MBAs Without Borders (MWB) is pleased to announce a new partnership with READ Global, an international nonprofit organization that supports educational and economic empowerment programs in rural villages in India, Nepal, and Bhutan to create vibrant thriving communities.
READ’s proven and replicable model focuses on developing Community Library and Resource Centers (READ Centers) as platforms for social and economic empowerment. READ began its work in Nepal in 1991, but its impact has grown tremendously in recent years, qualifying READ Nepal to receive the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Access to Learning Award” in 2006. READ Global later received a grant from the Gates Foundation to expand its sustainable and replicable model into Bhutan and India. In April 2013, READ Global received the $100,000 Lipman Family Prize, an annual global prize administered by the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania celebrating leadership and innovation among organizations creating positive social impact.
Today, READ has 67 READ Centers across three countries. READ Centers are designed to serve as a community hub for holistic social and economic activities. READ Centers run a variety of community based empowerment programs with a special emphasis on women and youth.
To develop this new partnership, an MWB Advisor from the 2013 MWB Summer Cohort will support READ for two months in Nepal, two months in India, and one month in Bhutan. In each country, the Advisor will research one to two country-level sustaining enterprises that READ Global has identified as worthy of further exploration. READ is poised for expansion across Asia and is looking to maximize the efficiency of the development of its READ Centers. Rather than launching a different business in every community, READ seeks to identify sustaining enterprises that can be replicated across multiple READ Centers.
Since community ownership and involvement in decision-making is critical to the success of the READ model, READ would like to develop a “menu” of 2-4 tested businesses that can be offered as options to future communities. This will help READ launch market-tested enterprises and maximize the efficiency of its creation, while allowing each community to maintain a sense of ownership over the sustaining enterprise. A menu of businesses will allow READ to reduce the amount of staff time spent launching each business while increasing the likelihood each business will succeed.
The MWB Advisor supporting READ will conduct feasibility studies to determine which enterprises are poised to successfully generate income to not only cover the costs of the Center but also support the funding of READ’s country office operating expenses. The country office is currently funded entirely through grants and donations. READ believes there is an opportunity to link country-level sustaining enterprises with center-level enterprises that can maximize efficiency across the entire network of READ Centers in each country.
According to READ Global’s Executive Director, the support from an MWB Advisor will provide an important foundation for future expansion.
“As READ continues to scale its work in south Asia, we are excited to leverage the talents of an experienced MBA to help create efficiencies in our model. This strategic project will ultimately allow READ to bring economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and community transformation to more rural villagers in Asia.”
MBAs Without Borders will be accepting applications for its summer cohort until Friday, June 7 at 11:59pm EST. To learn more about the assignment, and how to apply, please click here.
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