The women-led climate-resilient farming model created by Swayam Shikshan Prayog in drought-hit Marathwada has yielded encouraging results and is worthy of emulation across the country.
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SSP’s journey of empowering 1,50,000 women in 7 states – Prema Gopalan, Executive Director SSP talks to Vinod Yadav from Dainik Bhaskar, Bhaskar News Network | Jun 11,2018
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Backed by Swayam Shikshan Prayog, these five women have taken to entrepreneurship, be it organic farming or rearing an indigenous breed of poultry.
In the parched and cracked lands of Marathwada region, where water, land, and income are scarce, a few women have braved the odds. Mentored and supported by Pune-based NGO Swayam Shikshan Prayog, these women are using newer farming techniques to earn a living and charting inspiring tales of success.
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For her exceptional work in the field of climate community resilience, Godavari Dange of SSP received the Rama Govinda National Award 2018 on January 28. Godavari is a pioneer in the field of climate resilient agriculture, which promotes SSP’s one-acre model of farming. She is the Secretary of Sakhi Federation in Maharashtra, and also the Director of Vijaya Sakhi Women-led Farmer Producer Company Osmanabad, Maharashtra, India.
Godavari has been instrumental in disbursing funds worth more than Rs. 2.4 crores for food security, sustainable agriculture, water conservation, environment innovations and women-led enterprise towards building greater leadership of grassroots women.
Godavari’s achievements bear greater significance in the light of her past, a life forged in hardship. Hailing from a small village in one of the most climate-threatened regions in Maharashtra, India, Godavari spent her childhood guided by social norms. She stopped her education after standard VII and never left the house unaccompanied. She was married at the age of 15, and by the time she was in her early 20s, Godavari had become a mother of two and a widow.
For a year, her intense grief left her with no strength to leave her bed, and no desire to keep living.
Godavari’s recovery was slow, but once she made a come back to life, she was determined to be strong. Her journey began in 2000 when she joined an SSP self help group. She started to interact with other rural women and soon started to mobilize self help groups across the village and beyond. She gained insights into the financial, health, and agricultural challenges her community faced and was soon working towards their solutions. Within one year, Godavari founded the first women’s federation to work on women’s economic and leadership development. It currently has more than 5000 members.
After the severe drought in the Marathwada region in 2012-15, as a solution to combat the rampant crisis, Godavari mobilized more than 1000 women farmers to come together in collectives and grow vegetables and food crops to improve food security.
For a woman who can speak only her mother tongue fluently, Godavari has travelled to 16 countries for various global conferences and awards. In 2011, Godavari represented grassroots women’s networks in India at the UN-CSW in New York. She represented grassroots women leaders and farmers from SSP to receive the UNDP Equator Prize 2017 in New York in September. In 2012, Brazil, she showcased the critical role of grassroots women in sustainable development in Rio+20. Godavari was a panelist at the UNISDR, Geneva, 2013, to present the initiatives taken by rural women in times of drought.
Godavari participated in the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, 2015, and was the Global Ambassador to the UN in the IFAD and Huairou Commission on Rural Women in Sustainable Agriculture, a global initiative.
For over 2 decades, Godavari has been working in women’s development. “Godavari and rural leaders like her inspire us every day to combat global challenges locally,” says Prema Gopalan, Founder of SSP. “These ordinary women who lead change don’t isolate themselves. Their strength is their collective.”
“My association with SSP educated me, and transformed me from a grieving widow to an empowered leader,” says Godavari. “It is your right to learn,” she adds, “and it is your duty to teach others.”
Swayam Shikshan Prayog received the Equator Prize on Sept 17, 2017 at New York.
Godavari and Kamal our front line leaders and farmers from Maharashtra were in New York together with Naseem Shaikh from Swayam Shikshan Prayog. They received the Equator Prize 2017 award from Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator in a gala event hosted by the Equator Initiative partnership on September 17, 2017 at New York. We were among 15 winners from over 12 countries.
Both Kamal Kumbhar and Godavari Dange started their journey as ordinary farmers and members of self help groups, but have transformed intoextraordinary leaders changing and inspiring thousands of women. Kamal, Godavari and many other grassroots women leaders have led SSP’s climate resilient farming initiative adopted by over 20,000 marginal farmers as it offers a ray of hope on many fronts – improved food & income security and long term resilience by empowering women as change makers to lead bio-farming & enterprise and protection of water and environment.
