Skill Development and Women’s Empowerment Activities
ChildFund India is part of ChildFund International, USA, a global child development and protection agency. ChildFund India has been working in India since 1951 with child centred program expertise. Our interventions span from maternal-child health, early childhood development, education, as well as youth & woman empowerment and livelihoods, with a cross-cutting focus on child protection, gender equality, and emergency response/disaster risk management.
ChildFund India works in over 60 districts across 14 States and 2 Union Territories. Through long-term partnerships with grassroots NGOs and direct implementation, ChildFund India annually reaches nearly two million children, youth, and their families in over 6,000 communities/villages.
ChildFund India’s interventions are aligned with age-specific and contextual needs, utilizing a unique Life Stage approach based on children’s experiences of deprivation, exclusion, and vulnerability:
- Life Stage 1: Maternal Health and Early Child Development (ages 0-5)
- Life Stage 2: Childhood and Adolescence (ages 6-14)
- Life Stage 3: Youth/Young Adults (age 15-24)
Our program life cycle is completed only when a healthy, educated child becomes a self-reliant, financially secure young adult who contributes actively to family, community and society. Hence, ChildFund’s program strategies are designed in order to support youth as well as women, as they are the backbone of the family, to achieve improved economic, physical and social well-being and become change agents in their families and community. Civic engagement and leadership training is one of the core components of ChildFund’s livelihood programs to empower youth and women to contribute positively in their communities.
A productive youth workforce is a powerful channel for upward socioeconomic mobility. Recognizing the same, ChildFund has been supporting underprivileged youth across its operational areas by providing employability and entrepreneurship training through its sustainable livelihood centres called “DAKSH”. DAKSH is a distinct youth employment model that strives to make youth work ready by combining market-based skills training, entrepreneurship development, financial literacy, and life skills training which involves personal competencies, problem-solving and managing conflicts, effective habits, for long term success in the workplace. The skill development trainings are provided based on the market and interest of the participants. The courses include technical as well as non-technical such as ITES, Beauty culture, Hospitality, Computer Skills, Garment Making, Retail Business, Automobile Repairing, Welding, Nursing, etc., giving them ample opportunities to have a sustainable livelihood.
As part of this initiative, we work with over 21,000 youth in around 1,000 Youth Collectives as well as over 600 Self Help Groups for aspiring female entrepreneurs, from across India. More than 2700 youth have been successfully trained under its programs with a placement and entrepreneurship rate of 60% and 10%, respectively.
ChildFund places special focus on enhanced skills and training on agriculture and allied services to help women and youth. Some of the key interventions that have been carried out in this domain are adoption of appropriate agriculture practices, increased cultivation of commercial crops, promotion of high value crops, group sale of commercial produce to get fair returns, increased access to government funds to conserve soil and water for agriculture, technical training of farmers on commercial crops (oil seeds, vegetables), organic cultivation, capacitating youth for Entrepreneurship and Agro-based business, engaging family, farmers groups and CBO leaders on Agro-based business and developing linkages with livelihood service providers for accessing the services.
ChildFund India has developed a series of livestock employability models that allow rural populations to maintain a sustainable income using the resources already available to them. Its poultry farming livelihoods initiative has provided women (BPL) and their families in its operational areas with a sustained source of income.
ChildFund India has been working in Jhabua, Dhar and Alirajpur District in Madhya Pradesh (MP) for the last 7-8 years. These districts are predominantly tribal areas located in the western part of Madhya Pradesh. The area has low fertility of land and soil erosion coupled with the scarcity of rainfall (an annual rainfall of less than 800mm with every 3rd year declared as drought). Considering these limitations, mono-cropping is practiced with poor productivity & minimal returns. Livelihoods in these areas are dependent only on rain-fed agriculture; lack of alternative livelihood options, force people to migrate in other states for the labour work in exploitative environment.
Over the last decade, poultry production has become a large and profitable economic opportunity. In tribal households, poultry farming is generally not practiced as a source of livelihood but rather it is an integral part of their self-sustaining tribal living because of which the scale is missing. Since the tribal community, mainly follows traditional methods for poultry farming due to lack of exposure to modern technology and lack of market connections/linkages, they get insufficient profit margins left with no bargaining power and are unable to exploit and cater to the demand existing there. Despite all economic activities carried out by women, ownership rests with the men.
To address this issue, ChildFund implemented a Poultry rearing initiative in Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh with 60 BPL (Below Poverty Line) and tribal families. This initiative has yielded positive outcomes and has brought significant change in the lives of women and their families. Undertaking transformative work in some of the remotest areas of the country with the lowest human development indicators through sustained community engagement, has equipped ChildFund with a strong understanding of the needs as well as challenges prevailing at the micro-level.
Taking this endeavor forward, in 2016, ChildFund India partnered with Citi Foundation and initiated a project – ‘Poverty to Prosperity’. The project aims to work towards equipping 1000 below poverty line female youth, from the tribal belt of Alirajpur, Dhar and Jhabua regions of Madhya Pradesh, with entrepreneurship, leadership and financial inclusion skills required for creating an alternate source of livelihood in poultry farming. ‘Poverty to Prosperity’ program will train the women from the community to scientifically carry forward ‘poultry farming’ creating viable, sustainable livelihood options for them, and develop a self-sustaining model through the formation of a Producers Company to take the poultry farming to a profitable scale and provide these tribal women an opportunity for better marketing and enhance their bargaining power, giving a much needed boost to the local tribal economy.
It’s been just few months since the launch of the project, and the foundation laying work has almost completed. The project has been able to successfully establish 8 centres for training in the project areas and has also initiated providing 5 day training on poultry management, feed management, disease management, record keeping and demonstrated entrepreneurship as well as leadership skills to the identified participants. Till date, nearly 250 women have been trained under the same helping them become entrepreneurs in Poultry Farming.