How this Amway India initiative empowers over 3,000 women in rural India
The plight of Indian farmers is very distressing. According to a study by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Survey to assess the situation of agricultural households, in 2013, the average monthly income of farmers stood at 6,426 rupees. In 2016-17, it reached Rs 8,931, a survey conducted by NABARD.
For this reason, most people have migrated from their villages to cities for menial jobs in order to make ends meet.
Mamta and his family of 24 too moved to Delhi from their hometown of Uttar Pradesh. After getting married at the age of 18, Mamta was unable to continue her education and she could not find a job in the city.
To add to the struggles, her husband has passed away from COVID-19 and things have become all the more difficult to deal with. The family struggled with limited income.
At the time, Mamta came across a program to make financially independent disadvantaged women. An initiative of Amway, a global, multi-level marketing company, with an NGO called Deepalaya, it contributes to the development of the urban and rural poor.
Mamta signed up for the program and took a styling class. It helped her explore opportunities, even during the pandemic, to design and create masks, which were in high demand, and sell them in her neighborhood.
With this she began to generate additional income to support the family. Today, Mamata has grown into a confident person and self-employed who has gained financial independence and is a inspiration for many women in his community.
Like Mamta, more than 3,000 women have registered for this program over the past three years, initiated by Amway India in association with various NGOs.
âAmway India’s Livelihood Improvement Program was instituted in 2017 with the first phase in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, followed by the second phase in the resettlement settlements in Delhi,â said Anshu Budhraja, CEO from Amway India. Social history.
He adds that the main objective is to stimulate entrepreneurship among disadvantaged women supporting them with the required skills and providing them with sustainable livelihoods.
âWe train women in the 18-35 age group with skills ranging from beauty and wellness, fashion design, entrepreneurship and other soft skills, âhe says.
Women’s empowerment and livelihoods
In the first phase, the pilot project started in Muzaffarpur and Chapra in Bihar and Ambedkarnagar and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh in association with the NGO partner Healing Fields Foundation. The goal at the time was to expand the reach of community health facilitators with the help of disadvantaged women.
âIn the second phase, we are working with the NGO Deepalaya to support and empower women from disadvantaged communities in the resettlement settlements in Delhi to help them acquire the skills required in their entrepreneurial journey,â Anshu shares.
The aim is to equip disadvantaged women with skills and help them start their own business or find a job.
Apart from this, the participants are also trained through specially organized workshops on nutrition and entrepreneurship.
Virtual training session for women
âWe have developed a 1,200 hour dedicated training module to support students with the required skills and provide sustainable livelihood options.
To better equip students, Amway Employees and Amway Retailers / Direct Sellers also run virtual training sessions to familiarize them with the necessary knowledge about marketing, finance, social media related fields, etc., allowing them to run their business in a more professional way.
âIn addition, we plan to support students who want to start their business by financing their business. We also plan to help them connect with banks for credit links to support their businesses, âhe says.
Amway’s CSR team and Deepalaya conceptualized, implemented, monitored and measured the results of the program in Delhi.
The NGO led the implementation on the ground by organizing virtual training sessions on topics such as nutrition, soft skills, interview techniques and use of social media to promote business, among others.
One of the students of the styling course
âWe combined the information and feedback received from the surveys and outreach sessions on the ground in the communities with the education level of the target beneficiaries, their interest and consumer demand,â says Jaswant Kaur, executive director of Deepalaya.
âBased on the assessments, we identified the need to provide livelihood skills in the areas of beauty and well-being, fashion design, nutritional education and entrepreneurship,” She adds.
These students also reached out to more women by sharing their direct experience of the program and encouraged them to join.
The Deepalaya team consists of four instructors as well as a project coordinator and a project manager who oversee the field activities.
âWe connect with students to understand the challenges and help them overcome those challenges. Our team feels better able to help students go the extra mile and achieve desired goals, âsaid Jaswant Kaur.
Anshu says the second phase of the program has benefited 400 women with more than 20,000 indirect beneficiaries (families of these women). Amway India will continue the program with Deepalaya in Delhi, Sohna (Haryana) and Himachal Pradesh, and has a positive impact on the lives of over 500 direct beneficiaries and 25,000 indirect beneficiaries.
Archana, a trainer in fashion design, was happy to share that the students learned new designs in embroidery, salwar, designer costumes, etc.
âSessions on finer aspects such as soft skills, personal grooming, customer interaction and marketing will prepare them to professionally run their businesses in the future,â Archana said.
She adds: âDuring the pandemic, students also made and sold masks, which were in high demand, helping them generate additional income for their family. “
Archana training students
The challenges during the pandemic
âThe project was launched two months before the pandemic. However, we had started basic work to make arrangements in the field and register beneficiaries. As confinement turned our lives upside down, we were faced with several challenges to the implementation of the initiativeÂ», Shares Anshu.
Initially, it was difficult for beneficiaries to adapt to the digital learning mode. Limited internet and device access as well as the challenges of managing household chores including medical emergencies, food needs, childcare, etc., have added to the challenges existing around student education programs.
however, Amway, with Deepalaya, implement new processes to help students access the internet and learn apps like Zoom to stay connected and continue their education.
Teachers at Deepalaya have also worked tirelessly to advise and educate students on technology and applications. For their convenience, different time slots have been allocated according to their schedule. Despite the external challenges caused by the pandemic, the the program has progressed through collaborative efforts from Amway and Deepalaya.
Speaking about the way ahead, Anshu said they plan to continue to nurture this entrepreneurial spirit through tailor-made programs, transmit the skills necessary for the sustainability of a business, while providing a community of mentors to support and guide every step of the way.
“In accordance with the decision of the Government of India Atmanirbhar Bharat and lessons learned from our previous projects, we aim to expand this initiative by adding more than 3,000 beneficiaries in different locations in India over the next two years, âhe said.