The Bindi Project

Training low-income women as community concierges

The Bindi Project is a sustainable train-the-trainee program that provides women in low-income neighborhoods with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to become leaders and catalysts for change with and in their communities.

The project is a collaboration between Design for America of New York University, a student club focused on using human-centered design to tackle social issues, and Women for Human Rights (WHR), an NGO based in Nepal that aims to empower single women economically, politically, socially, and culturally.

Together, the two organizations set out to connect women in urban slums with trusted sources—they call them community concierges—of reliable information and needed resources. The idea is to empower women through education and access to information on health, administrative tasks, and more. The Bindi Project will create a path for women in low income-neighborhoods of Nepal to take on new leadership roles within their communities and become point-persons for information sharing.

In 2015, Amplify designers conducted a prototyping workshop in New York with the Design for America team, who incorporated those learnings into two weeks of live prototyping with WHR Nepal and other community organizations in the slum of Tripureshwar. Their prototypes, which they deployed in early 2016, included various forms of sexual and reproductive health workshops led by women, a video pen-pal system, and livelihood-generating activities. They found that women in Tripureshwar were excited to learn more and share what they knew with their communities.  

WHR has held two trainings for female community concierges and continues to pilot the program and monitor their effectiveness.

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