"Marketplace Literacy: A Key to Unleashing Rural Consumption and Entrepreneurship" - Wall Street Journal - September 2009
Enabling Consumer and Entrepreneurial Literacy in Subsistence Marketplaces (Springer, 2008, in alliance with UNESCO)
The mission of this non-profit organization is to enable marketplace literacy among low-literate, low-income individuals through educational programs and through dissemination of educational materials to improve the practices of businesses, governments, not-for-profit organizations, and educators. Whereas microfinancing and vocational literacy have been emphasized in recent decades, our emphasis on generic consumer and entrepreneurial literacy supplements these very important efforts in the economic realm and addresses a central need.
In the US, the organization aims to disseminate educational materials to enable marketplace literacy among low-literate, low-income individuals. In a project with the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, interviews with teachers and clients of nutrition education and observations of their interactions were used to develop educational materials that are currently being assessed in the state of Illinois. Future plans include developing educational materials that enable marketplace literacy in adult education and developing e-educational approaches to enable consumer and entrepreneurial literacy among low-literate, low-income individuals.
In India, the organization aims to provide education to enable entrepreneurial and consumer literacy among low-literate, low-income buyers and sellers. Our work in India is administered through the SDV Educational Trust located in Chennai, India. We have developed an innovative consumer and entrepreneurial literacy educational program for individuals who cannot read or write. We use a variety of methods such as picture sorting and role play to teach individuals basic concepts for being informed consumers, and for starting a very small business. Education is provided in Chennai and nearby rural areas in Tamil Nadu, India. Educational programs are used to evaluate and modify the curriculum and educational materials. We have documented this program in a book published by Springer in an education series in alliance with UNESCO.
We are currently scaling this program through video-based means in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.