THE RAVINDRA B. RAMRATTAN EASST FUND
Please donate to this Fund and help alleviate poverty in Africa. This Initiative is aimed at supporting other young scholars to contribute to poverty alleviation in Africa and other underdeveloped economies with the ultimate hope of making this world a better place.
This Fund was established in memory of Ravindra Brent Ramrattan, a national of Trinidad and Tobago, who dedicated his career to poverty alleviation in Africa. However, on September 21, 2013 Ravindra (Ravi) was tragically killed in the terrorist attacks at Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya, at age 30.
At the time of his tragic death, Ravi was enrolled at Tillburg University in the Netherlands as a Ph.D student in Development Economics and was a Research Economist and Head of Branchless Banking at Financial Sector Deepening Trust, Kenya, (FSD). FSD is an affiliate of UKAID and a recipient of funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In spite of his very short career, Ravi achieved immense success in contributing to development economics and poverty alleviation not only in Kenya but also in the Africa Region having contributed to/or co-authored various academic studies.
He co-authored a major study titled “Payment Instruments, Finance and Development” together with Thorsten Beck (University of London) Haki Pamuk (Wageningen University) and Burak R. Uras (Tillburg University) and this is being published in the July 2018 edition of “Journal of Development Economics”. Ravi was credited by his co-authors with initiating this study. Details of this study can be found on the sciencedirect website.
At FSD, he introduced new research methodologies in development economics with the “FINACCESS SURVEY 2013” which is designed to provide better access to financial services to those living below the poverty line. Upon completion by his associates and colleagues, the survey was dedicated to his memory. Another academic study “The FINACCESS BUSINESS-SUPPLY, BANK FINANCING OF SMES IN KENYA, SEPTEMBER 2015” has also been dedicated to Ravi having benefitted from his “invaluable insights, dedication, and professionalism, as well as the engaging warmth of his personality.”
Prior to FSD, Ravi worked as a Project Associate with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), an affiliate of USAID, at the Mumias Sugar Company. He co-authored his first academic study, “Harnessing ICT to Increase Agricultural Production, Evidence from Kenya", with Lorenzo Casaburi (Stanford University) and Michael Kremer (Harvard University) and Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard University).
It has been reported that the academic studies completed at FSD and IPA were translated into national policies and consequently were very successful in achieving its goal of poverty alleviation in their respective areas.
Ravi also worked briefly with the Grameen Foundation in Uganda and the World Bank in Tanzania as a Consultant.
In 2002, he was awarded his country’s highest honour for Higher Secondary Education, the President’s Gold Medal, following his graduation from Presentation College, Chaguanas. In 2003, he moved to the United Kingdom where he graduated from Cambridge University, Oxford University and London School of Economics. In 2010, he settled in Africa for he believed that his knowledge and skills as a Mathematician and Economist were most needed to assist in poverty alleviation in this Region. It was his heartfelt view that everyone, regardless of their background, should have equal opportunities to live comfortably.
Ravi was noted to be incredibly generous, humble, fearless and intelligent. It is said that he greatly improved the lives of everyone who had the fortune of knowing him throughout his life. You can read more about his life and work on this blog-post , his last employer's website and this Tumblr page (Tumblr password: lionofmumias).
In view of the impact he had on others and his contributions to poverty alleviation in Africa and other underdeveloped economies, his associates, colleagues and dear friends in Africa and elsewhere set up the Ravindra B. Ramrattan Fund on www.gofundme.com. Through this fund they would like to raise funds that can be used by his family to support others who are willing to continue the type of work he dedicated his life and abilities to, poverty alleviation. They truly believe that this Initiative will do some justice to the kind of life that Ravi chose to live.
NO.1-Berkeley College, University of California
On September 21, 2015, an agreement was made with the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) and the East Africa Social Science Translation Collaborative through Berkeley College, University of California, to provide young East African scholars with ‘an opportunity to attend its annual summit and establish relationships with fellows, affiliates, and partners through the Ravindra Ramrattan Fund”. As a result of this Initiative, the Fund has been retitled "The Ravindra B. Ramrattan EASST Fund".
For CEGA, this Initiative is a way "to honor Ravi by ensuring that individuals much like those whose lives he sought to improve are given an opportunity for growth".
NO.2-Candidates Sponsored in 2017
In July 2017, Kahsay Berhane of Ethiopia and Muthoni Ng’ang’a of Kenya were the first candidates to be sponsored by the Ravindra B. Ramrattan EASST Fund to attend the Annual Evidence Summit held in Addis Ababa.
It is expected that when the new research methodologies and knowledge acquired by these two participants are translated into national policy, these scholars would have also contributed to poverty alleviation in Africa.
Following are excerpts from the correspondences of the two candidates:
A. Kahsay Berhane:
"My name is Kahsay Berhane, a young PhD candidate and Lecturer in Economics in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. May and Chelsea gave me a brief explanation about the Ravi Foundation and I read the book on Ravindra between lines. I can see in this world there are two types of people. The first one are evil individuals’ working day and night to kill innocent and peaceful people and the other are generous individuals like Ravi and his family who are dedicated to helping and supporting all people without any criteria. I thank you so much for sponsoring me to attend the Annual Evidence Summit held in Addis Ababa last month by Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at UC Berkeley. I was honored and grateful for the opportunities given to me to participate in and achieve new knowledge and a new research dimension to my career……."
B. Muthoni Ng’ang’a:
"My name is Muthoni Ng'ang'a from Kenya. I would like to pass my sincere gratitude to you for your generosity that gave me an opportunity to attend the CEGA evidence summit in Addis Ababa this year. I come from the country where Ravi met his death during the very unfortunate attack at the Westgate mall. It was indeed a painful ordeal and we pray that such would never happen again. In the midst of this pain, you took the opportunity to continue with Ravi's dream to inspire more scholars in the field of Development Economics. I am indeed touched by your kind thoughts and contribution."
Following is also an excerpt on this Initiative as published in the Berkeley College website here .
"Special thank you also to Rajiv and Parbatee Ramrattan, who generously donated funding for East African Researchers in honour of their brother/son Ravi Ramrattan, who was dedicated to research on poverty and economics in East Africa and who tragically passed away in the Westgate attack of 2013.
NO. 3-Memorial Book
FSD Kenya also honoured Ravi’s memory by compiling a memorial book titled “In Loving Memory of RAVINDRA RAMRATTAN, A TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE".It comprises various tributes and memories from his associates, colleagues and friends as well as information about his life in Kenya and his contribution to poverty alleviation.
The sale of this book has since been seen as an opportunity to raise funds to sustain the Fund since the proceeds are being donated to the Fund. It is also hoped that this book, once purchased, can serve as a source of inspiration for others to understand that sometimes life can take us onto the road less travelled because it is where we are most needed for the benefit of humanity. Details of this venture can be found on Facebook .
In Trinidad and Tobago, this book is available at all branches of RIK SERVICES LTD, TRINIDAD BOOKWORLD. For those living out of Trinidad please contact Ravi’s family via Facebook for details on how to purchase your copy.
This year we are looking forward to sponsoring another 2 scholars with your participation and gracious donations. So, if you are already in possession of a book or do not wish to purchase one but wish to assist in poverty alleviation in Africa and other underdeveloped economies, donations can be made directly to the Ravindra B. Ramrattan EASST Fund through the gofundme website .
It will also be very helpful if you can publicise this Initiative by sharing and liking this page on your various social media networks such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc.
Thank you very much.
- Shakti Lamba
- Sophie Zhou
- Rajiv Ramrattan
- Eric Kouskalis
London, Greater London, United Kingdom