The word “Dalit” comes from the Sanskrit root dal- and means “broken, ground-down, downtrodden, or oppressed.” It is a term that 150 million of India’s poorest people identify with. Once known as the “untouchables” this group that makes up more than a third of India’s population faces much discrimination, meaning most cannot gain employment, let alone secure a loan.
Nandri, an Irish organisation, aims to bring hope and opportunity to a community of women, based between Bangaluru and Chennai, most of whom identify as Dalit, through micro-finance income generation programs and micro-finance programs for their children’s third level education. The organisation shifted its focus from child sponsorship to micro-finance 5 years ago in a bid to make Nandri more sustainable and to empower Dalit women to drive their own opportunities. The organisation continues to support 1,000 children through its sponsorship program, however believes that it is through women’s empowerment that real change can happen.
“Our vision is to ensure that each child in our sponsorship programme achieves his or her potential and each mother can earn continuing income to support her family,” said Fred Crowe, CEO, Nandri. “Our goal is that each of our 3000+ mothers will receive a loan to buy a cow and thus enable them to feed and improve the quality of life of the family.”
Nandri has only one part-time employee in Ireland, relying on a strong Board of Directors, and a partner based in India to execute its programs. In order to make the switch to micro-finance, the organisation needed a technology that would do the heavy lifting on managing its programs, and one that would be accessible to both its Irish staff and its partner in India. When Crowe joined as CEO in 2012, he reached out to Salesforce to apply for the Power of Us Program and kicked off a project with the Nonprofit Success Pack.
“Five years ago when we implemented the system our only continuous programme was child sponsorship,” said Crowe. “Since then we have added 4000 mothers in almost 200 groups and issued about 1500 loans. We could not do what we do without Salesforce. The system has enabled us to keep our costs to a minimum. Our monthly costs are Rs. 250,000, which is about €3,500. I have seen other organisations bogged down with paperwork and clerks updating manual ledgers. Surely our costs would be double the current level if we did not have Salesforce.”
The beauty of the Nonprofit Success Pack in a case like Nandri is that it can connect data at a household level. This means, in the system, children can be attached to sponsors, mothers can be attached to a micro-finance program, and the mother and child can be attached without any record duplication. This helps Nadri develop holistic insights on the impact of its programs.
In 2016, Nandri developed an app on Salesforce to handle its micro-finance program and is currently testing a tablet app, which will allow non-English speaking field staff to input data and images in the field. They have also developed a portal for sponsors so they can access details of their sponsored children including, Christmas cards, school reports and regular new photographs.
Technology can have tremendous impact on maximising resources and helping organisations, especially those with a small staff to realise their missions and drive programs forward. Through the Salesforce.org Power of Us Program, eligible nonprofits can access 10 donated Salesforce licenses and discounts on additional Salesforce products and services.