Vision: Be an institution of excellence in promoting holistic development through inclusive growth leading to greater participation in equitable socio-economic opportunities
Mission: To promote sustainable development through technology driven, impactful & scalable interventions in the identified thematic areas including primary healthcare, education, skill training, livelihoods, financial inclusion & environmental conservation.
The Foundation is in continuous efforts to positively impact the society particularly, underserved and under privileged communities in the area of its operations. Utkarsh Welfare Foundation has formulated policies for social development based on following guiding principles:
Utkarsh Welfare Foundation has an intensive community engagement approach in its program intervention. Intensive approach entails capacity building and providing impact & outcomes oriented services interwoven around thematic areas of financial literacy, health services and enterprise promotion through skill building and vocational training of the last mile beneficiaries.
Utkarsh Welfare Foundation has collaborated and partnered with various national and international technical resource agencies such ACCION, IFC, ISMW, SIDBI, FMO, and SCBF which has given enriched experiences. It has improved the institutional learning curve and built the in-house capacity to develop knowledge toolkits and robust MIS systems such as, over the years UWF has developed robust MIS systems for the monitoring of projects.
Various cloud and web based tools are used for purpose of timely and effective monitoring and evaluation of the projects. Baseline and end line indicators are developed with support of technical resource agencies at beginning of the project for impact evaluation purposes.
With the assistance of ACCION lndia, a comprehensive MIS was developed for monitoring of field team. The trainers were all assigned user IDs and passwords. All registration forms were entered into the system and daily attendance was marked for every batch. Various reports were generated with details such as Branch wise monthly mobilization and members trained under the program. A dedicated project coordinator was appointed for field monitoring. Continuous field visits were undertaken to monitor the progress and the quality of training delivery. Major responsibilities of the Coordinator comprised of attending and addressing the operational challenges, motivate the field trainers, conduct impact assessment and document case studies etc. Besides this, the team leader had a daily tracker on the mobile through which the trainee’s movement and trainings were tracked. Surprise visits by senior team members of both Utkarsh Welfare Foundation and Utkarsh Micro Finance were also part of the monitoring mechanisms.
A. Financial Awareness
Financial awareness initiatives are aligned with Utkarsh’s mission to support underprivileged and underserved segments of the population by providing financial and non-financial services in a socially responsible, sustainable and scalable manner. Financial education programs are aimed at building financial decision making and capabilities of the targeted beneficiaries through right information, instructions and advices.
Total beneficiary outreach under financial awareness initiatives of Utkarsh Welfare Foundation since its inception in August 2010 has been 259652 as at July 31st, 2018.
1- Utkarsh Welfare Foundation – Financial Awareness Initiatives
Learnings and experiences gained through the implementation of various projects on financial education with reputed knowledge and resource partners such as ACCION, FMO, IFC, ISMW, SCBF, SIDBI, etc. The company has developed in-house capacity to design and deliver financial literacy for targeted beneficiaries. Utkarsh Welfare Foundation aims to develop financial education initiatives which are replicable and scalable. Models of delivering financial education and advisory services to the beneficiaries will be developed by adopting best practices in the domain through partnerships. Currently, UWF has undertaken the financial education initiatives at 13 branches across Bihar and Madhya Pradesh which will geographically be further expanded to Uttrakhand.
1 (a). Financial Literacy- Mini Camps:
Utkarsh Welfare Foundation celebrated Financial Literacy Week at first week of June from 4th – 8th 2018 with theme of “Consumer Protection”.
Analysing, the success of FA- mini camps, the team decided to organize such camps every month. At, least one FA trainer will organize 4 FA- mini camps monthly. The size of mini camps or the participation per camp will range from 30 to 40 beneficiaries.
The main objective to organize such type of camps is to create awareness among the consumers/clients of financial services about their rights, responsibilities, good practices and resolution mechanism. This camps is also a refresher to our beneficiaries.
As, on date 31st July 2018 total 37 mini camps were organised in which 1626 beneficiaries participated.
