as one of Upaya’s core values, we are committed to sharing our successes, challenges, and failures with our partners, donors and industry peers equally. It is in that spirit that we would like to provide an update on a pair of changes that have recently taken place with
- In January Samridhi management chose to move the location of its first Bulk Milk Chilling (BMC) facility before the second was brought online. The company needed to better space the collection centers to reach the largest number of dairy farming families. As a result, 46 of the original Samridhi employees - including several women who had been profiled on our website - are no longer within the zone of service and have been transitioned out of their roles. However, the company was careful not to leave them in a precarious situation. Samridhi management took steps to accelerate the livestock ownership transfer to the individual employees and a large majority now own the cows and goats that had been in their care.
This was a very difficult decision for both Samridhi and Upaya, however, we hope to re-incorporate these villages into the Samridhi supply chain as the company continues to expand.
- Unrelated, Samridhi Co-Founder and CEO Lokesh Singh has transitioned out of his day-to-day management role with the company and has been replaced as CEO by his Co-Founder Niraj Pareek. Biswanath Swain, who has been with the company since its inception, has filled the COO role. The Upaya team has been part of this transition planning and is working closely with both Niraj and Biswanath to ensure that the company’s operations continue to follow its plan for growth.
What does all this mean for Upaya? We have always known that startup enterprises face a unique set of challenges and that, because of their size, the changes they experience can feel quite dramatic. As such, we intentionally designed our LiftUP Project to be patient with investments and work alongside partners so they can have the confidence to make adjustments as issues arise. Both Sriram and Sachi were in Lucknow with the Samridhi team in mid-January and we continue to be optimistic that the company will be able to navigate through this period of change. In fact, during our visit we were happy to find that Samridhi was reaching the same percentage of ultra poor families as before and the company was enthusiastically embraced in the communities where it is operating.
From the beginning of our partnership, we have had full faith in the Samridhi model to create jobs and improve livelihoods. Despite these recent changes, this belief has not wavered. We thank you for your continued support and please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Upaya team directly if you have any questions.