How We Work

    How We Work

    Swayam Shikshan Prayog works closely with rural women to inspire entrepreneurship and self-reliance among them.

    SSP serves marginalized communities through a fraternity of self-help groups; a microfinance institution that offers financial services to women-led businesses; rural schools of entrepreneurship for women; and a market aggregator that offers dedicated services to last-mile business women.

    SSP builds the social capital of women that has generated new livelihoods, new markets and new entrepreneurs. It acts as a facilitator of women leaders to manage savings, credit and micro-businesses, address local risk and build community resilience.

    These initiatives are interlinked and work in collaboration to focus on the following core areas: microfinance, skills training, rural marketing, nutrition, health services, agriculture and livelihoods for women.

Approach

    Approach

    SSP thrives on grassroots women-led approach in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to build resilience among vulnerable communities. Our priority areas are understanding risk, develop local partnership, and enhance grassroots women skills and capacities in promoting community entrepreneurship to create resilient communities.

    SSP worked with grassroots communities to extend its strategy after the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the tsunami in 2004 in Tamil Nadu, 2008 flood in Bihar and Assam and climatic risk 2011 in Odisha.

Timeline of Work

    Timeline of Work

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Women in Leadership Roles

    Women in Leadership Roles

    SSP’s engagements with grassroots women are result-driven: we aim to catapult women to leadership roles and impact local communities through them.
    We catalyze grassroots women by ushering in a holistic transformation in their lives, and enabling them to be advocates of social change and sustainability for their communities. Sakhis are mentored, funded and networked to be enterprising. They lead their neighbourhoods towards better health and hygiene, sustainable agricultural practices, community resilience, as well as opens new markets for eco-friendly products and services. Over the years, SSP has nurtured and promoted women leaders through grassroots network in climate and disaster affected states in Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

    Women as social leaders

    SSP supports grassroots women network (SHGs) in disaster and climatic risk areas. Women leaders engage with local governments and drive social impact, and influence action on social issues such as sanitation, housing, health, water, and livelihoods etc.

    Women as economic leaders

    SSP educates, funds and promotes grassroots-women entrepreneurs to set up and scale responsible businesses across multiple sectors. We enable grassroots women to ideate, design and manufacture and market social products that are tailor-made to suit customer requirements contextual to underserved markets. SSP helps women to identify and ally with appropriate corporate partners and technology, and guides them along their journey.

    Women as farmers

    SSP promotes women in modern farming techniques and catapults them to assume larger and visible roles in agriculture and climate change. SSP promotes a “one acre model” of cultivation, where women negotiate with men in their families, and borrow control on a small piece of land, nearly a one acre plot, to test, demonstrate and develop sustainable agricultural practices. We facilitate learning platform sessions with experts from Krishi Vikas Kendras (KVKs) and agriculture universities and help women adopt organic farming methods using bio compost and bio pesticides, mixed cropping, cultivation of nutritive vegetables, millets and pulses to ensure local food-safety and security.

How Sakhis Work

    How Sakhis Work

    Sakhis are grassroots women trained by SSP to be our foot soldiers, to bring about social and economic change in grassroots India. As members of SSP-run women SHGs, Sakhis assume multiple roles in a grassroots community. A Sakhi acts as the face of SSP, the point of convergence of all SSP products and facilitator of our programs at the ground level.

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    A Sakhi

    • For every 3 villages/1000 households
    • Handles 12 products under segments such as solar lights, clean energy stoves, prefabricated toilets, water filters, health and nutrition
    • Earns commission
    • Point of convergence for BOP products/markets
    • Meets preset sales targets

The Ecosystem

    The Ecosystem

    SSP functions as an “umbrella” organization, a consortium of four social enterprises to execute its activities on-ground. These social enterprises collaborate to form an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.

    Through our entities, SSP builds women-led rural markets at three levels:

    • We make women part of the rural economy through business-coaching.
    • We extend monetary support to rural women foraying into entrepreneurship.
    • We create a network of these women entrepreneurs to scale their operations through strategic partnerships between corporate and local women entrepreneurs.
    Our entities function independently as sustainable enterprises, managed by CEOs at the helm of business development and operations.

