Seema Patel

BOP Activity Update: Village Herbs, Nutrition, Microfinance

It has been interesting and worthwhile to me to have the opportunity to sift through NextBillion’s multitude of resources in search of projects to add to the activity database. The projects I have come across never cease to inspire. Some are new twists on old ideas combining traditional methods with modern systems?some are partnerships forged in the name of innovation. Some focus on cultural and artistic traditions and still others address more urgent needs such as disease prevention and nutrition. Acknowledging and sharing each project’s success and significance is just as important as the activities themselves.

Banco do Nordeste’s CrediAmigo: Microfinance Banking
In November 1996 at a meeting in Fortaleza, the World Bank and Banco do Nordeste, a development bank formed to support growth in northeastern Brazil, decided to initiate a collaborative process to jointly implement a local development program based on the idea of micro-credit. Motivated by the fact that small informal companies–family owned and small properties – were not being served by the Bank’s financing activities due to the restrictive regulation of Brazil’s Banking Systems, Banco do Nordeste and the World Bank decided to develop and launch a pilot low-income bank, targeting micro-entrepreneurs from informal sectors.Gram Mooligai Co. Ltd. – Village Herbs
Gram Mooligai was originally created as an off-shoot of a successful NGO rural healthcare project, entering the private-sector to expand its operations in harvesting local medicinal plants. The company is owned by a network of rural growers that manufacture a variety of herbal remedies including Trigul balm for joint pain, Sugam cough syrup and Jwaracin, a fever reducer. Gram Mooligai’s unique competitive advantage is its synthesis of modern healthcare systems with local remedies familiar to rural households. The company sources its products from India’s strong heritage of traditional healing methods and its rich biodiversity, with over 18,000 known species of plants.

The Nutrition Improvement Program
DSM is a German company that creates innovative products and services that promote a healthier, more sustainable, enjoyable, and efficient way of working and living. DSM’s Nutrition Improvement Program, which focuses on the fortification of foods with vitamins and minerals in order to prevent disease and mortality due to malnutrition, is DSM’s first initiative in the context of the ’Base of the Pyramid’. This is a new development in the field of sustainability to which the company will increasingly be paying attention.