Kadam Resource Centers for Development in Ahmedabad, India
Asia Initiatives has been working with the Center for Development in Ahmedabad, India, to implement sustainable changes in the areas of women’s self-help groups, safe institutional births, involvement of community leaders, healthcare workshops, and girls mentoring their peers. The establishment of the Kadam Resource Center for Girls (KRCG) has provided a safe environment for young girls to learn about socially taboo topics such as self-defense and puberty, most specifically menstruation.
The girls who attend these workshops at the KRCG then spread this information to other girls in their surrounding communities, promoting the widespread knowledge of opportunities for female advancement in society. SoCCs are earned from community leaders holding meetings, midwives providing pregnancy monitoring from conception to delivery, the implementation of first aid training in the community, and girls teaching their female peers the information learned in KRCG workshops. SoCCs are thus redeemed for KRCG girls’ travel expenses, hygiene kits for girls and women, fees for teachers, and the rent for the KRCG building.
Borisinh Village Project (In cooperation with Save Indian Farmers (SIF) and Deendayal Trust)
Asia Initiative’s collaboration is enacting self-sustainable change in the lives of 30 farmers and their families in the village of BoriSinh. The villagers are committed to AI’s SoCCs program, which promotes participation in various social initiatives such as monthly meetings, cleaning common areas, women’s health clinics, and daily after-school programs for youth, among others.
The SoCCs earned from such participation can then be redeemed for 25% of the value of a buffalo, which the farmers utilize for the development of small milk businesses. This entrepreneurship provides families with a dependable, non-farming income. As this region experiences unpredictable seasons of monsoon and drought, the project also empowers villagers to build check dams on the local canal to guarantee a year-round water supply. This serves as a sustainable improvement due to the resulting rise of water tables in the surrounding area, as well as the ability of farmers to harvest additional crops from the same land.
Kumasi, Ghana (In cooperation with Millennium Cities Initiatives (MCI), Earth Institute, Columbia University)
The introduction of SoCCs, or Social Capital Credits, allowed women to secure 12% interest loans that boosted their business production and sales. As a result, the women were able to not only make more money but to become more confident and business savvy. The women earned SoCCs by completing socially beneficial tasks like going for healthcare checkups and acts of community service that can be redeemed for goods and services, like low-interest microfinance loans. At the end of 2015, about 138 women were enrolled in the program, and about 200 collateral-free loans worth about 229,394 Ghanaian cedi ($60,000) had been disbursed to the women.
MCI has been working to bridge the large gaps that currently exist in the provision of healthcare and other services to the market women and young girls. A clinic has been set up within in the market to make it easier for them to access it. However, since most market women are unaware that healthcare can help them to take charge of their reproductive health and to stay healthy and economically productive, they need to be incentivized to take time away from their stalls to come to the clinic. You can read more about the project here
We teamed up with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) to identify the needs of the community of Ahmedabad in India and to implement a SoCCs project for improvement. This area was previously characterized by widespread viral and water borne diseases, a lack of awareness regarding cleanliness and hygiene, and a significant percentage of children not attending school or any type of educational instruction.
To combat all of this, program participants earn SoCCs for waste management, attending medical camp, and sending school-aged children to classes if they had not previously been attending school. SoCCs are then redeemed for organic groceries, stationery supplies, and home improvement materials. As a result of the SoCCs program in Ahmedabad, the local government has noticed improvements in the appearance of the neighborhood and is now supporting the initiative. In addition, members of surrounding communities are also observing the benefits of the SoCCs program and have showed interest in joining.
Ashta No Kai-India Project
For the past 10 years, Asia Initiatives has supported Ashta No Kai-India, an NGO that equips young girls in Shirur County with the skills necessary to overcome daily gender discrimination and exclusion from formal education. Adolescent girls grades 8-10 can congregate at ANK-I’s Women’s Centers for weekly sessions about reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, menstruation, children’s rights, violence, and child marriage. The girls have the opportunity to discuss these socially taboo topics and ask questions in a safe learning environment. The girls even embark on overnight trips where they can meet girls from other villages and visit popular historical landmarks. AI also supports a karate program by ANK-I, which empowers girls to learn self-defense in a world with an increasing prevalence of gender-based violence. The work of ANK-I, along with our support, has kept girls in secondary school, allowed young women to enter the professional world in fields such as dentistry and engineering, and has instilled discipline and self-confidence through self-defense. You can read more about it here.