Social Awareness Campaigns
Client Education is an important aspect of Grameen Koota’s culture. As part of Grameen Koota’s Micro-Credit plus activities, the company conducts periodic Scoail Awareness Campaigns, earlier known as Socio-Economic Development (SED) workshops, for its members every year in the different communities of its operational areas. These campaign draw participation from the entire community aiming towards building the members’ capacity on relevant issues like health, sanitation, HIV/AIDS awareness, nutrition, family planning, income generation activities, enterprise development, law and financial literacy.
Links are also being developed with other institutions so that the members can benefit from their products and services such as group insurance, personal insurance, health insurance, pension schemes, cottage industries and group enterprises including training in Panchayat Raj and other developmental programs at the government level. Resource persons at these workshops are experts from Government departments, Corporates, NGOs, hospitals, police and lawyers. Every year two such workshops are conducted in each branch. Till date the company has conducted more than 700 SED workshops. In 2015-16, Grameen Koota conducted 88 Social Awareness Campaigns.
Grameen Koota through Navya Disha, an NGO, has been trying to make sure that its clients lead a healthy and hygienic life. Navya Disha has been implementing Water & Sanitation Program in association with Water.org since 2009 in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for Grameen Koota members.
Through various awareness campaigns and activities on water & sanitation, Navya Disha encourages people to construct their own toilets, have own water connections at their houses, build rainwater harvesting systems and ensure safe disposal of waste by opting for biogas plants, composting & solid waste management programs. It also provides mason trainings to the local masons on building low cost and affordable models of sanitation. They engage people from every stratum, not limiting the reach to Grameen Koota members only, by organizing various trainings and workshops to promote these hygiene practices. As part of our social initiatives, we also conduct regular mason trainings for the local masons as well as our clients’ spouses on construction of toilets. We also conduct husband workshops to help our clients’ spouses gain valuable inputs that can help them in their chosen occupations.
Grameen Koota recognised knowledge is power and with a desire to make its clients well-informed, it initiated an awareness building program under the name “Jagruthi”. This project aims to create awareness on different subjects ranging from health, food, nutrition, education, hygiene, importance of sanitation to the importance of savings, money management, government services and facilities, etc. to bring about a measurable and lasting impact on the awareness level of our clients in such a manner that it creates a perceptual shift in their minds. The program’s vision is to make the customer more ‘AWARE’. It’s basically a means to convey messages to our clients for their welfare and upliftment.
To make it easier for the members to accept, Jagruti was designed in a manner with which the members can relate and create a connection. Grameen Koota created a virtual character – Jagruti, who was introduced to members as a woman coming from the same background as them, who faces similar problems and uses her awareness to counter her difficulties. As the name itself suggests the program’s objective, Jagruti determines to cover all the important aspects of life and would bring awareness among the members and influences them to take necessary action.
The program follows a theme based medium to spread the message on different topics. The approach towards this starts with:
- Tangible assessment of current awareness quotient of the members.
- Creating ‘measurable-impact initiatives’ which can be re-used and replicated on a sustained basis
- Assessment of perceptual shift in customer’s mind-space (for Grameen Koota) over a finite period of time
The message is conveyed to the members every week during their weekly Kendra meeting in the form of a letter from Jagruti read by the Kendra manager.
Today, Jagruti is being implemented in 181 branches across Karnataka & Maharastra, educating over one million members every week with a new topic. As of 31st March 2015, Jagruti has generated awareness amongst our members by covering more than 150 topics. This has not only enlightened these women on various issues but also helped them avail facilities provided by government as well as in inculcating hygienic practices.
Launched in 2009 by Government of India, the National Pension Scheme from PFRDA made way for every working citizen of India to save part of their income for their pension. To extend the coverage of NPS to the weaker and economically disadvantaged sections of the society with their limited investment potential, NPS- Swavalamban (Lite) was launched which promotes small savings during their productive life, in order to prevent economic deprivation in later stages of their lives.
Grameen Koota has tied up with the Government of India as an aggregator of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) to serve its clients better. Grameen Koota collects the contribution amounts from our clients during the weekly centre/ Kendra meetings. This initiative not only saves time and money of our clients, who otherwise would have had to travel to the nearest NPS aggregators who are mostly located in urban/semi urban areas, it makes them aware of the available facilities that our Government provides.
The scheme does not require any mandatory monthly/yearly deposits. The amount can be decided as per the financial capacity of the member. Continued investment in the scheme will help our clients earn a decent pension in the future. To ensure that they understood the product and its benefits completely before they decide to enrol for the same Grameen Koota has designed a Training sessions for them. As of 31st March 2015, Grameen Koota has enrolled a total of 51,631 members. During the FY2015, 23,840 members were enrolled under the program.
As a part of its Social Goal, Grameen Koota, in collaboration with M.D. Sachidananda Murthy Hospitals, offers its clients with Health insurance, under which along with the clients their family members are also covered.
This program facilitates with quality medical consultancy at low cost along with cashless in-patient treatment in network hospitals to its clients and their family members, thereby improving their access to quality medical services & improving health standards.
In all the Network Hospitals across Karnataka, a Help Desk Executive has been appointed specifically to guide the clients enrolled under this program. The Help Desk Executive is available at the reception throughout the week from morning till evening and also available on call. This executive assists the clients by arranging consultations for them as well as supports them in availing the benefits, using the Health card provided by the organization. Apart from the help desk executive, the clients are also provided with a toll free number to give their feedbacks and submit their queries or complaints.
Under the program, Grameen Koota supported 102,392 customers and their family members in FY 2014-15. Currently, 428,401 beneficiaries have been enrolled under the program and 82,159 have availed outpatient treatment. The hospitalization benefits have amounted to Rs.5.79 crore and 9,831 members benefitted under the program as of July 2016.
Experience of Customers
One of the beneficiaries, Faheen Unnisa, wife of Mohammed Ahmed who lives in Idgah Mohallah in Kanakapura (Karnataka) said her family benefitted from the healthcare card. "We've really benefitted from the Healthcare card. My sister had to undergo kidney operation twice and we could save Rs.40,000 in hospitalization expenses," she said and her sister Nai Munnisa too is grateful that the card enabled her to fight back the kidney problem.
Gulzar,35, wife of Akram Pasha, 40, has enrolled her son Salim Pasha, 20, and her daughter Ambrin Fatima, 18, under the health insurance provided by Grameen Koota. Implemented in collaboration with M.D. Sachidananda Murthy Hospitals, the family of four have paid Rs.235 each and could avail Rs.24,000 worth cashless hospitalization over the period of one year.
Gulzar said the healthcare card helped when her son was suffering from typhoid and when her daughter was down with cholera and tansillitis recently. She said, "We've got them admitted in Mata Hospital where their medical expenditure was taken care of fully." Zarina Taj, 38, wife of Ahmed Pasha, echoed similar view when she said the healthcard was helpful in the times of ill health or medical contingency. "My husband underwent operation for piles and we have availed the cashless hospitalization," she said.
To enhance the healthy living standards of its clients and their families, Grameen Koota regularly conducts health camps in its operational areas and encourages them to inculcate healthy habits in their lives by educating them on health and hygiene issues. This program is an effort to ensure that the clients and their families do not get burdened with the heavy medical expenses due to sudden hospitalization and health related issues and resort to other informal sources of money which are very expensive and risky, hence support them with health security.