2. Dialogue on Business (DOB) for Micro Enterprise beneficiaries.
Dialogue on Business (DOB) is an award-winning business skills training program developed by the knowledge partner, ACCION. It is based on adult learning principles, which draws from the knowledge and experience of program participants. It uses interactive games and role-playing tools to help participants solve real-life business challenges. The workshops are based on the real situations of participants, rather than textbook cases. DOB is found to be an interesting and engaging activity for people, even with little formal education, who may not learn effectively in a traditional classroom setup.
3. Village Development Program:
(A) Financial Literacy:
The Village Adoption Program at UWF aims to adopt integrated village development approach through self-reliance and capacity building, towards tackling rural poverty in a sustainable manner. Our approach to village adoption is reflexive, and socially relevant with an emphasis on moving from ideation to action. UWF has adopted a sector specific intervention. This includes selection and identification of villages which are in need of interventions to enhance their standard of living and then identifying the needs of villages through participatory gap assessment.
(B) Learning Enhancement Program ( LEP )
Background: The learning deficits alarmingly visible so far in elementary school children is now being reflected among young adults too. A study conducted by Pratham (ASER report 2018 published by the not for profit entity in the domain of education) says that in the 14-18 years age group, over one in two students could not do a simple division. “Only 43% are able to do such problems. Similarly, nearly one out of two (47%) 14-year olds could not read a simple sentence of English; the proportion was two out of five for 18-year olds. It is not just English, 25% of the youth could not read basic text fluently even when it was in their own languages. “Learning deficits seen in elementary school in previous years seem to carry forward as young people go from being adolescents to young adults,” the report underlined. UWF’s intensive village development program envisages integrated and holistic development of identified villages in consultation with village community coupled with convergence of various development interventions. Proposed Learning Enhancement Program (LEP) for School Children
The objective of the proposed Learning Enhancement Program is to encourage and improve language skills, numeracy skills and creativity among the rural children in the age group of 5 to 12 years.
The initiative piloted in the month of June 2018 with 20 children in the Mahmadpura village of Arajilne block near Varanasi.
As on in the month of July 2018, this Learning Enhancement Program is now currently operated in 4 villages Deendaspur, Karnadadi, and Bhimchandi in Arrajiline block, Varanasi. A total of 94 Children have been enrolled in all four villages.
(4) Digital Financial Literacy – Utkarsh Welfare Foundation Initiative
Utkarsh Welfare Foundation organised a mega camp and started implementing series of camps on digital financial literacy from the month of May 2017 and is continued across districts in Bihar & UP. Presently, 7 trainers are engaged in different branches (Begusarai, Kochas, Sandaha, Sindhora, Saidpur, Maihar and Kashipur across 4 states Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttrakhand & Uttar Pradesh. New training modules which includes flash cards, Audio visuals, Snake & Ladder game have been developed with technical core team members of Utkarsh Welfare Foundation.
1- International Finance Corporation (IFC) - Knowledge partner ACCION
The Project objective was to support the roll out of an effective and sustainable financial awareness delivery program for low income households, thereby improving the quality of financial services offered among Financial Institutions (FIs) working with low income beneficiaries. Project targeted to cover 15,000 beneficiaries through 8 branches across eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Knowledge toolkits and methodologies were jointly developed in association with ACCION India for imparting financial awareness. The 7 modules developed under the project comprises of contents on Financial Planning, Cash Flow & Budgeting, Savings, Debt, Insurance, Investment and Banking.
During the project period from May 2014 to March 2016, a total of 22,193 members had registered for the financial literacy program. Out of these, 19,856 had successfully completed the training. The members who attended at least 5 modules out of the 7, were considered as trained.
With the assistance of ACCION India, a comprehensive web based MIS system was developed for monitoring the field team. The trainers were assigned User IDs and passwords for the same. All registration forms were entered into the system and daily attendance was marked for each batch. Web based MIS platform made the process of project monitoring timely and effective.
2- Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF) and ACCION - Financial Education for underserved beneficiaries.
The project aims to develop the capacity of Utkarsh Welfare Foundation to offer financial education program for low-income women with, thus creating awareness and demand for financial services in the market. ACCION (technical resource partner) will train UWF’s Master Trainers in its proven financial education curriculum. Further, the master trainers will be capacitated to train future UWF trainers. Moreover, a hotline is already in place to receive calls from the beneficiaries for providing advices on financial products and services suiting their requirements. One model Community Shop will be established in the project area to provide information on appropriate range of financial products and services.
