Unnati Global Forum

Unnati Fellowship

    Unnati Global Forum

    Unnati Global Forum was hailed as the first of its kind platform to bring grassroots women leaders and key stakeholders together for initiating collaborative action.

    The Unnati Forum’s theme, ‘Women Lead Change’ celebrated the spirit of women’s leadership from India and several developing countries across Asia, Africa, and the Americas and their journey from margins to mainstream.

    Breaking myths around grassroots women leadership and their ability to take charge, the Forum strongly emphasized on women’s groups as the preferred partners for creating lasting change and it was the first time that the Unnati Fellowship was awarded to Women Changemakers.

    Through lively panels led by expert speakers and grassroots women leaders, the one-day event acknowledged the urgent need for more platforms like the Unnati Forum, which offered policy-makers and corporates, a glimpse into deep insights and lessons from the grassroots.

Unnati is designed to

Connect potential stakeholders and encourage them to strategize for empowering women, reducing poverty, and transforming the quality of rural life.

Energize the ecosystem of public and private organizations to be responsive towardswomen networks by providing access to financial and technological resources.

Bridge the gap between corporates and women networks by enabling a detailed dialogue between them to enhance last mile access.

Sustain the support for women’s empowerment to establish long-term investment strategies in rural development.

Summary of Panel Discussions

Women Changemakers Leading Inclusive Development


  • Ambassador Ulrika Sundberg, Consul General of Sweden
  • Neera Nundy, Co-founder, Dasra
  • Chetna Sinha, Founder-Chairperson, Maan Deshi Bank and Maan Deshi Foundation
  • Violet Shivutse, Chair, Huairou Commision, U.S.A.
  • Rashmi Bansal, Best-selling Author & Inspirational Speaker

How do we work with women leaders? How do we scale women’s leadership? Moderated by Payal Randhawa, this was a highly productive and participative session, which examined the present development landscape and how it supports women leaders who want to bring change in their communities.

Engaging Women Farmers to Combat Climate Change


  • Maite Rodriguez, Founder, Fundacion Guatemala
  • Akhilesh Yadav, Regional Manager, ITC Limited
  • Dr. Rajul Pant, Sociologist, PoCRA, Govt of Maharashtra
  • Vijayalakshmi Das, CEO, Friends of Women’s World Banking
  • Sarbjit Singh Sahota, UNICEF India
  • Archana Bhosale, Farmer and Women Leader, SSP Network

With global temperatures rising by 1OC, climate change and its reversal are questions of utmost relevance. This drastic change in the climate has affected agriculture on a global scale. SSP’sagriculture models have been proven to address this challenge, with women at the forefront of agriculture. Moderator Sanjay Vashisht channelled the discussion towards the policies and strategies in place to get women recognized as farmers and empower them as leaders of climate change.

Next Generation of Job Creators: Women Entrepreneurs at the Last Mile


  • Simon Kiragu, Partnerships Manager, wPOWER Hub
  • G.S. Sunderraman, Executive VP, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.
  • Prachi Maheshwari, Associate Vice President, Intellecap
  • Pradeep Lokhande, Founder, Rural Relations
  • Sumitra Shiral, Entrepreneur and Mentor, SSP Network

Entrepreneurship acts as a catalyst in the development of a nation. But in India, how much are women contributing to this field? Women have the will but do they have enough accessibility to training, and financial and technical support? How do we bridge the gap between corporates and women networks? How do we establish a structured dialogue between them to co-create relevant and affordable products and services?

Forging Public-Private Women-Led Partnerships


  • Megan Sullivan, Head of Partnerships, The Womanity Foundation
  • Aafreen Siddiqui, State Focal Point, Maharashtra, UNDP
  • Shivani Kumar, Gender and Strategic Consultant, CII Foundation
  • Unnikrishnan T.S., Project Head, Great Eastern CSR Foundation
  • Kamal Kumbhar, Entrepreneur and Mentor, SSP Network
  • Ramnath Subramaniam, CEO, Maharashtra Village Social
  • Transformation Foundation, Govt of Maharashtra

This session picked up from the last one, with the discussion surrounding the need to redefine the role of stakeholders like the government and corporates to engage with women entrepreneurs as network partners and not as beneficiaries. Moderated by Manisha Gupta, the panelists discussed the action required to attain this specific goal.

To know more about Unnati Global Forum, download our book, A Look Back at Unnati Global Forum 2018