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Ending human trafficking through mass economic empowerment.

Through partnerships across the globe Nomi Network will provide economic opportunities through training and job placement using technology.

Photo of Maria Dora Blackburn
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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Explain your project idea in two sentences.

Nomi Network seeks to create mass economic opportunity for survivors and people at risk of human trafficking. Through global partnerships, we will provide training and job placement using technology.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

Nomi Network creates economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

The curriculum for this project has been developed and we are ready to roll out partnerships to expand our pilot.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

There are 46 million slaves today & human trafficking is a $150 billion industry. Poverty is a key driver of trafficking. Women living in extreme poverty are highly vulnerable to sexual & labor exploitation due to lack of sustained employment.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

We are planning to expand our pilot for this project within this year by identifying several key partnerships. We will deliver the curriculum to these partners through vigorous training by Nomi Network staff and monitor the results.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

We will work with a tech company to develop app and 360 video technology to help implement the training and curriculum. Nomi Network staff will oversee the initial training period until our partners are ready to fully adopt the curriculum.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Business Development/Partnerships

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Get feedback from experts

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

We measure results through monitoring our programs. We measure skills development & capacity building by: the # of women receiving training; skills enhancement of trainees (jobs secured, # of savings accounts opened, # of trainees sending children to school, growth of partner orgs); production (quality of work, production level, health benefits, quality of life); & sales & market access (type of products, price point, revenue, awareness & demand generated for products, distribution channels).

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

We have discovered potential partnerships for the project’s implementation.

Nomi Network's mission is to provide direct training, capacity building, and market access programs to survivors and women at risk of human trafficking living in Cambodia and India.

Our vision is a world without slavery and a better life for women. Specifically, we aim to train or help employ 100,000 women in the next seven years, while ensuring that over 400,000 children have the opportunity for a better life.

Explain your idea

There are 46 million slaves today, worse than any time in history. In India, generations are forced into prostitution, bonded labor, and producing some of the products we consume today. Poverty is one of the key drivers that perpetuate human trafficking. The emancipation process is extremely challenging for survivors and women at-risk because of a lack of income and viable job opportunities after being rescued and rehabilitated. It is critical they secure jobs or they will be re-trafficked and there are no scalable solutions currently for this population. Nomi Network’s (“Nomi”) vision is to leverage our curriculum and replicable model to reduce the human trafficking by 50%, creating millions of jobs for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking in the next 5 years while cutting off the generational cycle of slavery by enrolling their children into school. Currently, 100% of our trainees who pass our advance-training program have secured a job or started their own businesses. Since 2009 we have worked with rescue agencies, shelters and non-profits to provide training and job creation services to thousands of women. We have received hundreds of inquiries from non-profits and corporations around the world that want to work with Nomi to provide training and ethical job opportunities. Nomi’s program increases women’s employment potential, breaking the cycle of poverty and re-entrance into human trafficking. They secure careers in fashion manufacturing, start micro-enterprises, become change agents in their family, and support other vulnerable community members. Prior to our program, these women are illiterate and have major barriers to work. Our curriculum addresses caste barriers, lack of self-confidence, punctuality, trauma and other areas that prevent women from reintegrating into society. We provide math, reading, and technical skills for fashion manufacturing. Once trained, we witness transformation in themselves, the workplace and their families. The women send their daughters to school, instead of becoming child brides or working in brothels. Women become self-sufficient and save money. They even make friends with women who are from a different caste. We serve as a production resource to brands during their product development stage, where they work closely with us to develop a product their consumers demand. We will also start training factory workers in Cambodia, improving their soft skills and advanced technical skills critical to upward mobility and higher pay. We propose to expand our training program globally by partnering with NGOs and social enterprises to deliver our curriculum leveraging technology we have developed in partnership with local NGOs.

Who Benefits?

Nomi is dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. While little efforts have been made by governments to prevent and prosecute trafficking, for survivors, the emancipation process is challenging as they lack income and viable job opportunities; many end up re-trafficked. Despite laws against trafficking, women living in extreme poverty are highly vulnerable to sexual exploitation due to a lack of, and barriers to, ethical and sustained employment. Nomi’s programs are in trafficking hot spots like Bihar where 70% of the population live below the poverty line. Our vision is to reach other communities like Bihar by partnering with NGOs and social enterprises to deliver our curriculum. Nomi will implement criteria in which partner organization must comply by reaching our target people groups. This would include those at risk of human trafficking living below the poverty line, experiencing social inequality, gender-based violence, and/or discrimination, and survivors of human trafficking.

How is your idea unique?

