SSP seeks to enable low income families – especially women and girls in rural Maharashtra to reduce vulnerability to infections and other water borne diseases. SSP over the years have been leveraging women as entrepreneurs and leaders (Sakhis) who are selected from within rural low income communities. Sakhis play a key role as community sanitation ambassadors - in their communities together with fostering relationships with the local governing bodies to access subsidies.
Through Sakhis, we build awareness on WASH practices among underserved communities and promote safe - affordable household drinking water solutions and custom-built, prefabricated toilets for individual households in rural India.
SSP has been successful in empowering rural women as Sakhis or women entrepreneurs in the villages. The Sakhis become a part of the last mile rural distribution network, Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise Network (SURE), social enterprise promoted by SSP. Together with the support of SSP and SURE, Sakhis are able to generate awareness, provide affordable solutions around WASH and other socially relevant products in the village communities. This provides Sakhis opportunities to earn an additional income.
Sakhis lead customized community group meetings for women, girls and men, apart from campaigns in schools to build general awareness on good sanitation practices. These campaigns educate participants on basic WASH issues such as safe drinking water, use of toilets, waste water management, and other hygiene practices. Sakhis campaigns encourage communities on healthy sanitation practices and create new markets for these fabricated toilet units.
SSP has designed and developed affordable pre-fabricated toilets for the rural communities that are easy to install. Sakhis constantly follow up with the beneficiaries and provide guidance on maintenance of these toilets. Together with it, Sakhis further offer basket of other products such as water filters, sanitary pads, mediclore and more.
SSP’s Sakhi networks collaborate with local gram panchayats to make sanitation programs work most effectively at the village level. The aim is to help community members avail the government subsidies to install prefabricated toilets at their homes. These collaborations also help Sakhis to identify households that have no toilets. Together with their team, Sakhis assess the sanitation status of the villages and work with the gram panchayats to link underserved and marginalized households to government subsidy.
SSP promotes the “Healthy Household” project, an initiative in partnership with PATH, bundling a number of products - a ready to use toilet, water filter, advanced (smokeless) cook stove, solar lanterns and biomass pellet bags - to the rural households. We have executed this project since 2014, to offer an innovative consumer finance scheme to purchase the combination of bundle products. The highlight of the packages is the convenient credit option and easy repayment schedule.
Our partner in this program, PATH, is an international non-profit organization driving innovations for health equity, and also working on personal hygiene and sanitation.
SSP seeks support from partners to establish the last mile network of WASH (Water and Sanitation for Health) entrepreneurs and to create an ecosystem for safe drinking water and sanitation services in communities. This ecosystem will be created and executed by Sakhis at the grassroots levels.
SSP has also received support from NABARD, Habitat for Humanity India and Yunus Social Business fund to further our work in community sanitation.
The rapidly changing climate has resulted in frequent incidences of droughts and floods in the recent years. 2016 is the third consecutive year of drought in many parts of India including the Marathwada region. This has adversely affected the agriculture sectors, throwing marginal farmer households in a poverty trap due to their limited coping capacities. This is turn, has led to high levels of malnutrition and farmer distress. To add to this, women are often not recognised as farmers or decision makers in agriculture by their families and government agencies. They are often left out of crucial decisions such as the cultivation and purchase of nutritious food, where they have enough experience but not enough say.
SSP’s experience shows that women are most interested in making agriculture viable. They are keen on using basic agriculture equipment, adopting water efficient, low input farming methods and are ready to make a shift in the cultivation pattern - such as use of mixed farming, intercropping and increasing cycles of cultivation.
Therefore, SSP’s strategy for sustainable agriculture targets women farmers in landless, marginal and small farmer households and build their capacity as farmers and leaders, empowering them as the key decision makers in their families and community.
Increase knowledge of women farmers in sustainable agriculture - farming techniques and methods. This includes, low cost input farming methods - bio-composting, seed processing and use of water efficient techniques. At the same time, SSP teams and leaders increases their awareness around safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene practices which reduce the risk of illnesses and nutrient absorption.
Train women farmers to adopt nutrition sensitive farming and increase food security. Shift to bio farming model- cultivate nutrition dense crops in part of their household farms and move towards self-sufficiency. Women farmers are made more aware of locally available nutritious crops through the leaders and group meetings.
Increase recognition for women’s contribution in agriculture together with increase in decision making with enhanced individual and household income. Also, develop capacities of progressive women farmers by providing leadership training to continue sustainable agriculture intervention.
Women leaders actively participate in linking women farmers groups for technical support with Government Research Institutions such as Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK), Farmer Field Schools, Agriculture University etc. They support in community advocacy and link the communities to access various government schemes and programs.
