Saif Rashid (left) and his colleague at Jita, Meshba Ahmed, on our Jita community impact trip in 2012.
Our long-time partner and friend, Saif Rashid, has been recognized as a Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation, as part of a World Economic Forum initiative. I first met Saif when he was in the early stages of developing Jita, itself an award-winning rural distribution system, under the auspices of CARE Bangladesh. On our very first trip to view the system, Jim and I were tremendously impressed by Saif’s imagination, compassion, and dedication, especially to the women he was trying to help.
Making Jita work for the women has required many innovations, including this trolley, which helps them transport their bags over unpaved terrain.
Our research showed that the system was definitely good for the women who were employed by it, bringing them dignity as well as income, and on subsequent trips, we found that the impact on the community was likely positive, too. We are currently developing a grant proposal to work with CARE in evaluating Jita’s community impact.
We have continued to be impressed with Saif as we have worked with him and all the terrific people he has hired over the past six years. He is someone you can see right away will make a contribution to world change.
Previous winners of this award have included Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunnus.