Rajendra Joshi was born and raised in Tanzania before moving back to India for post-secondary education. During this time, he was struck by the inequality among different castes and communities. Rajendra co-founded Saath in 1989 to work in low income neighborhoods in Ahmedabad city. Through an integrated approach, Saath has made significant impact in the base of the pyramid communities by partnering with government, civil society, academic and corporate institutions. By using market-based strategies to create inclusive societies in both poor urban and rural communities, Rajendra has facilitated substantial interventions in public health and education, livelihoods, infrastructure and basic services, financial inclusion, affordable housing, conflict resolution and disaster management through hybrid social enterprises.
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- Hybrid Social Enterprise
- Cities and Urbanization; Entrepreneurship; Future of Work
- Areas of Impact
- South Asia, India
Saath Livelihood Services
Saath’s work in Ahmedabad, in the Indian state of Gujarat, has demonstrated that a market-based approach can successfully generate socio-economic wealth for slum populations while creating market opportunities at the base of the pyramid for companies. Its Integrated Slum Development (ISD) approach offers an array of services across healthcare, education, livelihood development, microfinance, infrastructure and information.
Saath’s work began in health and education when founder Rajendra Joshi saw the need to provide basic public services in the face of government failures. Today, these programmes impact 14,000 households annually. Since the 1990s, Saath’s Slum Networking Programme has brought slum residents, utility companies and the Gujarat government together to provide water, electricity and road infrastructure to over 6,000 households on a fee-paying basis. Saath’s livelihood programmes with employers have placed 25,000 youths and housewives into formal sector employment, and are complemented by its growing microfinance practice. Saath has also expanded these services to rural Gujarat along with its natural resource management programmes, impacting over 7,000 households.
Saath’s latest innovation is the Urban Resource Center (URC), which serves as a critical linkage point to connect slum residents with information, knowledge and services from governments, NGOs and private companies. To date, four URCs serve 13,000 households across Ahmedabad for an annual subscription fee. Saath is also actively working with academic institutions, NGOs and urban planners to draft policy suggestions that address land tenure issues critical to slum development.