Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Driving more productive interactions

Very excited that the film Shakti Pirakkudhu (Shakti Rising) that has been in the works for three years now is finally done - this week! The goal of this film is to seed different thinking among the rural poor and raise their aspirations. We have a bunch of by invitation pre-release screenings planned around the country (India) in October and will post a schedule here soon. In the United States, the film will have its premier screening at SALTAF (South Asian Theater and Literary Arts Festival) on Nov 13 at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Below is the synopsis and trailer but you can learn more from the website:
India USA

Sundari is a young mother of two in a small village in South India. She has an opportunity to get a microfinance loan and wants to use it to start a business. Her husband is scornful of her ambitions - she has never been more than a housewife. As she struggles to find her feet in a trade, the village erupts into a flurry of politics with the arrival of a woman from the city looking to start a garment factory in the area. This is a story of a village woman trying to define what success means to her in the context of an expanding world view, and of a family struggling to find their equation at the crossroads of what is and what could be.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Madura Experiment (more refined)

It’s been a bit of a busy month for me and I haven’t had time to post. After years now of reading, surveying, observing and thinking, we (meaning Madura) are finally putting together the pieces of our socioeconomic transformation strategy. We’re taking quite a leap from the run-of-the-mill microfinance, so we’re operating like a start-up again, which is fun. But, with profits to take some chances with, so that’s even more fun. We’re looking at a massive, for profit experiment in reengineering the socioeconomic system dynamics of our members - about half a million poor women in rural Tamil Nadu, moving rapidly to a million. This involves putting in place a large scale smart phone driven data collection system, a mobile phone rollout for our members that will support a host of applications in the future, and development of a cool cutting edge network analysis platform that will allow us to track the evolution of the structure and dynamics of our member network so that we can nudge it towards a more productive trajectory of evolution. So here’s the story, (a bit of a synthesis of many of my previous posts).