One step back and two steps forward!

One step back and two steps forward!

After 6 months, I am back again at the Swades Foundation in Mumbai! It is my 4th time to work with them and I have really been looking forward to return to Swades, with their huge and beautiful ambition, and 360 degrees approach. During my previous visits, I have been impressed by all the activities, and its impact on so many rural women.

Ronald van het Hof, joint MD Women on Wings, and I facilitated a 2-days workshop for Swades’ area managers. Changes in the structure, new leadership and hick-up’s in the results were the main reasons to start another workshop on Business Development and to facilitate it with the two of us. To be honest, we had to go through some basic elements all over again. It felt the first day a little bit as a step backwards.

To be as effective as we could, we decided to discuss as much as possible about the role of the individual team members. We created an open atmosphere to talk about what is lacking and to illustrate why certain qualities and skills are required, we played a serious game. This perfectly showed the need of business thinking in all perspectives and the absolute need to be decisive.

The discussion led to an action plan created by the new director, partially delegated to the team, with timelines and right mandates. We made a good step forward and have reached the level of moving on in the right pace again!

The second part of the week, Shilpa Mittal Singh, also joint MD Women on Wings, and I visited Mysore in South India for a 2-days assessment of a new potential business partner. Wow, what an energetic and smart woman we met. What a clear vision, lots of meaningful plans and good track record. Besides that, we saw some really nice products made from honey.

We visited the factory, but also the women of the tribes who are delivering the raw materials, saw how they benefit from this social enterprise and discussed the future of the social enterprise and the steps that need to be taken to realize the plans. This assessment provides a good basis to set up further discussions about collaboration!
This was my second step forwards this week!

To sum up, we took one step back, and two steps forward. Not a bad result in one week!

Naomi Bisschop

“Women on Wings starts where others normally stop; sharing knowledge and skills is just as important as micro-finance.”

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

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