DAY 1 - Thursday November 22


  • Women shared name, where they are from, involvement with SEWA, something they are good at (hobbies)

  • Women participants were from several coops:

    • Home care coop members

    • Artisan/patchwork coop members

    • Finance/credit coop members

    • Pharmacy/medical coop members

    • Industrial (snacks) coop members

    • Video production coop members

    • Dairy coop members

    • SEWA wholesale market worker

  • Michelle and Dana introduced the project and plan for the day

Journey Mapping

Journey mapping outline - English / Gujarati

Small Group Feedback - Journey Mapping

Snacks Coop

  • Challenges:

    • Marketing/Selling

    • Storage - different materials

    • Waste - batch (too salty too sweet etc)

      • Raw materials get wasted when people don’t come to work

    • Legal advice

      • Government officials are not sensitive to their (cooperative) needs

      • Know when the official will be visiting - have the knowledge beforehand

      • Need to access the information

        • Know what does an NPA (?) mean

        • Awareness of the rules

      • Accessing government subsidies

    • Confusion about the bill - legal aspects - how to satisfy the customer

      • Lack of knowledge

      • Need legal / coop education for the members - to answer properly about the bill

    • Want a computer - need to access government subsidies - it is a problem - why?

    • Marketing

      • How to assess?

      • How to get more members?

      • Don’t want to go house to house - safety issues

    • Training about how to use technology (Google, other)

    • Want to do something new - new things for cooperative to do

      • Want to increase earnings

      • Would require investment of 100,000 - how to access capital?

    • Production problems

      • How to control quality between different producers?

      • Need information about available machinery

      • Need money to purchase machinery

      • Need information about available packaging and branding

    • Communicating to other coop (SEWA?) members what the products are, where to get them, so they can support the coop by buying them

    • Members need information about the cooperative concept: User/Manager/Owner

  • Easy:

    • Production

Dairy Coop


  • Cleaning the space

  • Computer system - if not working need to write manually

  • Keep track of volume of milk - needs to be accurate - measuring and recording

    • Including amount of fat?

    • Huge volumes of milk

  • Spoiled milk (overnight) gets mixed with good milk in milk collection centre

  • Sometimes quality of milk is not good (mixed with water)

  • Women are collecting milk - so formed the coop to help women be financially independent

  • Women sometimes late or early when delivering milk - but want to ensure women still get paid

  • Delivery to government dairy - amount of fat, volume - discrepancy in what coop has measured and what gov measures

  • Board members don’t come to meetings - need education to understand their role and responsibilities

  • Price of land is increasing - less milk will be produced

  • Young people don’t want to take on dairy farming - long-term survival of coop

    • How to encourage them? Training/awareness program

  • Government should take steps to stop people from selling their land

  • Membership profiles - keeping track of them - name, family, etc - important for coop

  • Want Training in villages to create new milk coops

  • Truth, honesty, discipline are required

  • Milk coop should be findable in Google - to know how to contact them - to facilitate formation of coops in different villages

  • Information about government subsidies for equipment

    • Younger, less experienced members don’t ask, don't know about it,

    • Documentation - need to pass on the information - how to run a good milk cooperative - so others can know how

    • Documentation to track earnings now is very good :)

    • Dana - would templates help? Make videos? (video coop?)

  • Knowledge is not generally distributed, only a few people have it

  • Most members of coop do not have smartphones - they want them - for communication of information

  • Communication:

    • Sell cattle feed through the coop - but difficult to tell all the members that it is available

Video Coop (Communication and

  • Production of documentary and presentation? (“replays”) Of docs in different places

  • Recording, editing

  • Training programs how to create videos

  • Main aim to put technology in women’s hand - learn they can be economically independent, awareness building, education

  • Need access to the technology

  • Photography training - girls and women doing the training

  • Promote SEWA through the videos - get more members

  • Technology is always changing and they have to keep up

  • Constantly need to take training for new tech

  • Government audits - they get everything ready - but it takes 6 months/1 year

  • Marketing - orders from SEWA as well as other organisations

    • Dana - could the beauty services site act as a template for other coops? What would this mean technically? Michelle: It means something along the lines of what we did with Big Ideas & Snow - they both are built from a base website theme.

