Poverty, Fear, and the Illegal Cruelty of Child Marriage

Almost half of the world’s child brides come from India. And almost half of the girls in India are married before they reach age 18.

The tradition of child marriage has deep and tenacious roots in the rural villages of India.

The world has changed dramatically since child marriage became part of the culture. Yet many of the provincial poor cling to the old ways. Continue reading

How Women Entrepreneurs are Changing India

Perhaps they run companies making homespun products such as crafts, crocheted clothing, or bridal creations.

They might do business in fields such as accounting, advertising, and software.

Maybe they’re founders of innovative start-ups like NextDrop or Samasource.

They could be CFOs and managers at multi-national corporations like PepsiCo and HSBC.

No matter what the size or focus of their endeavours, women entrepreneurs are changing the face of business in India.

Continue reading

Water and Work

Whether you are a fisherman, a farmer, or a factory worker, your livelihood depends on water.

If you make your living fishing, your harvest could be greatly diminished by water pollution. As a farmer, your crop yield might suffer from water scarcity. As a factory worker without access to good sanitation, you may contract diseases due poor water quality.

Each year, the United Nations observes World Water Day on the 22nd of March. This year’s World Water Day theme, “Water and Jobs,” explores how many jobs depend on having enough safe water. 2016’s World Water Day goal is, “Better Water, Better Jobs.”World Water Day Logo - 2016

Water quality and quantity directly affects workers in all fields. Unsanitary conditions and unsafe water lead to illness and absenteeism.

Water and work intersect in the management of water resources for agricultural and industrial use.

Some water management jobs are so crucial that they must be performed without fail—even without pay. Continue reading

Innovations in Sanitation: The Future of Sanitation

Innovations in sanitation can be something as complex as self-contained waste recycling technology, or something as simple as a reusable cloth sanitary napkin.

Many of the innovations discussed in this series on sanitation are already in use in India. Some of them are just in the pilot phase; others have become integrated into the daily lives of city dwellers and rural villagers. While many strides have been made, millions of Indians every day are still negatively impacted by poor sanitation. Continue reading

Innovations in Sanitation: The Challenge of Menstrual Waste Management

School Hygiene Day

LEAF Society: School Hygiene Day

Getting Past Taboos to Tackle Environmental Issues

Menstrual waste presents its own special challenges. And the first challenge is opening the dialogue in a country where menstruation is generally not openly discussed. Continue reading

The Business of Improving Lives: Social Business in India

If you could give to the poor, and at the same time remediate the causes of their poverty, would you do it? How might you go about this? What would it take to change their daily lives so that they move from poverty to a sustainable livelihood?

Social businesses, a hybrid of charities and commercial businesses, are a growing trend that may hold the key to reshaping developing communities around the world. Social businesses focus on creating opportunity Continue reading