Sakhi Melawa is a platform for peer Learning and advocacy events where women leadership interact with local government to access resources and programmes in entrepreneurship and drought prevention practices.
In the event, women entrepreneurs and leaders share initiatives on climate change adaption practices in agriculture and its impact. New women groups get opportunity to learn new practices implemented by women groups in the villages. The leadership network build an environment in scaling up and strengthening the support with support of government departments and agriculture universities.
Experienced Women entrepreneurs from Sakhi network organized this Melawa for new women entrepreneurs on Energy, Health, Water, Sanitation and Agriculture based enterprises. More than 1000 women entrepreneurs participated in the Melawas organized in the month of March 2016 at Latur, Solapur, Nanded & Washim & Osmanabad districts in Maharashtra.
Role model women entrepreneurs from wPOWER program had shared their success as entrepreneurs in clean and green energy and how they have upgraded their existing small business by using the knowledge & handholding support from the Sakhi network.
Sakhi Network Melava at Walki Washim on 17th Mar 2016 brought together 149 women leaders with experience in agriculture, SHGs, preventive health programs and entrepreneurship. The Block Development Officer, Washim was present in the melava. Focus of the melava was on sharing information within the SSP’s Sakhi Network on our programs in relation to soil and water conservation programs. Government of Maharashtra has announced this week as Jal Jagruti Saptah because 22nd March is Jal Din (Water Day).
Information was also shared on how the women’s network acts as a platform for sharing successful business strategies, new opportunities, government schemes on health, nutrition, water and sanitation.
The Sakhi Network Melava was organized at Kalabar at Loha taluka in Nanded district 19th March 2016, shared experience in health, agriculture and entrepreneurship. More than 180 women leaders participated in the programme. Agriculture Officer, Loha was present in the melava. The melava was focused on sharing information within communities in relation to soil and water conservation, sustainable agriculture, one acre model, multi cropping, organic farming in vegetable cultivation, etc. The Agriculture officer announced that the government is ready to reach maximum schemes such as soil and water conservation to the women farmers, sustainable agriculture, etc.
Vanita More shared Dal processing unit where she process all kind of Dals according to the season to get more income rather than selling tur to the market directly.
The Sakhi Network Melava at Solapur on March 15, 2016 brought together over 250 grassroots women leaders. The women leaders provided information on importance of collective strength of women. Emphasis on network creation of women was shared. Women entrepreneurs were encouraged to be a part of groups in their villages and SSP’s Sakhi network. Women’s Network which will be a platform for women entrepreneurs to share successful business strategies, new opportunities, access to government benefits and advocate on other issues.
The The Sakhi Melava was held at Latur on March 14, 2016. More than 200 grassroots women leaders and entrepreneurs participated in the event. They have shared their experiences and initiatives for the aspiring women entrepreneurs and put up exhibition stalls at the venue. Government officials gave inspiring inputs to the grassroots women participants on how their involvement brings value to rural development.
Women leadership and Network building initiatives
Before this training, I was not able to speak at home and keep my desire and thinking inside. But this training programme made me to speak, express my feelings and thoughts in front of others. Now I run my business very well and recognised as a leaders of change.” – Surekha Patil from Musti village.
Surekha support other women in her village to take diverse crop which will increase the income as well food availability at home. She planted Moringa in two acres of land with proper plan and earn a good income as well as reduce the water usage. Group of women now monitors all the village resources which are available for community midday meal, health and aganwadi services.
Story of Savitri Patil from Dongoan village tells how she become Arogya Sakhi three years ago where she worked for pregnant women and families by offering home based care and guidance. “When I completed my training, I have to practice at home with my family and I detected my husband having high sugar. So we went to the doctor with my husband for checkup and doctor told me that you are doing a good job in identifying diseases. That words from the doctor increased my confidence. For the last three years I do health awareness & preventive testing in my community and earn some good money. At the same time, I also started cloth business and I earn Rs 10,000 every month from my both business.
Impact: More than 25 women from groups inspired by her work and started small business. She always guide and support them in their business activities. Due to this the business of Savitri and other women in the village has increased.
Rashida Sheikh from Tuljapur shared her experience on how shed decided her business product after participating in the training.
“When I shared my business idea with my husband and other family members all opposed my idea. But I decided strongly and started the business within six months. My earnings convinced my family and realized that there is a demand for the product in the local area. To strengthen my business I took Rs. 100,000 from SSK and increased the business. Now all family members are involved in the same business and employed 25 women in our production work. We are earning Rs 40,000 from the business and my total investment reached up to Rs 10,00,000.”
Savita Boaradkar from Kekethubra explained the importance of Savings and Credit Groups to support for small enterprises in her village. She support seven women to start business and all are doing small business for the last seven years.
As a big achievement, eleven women entrepreneurs from Sakhi Network honored by the Zilla Parishad, Osmanabad under Umed program for successfully running their business since two years and earning more than Rs 10000 monthly.
Block Development Officer (BDO) Badarge Sahib from Washim said that the women should be the part of larger business network and only these network can create great opportunity for business with low resources.
Vandana Wakudkar shared her experience about the community participation on Water & Soil conservation work which is impacted to 250 acres of land. Before this initiatives her village was depended on tanker supply for drinking water. To address water issues, they took different activities like Jal Saksharata Abhiyan, micro planning of water resources, conducting village gramsabhas etc. Shobha Goare said how women managed animal fodders in drought by applying new techniques and information on Azola & Hydroponic fodder.
Women leadership and advocacy with local Government
Sakhi Melawa events were used as an opportunity to advocate the role of women leadership and community initiatives in drought prevention practices which can be scale up through the government program & resources. In Latur, Washim, Solapur & Nanded women leaders invited the block development officers and agriculture officers to showcase how women are organized and working towards addressing drought in the villages by introducing various resilience practices. Women leaders interacted with government officials and explained how they are becoming leaders of change and advisors within their communities and effectively implementing drought mitigation initiatives. Women leaders demanded that government should value their resources and skills and involve them in local planning and monitoring spaces related to drought prevention programmes.
Osmanabad agriculture leaders traveled to drought affected districts and demonstrated women leadership roles are important in bringing changes in the villages and community. Partnership with government and realising women’s initiatives by government is another measure to scale up the practices by accessing resources, programmes and schemes.