Over 180 community women trained as agriculture leaders since 2011 and have reached out to over 20,000 women farmers and families across 100 villages in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
SSP started its women centric approach in resilience building way back in 1994, during the reconstruction phase of Latur earthquake and pioneered an innovative strategy in grassroots women-led approach in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to build resilience in vulnerable communities.
SSP mobilized grassroots women’s groups in reconstruction and local governance transforming the disaster recovery into a development opportunity in many states. SSP’s experience shows that promoting grassroots women’s leadership is at the heart of resilience building.
SSP has an integrative and holistic approach to reduce risk and vulnerabilities, raise awareness and capacities and advance long-term sustainable development localized in communities and led by organized grassroots women. It aims at empowering grassroots women to build resilient communities that withstand the increasing climate threats and disasters and advocate for more inclusive and equitable public policy and governance.
SSP has been involved in resilience building practices for many years and has established a strong partnership and network with grassroots community and NGOs across states. SSP has played a key role in bridging grassroots community and NGOs through various programmes and initiatives.
SSP has over fifteen years of time tested strategies to involve grassroots women leaders/groups/federations as architects of change. SSP’s resilience practices have evolved in partnership with grassroots women through multiple program and process innovations.
SSP equips local women through intensive trainings to become facilitators of reconstruction in regions prone to disasters such as earthquakes, droughts and floods. Sakhis lead the communities in systematic, pre-planned climate resilience programs.
SSP promotes peer learning among Sakhis by facilitating networks that focus on promoting local innovations in community resilience building. These networks also help SSP mobilize local women to execute community centered resilience building activities.
SSP’s model for resilience building banks on the skills of Sakhis to network, engage and take their community along, to execute planned resilience activities. The work of Sakhi networks transforms disaster recovery to opportunities for development.
SSP’s Sakhi networks collaborate with the administrators and policy makers of the local and state governments. Engaging the local government helps us strengthen and scale up community resilience practices in disaster-hit communities.
Today SSP’s resilience building efforts have spread to include over 100,000 women in self-help group networks in 16 hazard prone districts across 4 States in India, through various dialogue forums, learning exchanges and training events to strengthen the skills of women leaders in addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
SSP seeks support to create safe and disaster resilient communities by developing local women leaders for addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation at the community level.
SSP is a member of Groots International to bring community based organizations and grassroots groups to Groots India Network. Groots India Network of grassroots organizations and women leaders emerged in 2009 to facilitate and highlight the role of grassroots women in DRR. Local, regional and national events on disaster risk reduction and grassroots community have helped our network to raise women voice in many platforms, influence policy makers, explore innovative grassroots resilience initiatives and identify like-minded NGO partners.
In partnership with Misereor, SSP has created a learning platform in more than 8 states. Grassroots network have been strengthened and active in Bihar, Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Through exposure and inputs, NGOs and groups work together as a cohort group to champion and lobby for development projects from the government schemes like the NREGA and NRHM to make poor communities less vulnerable. The network platform will replicate resilience building initiatives across disaster and climate hit regions
SSP is a member of Alliance for Adaptation & Disaster Risk Reduction (AADRR) which aims to create the network platform for resilience building initiatives across disaster and climate hit districts in India. As the founding member of AADRR, SSP has been leading the alliance to conduct dialogue workshops and advocacy programmes with policy makers and government officials to highlight the role of grassroots women community in disaster risk reduction.
SSP deploys its network of village level health entrepreneurs or “Arogya Sakhis” to deliver preventive health services at the doorstep of the rural communities. Further build awareness about preventive healthcare and risks associated, particularly focusing adolescent girls and women around anemia, malnutrition, maternal care and rising lifestyle illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. Forge linkages and partnerships with local health service providers for increased access to affordable medical care and other health services through the Arogya Sakhis.
SSP’s approach empowers women and young girls in communities with:
Since 2010, over 380 women equipped as Arogya Sakhis and provide doorstep health services in the villages of Maharashtra. Women and girls have increased knowledge on preventive health, maternal care and various other health issues. Marginalized families have increased access to affordable health services and insurance through mutual support groups created by SSP.
SSP welcomes support for training of Arogya Sakhis or village health entrepreneurs with enhanced entrepreneurial, marketing and diagnostic technology skills to deliver doorstep preventive health care information and services.
|Company||Product being marketed|
|Eureka Forbes (Aquaguard)||Water treatment plants|
|LSS Solar||Solar water heaters|
|D- Light||Solar lanterns|