The proposed project titled “Empowering Women to become Self-reliant” aims to improve the economic and health condition of women in selected intervention villages of Basti district through SHG formation and capacity building/skill development training programs. The project envisages providing a sustainable source of income to the beneficiaries by establishing production centres and improving their health parameters through nutritional awareness.
To improve economic and health conditions of women beneficiaries
- To form 100 women Self Help Groups in villages of district and improve their saving habits through capacity building programs.
- To improve the health parameters of the SHG members and generate livelihood opportunities for the beneficiaries by promoting group entrepreneurship in the target areas.
- To sustain the income generating activities in the areas through establishment of production units and their market linkages.
The project shall be implemented in 50 selected villages of XXXXXXX District.
The project is proposed for duration of 36 months.
- 100 identifiable SHG groups formed in 50-gram panchayat of XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXXX, blocks of District XXXXXX. The members of the groups have inculcated the saving habit within them and have established a culture of self-help.
- Improvement in the health parameters, professional, technical and social skills of 1000 women beneficiaries of the SHG groups.
- 400 women beneficiaries empowered through skill development training programs in food processing and packaged drinking water to become rural entrepreneurs.
Approach and Methodology
The project envisages to empower women to become self-reliant through formation of SHGs and inculcating saving habits in them. The project will be implemented with the full cooperation of the women beneficiaries from the villages and village leaders. It shall strive on their participation at every level and at every stage of the program.
The project shall progress by improving the health of the SHG members through nutritional awareness and health check-up camps. The project has two basic components; first, capacity building training programs in the identified traits (packaged drinking water and food processing), and establishment of manufacturing facilities. The income generation skill development training programs will include entrepreneurship trainings and enterprise specific training after a business plan is developed. Backward and forward linkages shall be established for providing a sustainable source of income to the SHG members.
At the onset, a baseline survey would be conducted in all the four blocks to study the socio-economic conditions of women in the areas. This survey shall also focus on availability of local resources and demand for skill development training programs in the areas of intervention. Primary research using questionnaires/ schedules will be conducted. Government officials, village leaders, private players etc. shall be contacted to prepare a detailed report on the status of the blocks.
Identification and Formation of SHGs:
This is the most important activity, since the progress of the project depends on the women selected to compose SHG groups. Out of a total of 201-gram panchayats in the four blocks, 50 village panchayats would be selected based on organisation’s past intervention and expected project outcomes. 100 SHG groups, two each in every panchayat shall be formed constituting 10 members in each group. A total of 1000 beneficiaries would target during the project tenure.
The co-coordinators and mobilizers with experience in this area shall identify social groups in the community which can be developed into SHGs. This shall be done by regular visits to the village, meeting with informal groups gathered around tea shops, temples, water spots, markets, provision shops, milk collection centres and where women tend to gather. Participatory Rural Appraisal methods shall be useful in these areas. Identification and formation of SHGs involves collection of information regarding credit needs, incomes and their seasonality, the availability of natural resources, skills and markets, local people’s perceptions of poverty etc. Since the SHGs would be composed by women, the male members of the community should be communicated with the benefits that will be reaped by the family through SHGs.
Awareness programs on health, hygiene and nutrition:
After the formation of SHG groups awareness programs on health, hygiene and nutrition would be conducted. Good health care and nutrition during pregnancy, infancy, and childhood are essential but are often overlooked factors in the growth and development due to lack of awareness specially in villages. The mobilizers shall disseminate such information in the groups for achieving a better health status of the SHG members. The awareness programs would be followed up by health check-up camps. Eye check-up camps, blood test, etc would be conducted free of cost in the villages. Also, iron capsules, sanitary napkins etc. would be distributed for free during the health camps.
Conducting Group Meetings for definite membership:
Group formation is not complete with the first meeting. It takes several meetings over a period of 2 to 4 months for the group to have definite membership. During this period members may leave and others may join if the group agrees. The meetings held during this period are not only social gatherings but the members also raise issues concerning the family and the village. Matters regarding savings and lending are also debated thoroughly as this is the major common function of the group. The group should be identifiable and shall give itself a name. The members must agree to save and lend and establish a culture of self-help. Basic records like attendance register, minutes book and members savings ledgers should be maintained. If savings have begun, the group opens an account in the nearest Bank or Post Office.
Capacity Building training on SHG concepts and Group Stabilization:
Once the SHG groups are formed and identifiable, capacity building training programs shall be conducted for the SHG members on various aspects of Self-Help Groups. Leadership development, rules and regulations of SHGs, conflict resolution, credit linkages, book keeping etc. shall be the various aspects of training programs. The SHG training program would be a continuous process and it will be imparted throughout the project duration batch wise. Over the period, the groups must be stabilized by making their saving habits regular and strengthening their lending operations. Literacy and numeracy classes should be conducted and attended by all members. Meetings must be held regularly, preferably every week. Books like admission book, attendance register, minutes book, members savings ledger, members pass book, receipt voucher, payment voucher, cash book, general ledger, loan ledger, stock book are maintained either by a literate member of the group or by the mobilizers. This provides the members of the SHG with an opportunity to acquire the skills to manage its resources. The group decides on the rate of savings, on the timing of the loans, on the schedule of payments and repayments, and on the interest rates; it assesses when and whether the member needs a loan and whether she/he is able to use the loan effectively and to repay according to the schedule decided on.
