“Excuse me, do you work with large clusters of marginalized low income populations?”
Some of us arrived a day early for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Sixth Annual Meeting. One reason to do that is to attend the CGI Exchange, a robust pre-meeting exhibition event where you can visit with more than eighty amazing NGOs (global nonprofits)!
When I overheard this question being asked of the CEO of an NGO at one booth, I turned to find out who was asking. He was Asher Hasan, M.D., MBA, Founder and CEO, Naya Jeevan (which means “new life” in urdu/hindi). Hasan told me that one of his objectives at CGI is to find partner organizations to serve large groups of low income families in developing countries. Hasan’s mission is to provide families with micro insurance at subsidized rates under a novel national group health insurance model, beginning in Pakistan (underwritten by Allianz-EFU, IGI Insurance, and AsiaCare). Further, he explained that “the lack of affordable access to quality hospitalization, healthcare, and social services is a major source of financial destitution and generational poverty in the emerging world.”
How does the model work? A person who hires a domestic employee pays for 75% of their housekeeper’s (for example) health insurance, the housekeeper’s employer (perhaps Unilever) pays 15%, and the housekeeper pays 10%. How does Naya Jeevan achieve scale? “The prototype,” explained Hasan, “is Unilever, which has 800 officers and managers in Pakistan. These 800 people have 16,000 lives affiliated with them in terms of domestic staff and their family members. Through Unilever, we can establish a centralized approach to reach vulnerable, marginalized families at a fraction of the cost.”
“This is a way to leverage organized distribution channels,” continued Hasan. Naya Jeevan not only works with corporations but also with universities, small businesses, schools, and NGOs, as well as people who are self-employed, employed part-time, and underemployed.
Naya Jeevan was launched only last July. Hasan is a TED Fellow and a Draper Richards Social Entrepreneur Fellow. Hasan says that his childhood experiences ultimately influenced him to shift his career from medicine and the biopharmaceutical industry, to his work in service to marginalized people in developing countries. Hasan grew up in England until the age of 11, when he moved to Pakistan. At that point, he saw serious disparities between rich and poor, and the consequences for vulnerable people who worked for his family. And although Hasan lived a fairly privileged life until the age of 12, he explains that the circumstances for him and his siblings changed drastically for the following few years. Ultimately, Hasan came to the U.S. for college, medical school and training, and an MBA. Hasan attributes his empathy to his personal experiences with death, illness, and deprivation, and his global perspective to his experience living in three countries.