By Priya Naik
November 2, 2020
Read Time: 5 mins
India is home to many social wicked problems. Though each of us, individually, have unique capabilities to address these problems, we can attain scalable and sustainable impact only when we take collective action. Samhita recognizes this need and works with multiple stakeholders to create solutions that can leverage each of their core competencies and harness their collective strength.
With this vision, we have consulted multiple stakeholders, over the last 10 years, – companies, foundations, government agencies, philanthropic funds, bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies, and implementation partners – and driven partnerships that have impacted thousands of lives.
A prime example of our work is the WASH platform which recognized the need to impact across the sanitation ecosystem right from infrastructure and provision of amenities to behaviour change. In partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and India Sanitation Coalition and supported by the Government of Maharashtra, we created the WASH platform which worked with companies to mobilize their CSR funds and leverage their core competencies in such a way that a long term path could be charted out to realize India’s goal of a Swachh Bharat.
However, the onset of the pandemic brought on a huge challenge for us as well as our stakeholders. With income levels, revenues, and profits impacted, the quantum of CSR and philanthropic funds were impacted as well. Government mechanisms were strained to tackle immediate challenges and implementation partners had to adjust to a new normal of working with beneficiaries.
At this time, we at Samhita realized that while we all adjust to continue operations in a new normal, we must work towards a better normal. We must reflect, recognize, and reset our efforts to impact those beneficiaries who lie across our ecosystem, supply chains or even consumer brackets and who have been most affected by the pandemic. For a transportation finance company, these beneficiaries could be drivers and cleaners whereas for real estate or infrastructure investment fund companies, these beneficiaries could be construction workers and contractors and for adhesives companies, carpenters form part of their critical customer base. But for such companies to create impact with crunched resources, it is imperative now, more than ever before, to band together and collaborate.
Samhita has always believed that even limited resources can create scalable and sustainable impact if used in a strategic and collaborative way. Therefore, while recalibrating our own vision and approach, we set out towards building a better normal.
Our conversations with clients and understanding of the current need led us to build two platforms – REVIVE and IPA. Both platforms work to leverage the limited resources, existing systems and mechanisms in such a way that we can impact at scale and provide a high impact leverage to all our stakeholders – companies, philanthropists, foundations, bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies, and governments.
For example, the REVIVE initiative, co-incubated by USAID, MSDF, and Omidyar Network, channels philanthropic and other funds towards making affordable, well-timed and accessible capital available to workers and micro-entrepreneurs who have been affected the most by the economic crisis propelled by COVID-19. REVIVE aims to benefit 100,000 lives over a time-span of two years, and was made possible due to the catalytic collaboration among stakeholders and the utilisation of innovative financing mechanisms to reach India’s most at-risk populations.
Recent months have reflected the gravity of the COVID-19 scenario and the long gestation of a global recovery. Each stakeholder must therefore do their bit and use innovation collaboration as two key tools to respond to the pandemic. Now, more than ever before, we call on to you to adopt a strategic and collaborative approach to help build a better normal for your own society.