Institution of Culture and Rural Development (I-CARD), Johrat, Assam, India
Project: Women's Literacy program
Status: Almost 800 women empowered in 2019! The process will continue in 2021
I-CARD mission is to put the "tribals" on the development map of Assam, through a time bound program of systematic and intensive sustainable development strategies at every level, and thus educate the community to be cumulatively self-sufficient in developing themselves through internal indigenous resources. I-CARD ensures a successful future for the community through powerful youth projects and runs a holistic campaign to promote health awareness among women and children.The NGO helps to keep, preserve, protect and unite the cultural identity, traditional values, language and literature of the Mising tribes from disappearance. FrauenPower e.V. had provided I-CARD funding for a literacy program for women. The aim of this project was to empower over 797 Mising tribal women in Assam by providing them with basic reading and writing skills over a period of one year. Animators and volunteers conducted the lessons in the villages; classes which took place in the evenings so that they did not interfere with the daily work of the women. In addition to literacy classes, training courses for the development and empowerment of women was also carried out. These included sessions on women's rights, social justice, health care, family planning, preserving the Mising culture, forming support groups, business development skills, girls' education and so on. Over 800 women learnt in a span of one year the basic alphabet and how to sign their names. The women asked to continue with the literacy program in 2020, which was approved by the FrauenPower e.V. board, but due to Covid-19 no classes were conducted this year. This program will continue in 2021.
Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation (KRMEF), Kathmandu, Nepal, http://www.krmef.org
Project: Women's Health Camps
Status: Over 300 women underwent a health check-up in 2019!
KRMEF creates a healthy, sustainable environment that embodies environmentally friendly practices for the well-being of local communities in and around Kathmandu, Nepal. Its main goal is to promote health and well-being in the poorest communities by creating sustainable change through environmentally friendly programs. FrauenPower e.V. funded KRMEF to conduct 2 health camps for 300 women, with the aim of improving their health and that of their communities. It was hoped that by improving the health of women, the standard of living of their families and their communities can be increased. It was also hoped that the health camps will help create awareness of the environment and healthy living among the women. The two health camps were successfully conducted in 2019, and two more were planned for 2020 which however didn't take place due to Covid-19 restrictions.
MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai, India, https://www.mssrf.org
Project: Women's Eco-preneurship Program
Status: Over 30 women trained in 2019
MSSRF is a non-profit foundation whose goal is to accelerate the use of modern science for sustainable agricultural and rural development. It specifically focuses on tribal and rural communities with emphasis on the poor, on women and on nature. The Foundation applies appropriate scientific and technological options to solve practical agricultural and food problems faced by rural populations. FrauenPower e.V. supported a project to strengthen the skills and knowledge of tribal women to become "eco-preneurs", as part of the "eco-project" in Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu. It was recognized that tribal women had limited access to training and the development of organic precursors, that they lacked market awareness, and that they lacked the ability to use local plant resources for their benefit. The aim of this training program was to create awareness of the conservation and sustainable use of local resources, to expand the value-added-oriented training for the primary and secondary processing of locally available plant genetic resources, to establish financial connections for tribal women and market connections for their products, and finally the development of cadres of tribal women as trainers of trainers for the development of the rural “eco-preneurs”. This project aimed to empower women - especially in the age group between 20 and 35 years - and to give them the opportunity to use their natural environment and the available resources for a sustainable and mutual benefit. This project was successfully completed in 2019 with 30 women completing their training.
The Zuri Initiative Trust, Nairobi, Kenya, www.zuri-initiative.com
Project: The Zuri Initiative Women's Empowerment Program
Status: Over 30 women were empowered in 2019. Ongoing project.
The Zuri Initiative is a non-profit and social enterprise that was founded in 2018 to support poor women in and around Nairobi (Kenya). Zuri's vision is to create a sustainable future in which women and communities are socially and economically empowered. The initiative aims to empower women, promote entrepreneurship, alleviate poverty and transform communities with social capital. Zuri is currently recruiting and hiring low-income women with little, or no schooling, to become sales agents for natural hair care products produced by the initiative. Before the women start selling the products, they must undergo a three-month training program (known as ZIWEP - Zuri Initiative Women Empowerment Program) that covers topics of group structure, sales representatives, hair products, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, personal trust, and so on . FrauenPower has decided to support both the ZIWEP training, as well as Zuri's Social Capital Credits (SoCCs) initiative (a concept developed by Asia Initiatives, www.asiainitiatives.org). It is a virtual community currency for social welfare. It's a bottom-up initiative that gives communities the power and freedom of choice to share in their success. People engage socially to earn SoCCs which they can then redeem to improve their lives. The female salespeople involved in selling Zuri hair care products earn SoCCs by recycling, sending their children to school, getting health checkups, volunteering and helping their neighbors. They can redeem the SoCCs they have earned for school fees, books and uniforms for their children, hygiene items for themselves and their daughters, water drums for water extraction and solar lamps. Over 30 women were empowered through the ZIWEP initiative last year and many of these women are making a good living selling Zuri hair care products. A number of women have used their SoCCs points to obtain something they desperately required. Over a 100 women had registered to join Zuri's ZIWEP program in 2020 but this had to be terminated due to Covid-19. Training restarted for a small group in September 2020 and it is hoped that more can be empowered in the next few months.