Assessment of SHGs:
Once the SHG groups are formed, trained and stabilized they will be assessed for the sake of identifying the 40 best SHGs out of the 100 SHGs formed. The main components of assessment would be the attendance level of the SHG members, their regularity of savings, inter-loaning history, repayment history, group cohesiveness, leadership qualities etc.
Identification of training locations for skill development training programs:
Training shall be imparted at the location suitable to the beneficiaries. Four such locations shall be identified, one each in every block.
Conducting skill development training programs:
The selected beneficiaries shall undergo skill development training in two of the trades chosen. In XXXXX and XXXXX, Training on ‘Packaged drinking water’ shall be imparted and in XXXXXX and XXXXXX training on ‘Food Processing’ shall be imparted. Detail study material shall be provided to each beneficiary printed in their local language.
Components of Packaged drinking water training program:
The training shall provide the members an insight on:
- The water treatment plant layout & technology
- Guidance on plant & machineries & water pouches manufacturing plant
- Knowledge on certification (BIS certification)
- Preparation of project report
- Financial schemes & subsidies
- Marketing management
- Exposure visits
Components of Food processing training program:
The training shall provide the members an insight on:
- Opportunities in food Sector
- Processing on Fruits & Vegetables i.e. Dehydrated & canned products, Jam, Jelly, Squashes, Milk Products
- Grain Processing i.e. wafers, instant mix, spices, bakery, ready to eat/ fry & serve products, fish & meat products
- Technology and machinery
- Preservation methods
- Packaging and marketing
- Financial Schemes & Subsidies
- Project report & demonstrations
- Practical of food products
The training shall be provided batch wise as per the table below catering a total of 400 beneficiaries from all the four blocks.
Conducting training programs on Group Entrepreneurship & Life Skills:
Training on group entrepreneurship is necessary to build a successful microenterprise. The self-help group is not a static institution; it grows on the resources and management skills of its members and their increasing confidence to get involved in issues and programs that require their involvement in the public and private spheres. Special training classes on group entrepreneurship shall be imparted to the trained SHG members so that they can run and manage their enterprise independently. Also, life skills like, managing emotions, building relationships, resisting peer pressure, communication and negotiation skills shall also be taught to the beneficiaries. Information about proposal writing and submission, land development, subsidy details, funding agencies, central/state government schemes etc. shall also be a part of the training program. This shall enable the beneficiaries to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.
Establishing manufacturing units:
One packaged drinking water manufacturing unit shall be established in XXXXX block and one food processing unit shall be established in XXXXX block. This shall provide sustainability to the project. The centres will be equipped with all the necessary equipment’s for its proper and fair functioning. Further registration of the centers, quality check etc shall be the part of the project.
Establishing backward linkages:
During the project duration, the funds generated would meet the working capital requirement of the unit. Further, for the sustainability of the project and to meet working capital requirement of the unit at continual basis, various backward linkage between market and manufacturing unit would be promoted to encourage the seller to supply raw materials at an appropriate quality and price. The existing institutions like local bodies, cooperatives and whole sale market which have been in operation for a long time in different contexts would be utilized to strengthen the backward linkage. This way the skill and expertise acquired by the beneficiaries would be constructively used and this would ensure smooth supply of raw materials to the processing units.
Establishing Forward linkages:
This is very important strategy for selling the final product. If this is done properly, this would impact the whole project. Permanent and long-term market is required to make this project sustainable. Local shopkeepers, wholesalers, retailers, and vendors shall be contacted for placing the final products manufactured by the beneficiaries. Since Eastern U.P. is a tourist destination due to Buddhist circuit attending melas and trade events in the district shall also be laid importance to. Further, proper attention will be given to improve the packaging quality for creating and sustaining market demand.
Project Review Meetings:
Project review meetings will be held on a quarterly basis which shall be attended by the project team, and selected leaders from the beneficiaries. The objective of these meetings will be to review the strategies, discuss the challenges, conflict resolutions, and to devise ways to combat the challenges. In the review meetings, redress mechanisms will be set up. Through supportive discussions, solutions will be found for improving the quality levels. The existence of such mechanism is expected to strengthen the project intervention.
Dissemination Workshop & Certificate Distribution:
After successful completion of the training programs, certificate distribution ceremony shall be organized centrally for all the participants. The knowledge and skills would be judged based on theoretical and practical examination conducted after the completion of training programs. Officials related to drinking water industry, food processing and renowned personalities along with media shall be invited to grace the ceremony. The beneficiaries shall speak about their success and shall encourage other community members.
- Project Manager: S/he will be the head of the project and responsible for overall management and monitoring of the project. S/he will assign task to other staff of the project. S/he will also be responsible for identification of market linkages and credit linkages
- Project Coordinator: S/he will be Responsible for assisting Program Manager in implementation of project activities.
- SHG Coordinators: S/he will be responsible for SHG formation in the villages, assessment and selection of the beneficiaries under the guidance of Project Manager.
- Accounts Officer: He/she will be responsible for maintaining project accounts.
- Support Staff: S/He will be responsible in carrying out documentation and supporting Project Manager & Monitoring Officer in all respect.