The Womanity Foundation is proud to announce its two newly selected WomenChangeMakers (WCM) India Fellows and one WCM Associate Fellow. The selection process was very enriching for everyone involved, as all the candidates are exemplary social entrepreneurs and the jury members fine experts in their wide range of domains.

Based on the jury’s recommendations, the Womanity Foundation is welcoming the following two WCM Fellows and a WCM Associate Fellow to its three, respectively one year support programme:

The two new WCM Fellows are:

Ajaita Shah – Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets (based in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India) –www.frontiermkts.com

Ajaita Shah started Frontier Markets (FM) in 2011 to address the lack of access to regular and reliable electricity and lighting in rural India by providing affordable, appropriate high-quality solar energy products. Frontier Market’s innovation lies in its user-centric distribution and service model, which creates easy access, trains local women to educate rural households on the socio-economic and health benefits of clean energy products and to provide after-sales’ service, thus turning these women into clean energy advocates and entrepreneurs. FM works closely with users and product design companies to fine-tune their products to best serve customers’ needs. Ajaita was nominated by WCM India Fellow Neelam Chibber and by Audrey Selian of Rianta Capital.

The WomenChangeMakers Fellowship to Ajaita Shah and her organization Frontier Markets will seek to accelerate their growth, especially by building their organizational efficiency in the area of systems’ development and processes, human resource management and capacity development, and data and information management. 

Bijal Brahmbhatt – Executive Director, Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India) – http://mahilahousingtrust.org

Bijal Brahmbhatt was nominated by the Oak Foundation in India. Bijal, a civil engineer and a habitat improvement expert, has blueprinted and organically developed the work of Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT), an autonomous organization promoted by the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Under Bijal’s leadership, MHT has transitioned from being a consultative NGO to a facilitator and deliverer of pro-poor housing and related infrastructure (energy, water, solid waste management, roads) for women living in slums. Bijal’s innovation also lies in enabling women to access government subsidies set aside for slum development, and in providing technical services, urban planning, legal expertise, and securing land tenure for slum residents.

The WomenChangeMakers’ Fellowship to Bijal and her organization Mahila Housing SEWA Trust will lend strength to their organizational growth and expansion. The Fellowship is committed to help Bijal form the knowledge hub that she envisions to strategically share information on affordable housing and environment conservation by engaging with a large number of women as partners in change from their beneficiary network.

The new WCM Associate is:

Ruchira Gupta – Founder and President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide (based in New Delhi, India) – http://apneaap.org/

After winning the Emmy Award for her film on trafficked women, Ruchira Gupta, a former journalist, was persuaded to set up Apne Aap Women Worldwide in 2002 by the 22 prostituted women whom she had filmed. Apne Aap, a grassroots organization that is working to end sex trafficking—an abject form of modern-day slavery—is enabling trafficked women, at-risk girls, and populations threatened by intergenerational prostitution to exercise choices to break out of the shackles of trafficking. Apne Aap does this by increasing choices for her target population through its “Last Girl 10 Assets Programme”, which ensures that women are positioned to access their rights, and by deterring the buying of sex through campaigns social and policy change. Ruchira was nominated for WCM 2015 by Rosanna Arquette.

The WomenChangeMakers Fellowship will support the process documentation of Apne Aap’s “Last Girl 10 Assets Programme”, to enable Apne Aap to share their valuable tool in view of its wider utilization in other geographies, possibly by partner organizations. This will lend muscle to Apne Aap’s global replication strategy. 

Please join us in congratulating both Fellows and wishing them much success in their new adventure with Womanity’s WomenChangeMakers Fellowship programme. We are committed to investing in their personal growth as leaders of social change and in the development of their organizations, by offering them relevant expert support, facilitating the provision of professional services and connecting them with our network of partners and supporters.

The Womanity Foundation empowers girls and women to shape their future and achieve equal and full social, economic and political participation in society. The WomenChangeMakers Fellowship is a programme of the Womanity Foundation, which builds scale through strategic collaborations between social entrepreneurs who work for women’s empowerment and professional partners from the corporate, academic, or social development spheres.

The Trafigura Foundation is a strategic and funding partner of the WomenChangeMakers Fellowship Program.

For further information, please contact:

Indrani Sharma, Program Director, WCM India

indrani@womanchangemakers.org

More information on the WomenChangeMakers program: www.womanity.org/womenchangemakers