By Lovee Ramachandran and Subhanshi Ghorlej, Triggerise India
“Kunj!”, exclaimed a woman briskly walking towards an excited infant. Six-month old Kunj responded with a broad, toothless smile, and the woman in turn caressed him with a touch of motherly love.
Kunj’s mother Rashmi and her husband live in Jaipur, Rajasthan in India. When Rashmi was pregnant with Kunj, her first child, she was so scared that she couldn’t eat the diet her doctor had prescribed. But she knew she wanted her baby to be healthy. On a chilly morning in 2016. Rashmi received a knock on the door. Urrmila, who was doing her rounds as a “Tiko Pro” in Jaipur, visited a frightened Rashmi in her home to talk about maternal health.
As a Tiko Pro, Urmila is a member of a wide network of more than 1,200 communicators and her experience has allowed her to assuage the worries of many women in Jaipur. With a calm and assuring confidence, Urmila explained to Rashmi that it was important to keep a balanced diet and regular check-ups during pregnancy. She introduced Rashmi to the Tiko Saathi Card, through which she could access discounted services at a nearby private clinic. And with every use of the card, Rashmi can earn “frequent-flyer” style points to spend on commodities she may need during her pregnancy or after the baby is born.
With apprehension, Rashmi visited Dr. Shailja for her next antenatal check-up. After she learned the right steps for a healthy pregnancy, Rashmi continued to visit the clinic using the card and finally gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She is now a proud Tiko Mom, and continues to meet with Urmila as Kunj grows older, using the card to get discounted care for them both and earning further discounts on products that ensure Kunj stays a healthy baby.
Rashmi is one of more than 400,000 women who have been visited by Tiko Pros. An initiative of Triggerise and PSI India, Tiko Pro allows women like Urmila to become entrepreneurs while they promote healthy behaviors for Indian women. Tiko Pro gives each woman in its network an opportunity to gain financial independence while making a positive impact in her community. Every Tiko Pro can earn money by selling Tiko Saathi Cards and products, and by referring her friends to become Tiko Pros. The Tiko Saathi Card is a one-of-a-kind membership program; any woman who is seeking healthcare can access assistance for pregnancy, family planning or her own general wellbeing at a Tiko Clinic for discounted prices.
With financial and strategic support from the Dutch-funded project IGNITE, and from Maverick Collective founding member Martha Darling, Tiko Pro has evolved as a potentially sustainable model which triggers impactful behaviors through increased access to services and economic empowerment.
As a Tiko Pro, Urmila has learned about more than just women’s health; she’s learned how to run her own business. On average she earns about INR 25,600 (US$400) per month working as a Tiko Pro. And as a grandmother, she is a role model for her grandchildren, too.
Urmila is her own boss. “I do business my way.”