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Projects: Women's Empowerment

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SPADE believes empowerment of women to be key to socio-economic development. Empowered women can play active role in the family as well as in the society. Therefore the organization puts women as its central focus in many of its programs.

SPADE has taken up following programs specifically for empowerment of rural women in a tribal village named Dhemai, situated at a distance of about 40 km from Guwahati. Although located at the periphery of Guwahati city, it lacked not only all basic amenities but also the required mindset to embrace development and change. The same also holds true in case of Bonda, located in the periphery of the city.

SPADE took up the following activities in village Dhemai and Bonda:

Development of Women's Self-Help Groups (SHG)

Altogether 4 women SHGs have been formed in the village Dhemai and 1 group at Bonda colony at Bonda under SPADE’s guidance. These groups were equipped with the required knowledge for running day-to-day SHG activities like accounts keeping, maintenance of records, writing proceeding/resolutions of the meetings etc. These groups have started lending money from their revolving fund to the individual members to tide over both productive and consumptive needs. We impressed upon them the need to cultivate the healthy habit of timely repayment of such loans to improve credit worthiness of the groups. It is observed that groups not only realized the importance of saving money, but also adopted measures to deal with defaulters to ensure timely repayment. These groups have also taken up different innovative measures to expand its capital base, like group cultivation of vegetables, rendering group service during peak season of cultivation, lending pig to individual members for rearing on behalf of the group, etc.

Initiative for Commercialization of Agriculture

Attracting the traditional cultivator communities towards commercial crops is a tough proposition until and unless the viability of such crops is demonstrated to them with their active participation in such venture. SPADE has initiated the SHGs into the cultivation of ginger through the organic method of cultivation . These groups have harvested the produce and sold it in the market with a good profit margin. The experience thus earned has encouraged them to take up the cultivation of commercial crops of various description.

Marketing of products of SHGs

Marketing is one of the most essential parts of any enterprise. This will ensure business and sustainability. In order to facilitate access to marketing avenues to the SHG groups for their products, SPADE introduced the groups to exhibition cum sale held at “Nedfi Hat” in Guwahati in the month of May 2003. With the commissioning of Advance looms in the community development center viz., SAROTHI at the village Dhemai there is continuous flow of different handloom products which are being marketed by SPADE. Now the need is felt for development of a more systematic marketing strategy to sustain a commercial scale of production by the groups.

Adult literacy Program for Women

SPADE has taken up programs for adult literacy specifically for women. The Gyan Vigyan Samity, Assam, imparted training to a few volunteers from the village Dhemai to carry out the literacy campaign. The Samiti also supplied the relevant study materials for the purpose. The Self Help Groups are being sensitized about the need of literacy. Under the guidance of SPADE the groups have made literacy class a regular activity for the benefit of the illiterate members of respective SHGs.

Community resource centre, “Mahila & SishuVikash Kendra - SAROTHI” at village Dhemai

SPADE feels that women have immense potential for self development in all aspects of life. It is their lack of opportunity and exposure that stands in the way to their self realization. Interaction among women in an environment free from family distractions often opens up their mind which leads to development thinking. For this a space for the women is essential.

The Community Resource Centre viz, SAROTHI is conceived in the line of the above thinking, especially keeping the rural women and children in view. It is expected to be a center very dear to the hearts of the rural women, which will give them opportunities for capability development both personal and economic.

The construction work of the centre was started under guidance of SPADE on the plot allotted to the Dhemai Mahila Samity with the aid of Rs.60000/- sanctioned by the Nartap Gaon Panchayat in the financial year 2003-2004 for the purpose. The first phase of the work has been completed within the sanctioned amount of money with active participation, monitoring and supervision of by the “village construction committee” constituted by SPADE.

The center has been commissioned with the installation of two Advance Hand looms and a library for the children. Programme for different productive trainings keeping in mind the suitability of the target groups are planned in the center to cater to the needs of the area.

The second phase of construction has been started with the help of Rs. 50,000/- sanctioned by the local MLA Honourable Capt. Rabin Bordoloi from his Local Area Development fund. Out of this, Rs. 38,000/- has been received so far. Realisation of the rest Rs.12,000/- is expected to see the completion of the second phase.

The centre is expected to fulfil the following objectives-

  • A venue for conducting periodic meetings of the women SHGs and other development related functions of the Mahila Samity.
  • A resource centre cum library for the literacy campaign and other educational activities with special focus on women and children.
  • A venue for production, processing, storing and demonstration of the products of the target groups.

Web Page Author: Autri Dutta URL:http://www.spadeindia.org/women.html Last modified: August 31, 2004

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