Confluence is an act or process of merging. For the team at Rang De it means a coming together of like minds and thoughts once a year at our partner meet which we call the Rang De Confluence. At this two-day event, members of our partner organisations, working in disparate fields and geographies, came together to meet each other, making the event unique in scope for the learning and interaction it allows.
At the Fireflies Ashram on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Ulhas Kamat, CEO of ICreateIndia inaugurated the proceedings with a talk on Creating Entrepreneurs, Changing mindsets. Ideas matter more than money in entrepreneurship especially when seeking to bring change. Mr Kamat also spoke about the importance of one-on-one mentorship for entrepreneurs at the grassroots level.
Most social leaders then talked about demonetisation. NGOs and organisations working with Self-Help Groups at the grassroots were the worst hit and our field partners shared their experiences and learnings.
What emerged were amazing stories of resourcefulness, trust and resilience.
Self-Employment and Voluntary Association in Manipur, for instance, worked tirelessly to link members of SHGs with bank accounts. Members without accounts were asked to deposit their money collectively.
In Uttarakhand, tough terrain and lack of connectivity made matters difficult with purchases of dairy animals and equipment falling through at the last minute. Our partner organisation working in the Bundelkhand region spoke about how members from marginalised communities were acutely affected.
The organisations we work with leveraged years of social capital to ensure that borrowers did not default on their loans.
Moving on from this discussion, Ramakrishna NK, our CEO and co-founder presented our latest project called Swabhimaan which aims to deliver financially literacy powered individual loans to the doorsteps of borrowers in rural India. He also unveiled a digital kiosk called Bioscope powering this project and answered queries alongside Chief Product Officer Mangalam Nandakumar.
It was a wonderful sight to see our partners interact with the Bioscope and one of our social leaders successfully applying for a loan through the application.
Day 2 began with 3 parallel sessions — Small and Marginal Farmers, Microcredit Operations: Best Practices and Learning & Nurturing Artisans where our partners who work in 18 states across the length and breadth of the country shared brilliant insights and knowledge of grassroots development issues.
Our board member and Chairman of SELCO Foundation, Mr Harish Hande, joined us later where he delivered a short talk on the need for financial inclusion.
SELCO Foundation, which provides affordable green energy solutions to communities across the country, gave a presentation on their work to our field partners with several people expressing an interest to collaborate with the foundation for the benefit of communities they work with.
At Rang De, we believe in a culture of absolute transparency, something that was put into practice during Confluence, where we documented the event live on our Social Media channels. On the sidelines of the event, we also conducted exclusive interviews with leaders of the social organisations.
Tintu Saleem and Suhas Bhat from the Marketing & Communications team at Rang De conducted the final session of the event on Marketing and Communication for NGOs and stressed on the importance of utilising Social media to bring about awareness and build the brand presence of the organisation.
As the two-day event drew to an end, the learnings that we drew from it were immense. Most importantly, it was a refreshing chance to renew close bonds with the grasssroots communities forged by a common social cause — fighting poverty— that has bound us together for over nine years now.
We are constantly on the lookout for new partnerships. If you are from an organisation or know of any organisation that is working to fight poverty at the grassroots level in India, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To comply with RBI regulations, Rang De’s lending operations are moving from rangde.org to our brand new platform rangde.in. Visit rangde.in to continue social investing.