Divya Jyoti Mahila Vikash (DJMV), Odisha, India, http://djmv.cfsites.org
Project: Menstrual Hygiene Management and Sanitary Napkin Production
Status: Over 200 girls empowered and a Napkin Production Unit set-up
DJMV, a non-governmental organization, is committed to the improvement and development of neglected communities in Odisha. Its main areas of focus are empowering women, livelihood support, organic farming, education, and menstrual hygiene management. It works through community-based initiatives, participation and awareness-raising, mainly through self-help groups (SHGs) of women. Over 1250 women are served by SHGs. FrauenPower supported DJMV financially for 40 women, from different SHGs, to set up a production unit for hygiene articles (sanitary towels). The coastal fishing communities in Odisha continue to view menstrual blood as unclean and shameful, and women tend to neglect the importance of proper menstrual management. This leads to a number of infections. Another problem is that either families cannot afford sanitary napkins, or the napkins are not bio-degradable and disposal a real problem where waste is not collected. Hopefully the lives of some women will improve, now that the cheap pads are available locally in the villages. Many women are also making a living now by selling the napkins from door to door. In addition to the manufacture of sanitary napkins, over 200 girls were trained on the subject of “Adolescents and Sexual Reproductive Health and Menstrual Hygiene Management”. These girls are supposed to pass on their skills to others.
Center for Development (CfD), Ahmadabad, India, https://www.cfdngo.org
Project: Girls Empowerment Program
Status: Over 30 girls were empowered in 2020. Ongoing project.
CfD was founded in 1996 to address the problem of child labor in the poorer areas of Ahmadabad city. It started with formal education for poor children and addressed the rights and problems of vulnerable groups (girls, women, premature marriage, violence, etc.) and sought to empower the oppressed, exploited and disadvantaged communities (mostly women and girls). CfD has set up the "Kadam Resource Center for Girls (KADAM)", in which traumatized or neglected girls (mainly Muslims, daughters of single mothers, or mistreated in their homes) are provided with a space where they can take part in therapy sessions, training, literacy and educational programs, and workshops (computer and internet knowledge, self-defense courses, training to become a health worker or beautician, etc.). The center also helps girls find work once they have completed 10th grade. FrauenPower supported KADAM in 2020 and 30 girls managed to participate in the various programs, in person or virtually, despite the Covid-19 related restrictions. Two of the girls have managed to get admission in the prestigious St. Xavier's College in Ahmadabad.
Shohratgarh Environmental Society, SES, Lucknow, India, www.sesindia.org
Project: Digital Empowerment for Lucknow Adolescent Girls
Status: Just started (October 2020)
The Shohratgarh Environmental Society has been in operation for more than 34 years and has done a lot of work on women's and girls empowerment. They bring about social change by knowledge sharing, capacity building, experimental learning and entrepreneurial development in sustainable ecological manner. FrauenPower e.V. is funding a digital empowerment program, being implemented by SES, with the aim of investing in young girls and equipping them with skills, confidence and life options so that they have a better future. The project will address the vulnerabilities of young girls living in the social, cultural and economic environments of a slum (which can be very challenging). According to SES, 51% of girls raised in Lucknow's slums will marry before they are 18 years old, 56% are anemic, 72% of those who married early did not get any education, and 14% became pregnant as teenagers. The project focuses on empowering 1,200 young girls, aged 15 to 21 years, through 13 Girl Resource Centers in 20 Lucknow slums. The girls have access to teachers, computers and literature at the Centers, where they can improve their English and computing skills. The problems faced by young girls will be identified in order to provide them with the appropriate support, including that from parents, community leaders and service providers. The girls will also be given access to basic services such as health, education, nutrition and hygiene.
Voluntary Integration for Education and Welfare of Society, VIEWS, Odisha, India, www.viewsindia.org.in
Project: Kitchen Gardens, SoCCs and better farming techniques
Status: Just started (October 2020)
The Voluntary Integration for Education and Welfare of Society (VIEWS) is a youth centered grass-root organization working to improve food and livelihoods security among marginal and landless farmers in Odisha, India. They have been in operation since 2008. FrauenPower e.V. has decided to work with VIEWS to support the social and economic empowerment of tribal women. The women will be taught how to start to organic vegetable/kitchen gardens and how to undertake sustainable agriculture practices in tribal communities, through women's self-help groups. The women will also be carrying out good deeds (such as keeping their environment clean and planting trees) and thereby earn social capital credits. Men from this area have migrated to larger cities to work and have left women behind to tend (or rent) their own limited land. However, many of these women lack knowledge of improved methods of farming and stick to their primitive, time-consuming methods of farming (which also use high-priced chemical fertilizers). This project will, in 10 villages, strengthen and train 30 self-help groups for women in the field of organic farming; promote 300 organic vegetable gardens at household level; train 300 women in organic vegetable gardens, create organic manure and vermin compost pits; plant 300 trees within one year; start cleanliness campaigns and create seed banks for seed conservation. The women have been identified and the training is about to start.
The Zuri Initiative, Nairobi, Kenya, www.zuri-initiative.com
Project: Zuri Vertical Garden Initiative
Status: Just started (November 2020)
This is the second project FrauenPower e.V. is initiating together with The Zuri Initiative Trust (see project 4 above). In this initiative, vertical gardens (VGs) will be established for at least 50 women and their families (total effect in the range of 300-500 people), in the informal settlements of Kibera and Mathare, Ngong Town. VGs are basically large plant growing bags that take up little space and allow kale, spinach and spring onions to be grown on approx. 30 m2 of space. Such a bag should have the capacity to feed a household of 6, produce vegetables year round, and be strong enough to last for 3 years. Such gardens also require less water and improve land productivity, as space utilization is minimal. Each woman will receive a grow bag, wire to stabilize the bag, compost, seeds and training on how to start and maintain her garden. The adoption of these gardens is not only innovative but also addresses the principles of good nutrition, especially in the current Covid-19 circumstances. Moreover, VGs offer the necessary solutions for space problems, generate an income whereby the women can sell surplus produce and, above all, make healthy vegetables available to families. The training for VGs has just begun.