With an average workday of 16 to 18 hours women in the villages of India often work the hardest and are the most exploited. The primary source of income in the rural part of Anupshahr is agriculture and animal husbandry; both of which are often done by the women folk. With limited earnings women often take loans from moneylenders and end up in a vicious circle because of high interest rates of around 60%.
They have no forum or space to share their feelings or to find options for betterment of their own lives. In order to address this issue of equality and rights for women, PPES set up a Community Development Division (CDD).
Via the CDD, PPES ensures the economic empowerment of these women by enhancing their livelihoods and creating saving and inter-loaning options, at the same time ensuring social empowerment through eradicating discrimination.
SELF HELP GROUPS
DAIRY AND AGRICULTURE PRACTICES
GREEN ENERGY INITIATIVES
Self-Help Groups (SHGs)
Self-help group is a collective of 10-12 women who meet on a weekly basis to discuss their issues and to create a collective pot of money through which they can save and inter-loan money.
PPES initiated the formation of Self-help groups of women in villages to make them socially and economically independent.
Three key principles of SHGs are
Women in SHGs save between Rs. 5 to 10 a day per woman and the money saved by them is then used for inter-loaning. A separate bank account is opened for each SHG through which the members are trained on banking and financial management.
The members of an SHG lend money to each other at an annual interest rate of 24%. Out of this, 9% of the interest amount is distributed amongst themselves. This interest rate is much lower than what moneylender charges them, thereby saving women from the exploitation of moneylenders. This is a very powerful tool of restoring the dignity and self-respect of the women.
SHGs have given a platform to women to voice their personal and community issues as a collective. They are learning about their rights, the power of collective action, etc. as a part of these groups.
The SHGs under the guidance of PPES are now working towards creating a federation.
The structure of the Self Help Groups
A federation is a superstructure of the Self Help Groups. In order to ensure sustainability of the SHG, a regular support system is needed which can run and monitor the programme. The federation serves this purpose. The Federation Board is elected from within the community and PPES will be a part of the Board as an expert director.
The role of a federation is:
Sustainability of SHGs
- To add more needy and poor women to the programme
- To make the women self-dependent
- To coordinate liaisons with other institutions
- To establish links with financial institutions
- To enhance the quality and capacity of the women as well as SHGs
- Working on social and regional issues
- To learn and share experiences among SHGs
- To strategize
- Bigger platform for leadership
- To work on bigger objectives as a collective
The women in the federation pay a service charge to be a member. In addition to sustainability, this shall also ensure ownership of the women towards the programme.
Dairy Best Practices
PPES decided to work on Dairy Best Practices so that the women could get better quality and increased quantity of milk, which could be sold at the right price.
Currently PPES is working on the following four best practices of dairy with women.
- Training to provide balanced diet to the animal
- Proper insemination of animals for better breed
- Immunisation of animals
- Milk Collection centers
These practices have lead women to have better returns and thus enhance their family’s’ income.
Agriculture Best Practices
At a nominal fee of INR 50-100 women of the SHGs are trained in agricultural best practices with the aim of increasing their crop yield, thus, enhancing livelihood.
Women are trained on the following requirements and best practices of agriculture.
- Good quality seeds
- Balanced dose of fertilizers
- Timely sowing and harvesting
- Integrated insect and pest management (IPM)
Green Energy Initiative as a part of Community Development
Anupshahr receives over nine months of strong sunshine in a year, making it the perfect place to reap solar energy. Hence, PPES piloted a solar grid through the self-help groups.
A solar grid catering to the needs of 42 households has been established in village Bachhi Khera. The model is based on ‘pay as you use’ leading to its sustainability. A INR 10 recharge is enough for approximately 2 days of electricity.
- Integrated insect and pest management (IPM)