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.
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.
Building Women’s Leadership in Disaster Recovery and Reduction In Flood-affected Communities in Kerala
In Kerala, SSP is working towards building women’s leadership in disaster recovery and reduction in flood-affected communities in Kerala.
This initiative is for building the resilience of women as community members, as community facilitators in social and economic recovery and in building community resilience in the long term. It is aimed at repositioning women as ‘Resilience Builders’ instead of viewing them as victims and beneficiaries. There is a need for institutional actors such as the Govt, and LSGs to recognize and support women’s groups to lead from the front and play an active role in post flood rebuilding and governance in their communities.
1.Mobilization & Awareness: SSP will mobilize grassroots women groups who are in Kudumbashree to involve in hygiene and sanitation, safe drinking water and climate change adaptation, and rebuilding the life through promoting and strengthening traditional and diversified livelihoods.
2.Creation of women’s network: With the support of Kudumbashree Mission at State and District level, SSP will facilitate livelihood training, support, handholding, and marketing strategies.
3.Health & Hygiene: SSP will organize awareness programs on health issues such as health talks, safe drinking water, personal hygiene, access to public health services, and child protection.
4.New construction, repair and maintenance of toilets: Started the construction and repair of houses, anganwadi centers, toilets, water systems and drinking water in Wayanad and Kottayam Districts.
5.Peer learning exchange: Involve women in looking at future, environment needs, insert their priorities in GP/micro planning especially on water management, common property land to ensure preparedness, resilience and sustainability - which only women can. Not just Panchayats alone.
6.Training and handholding support to grassroots women on innovative livelihood programs and reaching their local farm produce to markets - fishing products to market with the support of Fisheries Department and market linkage for products such as tapioca chips, banana chips, red rice, etc.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.