CARE piloted the Rural Sales Program (RSP) in 2004 by addressing the problem of highly informal rural marketing and distribution system of Bangladesh which deprives poor’s access to many important products, information and income generating opportunities. The project started with 25 poor women selling BATA shoe door to door in the northern region of Bangladesh.
Soon it became clear that RSP had tapped into a massive market and there was a bright, prosperous future ahead. So RSP management started expanding its operation in other areas of the country with revolutionary idea of creating ‘product basket’ for sales ladies gradually having products from different companies like Square, Grameen Phone, Lalteer Seeds and Grameen Danone Foods Ltd. As a consequence RSP ladies ‘Aparajitas’ got wider range of product to sell in the communities thus started attaining sustainability in their door to door business.
By the increasing success of the project, RSP management could envision a future model that not only could sustainably improve the livelihood of sales women but also create significant impact towards BoP consumer living as well as the win-win situation with rural market seeking private companies. due to the sustainability of the model. CARE management became highly interested in finding a way to make it up a separate business entity. As the model was well recognized both among developers and private sectors, it didn’t take long to attain a valuable investment, came in the form of Danone Communities who partnered with Care International to make RSP into a separate Social Business.
Today JITA aims to reach a far more sustainable and successful position in the social business arena which would never have been possible by working as a donor dependent project.