  • Want to be searchable in Google (a site with information about the coop)

  • Accreditation / identification card to access places (e.g. government) to do documentation (like a press card?)

  • Want info about other coops in India doing similar work - how do they operate etc

  • Need member profiles - whether they are active/non-active, details

  • Need to stay on top of new laws, policies about coops (e.g. member has not attended enough meetings they have to leave)

  • Coop rules need to be distributed

Credit Coops

2 different coops, 4 different areas

  • Provide savings and credit

  • New members - activities to attract new members

  • Conducting training programs

  • Accounts and audits

  • Develop savings habits - teaching women

    • Getting out of debt

  • How to keep members for a long time - micro-loans??

  • Competitors are beginning to crop up

  • How to gain women’s trust - to join the coop - talk with them, training etc

  • Fraud has occured - promises made, money taken and never returned

  • Education at the field level

    • Financial literacy - how to provide receipts

    • What documents do they need to have on them

  • Want to be more efficient about giving microloans, to compete with other micro-financing institutions - we spend time gaining trust, talking with woman, go to her house etc

  • Working in the field - everybody wants office work, not field work

    • Sometimes they join, train, then leave

    • Recruiting and retaining field staff

    • Women don’t always have their personal documents and collecting documents is difficult

  • Data is hard to access and analyze. It’s in the computer but some reports are not available

  • Dashboard that gives them data that they need

    • What is new data collection, what is old

  • Long tedious process to deposit money into bank - fill out slip take to bank, fill out another

    • No internet connection

    • Women are illiterate, no English

    • Software is in English

  • Manager is responsible for ...analysis - if information is not there…

  • Branch opening in another area - have to write it all up manually, then put into computer - takes time and energy

  • Need permission from government to start in a new area - very slow

  • Rules and regs are same everywhere but officers in different areas have different … skills/approaches, some take longer

  • Need money from outside funding agencies

    • Hard to get loans as a coop so get them from government

  • Need customized software to collect, analyse data

    • See the list of software

  • Experts should go to their office and go through all the data to make sure it is ok - need outside expert to take a look

  • Documentation of how the work is being done - to pass on to others

  • Geo-tagging customers to see where there is potential, where there is too much saturation

Artisan coop

Stitching, designing, cutting

  • Organising women into the coop (first thing)

  • Eye strain, back pain, shoulder pain - artisans cannot continue

  • There is much competition, so women are not interested

  • Automation and mass production is making it harder

  • New designs coming on the market - how can they know what is there?

  • Quality of raw material - need to be educated about this,

  • They are not getting work year round, not getting daily work

  • Production process -

  • Members do not have WhatsApp or internet connection

  • Training for rules and regulations about running a coop

  • Where to get raw materials - which is good, how much is good price

  • New technology coming on the market - where to purchase, cost, how to use it

  • Quality control training - how to measure if product is good or not

  • Marketing training - biggest need of coop

  • Member profiles of the artisans

  • Info about government subsidies

  • Design bank, design libraries to keep track of all the designs they do

  • Learning from other coops - how can they

  • Soft skill training - how to promote, explain their product

Insurance Coop - learnings from transition to digital over last 1.5 years

  • Services coops easier to “digitize” than production coops - so start with those to ensure success / avoid frustration

  • Science and art of technology - can’t ask the user to be a technologist…give everyone a smartphone and in a year we all will be using it for different purposes

  • Design must allow use without training

  • Start with low-hanging fruit e.g. digitize the design bank as a first step, insurance coop digitized process of getting money to clients - writing cheques, depositing cheques etc

  • Common resources better - less cost, stay current

  • Adaptability of tech ?