Nomi is breaking the cycle of poverty that often leads to human trafficking through market driven training programs. We have already connected with game changers in big business who will commit to employing our target group. This will assist in elevating the CSR of companies and organizations that seek to employ difficult to serve populations. It is unique in that this will not only benefit Nomi, but also the NGOs and enterprises that will partner with us. With Nomi's training and curriculum, that will be available to the public, these populations will gain the skills and support they need for job security. Many of the barriers to employment will be addresses by our replicable training program. Nomi’s rural curriculum was developed in 2012 and was since revised to fit cultural and linguistic capabilities, with input directly from our target beneficiaries and focuses on life skills, workforce readiness, trust building, teamwork, leadership, motivation, and industry specific skills.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

Nomi Network is a nonprofit 501(c)3 that is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty that perpetuates human trafficking globally. Specifically, Nomi Network leverages the fashion industry to implement product design, development and marketing strategies for slave-free products. Nomi provides direct training to survivors and women at risk of human trafficking and also manufactures products with our signature label, "Buy Her Bag, Not Her Body ®" to raise awareness about this global humanitarian issue. Our headquarters is based in New York City and we have field offices in Bihar, India and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We are looking to partner with NGOs, social enterprises, and entrepreneurs to see our vision become a reality by expanding our programs reach. For more information go to www.nominetwork.org.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
View more

Attachments (3)

OpenIdeo.pdf

User Experience Map

Annual Report 2016.pdf

Our 2016 accomplishments and challenges.

Nomi Network Initiatives.pdf

How we provide market access stateside.

16 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Maria,

It is great to see how your project submission has progressed and how you have responded to expert feedback.

As the challenge is drawing to a close, are there any types of organisation operating in certain geographies and sectors that you would like to connect to for this project or future projects?

I am tagging Dipanwita Das here because she might have some thoughts on the training side of your proposal.

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Maria and Team! We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from our expert reviewers. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

Based on expert career, previous work and field experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the challenge question:
• Great proposal. My curiosity: beyond providing skills training, it is not clear how the project will link to potential employment opportunities (including formal businesses, or non-formal activities). How can the project results be achieved without this linkage?
• Training vulnerable women is a great action, even it is not really new! Training helps rebuild self- confidence, but on the long term, important to consider how it really impacts those women. It would be interesting to have more information about what happens AFTER the training: what is the follow-up strategy ? How does the project measure its impact?

Desirability and Viability of proposal:
• Definitely desirable, and could become more sustainable with stronger linkages to employment opportunities.
• The project could be more holistic to really break the cycle of poverty: are there health and psychological support, or any kind of microfinance activities? See BRAC holistic approach to end ultra-poverty : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za6-KyAg21Q How viable is the project, how does it depend of foreign donations? How could it be more self-sufficient financially?

Feasibility of proposal (is this an idea that could be brought to life?):
• Yes! however I am not sure that the project fits the challenge philosophy: would love to see articulated the link between the project and environmental or peace issues. Perhaps I am missing it.

Other questions or suggestions our experts felt would support the assessment or success of your idea:
• Great work, and a very important mission. Could they develop a more holistic approach? How do they relate the project with environmental and peace issues? What are the follow-up activities of the project: what happens when the training program is over? Do they gather women, try to forge a community among them? Does the women find a job thanks NOMI or by themselves?

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: http://ideo.to/DXld5g Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 16 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.
 
Have questions? Email us at bridgebuilder@ideo.com.
 
Looking forward to reading more!

Spam
Photo of Maria Dora Blackburn
Team

Thank you so much for the valuable feedback OpenIDEO ! We are happy to further clarify and answer your questions to better understand our proposal and approach. Please see the questions and answers below:

Based on expert career, previous work and field experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the challenge question:

• Great proposal. My curiosity: beyond providing skills training, it is not clear how the project will link to potential employment opportunities (including formal businesses, or non-formal activities). How can the project results be achieved without this linkage?
-We have built partnerships with large employers such as factories and hotels in Asia who are able to employ our program participants and future trainees. There will be several career paths within those sectors in addition to some women who will start their own businesses. Part of our curriculum will help trainees transition into these jobs and mentor them through the process.

• Training vulnerable women is a great action, even it is not really new! Training helps rebuild self- confidence, but on the long term, important to consider how it really impacts those women. It would be interesting to have more information about what happens AFTER the training: what is the follow-up strategy ? How does the project measure its impact?

-Through the mobile app, we will be able to track the progress of the women against our key individual indicators as well as how they interact with their community. The technology platform we development will be able to help us consolidate this data in real time.

Desirability and Viability of proposal:

• The project could be more holistic to really break the cycle of poverty: are there health and psychological support, or any kind of microfinance activities? See BRAC holistic approach to end ultra-poverty : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za6-KyAg21Q How viable is the project, how does it depend of foreign donations? How could it be more self-sufficient financially?

-We also have a micro-finance initiative in which women are starting businesses based on the market needs of their community. Our team help incubate and develop these business ideas and as a result women who start micro-businesses are able to employ other women and family members. We currently have 6 micro-businesses developed through the program. The program encourages them to work together and collectively give them guidelines on forming their own micro-finance fund.

Feasibility of proposal (is this an idea that could be brought to life?):

• Yes! however I am not sure that the project fits the challenge philosophy: would love to see articulated the link between the project and environmental or peace issues. Perhaps I am missing it.

