This profile was prepared when Vijay Mahajan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Microcredit and microfinance have helped many enterprising poor people in economically dynamic areas escape poverty. However, for those in less hospitable regions facing a range of challenges far more daunting than the lack of access to capital, Vijay has found that a whole range of other business development services must be provided to create significant opportunities in poor rural regions. Vijay’s work is aimed at livelihood promotion, rather than microfinance (microfinance being only one tool he uses to reduce poverty and create economic opportunities for the poor). His organization, BASIX, assists a third of poor rural households directly using micro-loans and importantly, companion savings programs, insurance plans, and agricultural and business development services. The other beneficiaries are supported by over 100 citizen organizations (COs) or community based microfinance institutions to which BASIX provides assistance in funding, training, development, and operations.