Home Care Coop

  • Training programs, membership promotion

  • Aged care, also child care, housekeeping

  • Women don’t always have phone with them - it’s with brother or husband

  • Want women to come at 7am - difficult to get there at that time because taking care of own home

  • Customers homes are far - taking 2-3 buses takes time, cost

  • Competition

  • Customers want long shifts 10-12 hours - young women don’t want to do it

  • Customers don’t want old women

  • Coop website, facebook should be there to help with marketing

    • To bring more women into the coop

  • For safety they want to travel / work in a group but this is more difficult to find

  • Coop does checks on the clients

  • Mindset of women going and working in another home - husbands need to be convinced?

  • Need documentation of how the coop works

  • Software for data analysis

  • Customers want online transactions - customers want to pay in cash to avoid tax etc - customers try to convince them

    • Members want cash transactions too :)

Wholesale Market (Shop #40) - linked to Agricultural Coop

  • Growers and vendors

  • Giving proper price to the farmers

  • Payment is done on time

  • Organise women farmers in the villages

  • Communicating that our shop is different - run by women, give info regarding agriculture, training programs, loan facility,

  • 7am -4pm shop is open, 4 people working in shop

    • Have to do promotional work outside this time - need more people to do this

  • Need to give online info to small farmers (info is only given to large farmers)

  • Want to sell vegetables to big traders - need lots of cash to buy large amounts of vegetables - need loans

  • If they could provide other things (fertilizer etc) then people would only need to come to their shop

  • Crop management is not there - planning - how much land

    • Crop management training

    • Coordination of crops

  • Profiles Name of woman, how much land, type of land, - need to keep track

    • Who is growing what

  • Many farmers don’t know timing of production, how much production - cannot predict their marketing

    • Need this info to know how much fertilizer to provide etc

    • Announcing that fertilizer, seeds are ready for pickup -

      • Everyone buys seeds in same week if they don’t know the coop has it available then they’ll go and buy it themselves out of pocket

    • Streamline the process - get info out quickly


Do coops work together much now? How do they communicate etc

E.g. create videos to document how to run a milk coop

  • Video coop has worked with all of them

  • But this is difficult

  • There is no structured way to communicate

  • Communication now happens face to face

  • Some members might know about other coops but might not know enough to be able to promote them or tell them how to access services etc

Do members use the website now

  • Maybe 5%?

  • There needs to be a cultural shift - resistance, fear to use the technology, Gendered barrier to using tech

  • Some members have never seen it

  • Need to be convinced of the value to them in using it

  • Most all have phones, a few have flip phones

How do you communicate now re: time of meetings etc

  • Phone Calls

How often to members communicate now?

  • Need tech intervention to increase communication, and increase member involvement

    • Now it is very resource-intensive and inefficient

  • Depends on type of coop - 1/month, 1/year


  • Every month the coop should conduct a meeting of board members

  • The same type of coops should have a meeting each month

DAY 1 Summary: Common Themes of Challenges

1 Communication

Coop to coop interaction/support

  • Learning about other coops

Timely communication/announcements to members

Recruiting & Retention

  • How to interest the young people in running coop

  • Getting more members - building trust with prospective coop members


  • Online Presence

  • Online Transactions

  • Promote cooperativism

  • How to describe the work/coop to customers

Member profiles

Keeping accounts

  • Coordination of who (coop members) is doing/making/growing what

Data analysis and reports

2 Knowledge Sharing

Training / Accessing Information / Knowledge Sharing

  • rules and regulations (e.g. how to create a legal bill/receipt)

  • coop law

  • Technology - staying current

  • Board member education

  • Fraud - building trust (i.e. women have experienced fraud in the past and don’t trust the financial coop to provide services)

  • How to assess raw material quality

  • Design libraries (to keep track of designs used)

  • Available equipment

  • Packaging, branding

Documentation of how to run a (specific) coop

  • Including processes (minute-taking etc)

Access to capital and subsidies

Quality control (between different producers)


  • Going house to house

  • Going to strangers homes

DAY 2 - Saturday November 24

Updated Plan

  • Check -in

  • 2 overall themes: communication and knowledge sharing/learning

  • Not necessarily a technical solution

  • What do they do now, to learn things - where do they look ?

  • How do they want to do X, and what would it look like, (within the framework of a learning commons)?

