The project, which is being implemented in Rajasthan started in May 2019 and will continue through April 2024. In comparison with other parts of the country, the state has experienced fairly solid economic growth; however, women’s socio-economic status has not evolved at the same pace. The project aims to increase the capacity of marginalised women in the countryside by organising self-help groups (shgs) within a broader educational programme. Capacity-building on how to establish and lead shgs is included in the programme. A further goal entails increasing competence in business and financial matters.
Women’s marginalised position and economic vulnerability in Rajasthan manifests itself in the high incidence of child marriage, poor health, exclusion from decision-making processes, and illiteracy. The 2011 census showed that women in the state had the lowest level of literacy in the country, 53%, compared with the national average of 65%. Only 14% of micro, small and medium-sized businesses in Rajasthan are owned by women. This is considerably lower than the national average of 19%. It is vital to build the capacity of socio-economically marginalised women to both participate in and contribute to the state’s growing economy. The project will also make it possible for these women to challenge existing power structures, norms, and traditions.
As part of the project, the women in the self-help groups receive education in business and trade skills, as well as in identifying potential risks and rewards. The women receive training in financial decision making so that they will feel both secure and motivated in establishing their own small businesses after completing the programme. The self-help groups have often benefited women living in the countryside, by increasing opportunities to save and to access credit. The groups also enable them to exchange experiences and support one another. The groups have thus contributed to raising women’s socio-economic status.
To contribute to reducing poverty and vulnerability among marginalised women in Rajasthan by addressing root causes leading to unsustainable livelihoods and limited respect for their basic rights.
The project focuses on the UN’s SDG 5, Gender Equality. It also focuses on SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities, as the project targets marginalised women. On a general level, it also contributes towards SDG 1, No Poverty, as the aim of the project is to promote women’s ability to make a decent livelihood in a long-term, economically sustainable manner.