-Our mission is to end human trafficking by addressing one of it’s root causes, poverty, through economic empowerment. The women we work with live on less than $1 a day, never had a job, have no agency, have major barriers to finding work, such as poverty, caste, and illiteracy, which makes them vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation. We seek to change the culture of gender-based discrimination and violence by teaching women their worth and value, and by empowering them through job readiness training. After completing our program they are able to have agency in their families, communities, earn income, send their children to school, and break the cycle of poverty.


Other questions or suggestions our experts felt would support the assessment or success of your idea:
• Great work, and a very important mission. Could they develop a more holistic approach? How do they relate the project with environmental and peace issues? What are the follow-up activities of the project: what happens when the training program is over? Do they gather women, try to forge a community among them? Does the women find a job thanks NOMI or by themselves?

-The women already form community during the program in the basic training and life skills phase. The program implements activities that promote self worth, team building, and addresses cultural barriers such as the caste system. Women begin sharing meals with others from different castes, they loan money to each other, and form a community watch group that identifies other women who would benefit from the program. Once they graduate from training they move into the mentorship phase as they transition into the workforce. They are placed either with our employment partner, start their own business or work locally in co-ops that Nomi helps form.

Spam
Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Maria

I love this idea, and just wanted to say thank you for contributing :)
I'm looking forward to keep an eye on this and see how it evolves!

Spam
Photo of Anne Evans
Team

You mention, "We will work with a tech company to develop app and 360 video technology to help implement the training and curriculum." Have you identified a way to use affordable, solar-powered broadband access so your curriculum can be distributed more broadly? Our solution works anywhere in the world. please see our submission: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder/improve/appalachia-empowerment-collaborative
Anne

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Maria,

I look forward to seeing your answers to the beneficiary feedback questions, beneficiary feedback, and user experience journey. If you have any questions at all, please tag me using ‘@‘ and ‘Kate Rushton’ or send me an email - krushton@ideo.com

Are there certain types of organisations or organisations working in specific geographies that you are keen to connect to?

Spam
Photo of Maria Dora Blackburn
Team

Hi Kate,

My name is Janay. I work with Maria and will be submitting the proposal while she is inflight to Cambodia. Can you help me figure out how to do this? Thank you! You can also email me at janay@nominetwork.org

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Maria,

It is great to see the updates to your submission and feel free to reach out to me at any time (my email - krushton@ideo.com).

How would Priya (in your user experience map) first find out about your program?

What feedback have you received on the use of training using apps and 360 video technology?

Would you be able to elaborate more on the type of ‘NGOs, social enterprises, and entrepreneurs’ you would like to partner with to expand your program? What specific types of organisations and in what geographies? I know you have connected by rubie 

I look forward to reading your responses to the questions from Melinda Kramer below.

Spam
Photo of Melinda Kramer
Team

This sounds like a very thoughtfully designed project! Are your trainings developed for a community/country/region once a partnership is entered into (with that region's specific needs in mind), or do your partners implement a standard training curriculum developed prior? Also, what are the standards you use to determine whether a particular brand or garment factory is a suitable placement site or partner? Keep up the great work!

Spam
Photo of Necoline
Team

Maria,
I'm so glad you are tackling this problem. It is so important in transforming economic opportunity for women in vulnerable demographics. Have you thought about including populations that are vulnerable to trafficking? I would love to chat more if you are interested.

Spam
Photo of rubie
Team

Dear Maria,

A highly interesting proposal! You mentioned that you are looking for partners to scale your impact. We, at Khaloom, are also providing an alternative job opportunity for workers in the textile industry. We upcycle post-production waste via semi-mechanized handloom practices. In this way, we empower workers in the textile sector (by training them with traditional handloom practices and providing 150% of the Indian minimum wage) and also saving textile waste of ending up in landfills. We are also looking for partners to set up our training centres and develop an supportive R&D to keep innovating weaving techniques.

Please see our IDEO page: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder/ideas/khaloom#comments-section

Let us know if you are interested in setting up a call!

Thanks,
Rubie

Spam
Photo of Maria Dora Blackburn
Team

Hi Rubie,

I looked through your page and I would definitely be interested in setting up a call to learn more. We are always looking for partners especially in training and sourcing. What area of India are you based? Please feel free to message me!

Looking forward to connecting.

Best,

Maria

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Maria!

Thank you for telling us about Nomi. Is there a specific project you are seeking funding for or is it for the general work of the organization?

Spam
Photo of Maria Dora Blackburn
Team

Hi Kate,

We are seeking funding to develop a web based technology to distribute our curriculum and assist with training partner organizations. Overall this will expand our reach and impact.

I'm happy to answer any other questions you have!

Spam
Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Maria, thanks for contributing!

It sounds like you are already doing some amazing work, can you share a little more information about your plans for the next 1-2 years?

Excited to learn more!

Spam
Photo of Maria Dora Blackburn
Team

Hi Ashley!

Thanks for checking us out! I'm happy to talk more with you about the details of our plans. Feel free to email me at mariadora@nominetwork.org if you'd like to set up a call.

Best,
Maria