‘MOUKA+’ - A Women Inclusive Last Mile Distribution Model in Rural Bangladesh.
A 'women inclusive' rural distribution model that connects private companies to BoP market with products in health, hygiene and nutrition.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
JITA Social Business Bangladesh Ltd.
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Raowa Complex, Level 8, VIP Road, Mohakhali, Dhaka-1206, Bangladesh.
Location(s) of impact
Bangladesh: Currently operating in 8 districts in the Northern part of Bangladesh, covering around 350 villages.
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Under-representation of women in rural economy:
Bangladesh is beset by a highly informal rural market economy that does not include the marginalized women, either as producers, consumers, or suppliers. According to IFC’s country data tables, more than 63 million women are underrepresented and disconnected from formal market economy. This is mainly happening because of the social, physical and psychological barriers that rural women face from a very young age, resulting in low economic opportunities.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Creating women employment opportunities:
JITA has innovated an inclusive rural distribution model, at the centre of which are Aparajitas (meaning who never accept defeat) who have been brought from the most marginalized community. JITA plays a key facilitating role in the initiative by identifying women with the greatest potential, training them in sales, accounting and business negotiations as well as health information and integrating them into the value chain as a market force. These Aparajitas, going door to door, carry a ‘product basket’ which is configured to bring multilevel impact on health, hygiene, nutrition and household’s use of sustainable technologies.
JITA employs a ‘multi-product’ distribution model through multiple partnerships with private companies who want to access the untapped bottom of the pyramid segment. This helps JITA to keep channel costs low as a large and diversified product baskets creates economies of scale and leads to financial sustainability.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
JITA started with 26 women in 2005 and to date has trained over 3,000 women on basic business acumen and entrepreneurial skills. Currently, a little over hundred Aparajitas are working as door to door sales actors under JITA’s direct payroll earning a monthly average of USD 31 from their initial base income of USD 7. To date, JITA has served over 50,000 rural consumers (95% women) through Aparajita and created access to products in health, hygiene and nutrition. The women inclusive ‘door-to-door' distribution model has created income opportunities for many marginalized women, while making access to household and feminine (innerwear, sanitary napkins etc.) products easier for women and adolescent girls. JITA’s market activation to promote health and hygiene among rural consumers have reached 60,000 women with knowledge on harmful effects of radiation from direct sunlight on skin. JITA also disseminated clean energy messages and products that reduce carbon emission to the rural segment.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
The current business model is funded with an initial equity investment from Care Enterprise Inc. and Danone Communities. In December 2016, JITA updated its business model where hundreds of Aparajitas were brought in JITA’s direct employment to ensure better control over operations and increased income for Aparajitas. JITA plans to raise USD 0.695 million in form of ‘grants’ and ‘equity investment’ over five years to scale-up Aparajita model to 400 women and take this model to business break-even by 2022.
Annual Budget Source (2017):
1. Earned Income- 78%
2. Other - 22% Cost Reimbursement by Shareholders
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Over years JITA is nearing to reach sustainability by making systematic improvisation on Aparajita product basket. Initially Aparajitas used to earn USD 7 per month by only selling shoes. Strikingly their earning increases to USD 31 when fast moving Unilever & Square high demand products were brought into basket. JITA’s multi-product distribution model has helped the social business to move ahead than other similar models in Bangladesh such as Grameen ‘Shakti’ ladies and BRAC Health-women.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
The formation of JITA is considered to be a significant milestone in Social Business arena as it has established a striking example by being transformed from a NGO, CARE Bangladesh project named Rural Sales Program (RSP). RSP was piloted in 2005 to address the problem of highly informal rural distribution system of Bangladesh which deprives women’s access to many important products and income generating opportunities. The project started with 25 poor women selling shoes door to door and soon it unlocked unlimited potential for women inclusive business. By the increasing success of the project and global recognition from Oxford University, RSP management could envision a future model that not only could sustainably improve livelihood of poor women but also create significant impact towards BoP consumer. In 2011, RSP spinned off as a separate social business and JITA was born.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?