  • Suggest that they try to identify parts of the commons that are

    • Coop specific

    • Across coops

    • More broadly

  • Small groups - give translated summaries

  • Content production, structure, appearance

    • Example - recruiting new members - What to say? How to engage?

What do they do now to find info related to coops?

  • Coop registrar physical office

  • Talking with friends

  • Bank for accounting

  • Government auditors - depends on their mood

  • Websites

  • Google coops

  • District coop federation - state union of coops -

  • SEWA federation first - then outside

  • Lawyer consultation

  • Government Legal guide from 1961 for coops (the Act) - every coop has one - it is compulsory

  • But for specific issues they need to go to government

  • Printed bylaws - managers easy to do but members not

  • Training through government about coops - members attend and learn and also make connections that they can rely on to ask questions later

    • They come to know different groups - share knowledge etc

    • City level, state level, SEWA federation also (e.g. info about GST)

  • AGM of the coops -

  • Member education through fed as well as individual coops (with help of fed)

Small Group Feedback

Group 1 - Knowledge Sharing / Training

  • Resources need to be in local language (new ones are in English only)

  • Need to know what the newest information is

  • Rules and regs training at all levels - Members level, board members level etc

    • Federation should arrange this training

    • Ahmedabad coop fed has a one-month training

  • Training should happen locally (rather than asking women to come to SEWA office in Ahmedabad) to reduce travel time and cost and get more women to the training

  • Can we do video conferencing to have simultaneous training in different locations?

    • Not sure we have the hardware

  • Technology

    • have to “go on the market” to research what’s available

    • Visit different coops to see what they are using and share info

    • Google research

    • Youtube videos

    • Info about grants and loans to be able to afford technology

    • Use tech to stay connected with other coops in the field

    • Design an online platform with social media through tech and use it for marketing

  • “Sharing platform” - we can put information there and share it with others

    • Searching a query

  • Frequent training to board members (and all members)

    • Responsibilities

    • Objectives

    • rules/regs

    • active/non-active

    • Profit or loss in the cooperative

    • Should know the rules and regulations

    • Also the vision of the cooperative

  • Building trust - transparency about all functions of the coop

    • Solving member queries

    • Regular meetings with the members

    • Even regular phone calls helps

    • Need timely response and communication to members

      • How? Process improvements, recording documents faster

      • We take time to work with the woman to get credit  - a more productive loan (don’t want to change this) - tell the member why it takes as long as it does

      • We do want to do the scrutiny faster, in a more efficient way - record the docs faster, the “person” able to do the scrutiny faster

    • Depositing money with SEWA - need to go to woman’s house

    • Members should know the rules and regs of the coop

  • Website - information about all the coops (existing SEWA website?)

    • In English and local language

  • Show documentation and accounts to members when they ask. Ensure no favouritism occurs.

  • Raw materials available?

    • Do a market survey

    • Regular training important

    • One “Platform” is needed with info about raw materials available

    • Survey Costing and quality - you have to do in the market

    • Equipment should be cleaned regularly

  • Archiving video documentaries

    • Training of how to archive

    • Institutional history is available with the person - we need to put it somewhere where anyone can find it

  • Standard operating processes

Design libraries

    • Photo documentation of the work - keep in one place

    • Use social media

    • Awards?

    • Feedback from the customer

    • Small Videos docs

    • Keep sample of the product

    • Templates

    • Pamphlets

    • Annual reports

    • Both hard and soft copies of process documents

  • “Go on the market and do the survey” to find out which equipment you need

  • Contact the person who has good knowledge - the “experts”

  • Visit different companies and coops and find out how they are working

  • Attend training programs of different institutions

Packaging and Branding

  • Each coop should have own logo

  • Packaging should be attractive - talk to experts in the field

  • Survey the coop members about the packaging and branding

  • Pamphlets, hoardings, Social media

  • Coops should Earmark money for promotion, branding

    • SEWA brand?

