History

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SSP formally launched in 1998, drawing strength from our early learnings during the community-led reconstruction partnership after the Latur earthquake in 1993.

The Latur crisis was a case study for post-disaster rehabilitation and an early learning in disaster reduction. Beyond that, it gave us an opportunity and impetus to mobilize rural women for large, community-centered efforts.

These women were recognized for the extensive infrastructural reconstruction accomplished in the disaster-struck communities. In time, SSP mobilized these women into self-help groups.

Leveraging the insights gained during the quake, we developed a replicable model for disaster management and reconstruction that was applicable in India as well as abroad. Gradually, we honed our expertise in recovery and started building models for building community resilience.

To us, the inherent challenges of rural life were linked to sustenance, clean water and sanitation, as well as preventive health services for women and girls. SSP drew large programs aimed at development centred around women’s participation and leadership to address these issues.

We planned innovative business models based on non-traditional products as income generators for vulnerable communities. SSP nurtured enterprises that offered platforms for rural women to build products that benefited the community, and assisted these businesses to grow.

Gradually, we built a support system for our chain of women’s savings and credit groups – Sakhi entrepreneur networks – through rural business school, marketing and distribution systems, health entrepreneurs and social micro finance institution (MFI).

SSP encouraged these women to assume larger leadership roles. Trained women SHGs partnered with local governments and guided their communities towards resilient development, through new livelihood opportunities that increased household assets and incomes.

Our efforts succeeded and as a result, we now have clusters of informed women as consumers, producers, borrowers, entrepreneurs and community leaders in the 2000 villages where we operate.

Organizational evolution:
Orientation Sector Focus Approach
1993- 2006 Development focus, in partnership with government projects Housing & Infrastructure
Water & Sanitation
SSP began its work as a consultant to the government in 1993, to drive rehabilitation efforts across 1,300 villages in the earthquake-struck region of Latur, Maharashtra. It was legally registered in 1998, and built on its women-led approach to drive resilience and development across various disaster-prone regions for a decade. It developed a movement of over 1 lakh women in self-help groups (SHGs), to increase access to finance and livelihoods.
2006 – Present Enterprise focus, development through sustainable rural enterprises and corporate partnerships Water & Sanitation
Clean Energy
Health and Nutrition
Sustainable Agriculture
In 2006, SSP co-created a grassroots business model with BP Energy, to develop rural women entrepreneurs to sell clean cookstoves. It provided them access to finance, skills training and rural distribution platforms by setting up various for-profit enterprises (SURE, SSEN, and SSK). It went on to train community women leaders and entrepreneurs in the areas of preventive health and sustainable agriculture.