On 15 Aug 2015, the Prime Minister announced the “Start-Up India” initiative, which would encourage entrepreneurship among the youth of India. ”Start-Up India, Stand-Up India,” the Prime Minister said. The PM also expressed interest in promoting women entrepreneurs.
In India, rural women don’t have access to nutritious food and lack of awareness of sanitation and hygiene practices further prevents proper absorption of nutrients. This leads to poor health for families, especially for women and girls, and higher healthcare expenses.
Images credit: SSP India
To fight these issues in India, An Indian NGO – Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) was established in 1993 to promote empowerment of women as leaders and entrepreneurs through self-help groups, social enterprises and community led initiatives.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog has won a UN climate award for 2016, is one of the 13 projects to be recognised at the forthcoming UN climate summit in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November, reports The Hindu.
In an official release, the UNFCCC, the nodal UN climate body, has applauded the project for building a rural distribution network of 1,100 women entrepreneurs facilitating access to clean energy, water and sanitation products and services in several communities.
SSP works to increase access to nutritious food, leading to increased food consumption and increased income. It also aware women and girls of deprived communities about proper sanitation, hygiene and enables them to get better nutrient absorption and retention.
Prema Gopalan, co-founder of SSP, has worked for 10 years in the clean energy sector that many of the women in her NGO hail from the Marathwada drought-hit areas and have attained a new identity as a result of their entrepreneurial work, reports The Hindu.
SSP’s core approach to empower and strengthen the grassroots women to take on new public roles as entrepreneurs supported by its following robust social enterprise ecosystems:
- Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprises (SURE) in rutal marketing and distribution
- Sakhi Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) in skills and entrepreneurship
- Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK) in innovative finance
- Sakhi Arogya Samudaya Trust (SAST) in preventive health services
Images credit: SSP India
Moving on from recovery to building community resilience, SSP and its women networks have spread their efforts across 6 disaster prone States in India.
It includes 2,000 villages in 14 climate-threatened rural districts. Around 7,500 women entrepreneurs launched and 38,000 micro enterprises by SHG members financed.
Some of the awards and recognitions of SSP are mentioned below:
- Winner at 6th mBillionth South Asia Award (2015)
- Finalist at India Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2015)
- Winner at Best Innovation in Rural Energy Sector – Bihar Innovation Forum (2014)
- Winner at Vodafone Mobiles for Good (2014)
- Runner up at EdelGive Social Innovation Honors (2012)
- Finalist in Social Entrepreneur of the Year – UNDP (2008)
SSP has also partnered with local governments and private organizations that have steered their communities on the path of resilient development for new opportunity of livelihoods and income sources.
wPOWER is SSP’s latest scaled up partnership initiative since 2012, in collaboration with USAID/India and the Government and private sector, to launch rural women in the clean energy business In the rural districts of Bihar and Maharashtra.
Some of key clients and partner of SSP are – Alfa Laval, Alstom, Eureka Forbes, First Energy, Godrej, Praj Foundation, Sandvik, SECO, Vodafone Foundation, Yes Bank, Groots International, Huairow Commission, Armman and many more.
The major impact from the various initiatives of non-profit organization – more than one million rural low income households improved their quality of life through access to credit, health care insurance, safe drinking water, organic products, bio-mass fuels, solar lighting in India.
If you wish to work with SSP in the capacity of interns and volunteers, write to [email protected]
(Source: SSP India)