LIVELIHOOD EMPOWERMENT OF TRIBAL WOMEN THROUGH THE SELF HELP GROUPS (SHG)
In 2017, Asia Initiatives worked in conjunction with Shramjivi Janata Sahayyak Mandal to assist 540 members of rural poor communities in 10 hamlets of Maharastra, India. Our joint effort is promoting childcare and education as well as supporting the livelihoods of Katkari women and youth.
The Katkari people are a scattered Indian tribe that collectively comprises 123 hamlets of Poladpur in Maharashtra, India. Traditionally, the Katkari people use the forest as a source of food and livelihood. In the past, community members struggled to survive within their communities due to the lack of infrastructure, connectivity and opportunities.
Community members here earn SoCCs for activities such as increased school attendance, immunization of children, and maintaining neighborhood cleanliness. SoCCs are redeemed for fishing net thread (1.5kg of thread per woman) and poultry (10 chicks per woman), which raise nutritional and financial status. Within their respective communities, the use of SoCCs has been influential in facilitating community-building activities while providing provisions that support livelihood, skill empowerment and healthcare.
Since the launch of the project in April 2017, 85% women/men SHG members attended SHG training and meetings. 65% of women checked hygiene of school going children. Almost 90% of parents attended parent teachers meetings, 30% hamlets showed improved environmental hygiene. Women, especially leaders began participating in social activities – helping sick to reach hospital and support the needy. Read more here in our six-month report.
(August 2017 Update) Our SoCCs members in Dasgaon attended their first gram panchayat (local village governance) meeting for which they earned SoCCs. While the government now encourages civic engagement, SoCCs provide incentives and structure for women who would otherwise be left out of the process. Thus, for the first time ever, members presented a written formal demand to their gram panchayat, requesting mats for children to be used in the village hall.
(November 2017 Update) The SoCCs program in tribal villages has increased government agencies' responsiveness. The village of Tol recently sanctioned a drinking water pipeline and a concrete approach-road after repeated petitions by our members. These members earned SoCCs for their petitions, ultimately changing the lives of villagers who previously commuted along a dirt road linking Tol to a local town. In the village of Nandgaon, 18 families have received small kitchen-garden and housing plots from government schemes. In September, Mobile Health camps (Eye camp through Swadesh Foundation) organized in Ambivali covered 4 hamlets provided eyes check-ups for 127 patients. 12 tribal referred for cataract operation.