Himjoli, which means Friend in the Land of Snow, is a social venture company that has been working in the state of Uttarakhand since 2009. Today, Himjoli has 18 partners comprising NGOs, self-help and producer groups across the regions of Kumaon and Garhwal.
Himjoli’s mission is to help increase livelihood opportunities in villages by creating markets for local produce and craft.
Thousands of rural farmers, artisans and women’s groups are involved in this enterprise that aims to transform lives through trade, not aid. The last five years has seen earnings of the communities we work with grow two and a half times.
Himjoli’s sales proceeds are invested back into the communities and producer groups in order to realize the objective of not only creating sustainable jobs but also adding product value, thus helping to improve standards of living. A recent research study had shown increased confidence levels and ability to interact with outsiders amongst the communities associated with Himjoli. Most importantly, the research showed that partners are using the additional income to invest in community projects, largely in the areas of education and healthcare.
Our Product Range includes
- Fresh, natural and organic food range
- Natural and organic cosmetics
- Hand wovens and hand knits
- Craft and handicraft items
Who are We?
Our partners include NGOs and self-help groups including Aarohi, Devbhumi natural products producers company, SOS Organics, Taana Baana, Purkul Stree Shakti, Gauri International and Kumauni Art & Aepan Sanstha. These not-for-profits work across several areas in their regions – education, healthcare, sustainable livelihoods, natural resource management, alternative renewable energy, social forestry and women’s development.
The governing body of Himjoli consists of a board and a quasi board. While the board is an advisory board and meets on strategy, the quasi board consists of the NGOs, producer groups and partners that Himjoli is associated with. These are the backbone and the real stakeholders of Himjoli.
The central marketing arm is made of full-time sales and marketing professionals as well as volunteers who contribute to the vision of Himjoli by offering their skills and time.
To help increase livelihood opportunities in the villages by creating markets for local produce and craft.
- Fair trade not Aid.
- Find steady new markets. Aggregate. Multiple routes. Multiple buyers.
- Do not replicate. Partner with existing resources & people.
- Capacity building key. Community owned & managed.
- Himalayas have diversity. So should the organization.
- Profits, if any, to be shared between NGO’s and producer groups.
- Measuring Impact – if you can’t measure it, don’t do it.
Improve Employment: A 100% increase in capacity of self-help groups by the end of Year 5
Improve Remuneration: A 150% increase in annual remuneration of each stakeholder by the end of Year 5
Baseline: 5,876 people involved currently @ average annual remuneration of Rs. 1,000-2,000/- per person
End of Year 5: 16,000 people will be involved @ average annual remuneration of Rs. 4,000/- per person.
Impact Assessment 2016
- The average annual earnings per beneficiary has gone up from Rs. 2,247 to Rs. 5,478 in the last 7 years – about 2.5x growth against targeted 2x
- Tailors, weavers, knitters, artisans, i.e. skilled people have benefited most, both in terms of growth of numbers and incomes
- Farmers and beekeepers have benefited the least but are the largest group in terms of numbers
- Himjoli has ensured its share of overall partner sales is 30%; many partners have alternative sales channels to reduce dependence on one buyer
- 5 Himjoli partners (out of 18) account for 87% of sales
- Himjoli currently has 3 major sales channels – 10 Himjoli stores, 10 counters at resorts and corporate Diwali gifting.
The Way Forward
The next five years will see Himjoli focusing on adding further value both to the products and people it works with through product development and training.
Capacities will be built within the community to ensure increased community management, and new sales channels and non-traditional channels outside Uttarakhand will be explored.