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The Army Behind Robin Hood with Aarushi Batra

Listen to Divya dialogue with Aarushi Batra, Co-Founder, Robin Hood Army about how the company is feeding over 30 million people. Robin Hood Army is a non-profit and a volunteer organisation that takes excess food from weddings, events and restaurants and distributes it to the underprivileged. They also host food reliefs regularly. 

“When all the 60,000 Robins come together on a Sunday to do a food drive. You forget all your differences.”

What is the business model of Robin Hood Army (RHA)?

Zero-Funds Organisation

RHA is a volunteer and a zero-funds organisation. Aarushi states, “When someone realises that all we require from them is their time and no money, it increases their trust.” RHA accepts the payments in kind in the form of notebooks, food and stationery. Removing money out of the equation helps the organisation run more efficiently. 

Decentralised Model

It runs on a decentralised model where it aims to empower a team of volunteers in every city to execute the practices of RHA. The team then takes care of their day to day operations, i.e., which restaurants to tie up with and which locations to distribute the food at.

FYI With DR: The Robin Hood Army model is a case study at the Harvard Business School. 

How has COVID affected the working of RHA?

Volunteers aka Robins

The volunteers are called Robins. At the moment RHA has a family of about 60,000 Robins, and they operate pan India. Due to COVID, the recruitment of Robins is slow.

From Contact to Contactless

The work at RHA always involved contact. Arushi shares, “Our modus operandi always included more than just delivering food. It meant chilling with the children, giving them high fives, spending time with the community.”

Re-Innovating During COVID-19

Many of the volunteers are not able to go on the ground to deliver food to the underprivileged. Therefore, they are helping by generating leads of places where the food can be gathered or helping with online campaigns. 

How does RHA manage their day to day functions?

Aarushi shares, “Back in 2014 when RHA had their first food drive in Delhi, we understood the need to have them throughout India. Eventually, we have now scaled to 182 cities.

Word of Mouth

The founders originally started getting in touch by networking and spreading the message. They targeted metropolitans like Delhi and Mumbai and even reached out to people in Karachi, Pakistan

Mobile Conversations

All communications happen over the phone. The coordination between the cities happens over WhatsApp. Groups like RHA Delhi and RHA Mumbai started getting made, and Robins started communicating more. 

Social Media

Facebook groups, Instagram messages and LinkedIn. Potential volunteers reach out to the organisation through all social mediums

What is the 30M Mission?

RHA would do a food drive every Sunday in one of the cities. Every year on 14th and 15th of August, RHA would do a large drive amidst India and Pakistan. Mission 30M aims to feed 30 million citizens across the ten countries RHA is a part of. Arushi states, “Due to the pandemic, millions of people have lost their livelihoods, and the mission aims to feed them.” 

FYI With DR: RHA has executed Mission 5 where they served over 5 million people across rural India.

How are Robins re-inventing during COVID? 

All deliveries are now contact-less. The community is going out of its way to achieving the 30M Mission. Volunteers are still signing up online. As a result, they then scout for locations and tie-up with local restaurants to get excess food, and then distribute across their localities. 

Did you like this podcast? Listen to Divya dialogue with Prateep Sen, Founder, Tribeca Care on the Indian healthcare system and its innovation during COVID-19 here.

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