Meet Joseph Joute. He's one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Waislitz Global Citizen Award, which gives a total of $100,000 to three individuals who excel in their work to end extreme poverty. And he needs you to vote to make him one of the three winners! After Global Citizens around the world pick their three favorites, an expert panel of judges will rank them in first, second, and third place. Joseph could win up to $50,000 with your help! Vote here.
Name of Applicant: Joseph Joute
Organization: Tribal Enterprise - Bible Hill Youth Club
Title / Position: Managing Director
Issue Area(s): Girls & Women | Health | Finance & Innovation | Food & Hunger | Environment
Region of Work: India | Southeast Asia
Why Joseph Should Win This Award
I’m Joseph Joute, a Global Citizen. With new thinking and strategy, I create sustainable solutions to reduce extreme poverty and change lives among Hmar indigenous people. With Tribal Enterprise, I developed an innovative, eco-friendly, automatic handloom machine to produce market-based products modern women traditionally wear. Women who lived on less than $1.25 now generate a regular income between $5 and $7 a day producing products with innovative weaving and design.
We’ve transformed how women weave. Better, faster, improved designs impact their livelihoods, protect reproductive health, promote culture, generate revenues, and contribute to socio-economic development. By creating machines, skills, products, and new markets, our “community revolving fund” provides seed money to women and youth business groups, and accelerates financial returns with the incentive of our Challenge Prize. We’ve transformed the high-interest (20.5 percent) debt-incurring traditional microfinance and reduced extreme poverty with a sustainable solution.
I’m always looking for a ways to create alternative livelihoods for poor communities. More than 90 percent of them live on less than $1.25 a day, depending on unproductive slash-and-burn cultivation and back-strap weaving that produces only one product in two to three weeks. One day, I saw how a Manipuri woman using a handloom machine can produce three to four plain clothes in a day, but not the market-based designed products indigenous women needed. Mixing Indian and Eastern technology, I developed a machine to produce designed products that modern women traditionally wear. It can produce designs that cost $30-40 in four to five days, and four to five simple designs that cost $10-20 in one day. With 20 machines, I created 20 full-time and 40 part-time jobs, trained 1,920 women and youth, generated $60,000 from 2,000 products a year, and reduced extreme poverty by 30 percent.
My goal is to create a long-term, self-determined poverty-reduction strategy contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I embody the best capital in the world: human capital, values, skills, and the good social business practices to tackle poverty. I exemplify it by creating, doing, making changes, writing, and reporting the impacts myself. Taking local actions with global thinking, and taking concrete steps for concrete changes creates innovations and new strategies to tackle poverty. The first prize award money will enable me to replicate my innovation in other settings and triple the impacts.