This project is being implemented in two phases. The project aims to cover 28,000 beneficiary during the entire project period, out of which a minimum of 50% beneficiaries are expected to adopt new financial products. Upon intervention completion, Utkarsh Welfare Foundation should be in a position to continue training its staff with ACCION’s methodology for delivering high quality financial literacy trainings to low-income beneficiaries and also for providing advice. This will increase beneficiaries’ uptake of financial products and services. Moreover, beneficiaries will be better able to understand managing their finances and use financial products.
In the first phase of project implementation (April 2015 to December 2015), the project aimed to cover 13,000 beneficiaries through Class Room Trainings and Mass Awareness Programs. At the completion of first phase, 11,689 beneficiaries outreach was achieved with both the intervention approaches.
In the ongoing second phase (January 2016 to December 2016), the project aims to cover 15,000 beneficiaries, of which, 11,000 will be covered through Class Room Trainings and 4,000 through Mass Awareness Programs.
At the successful completion of the project the total beneficiary outreach for the project period April 2015 to December 31, 2016 through class room training approach is 20,377 and through Mass Awareness Programs is 9157.
3- FMO (Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank) and ACCION - Financial Education for Beneficiaries
Despite enhanced access to financial services in India, availing and consumption of services has remained a challenge. Also the access to microfinance services has not been able to address the multidimensional aspects of poverty. Given this context, education on financial literacy is integral to continued growth, long-term success and sustainability of the microenterprises in the society.
The project aims to provide financial literacy to 23,200 rural beneficiaries. Two approaches have been adopted for providing financial literacy. It is proposed to cover 13,200 target beneficiaries through class room trainings and 10,000 additional beneficiaries shall be reached through mass awareness program. This project is being implemented during March 2016 to March 2017.
Total beneficiary outreach as at March 31, 2017 through class room training approach has been 13,214 and through mass awareness program has been 10142.
4- SIDBI - Poorest States Inclusive Growth Programme (PSIG) - Financial Literacy and Women Empowerment Initiatives
SIDBI-Poorest State Inclusive Growth Programme (PSIG) endeavours to focus specifically on women’s empowerment through microfinance interventions including financial literacy programme and capacity building of women beneficiaries on social, gender and legal rights and entitlements issues. The project aims to institutionalise capacity building program for the microfinance beneficiaries through partner MFIs. The project is also being supported by Department for International Development (DFID). It was launched through 7 MFIs in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to cover 60,000 beneficiaries.
At Utkarsh, the pilot project was implemented through 16 branches with the support of 22 Master Trainers. Concepts on Financial Literacy and Women Empowerment were imparted to 16,500 members across 2 districts Deoria and Ghazipur of Uttar Pradesh and 3 districts of Bihar Arrah, Kaimur and Sant Ravidas Nagar.
At the closure of the project as on March 31, 2016, a total of 15,741 beneficiaries were trained on the concepts of financial literacy and women empowerment. A pool of 22 Master Trainers (MT) from Utkarsh Welfare Foundation were trained through Training of Trainers (TOT) and Refresher Trainings in three phase program. Each of the trained MT received 26 days of training and each of the targeted microfinance beneficiary received 27 hours of training inputs spread over the project period delivered in three phases.
Scale up project
Currently, the project is in scale-up phase and aims to extend the program through 30 new branch locations through 30 Master Trainers in 15 months timeline up-to July 2017. Each of the MTs are expected to undergo 15 days TOT and Refresher Trainings. Web based MIS system is used for effective monitoring and evaluation of the project. The project entails collection of baseline data and training of 23,525 new beneficiaries and end line data collection of 15,000 beneficiaries from the pilot project through open data kit based mobile handsets.
B- Health Initiatives
Utkarsh Welfare Foundation’s health initiatives are intended to provide free Primary Health Services and awareness to the low income households in the targeted geographies. Outpatient diagnostic services with free medicine are being provided as a part of the initiative. Program is implemented in collaboration with select hospitals, ensuring quality health service under the strict supervision of healthcare professionals and practitioners. Two approaches viz. regular Poly Clinics through branches as well as Mobile Poly Clinics with route plan are being adopted for extending health services. Total beneficiary outreach under this initiatives since inception has been 190992. Beneficiaries.
