The beneficiary reach of SKEPL is so efficient and the scale so staggering we found ourselves double and triple-checking our assumptions this week as we calculated the social return on investment. The fact is, with 3 million farmers, 100,000 cooperatives and a 1:350 ratio of milk collection machine to farmer, the SROI can’t be anything but astronomical. For every system installed, SKEPL saves farmers an hour per day in wait time, sells 8000 liters in sample milk that can be sold rather than thrown away and increases the annual bonus per farmer by up to 5%. Though our calculation factored in the increased bonus and sample milk savings, it did not quantify the time saved or the indirect impact on the farmers’ families. If you consider that the system saves 400,000 farmer hours per day and touches the lives of over 1.6M people, the $28 SROI is probably conservative.
As we attempt to digest this mind-boggling impact and potential for scale, we tend to focus on SKEPL and dairy farmers, skipping over the crucial intermediary. I believe the unsung heroes in this story are those running the dairy collection societies day to day, managing the books, purchasing SKEPL products and maintaining the machines, sometimes traveling hundreds of kilometers to do so, opening their doors every day from 6-8 in the morning and again from 6-8 in the evenings, always staying open until the last farmer has poured his or her milk.
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a number of society secretaries and chairmen over the last month. Though the details of the stories always vary - some are farmers, some scholars, some straight up businessmen - the same core theme threads through them all: innovation, commitment and a deep-seated satisfaction in their contribution to their communities.
Govindbhai and several other impact-makers, as I’m calling them, are featured in this short slide show. Enjoy!