    SSEN (Sakhi Social Enterprise Network) is SSP’s rural school of entrepreneurship that builds the knowledge capital and leadership acumen of grassroots women and adolescent girls. The school offers a 100-hour program spread over ten days in three months, covering various interactive modules to equip new entrepreneurs. A study by SSEN indicated that upon completing the courses, nearly 80% of its trainees have either launched a business, or diversified their existing business.

    SAST (Sakhi Arogya Samudaya Trust)is a community health organization that delivers door-step preventive health services using health technology through Arogya Sakhis or health promoters. A network of Arogya Sakhis liaisons with Primary Health Centers (PHCs), district hospitals, private medical practitioners and doctors. The Arogya Sakhis act as bare-foot doctors providing basic medication and as referral agents to appropriate health centers. These health entrepreneurs ensure that everyone in the value chain makes a profit.

    SURE (Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise) is a social enterprise that provides incubation support, dedicated branding, marketing and distribution services to grassroots business women. With a distributor network of 1000 women (all tutored by SSEN), SURE identifies market opportunities in rural areas, negotiates with businesses and markets for the selected products through Sakhis. Acting as a link between producers and consumers, SURE procures, stores and sells. It handles logistics and distribution. SURE has facilitated 15 strategic marketing tie ups between Sakhi networks and corporate houses such as British Petroleum, FirstEnergy, Godrej, Eureka Forbes, Kirloskar, and D.Light among others.

    SSK (Sakhi Samudaya Kosh) promotes financial inclusion and delivers financial services such as microfinance, insurance and start-up capital for women entrepreneurs. SHG federations give women the social capital to catapult into entrepreneurship and business leadership. Women who are nominated by SHG members sign up for SSEN’s rural school of entrepreneurship. SSEN equips them to prepare business plans to launch and grow ventures of their choice. SSK offers financial support that enables women to capitalize their micro or small enterprises.

Focus Areas

    Focus Areas

    Clean Energy
    SSP and SURE have partnered with FirstEnergy, a company operating in the advanced cookstove and fuel space, to launch a number of nano-pelletizer plants to manufacture bio-fuel pellets for cook-stoves... Read more.

    Health Services
    SSP is deeply engaged with the lives of rural women, and this has positioned us to accomplish significant milestones... Read more.

    Community Sanitation
    SSP supports Sakhis, the women entrepreneurs, to design and manufacture prefabricated toilet units that can... Read more.

    Agriculture & Nutrition
    SSP selects and nurtures agriculture leaders in every village. We educate our members - women and adolescent girls- about... Read more.

    Community Resilience
    The Community Resilience Approach uses an integrative and holistic approach to reduce risk and vulnerabilities, raise awareness... Read more.

Impact

    Impact

    • From 2009 to 2015: SSP Consortium of social enterprises facilitated over 72,000 women to emerge as responsible farmers, entrepreneurs and community leaders.
    • The Group’s combined initiatives have mobilized over Rs 700 million in eight years, benefiting over four million people across underserved and climate threatened areas in Maharashtra, Bihar and other states.
    • From 2009 to 2015: The women entrepreneurs launched by SSP has total consumer base of 7,73,000 families and cumulative earnings of Rs 20 crores on a monthly basis. These include 45,000 women who have taken loans and are engaged for the first time productive activities.
    • By unleashing new market-linked livelihoods, the group of social enterprises has increased annual household incomes of entrepreneurs by 33%.
    • One million rural low income households improved the quality of their lives through access to credit, health care services and insurance, safe drinking water, organic products, bio-mass fuels, solar lighting products.
    • Empowered 900 women as leaders of climate resilience.
    • Disseminated information on awareness on drought resilience and recovery, sustainable agriculture practices, and nutrition-sensitive farming to around 1,80,000 women farmers.
    • Around 750 families use prefabricated toilets, and three villages have been declared ‘open-defecation free’ till March 2016.
    • 2000 villages in six disaster and climate affected villages are served by our community resilience program, driven by an expanding network of 1,00,000 women volunteers in self-help groups.
    • Developed partnership with state governments in community resilience building initiatives in post-disaster recovery and development in 2001 Gujarat Earthquake, Asia Tsunami in Tamil Nadu in 2004 and floods and climatic risk in Bihar, Odisha and Assam.