Janani: The Rocky Road from Charity to Social Enterprise

Published 18 Oct 2022
Reference 6769
Region Asia
Length 31 page(s)
Language English

Janani – an affiliate of the US-based NGO, DKT International – offers reproductive health products and services to low-income consumers from its base in Patna, Bihar. It has grown tremendously, expanding its coverage from 8 to 25 states — almost the whole of India. Donor funding is critical to Janani’s success, but donors are scaling back their funding as the economy flourishes and incomes increase. Two of its big three donors will expire in 2020. Despite its efforts to become a sustainable social enterprise, in 2019 40% of the annual budget is donor-dependent. The challenge for Janani is to become self-sustaining by embracing market opportunities while staying true to its mission: improving reproductive health among lower/lower-middle income consumers in India.

Teaching objectives

NGOs offering services to the poor in emerging economies struggle for funding as donor priorities shift to more needy geographies, even though a large part of the local population continues to depend on their services. In the face of dwindling donor support, they are obliged to transform to self-sustaining social enterprises. The Janani case showcases the challenges of this transition: figuring out where and how it can have the most impact and where should it focus. Issues include how to balance the segments it targets with the products and services it offers, how to cross-subsidize its offerings to the truly needy, and manage its relationship with partner organizations (particularly the government) to ensure a low-cost supply of contraceptives. Its future will depend on whether it can shift from an NGO mindset to a business mindset to manage operations more efficiently. The case can be taught in MBA courses on sustainability, modules on sustainability in general management courses, executive programs on sustainability, or programmes targeted at NGOs and the struggle to put them on a financially sustainable footing

  • NGO
  • Social Enterprise
  • Organizational Transformation
  • Social Marketing
  • India
  • Health Care
  • Family Planning
  • Reproductive Services
  • Social Innovation
  • Mindset Change
  • Managing Change
  • Contraception
  • Q42022