The Wadhwani Foundation has partnered with Frontier Markets to empower rural women in India

The Wadhwani Foundation and Frontier Markets both believe that this is an investment in India's soul - its women, children, and future.

Wadhwani Advantage

Wadhwani Foundation and Wadhwani Catalyst Fund on Thursday launched ‘Saral Jeevan Sahelis’ a mutually beneficial relationship with Frontier Markets to empower and support up to 10,000 rural women in India over the next two and a half years by assisting them in earning income on their own.

Sahelis’ or local women from villages will be, recruited, provided skill training, and given the opportunity to earn a living, according to the agreement. Sahelis’ play a very important role in rural communities, particularly in their villages, as a result, the partnership aims to improve rural households’ overall quality of life by increasing their economic options and allowing them to invest in their children’s future.

With a long-term goal of onboarding thousands of Sahelis in the next 5-6 years, the cooperation will create stable livelihoods for Sahelis.

The Wadhwani Catalyst Fund’s purpose of amplifying effect through catalytic funding aimed at large-scale employment creation aligns perfectly with this grant. This collaboration will help Sahelis’ to earn additional monthly income of Rs. 7,000-10,000, allowing them to live a self-sufficient and dignified existence.

Sanjay Shah, Chief Operating Officer, Wadhwani Foundation – India/SEA, commented on the funding closure, “Wadhwani Foundation is excited to partner with Frontier Markets. From selling only clean energy and agri products in 2011, they have managed to add multiple categories, including consumer durables products and essential services, by leveraging their social commerce platform and by simply listening to the pulse of rural consumers. Frontier Markets is changing the way villages buy products and services, and the way business is done across the hinterland by building an army of rural women salesforce (or Sahelis), armed with smartphones and deep consumer insight. They are driving change, creating an impact while managing to make money and profits. We certainly look forward to leveraging the Wadhwani ecosystem to help them grow their network and touch more lives.”

Frontier Markets’ Founder and CEO, Ajaita Shah, stated, “We are extremely excited about partnering with Wadhwani Foundation and the Wadhwani Catalyst Fund as they validate our mantra that investing in rural women is smart business and the key to driving SDG goals at scale. This partnership also becomes one of the first to showcase how blended capital can be leveraged to support social businesses and help drive accelerated scale.”     

The Sahelis’ understand customers and curate demand using a Phygital Model. While their  residences double as stores/local touchpoints supported by Frontier Markets branches that function as warehouses, the app collects user data, presents products, and handles sales and inventories. It’s the first data-driven model that uses insights to create tailored solutions for rural customers.