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Rumee Singh: Helping Protect and Support Local Nepali Farmers

Rumee Singh: Helping Protect and Support Local Nepali Farmers

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Rumee Singh, the CEO of Rumsan/Rahat. Let’s learn what’s happening at Rumsan/Rahat and how Rumee is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Rumee! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Rumsan/Rahat?

Rumee: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! In recent years, the weather has gotten a bit wild and surprising. It might become really, really hot when it's supposed to be cold, or it might rain a lot more than usual. Now, for people, especially those who need more help and who grow food, like farmers, tricky weather patterns can make it really hard. That means they cannot grow the food they need, cannot get to sell them and earn a living. Farmers need help to protect themselves and also to get through tough times caused by the strange weather. They can buy protection plans to help get money when needed, but these plans can be super expensive and super slow.   

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Rumee: I was born and raised in Nepal, and it's always been in my heart to help my community. I moved to the United States for my graduate studies and lived there for 13 years. When I moved back to Nepal, I was struck by the many challenges we face herefrom health care and bad roads to the impact of climate change with floods and earthquakes. I also see many smart and young Nepali moving to other countries for new opportunities and wanted to see how I could be part of creating more jobs and keeping them closer to their homes and families. I am an engineer and also have a journalism degree, so I thought I could use the power of technology and good communication to make a differenceeven if it means making a difference in one person’s life. 

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Rumee: We built “Rahat" to get help early for families in need. It uses the power of phones and a super-smart technology called “blockchain” to help families in need to bounce back from the problems caused by the change in climate. It works like a weather detectiveit keeps track of when something bad, like a flood, might happen. It uses “smart contracts,” which work as super reliable rules. For example, if it rains a lot, say 50 inches in just four days, Rahat knows it's time to take action. It quickly sends a voice message to the farmer and sends them money from supporters or from their protection plan before big problems start. Even farmers who don't use a bank can get their money using their phone. It's like having a digital bank in your pocket. 

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Rumee: Recently, we teamed up with the Danish Red Cross in Nepal for “anticipatory efforts.” We're helping 5,000 families get ready before big problems, like floods, hit. It will give them a heads-up about flood timings and some money to act early. This way, they can protect themselves and bounce back quickly if floods happen. It's all about being prepared and staying one step ahead.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Rumee: Rahat supports families in need with better access to support and money in times of crisis. We focus on financial inclusion, building resilience to protect our wealth and also building transparency so people who need the most help get it. We have supported families with young children, people with disabilities, and pregnant women receive support in Nepal. Earlier this year, we also supported women in Pakistan. We also work with local communities to support women and people in need with classes on how to use the internet and phone and how they can manage their money. This gives them the ability to learn about how they can use new technology to their advantage.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Rumee—it’s been an honor!

Rumee is the co-founder and CEO of Rumsan, a UNICEF Innovation Fund portfolio startup. She spearheads Rahat, a blockchain-based financial access platform to support the most vulnerable against the impact of climate shocks.The solution is also a GSMA Innovation Fund grantee. A 2023 MIT Solver, Rumee's commitment extends to building climate and financial resilience, particularly for small-holder farmers through parametric insurance. She has over 18 years of experience in leading production teams in the U.S., Nepal, and Dubai. In 2021, Nepal’s National Daily featured her as one of ten women making a difference with technology in Nepal. Her team recently won the Crescent Enterprises Climate Innovation Prize at COP28. (First published on the Ladderworks website on February 14, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Daniela Vega. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.