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India: Resourceful Women

“Resourceful Women” is a project implemented by SEVAI to promote the role of women and improve the local economy in Tamil Nadu. It combines a complete training program for women empowerment with the creation of sustainable economic activities via access to public microcredit.

Objectif France Inde (OFI) acts as the financial intermediary between the ALSTOM Foundation and SEVAI to fund the project. OFI acts as the coordinating organization to evaluate the project. OFI is responsible for the reporting and monitoring of the project in accordance with the terms and requirements set by the ALSTOM Foundation.

The project targets all marginalized women living below the poverty line in the selected intervention area. The majority of them has never been employed before or worked for the husband. The cluster coordinators of SEVAI rely on the reports of the Tamil Nadu government to identify these women who have the BPL status (Below Poverty Line). SEVAI organize a meeting in the selected clusters to introduce the Self-Help Group program.

Women are selected on a voluntary basis to ensure their willingness to mobilize in this project that requires time and personal investment. They form their own Self-Help Group and decide on the members who will be a part of it.

They follow vocational trainings of their choice to learn technical and management skills and drive an economic activity. Through the reinforcement of their capacities, women are empowered to act as ambassadors in their village and play their full role in society.

The project funded by Alstom allows the creation of 200 Self-Help Groups and will directly benefit to around 3,000 women. The following results are expected in order to reach the objectives of the program:

Enable women beneficiaries to start their own economic activity through the creation and financing of Self-Help Groups.

  • 90% of SHG have access to microcredit after one year.
  • 90% of SHG have started an income-generating activity after access to microcredit.
  • 84% of SHGs have stable incomes thanks an annual economic activity, as compared to seasonal before forming an SHG.
  • The income of women beneficiaries increases from 20% to 30% between 1 and 2 years after they have created their own economic activity.

Strengthen the capacity of women members of SHG with a comprehensive program of adapted specific training.

  • 100% of illiterate women attend the literacy program.
  • 90% of SHG members who have completed the literacy program have sufficient basic reading and writing skills to manage the group's activities after 1 year.
  • 100% of women have acquired new professional skills.
  • 95% of women have acquired financial management skills.
  • 80% of women have learned new agricultural techniques that improve the economic sustainability of their business.

Promote the involvement of women beneficiaries in the political, economic and social life of their communities.

  • 100% of women are more self-confident and feel that their economic and social status has changed.
  • At home, their decision-making position has significantly increased: they share decisions or make it on their own. Before the program, 100% of decisions are made by the husband only.
  • 2 years after the implementation of the project, 30% of women participate and represent themselves in their "Community Based Organization".
  • 95% of women exercise their right to vote against 68% before joining a SHG.
  • Significant changes in their health and food habits, and those of their families.
  • 84% of women train their community and family to new health and food habits. They contribute to the increase of the living standards of their community.
  • 100% of the children of SHG members

Outputs of the project 6 months after the beginning of the project:

Over the course of 6 months, the social workers from SEVAI conducted a substantial work to meet women from rural areas and present them the program. They started to create the Self-Helps Groups (SHG) taking care that all are created on a voluntary basis and by affinity. 204 Self-Helps Groups have been created and the animator and representative of each group have been elected. The general training on how to run a SHG as well as the training for the Animators and Representatives of each group have been completed for every group.

  • Creation of 204 SHG (out of 200 forecast on the whole year)
  • 204 groups attended the SHG training (out of 200 forecast on the whole year)
  • 408 members attended the Animators and Representatives training (out of 400 forecast on the whole year)
  • EDP (Economic Development Planning) training and skill straining started (175 members out of 200 forecast on the whole year for the EDP training)
  • 27 microcredits were given to the first SHG created on January (out of 25 forecast for the second report)

Overall outcomes of the project:

Women are starting to feel more self-confident. They are followed by SEVAI social workers and aware of the government schemes they can benefit from.