Credit Suisse, one of the world’s leading financial services providers, has joined forces with Barefoot College International (BCI) to support its Women Prosper Initiative. WPI empowers women with the necessary skills to build resilient and prosperous rural communities. The focus of WPI is to address inter-generational rural poverty by harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of rural Indian women.
Barefoot College is a global social enterprise based in India that provides development solutions to the challenges faced by the rural poor. For almost 50 years, Barefoot College has been working with women in the developing world to foster localised self-sufficiency and sustainability. Their Solar Sakhis fabriacing solar panels has been a sight of wonder for many!
Through this association, Credit Suisse will be providing a life-changing journey to 400 women from rural communities in six states in India. The focus states are Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Nagaland and Manipur.
Speaking on this partnership, Mickey Doshi, CEO of Credit Suisse India said, “We are pleased to support Barefoot College International’s high-touch education, enterprise and empowerment model specifically designed for rural women. We understand the need for harnessing the potential of rural India, to enable consistent and inclusive growth of the Indian economy.”
The women will be selected by BCI to undergo a comprehensive three-month training program at its campus in Tilonia, Rajasthan. Credit Suisse employees will also engage in volunteering activities to support building capacity across specific areas of BCI.
The WPI program is designed to equip women with the financial and digital literacy, critical thinking and enterprise skills that they need to establish meaningful livelihoods aligned with their geographical location. This will facilitate environmental stewardship, biodiversity conservation and carbon reduction at the community level.
Areas of focus include renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and nutrition. The program will rely on BCI’s Bindi Solar and B.Barefoot non-profit social enterprises. The programe is aligned with BCI’s Zero Carbon systems change initiative.
The support from Credit Suisse will allow Barefoot College to reach 5,000 rural semi-literate and illiterate women in India by 2022, providing them with viable avenues to increase economic prosperity for themselves and their communities.