  • Documentation

    • Keep track step by step of all steps of what you are doing

    • Written documentation - a “resource book”

    • Resources for conducting workshops

    • Develop training modules

    • Now - training with powerpoint with pictures - it’s good (the pictures)

    • Manuals on how to do the work (e.g. fill in the form)

      • 3 things?

      • Examples of filled forms

      • Manual SOB

      • Module

    • 3 languages - English, Hindi (north India), local language

Access to Capital and Subsidies

  • One platform where they can get all info about government subsidies

  • Coops should have business plan

Quality Control

  • Need a special team, well-trained

  • Surprise field visits are required

  • Move in the field, what products are available, compare to the coops products

  • Need the equipment

  • Incentive based - performance-based incentives

  • Awareness training for members

    • Videos, training programs

    • Wall painting - paint advertisements on members house walls

  • Permission of members - on their house - advertise on the wall

  • Feedback form from customers

    • Now? Different ways - suggestion box, ask for feedback after training/workshops

Financial literacy training

  • Mapping of available resources

    • Agencies, experts (gov, private, designers), different platforms (Amazon, other) - mapping of reliable suppliers, even fundraising (artisans) - the artisan card - what benefits do you get (government) - if I want to be in this exhibitions where do I have to go? - info knowledge mapping - people, equip, fund, schemes - a vetted list - things that have been useful to other coops

  • Every member should attend the training from SEWA

  • Government is providing financial literacy training

  • Coops should fund the members to go to the training

Group 2 - Communication

  • Vetted list of materials, experts and information

  • Feedback forms to customers

  • Suggestion box

  • Regular meetings

  • Board members meet every month

  • Sectoral meetings every month

Timely communication

  • Have a group on smartphone to communicate fast

  • Coop decision should be communicated to members within 2 days

    • Voice messages for communication (if someone can’t read)

    • Board members should be active

Recruiting and Retention

  • Recruitment should be done according to need of coop

  • A bond: agree to stay for period of time (otherwise you pay)

  • Incentives - work more, get reward

  • Positive feedback

  • Employee of the month


  • Coop should have a website

  • Need a designer and a writer

  • Effective SEO

  • Use TV, newspaper, radio, exhibitions

  • Product logo is important

  • Mouth to mouth marketing

  • Marketing person should have specialised soft skills

  • SEWA brand? We need to think about it...

    • There is an association with union, with micro-finance, people don’t know otherwise

    • Each coop needs independent branding (promoted by SEWA) - I think we need to highlight this - this coop is promoted by SEWA…

    • Separate registered entity

    • Values and principles - following the “Gandhian values” - take advantage of the positives of that brand

    • Like SEWA housing trust?

    • Part of the SEWA family - associated - but every coop needs to have its own

Member profiles

  • Soft (computerized) and hard copies of the profiles

  • Application form filled properly of all members

  • Handwritten register of all members should be kept (for auditors)

Keeping Accounts

  • Digital as well as written

  • Each financial transaction should be recorded

  • List of assets of coop should be in written form

Timely audit

  • Transparency in maintaining accounts

  • No cash transactions

  • board meetings - all financial transactions should be shared

  • All data should be computerized and backed up

  • Proper data analysis can inform policy makers

  • Keeping track of sales and which products are moving etc can help business to grow

  • Data bank for all coops - to be able to access

  • Reports of the coops in written form


  • Women should have insurance

  • Women helpline 181 - information

  • Self-defence training

  • Documentation of customers

Communication with clients

  • Soft-skills training

  • Federation decides (Unique Selling Point), all the salespeople need to be trained,

  • Need a logo

  • Standardized message should be given

  • Communication with government officers

    • Face issues with registrar, auditing

Loomio demo:

  • Showed a bar graph and a pie chart and the women commented that it’s just like excel graphs.

  • They currently use Whatsapp to make decisions when not face to face

  • They didn’t see a huge improvement to switching to Loomio

Next steps?

  • Want to expand SEWA scope to support non-SEWA coops too (women’s coop)

    • Chance to participate in SEWA and have a say

    • Platform would be of great help to both SEWA and non-SEWA coops

  • A “digital library” - all info about your product etc

  • No labels