Capacity Development for Rural Marginalized Community for Skill Enhancement and Economic Sustainability
We facilitate rural communities to develop 360-degree business ecosystems and social well-being by building skills and market connect.
A textile rural producer connected with Swavlamban
Women receive training in dyeing and processing of handmade fabric.
Veggie Bag Micro-Enterprise Group in a village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, sorting fresh vegetables.
Kurtis made by rural producers trained under the Swavlamban Program.
Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.
Initiative's representative name
Initiative's representative date of birth
6 September 1973
Initiative’s representative gender
Which eligible market are you based in?
Where are you making a difference?
Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, in India
Website or social media url(s)
When was your organisation founded?
Financial skills and capability
Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
Creating digital tools
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed
A woman in a village in Bhagalpur changed the way we, at Drishtee, looked at our skilling initiative.
We had trained thousands of women in textile skills but were unable to scale. After seeing our struggle a lady came to us and asked, “If we have to make ‘kurtis’ why are you training us in stitching?” I then realised that we needed to provide training that did not only impart a skill but was also product-specific.
Today, we have a hub and spoke model. The most skilled women at the hub provide fabric, cut as per design, to individual lesser skilled women at the spokes, in ‘DIY’ (Do it yourself) kits which gets stitched at their homes. This has improved scale and quality and made stitching a commercial yet household activity.
2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?
Villages are pillaged economically for the benefit of a few, leaving the rural economy and society under distress. The spirit of entrepreneurship, the mainstay of livelihood generation within rural communities, is slowly dying. Families are being forced to migrate for jobs and wage labour. The following are the root causes:
· Lack of livelihood and market-based skilling
· Gaps in market linkage
· Poor access to capital
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Through the Swavlamban Program, we have been able to develop the model of sustainable (Swavlamban) livelihood generation in villages, which provides skilling to communities and creates localised livelihood opportunities through four critical elements:
1. Two-way supply chain model - Bringing the desired inputs to rural producers and taking the final output to the market, developing the cost-effective supply chain solutions with options like local pooling & multi hoping structures.
2. Multi-Skill Centre in a Hub and Spoke Model - Developing customized training programs for livelihood based skilling and continuous upskilling. Optimizing use of trainers and knowledge resource for multiple locations through Hub and Spoke model.
3. Cashless System transaction platform - promoting the virtual digital wallet based market transactions for input and output need and opportunity for barter structures beyond money, like commodity exchange or value-based inputs transfers.
4. Real and Virtual market access for all stages of quality and levels of affordability – i.e. urban-rural, retail-wholesale and semi-finished – finished; reaching out to consumers and producers on one platform.
4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?
Anjana Singh, widow and mother of two children, connected with the Swavlamban program a year ago. She and a few other women in her village were trained in processing cow milk and formed a Micro-Enterprise Group (MEG). Soon, the MEG was collecting cow milk from milk producers in the village and processing it for the urban market. How? Due to our unique integrated approach: product-based skill training that harnesses local knowledge and resources, handholding to build business skills combined with supply chain linkage and market connect platform. Today, with these skills, Anjana Singh and other women of the MEG earn a regular monthly income from selling fixed subscriptions cow milk bottles and are diversifying to produce other dairy products.
5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?
We build sustainable skills for the rural community in the following ways:
1. Entrepreneurial Skills: We equip marginalised farmers to develop their own businesses by building their capacity to aggregate rural produce, process and package, keep financial records, diversify their business and carry out processes that will help them scale up.
2. Livelihood and Market-based skills: We ensure that trainees can produce saleable products and improve efficiency with hand-holding, by the end of their training. Skill acquired is product-specific, mostly through DIY, for in-demand products that can compete in the market.
3. Multiple livelihoods: To mitigate the risk from dependence on a single livelihood, multiple members from a household are engaged in different skills. This helps them to earn a regular income year-round with shared resources that lower production cost.
5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress
Our multi-skill short-term programs are specific to value chain points, e.g. growing tomatoes or making sauce or puree - all 3 count as 3 different skill categories. Programs are repeated so that interested producers can have continuous learning in Food, Clothing and Home decor products. Outcomes are measured in terms of conversion of trainees into producers active in the market. Quality and efficiency of producers is measured through customer engagement and sales. In case the products fail to create market demand, skills are upgraded. The whole process is monitored through an IT-based system.
7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
There are Skill Development initiatives for the formal sector or those focused on single trade activity with a deeper penetration in a specific rural area. To address multiple challenges faced by most rural communities, particularly women who cannot migrate or engage in fixed employment, we integrate solutions such as Open marketplace platform for local sales and e-commerce; Flexible engagement through skills which complement existing activity - like dairy or agriculture, which can be done in free hours; Linking multi-skilled hands as one enterprise unit, dividing the work activity.
8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Over 18,000 rural families from 170 plus villages have been engaged in the Swavlamban program.
Over 7000 individuals trained in livelihood-based skills in villages.
Over 5,800 rural families connected with livelihoods.
Over 2,800 rural producers of different products connected with livelihoods. Producers earn $35 per month on an average.
Around 390 individuals enabled to form Micro-Enterprise Groups (MEGs) in villages. MEGs earn $ 60 per month on an average.
We have also been able to make the following impact:
1. Increase in happiness and hope for the future as women feel financially secure for themselves and their families due to regular income.
2. They have also developed a habit of saving and have experienced an increase in savings.
3. Increase in participation in decision-making as women feel more confident and contribute to the family income.
9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
As a social enterprise, we have two channels for financial support:
1. We partner with government agencies and corporates under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandate to work towards the cause of rural skill training and livelihoods.
2. We use commercial activities with market-oriented business plans to support our social activities and the services we provide in rural areas. We are working with rural communities as partners in developing rural businesses and hence have a profit-sharing model, where we keep a limited margin of the returns generated as a fee for the supply chain and market connect services we provide to rural stakeholders. This model sustains our program and provides continuous support to the community.
There are 7 board members including 3 Co-Founders. We have a team of 105 people (Full-Time: 74; Part-Time: 28). The basic qualification is graduation and we look for social sensitivity and a large heart to contribute consistently. As the project grows, to strengthen the community-based ecosystem, we will rely more on local community enablers, who will identify and connect potential beneficiary families to the Program, ensure that solutions are running effectively and are owned by the community.
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