1- Regular Polyclinic: Regular Polyclinics are organized in collaboration with Ramakrishna Sewashram Hospital, Mirzapur and GV Meditech Group, Varanasi. Currently, the program is organized in two districts of Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi and Allahabad) and one district of Bihar (Gaya).
This program was started in July 2013 through 1 branch and is currently operational through 8 branches with cumulative patient outreach of 60345 as at June 31st, 2018.
2- Village Development Program: The Village Adoption Program at UWF aims to adopt integrated village development approach through self-reliance and capacity building, towards tackling rural poverty in a sustainable manner. Our approach to village adoption is reflexive, and socially relevant with an emphasis on moving from ideation to action. UWF has adopted a sector specific intervention.
3- Mobile Van Polyclinic: Mobile Polyclinics are organized to ensure that the benefits of health initiatives reaches to more number of patients. Mobile Vans equipped with professional medical practitioners and medicines covers the targeted geography.
Started in August 2015 through 5 branches, the initiative is currently operational through 15 branches across Satna, Kushinagar, Kaimur and Rohtas districts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
4- Health-Classroom Training:
In addition to regular and medical mobile van polyclinics; a class-room training on
Health awareness program has been started (Modules already piloted under SIDBI Project). The objective of health awareness program is aligned with the concept “Prevention is better than cure” and aims to:
a) Raise awareness on the various aspects of preventive healthcare measures;
b) Educate the target group on information to identify and prevent common diseases;
c) Raise awareness on the nutritional needs of young children and mother;
d) Build capacity within the community to handle local health issues effectively;
e) Promote overall good health of the local community.
The total outreach under Health Awareness Camp for the month of July 2018 is 1182
clients in 71 batches.
5- Plantation under Village Development Program: Plantation activity was organized on 31st July under Village Development Program, in Bheemchandi Village. Under this activity 15 saplings have been distributed to the villagers making them aware about environment conservation and benefits of plantation. The plant saplings distributed are Mango (02), Lemon (04), Guava (03), Jamun (02), Ashok (03) and Shammi (01). As, initially it is done on pilot basis after that in future it is planned to take up in bigger scale with increased number of beneficiaries.
C- Goodwill Initiatives
Demonstrating ethos of charity, Utkarsh Welfare Foundation has established regular engagements with the Old age homes & Orphanages. Voluntary participation is encouraged and visits are organized on monthly basis. As a token of goodwill gesture employees regularly distribute snacks, small gifts and food items.
Orphanages: A home for abandoned and destitute children including those with special needs. The home has infants, children and boys and girls up-to the age of 22 years. The USFB – Project Team visited in the month of July, 2018.
Old Age Home: A home for the pure heart is a hospice for the sick, destitute and the dying. Adults including Senior citizens feel at home in these old age home. The USFB - Branding Team visited in the month of July, 2018.
D- Earlier Projects
Vocational Training on Agarbatti rolling & Market Linkages
The project was undertaken with an objective to provide training, technical knowhow, credit and market linkages facility to the poor women in rural areas to enable them to enhance their household income. The aim of this initiative was to encourage entrepreneurial activities among the poor, with focus on providing the family with an additional source of income.
Keeping this in mind, Utkarsh Welfare Foundation started imparting providing training on "agarbatti" making to the underprivileged women and linking it to the market. Continuous training on incense stick production was imparted in almost twenty villages of Harahua block, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh. The project was implemented during May 2011 to March 2014. Around 400 members were trained and 249 quintals of agarbatti produced by the beneficiaries were linked to market.
Solar Light Project
With an objective to promote clean and green energy, solar light initiative was undertaken through 11 locations across eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Around 3,800 beneficiaries were enrolled under this project. Project was implemented in association with Greenlight Planet which is a for-profit-social-business that develops and manufactures honest, reliable solar products designed to help people living off the electric grid. Project was implemented during December 2013 to March 2015.