in Pakistan and had been blind and indifferent to how the majority of the people in my country were living.
After college I returned to Pakistan and worked in two local NGOS over a period of a year and a half and was disillusioned. I did not see how my work was leading to a difference in the economic realities of the poor. After one training, an old village woman turned to me and said “Don’t you think if we had enough money we would provide the best healthcare for our children…”I was acutely embarrassed by her words.
I enrolled into an MBA program and soon heard about Kashf Foundation, a micro fiancé provider. After my MBA I applied to Kashf.
At Kashf, I realized that the cultural, social, and economic constraints did not create an enabling environment required for women to start a business.. I also realized that there was a dearth of business development service providers, especially within low income communities.. This kindled a spark within me to provide these women entrepreneurs professional business and marketing advisory services.
Please provide a personal bio of the social innovator behind this initiative.
Valedictorian of Class of 1991, Lahore American School, Paksitan,
* BA (Magna Cum Laude/Phi Betta Cappa Scholar), Mount Holyoke College, MA, USA 1995..
*MBA, Lahore University of Management Sciences, 1998.
* Manager Training & Enterprise Development, Kashf Foundation (MFI), 1998-2003.
* CEO Kaarvan Crafts Foundation, 2003-present.
b) Do you help the people you serve to buy goods or services using financial innovation? If so, how?
In the Business Development Services/ Supply Chain Management Program the Kaarvan team identifies groups of women entrepreneurs within a particular sector , i.e. matt weaving, embroidery, crochet,x have expressed a need for building their capacity. The second phase comprises of the training for women entrepreneurs on production set up, production management, quality management, and product development- a hands-on process and women entrepreneurs also learn skills of developing systems, building quality controls, cataloguing, and pricing and costing. In the third phase, the entrepreneurs are trained to visit the markets for purchasing the raw materials or marketing their products.
c) Do you help the people you serve to sell goods or services using financial innovation? If so, how?
In the Fair Trade Marketing Program, Kaarvan provides a space to the women entrepreneurs to market their products in upscale markets under fair trade conditions and learn hands on about fair trade systems, and the customer trends. The women entrepreneurs build their negotiating powers without having to suffer from social and gender discrimination. The products are sold through a network of Kaarvan’s fair trade outlets to retail customers (men and women from the middle to high income strata and between the ages of 12 years and 60 years), to corporate customers, and to large wholesale stores.