COMMUNITY BUSINESS SUPPORT

‘To enhance the ability for self-sustenance within the communities by upgrading their competence through meaningful intervention’

OBJECTIVES

To increase the outreach, impact and sustainability of small and marginalized communities, it is necessary and important to develop, train and hand-hold such producer groups and small NGOs and assist their own self - sustenance and growth.

To catalyze locally relevant employment opportunities and thereby impact the standard of living of the community towards:
- Building mutual confidence and respect
- Building trust

-Increasing outreach, impact and long-term sustainability.

The interventions for each partner organizations are tailor-made to meet specific needs and are therefore unique and innovative.

The IRFT - International Resources for Fairer Trade belief that no model, however unique will sustain without continuous improvement tracking. Therefore, all our interventions are so planned to inspire, each partner organization to commit and resolve to continuously improve and grow, consequently sustaining itself.

IRFT Mandate: IRFT chooses to work with organizations that have serious intent to be sustainable and committed to the causes that they represent.

CBS Mandate: To build the capacity of the NGOs through effective and committed partnerships with organizations that work in areas of 'Livelihoods' and Community Development' to achieve sustainability and scalability, thereby impacting economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities.

Stage I
IRFT builds a Relationship: With a bottom-up approach priority area of engagement are decided together. Thus, building trust and commitment to self - growth. Resources from IRFT networks provides the stability to foresee a plan of action. This process lays the ground work for a stable partnership between the two organizations for a period of minimum three years.

Stage II
Formalizing the Relationships: The selected organization needs to register with IRFT, with a minimum annual membership fee. As a registered member, NGOs/Organizations can avail the services at a concessional amount (link to membership form)

Stage III
Organization Development: At this stage, programmes are well defined. IRFT now creates standardized systems and processes to help the management incorporate the jointly decided plan of action.

Stage IV
Full Circle Learning (FCL): The plan in place, implementation is supported by capacity built inhouse. Full Circle Learning is a series of workshop to formalize a Business Management system to ensure that learning is 'full circle' . The attendance of implementer head and operational head of an organization is imperative. All the workshops are so scheduled to meet this need. The purpose is for the training to be addressed to the relevant staff to make sure that the organization's growth is the outcome.

Stage V
Pathway of Sustainability: When the sustainable path is clear to the organization - Staff and Beneficiary group, IRFT withdraws from active support to the organization to ensure that Self Sustenance becomes a reality. Later these organizations serve to be lead partners to mentor fledgling organizations that IRFT continues to support through its intense intervention programmes.

Full Circle Learning experiential workshops are conducted with an intent to ensure:

The right people are trained.

Learning is disseminated to every individual in the supply chain of their organization.

Follow-up by the trainer to ensure systems are understood in place through random visits.

The staff from both, execution and planning level are present for the workshop.


The Full Circle Learning is intended to happen through a series of workshops. These workshops are planned in such a manner that the participating organizations get a holistic knowledge on all the common issues which they face in running.


Parivartan Crafts Mela


A hand-holding three-year commitment with the grassroots organizations, IRFT builds the capacity of the beneficiary community through training and development both at the grass root level and most importantly at the point of purchase. From our experiences, we have understood that the best learning happens at the point where producers meet consumers. The reality of customer needs is stark, the demand for design alternatives, colour - schemes, uniqueness, specialty pricing, quality and quantity are some of the practical lessons learnt at the Point of Purchase. Thus, hand-holding for IRFT thereafter becomes easier and an effective change is possible having had the experience of customer needs. In this process, a trust relationship is developed between the partner organization and IRFT and a series of one-on-one brainstorming sessions follows backed by an acceptance within the team to work towards an Improvement Plan.

With this Bottom-up approach, the organization is now able to identify their own gap areas and initiate a workable Plan of Action. As the organization responds to change, market access opportunities are consistently used to test the improvement track. Thus, continuous learning at the market place becomes very relevant at the final stage of mentoring when key personnel are invited to a series of specially designed experiential workshops that help put systems in place and crystallize practical learning into a formal, doable development plan.


Broad Objectives:

Market access and exposure to relevant markets.

Increasing sales opportunities.

Better understanding of customer needs and fulfilling supply to match elements.