As a leading learning organization, we are committed to share our insights from this globally recognized local solution that has potential for 10 x impact if supported by policy makers. It catalyzed transformative change for distressed communities moving them from “poverty towards sustenance andd development”, so there is no looking back……
Video on SSP receiving the Award https://www.facebook.com/mandar.jadhav/videos/10154693592951573/
Swayam Shikshan Prayog felicitated the Grassroots Women Leaders to encourage their efforts on 12th Oct 2017 at 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Conference Hall: MDC-V, YASHADA, Raj Bhavan Complex, Baner, Pune 411007.
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Swayam Shikshan Prayog receiving the Equator Prize 2017.
Our women led food security programme projected in the Equator Prize event by linking to SDGs – Gender Equality and Zero Hunger.
SSP team with Mary Robinson – Former President of Ireland, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Founder of Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice
Social Media Links on Equator Prize Events:
– During community dialogues #EquatorPrize2017 winners from #sspindia gets the opportunity to share innovative solutions and experiences.
Kamal Kumbhar, a serial entrepreneur from SSP received `Women Transforming India Awards 2017′ from Wing Commander Pooja Thakur at the Award Ceremony held on 29th August, 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The award was launched by NITI Aayog, in partnership with United Nations in India and MyGov.
Prema Gopalan, Founder and Executive Director of Swayam Shikshan Prayog India has been awarded Women Change Makers Fellowship 2017 by the Womanity Foundation. The WCM Fellowship aims to identify, support and connect leading social entrepreneurs, who are addressing women’s access to education, healthcare as well as economic and political participation.
Kamal Kumbhar from Swayam Shikshan Prayog India is being felicitated by Government of Maharashtra at Maharashtra Sadan, New Delhi on August 29, 2017 @micnewdelhi
It is the only Indian organization to win the award, making the cut from more than 800 nominations across 120 countries.
The aim was to empower the women in a way that they are able to manage the available natural resources and achieve food and income security through agriculture.
SBN Maharashtra News channel broadcasted the news on Government of Maharashtra funded `Start Up Village Entrepreneurship Program’ (SVEP), under which 5000 women are being trained as entrepreneurs. Under the umbrella of National Rural Livelihood Mission, SSP is partnering with the Govt of Maharashtra to implement a scaled up program for small and marginal women farmers and creating women entrepreneurs across three districts in Maharashtra.
Godavari Dange and Nirmala, the grassroots community leaders from SSP with Ms. Vijaya Rahatkar, Head of Maharashtra Women’s Commission at the Western Region Consultation on “Securing Rights of Women Farmers: Developing a Road Map for Action” was held on 8-9 May 2017 at YMCA Pune.
Kamal Kumbhar a grassroots serial entrepreneur supported by Swayam Shikshan Prayog is Winner of the 2017 Woman Exemplar Award of CII Foundation in the Micro enterprise category… she has received the Award from Honorable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
Dainik Jagran News on Workshop for Policy Makers and Practitioners on Strengthening Partnerships for Promoting Women’s Leadership in Climate Resilience in Bihar held at A N Sinha Institute, Patna on March 24, 2017
World Water Day celebrated at Latur on 22nd March, 2017
Sakhi Melava, Solapur 9th March, 2017 & Opening ceremony of Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Resource Center.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8th March 2017, SSP felicitated grassroots women leaders in addressing development issues of rural communities in the Sakhi Melava organized by SSP at KVK, Latur.
In an era where the focus is highlighted on ambitious clean energy initiatives by big companies, Swayam Shikshan Prayog has been recognised by the un for its efforts in bringing the same initiative in smaller doses to rural areas.
Grassroots women leaders Naseem Shaikh and Dange Godavari from Swayam Shikshan Prayog India meets Member of Parliament Mr. Uwe Kekeritz during their visit from 17th to 24th October, 2016 in Germany. The Member of Parliament Mr. Kekeritz, Germany who had invited Misereor and SSP grassroots leaders for the parliamentarian breakfast has published a long version on the meeting on his website.
Indian NGO Swayam Shikshan Prayog Won UN Climate Award 2016 for Clean Energy Project, FortuneEnTech Article
SSP’s contribution towards creating scalable ecosystem for community development has won us many accolades. We are now recognized as leading proponents for upliftment of marginalized rural communities through women empowerment, and setting up value chains for non-traditional BOP products in rural India. These recognitions are testimony to our relentless efforts. We continue to strive towards empowering women to take charge, and lead their communities to a better future.