The finer details
Through the assessment of the program challenges on low income of the families, underrepresentation of women in economic earnings and decision-making process, low yield crops, poultry, loans of higher interest were clearly visible. Lack of water availability throughout the year was one of the most critical issues and impacted not only livelihood opportunities but also led women and girls to spend a lot of time fetching water.
Stakeholder responses surfaced issues of women but also helped learn their aspiration for a better life for self and family. With these insights and assessing potential opportunities, a comprehensive program was developed to support Livelihoods and Women Empowerment with background support of water availability/accessibility through various water augmentation interventions.
The program focuses on the Economic and Social Empowerment of communities, specifically women from 9 tribal villages in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Field teams of Seva Mandir made efforts on consistent engagements of stakeholders to support the SHGs, village level collaborations and institutionalization of processes helping create ownership. A few women started their small entrepreneurship like opening a small kirana shop, or starting a tent business at a small scale in addition to enhancing floriculture & backyard poultry activities.
Due to water availability and better accessibility, there is a considerable reduction in drudgery and women are using this time for livelihoods as well as for other households or with the family. Success stories have inspired other women to come forward and join self-help groups.
During COVID-19 period, some women beneficiaries themselves came out and suggested multi cropping, which was helpful for in-house consumption as well as within the villages. The agility, courage which led them to take this decision was one of the important positive impact of the program and efforts.
Since program beneficiary women started earning and it was important to save and use money judicially, an assessment was done to understand the level of financial & digital awareness through focussed group discussions and interactions in self-help groups. Based on need, a program on Digital & Financial literacy program was designed, which enables the women to learn financial management, not get trapped in frauds and help them make informed financial and entrepreneurial choices and enable them a better future for their families and children confidently.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021, a Financial and Digital literacy program was launched in one of the villages. As a first step in the program, 100 Digital Smile Sakhis will be trained, who will further train women in self-help groups. This initiative aims to train 10,000 women in FY 2021-22 and 50,000 women in next 5 years from tribal, rural, urban areas & from less privileged backgrounds.
Seva Mandir is a non-profit organization, working in and around Udaipur, in Rajasthan. It works in the fields of education, health, empowerment of women and youth, village institutions and towards natural resource development. Colgate’s association with Seva Mandir has supported programs in various domains like education for children, water augmentation to support livelihoods and women empowerment program for less privileged communities in the Tribal & Rural villages of Udaipur, Rajasthan.