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Inclusion Front and Centre: Strategies to Attract and Onboard Women and Disadvantaged Groups

UKaid सीप partnered with Upaya: CityCargo, a tech-based on-demand, intra-city logistics service provider, in January 2021 to accelerate expansion of a digitally-powered intervention for growth of e-commerce and logistics service for various sectors (like agriculture and manufacturing). With सीप’s support, Upaya is expanding its pool of digitally-literate workers and transforming self-employment pathways for drivers and farmers; the latter through a strategic alliance with Kheti, another tech innovation in Nepal that’s working to transform sustainable food systems. To mainstream inclusion into their core business model, with special emphasis on women and people with disabilities (PwDs), Upaya, with technical assistance from सीप, has developed an inclusion plan. Following are some of the key strategies and tactics adopted:

  1. Collaborative Shared-Value Partnership with NGOs have been forged e.g. with Women for Human Rights, Maiti Nepal, Pourakhi, AMKAS Nepal, Blue Diamond Society, and others who are actively working towards servicing trafficked women, women returnee migrants, marginalized and disadvantaged groups, PwDs, and people from the LGBTIQ+ community. Marking their foray into the PwD space for the first time, last month, Upaya forged an agreement with the Independent Living Centre in Pokhara.
  2. Four-to-eight-hours Flexi Jobs Options introduced for women who would otherwise not have space to pursue employment.
  3. Financial incentive-based referral campaign: NPR 500 is offered to both referrer and referee wherein recommendations to join Upaya leads to successful onboarding and conversion as driver/rider partners.
  4. Facilitating Access to Finance: Leveraging its industry network, Upaya can connect drivers to sources of finance for acquisition of two or four-wheeler vehicles. For this, Upaya has strategies ties with vehicle suppliers like Sipradi Trading and NIU electric two-wheeler fleets, and finance partner Kumari Bank.
  5. Use of GESI-intentional Outreach and Marketing campaign to challenge norms about suitability of work based on gender.
  6. Promote Safeguarding against Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment as part of their GESI implementation plan with a clear mandate on “Do No Harm Policy”. To beef up the safety and security of its driver and rider partners, a safeguarding/helpline button has been integrated in their app for emergencies. Along with the Upaya’s call center linkage, the helpline is also linked with traffic police number 100, ambulance number: 102 and Nepal Police’s number for driver/riders’ emergency need.
  7. Other GESI Sensitive Services such as menstrual leave provision for women.

Anisha Khadgi, 24, from Patan onboarded as new rider partner in September after skilling in digital literacy, payments and customer care. Anisha;s monthly income is at least NPR 30,000 (£183). Courtesy: Upaya