through Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative
Walmart runs 21 Cash & Carry stores in India with the mission of enabling ‘small businesses to prosper’. By generating thousands of jobs and sourcing 95% of products locally, Walmart contributes to the local economy as `partners in progress’.
We are growing our business by opening 50 more stores over the next few years.
Women’s Economic Empowerment
Walmart and Walmart India strive to improve the quality of life of employees, customers and communities through financial contributions, in-kind donations and volunteerism. The company supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in skills training, environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment and community development. Through training and sourcing, Walmart India’s Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Initiative is helping to provide sustainable employment opportunities and significantly expanding economic opportunities for women across India. Through a combination of our local programs and support from the Walmart Foundation, we are impacting thousands of women in India positively.
Ever since Walmart launched the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative in September 2011 with the objective to improve the lives of under-served women in farms and factories and provide opportunity to women owned businesses (WOBs), the company has made significant strides in achieving the goals.
Diversity in the Supply Chain
We launched the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WEDP) in April 2016 to support women owned businesses across various categories develop their professional as well as soft skills necessary to build strong businesses and therefore to enable them to achieve higher levels of business growth and make them more resilient in today’s dynamic socio-economic environment. Supported by Walmart and implemented by Vrutti and WEConnect International, the program included robust business management modules that were delivered through experts in workshops and classroom training. During several assessments, it was heartening to see that the program has brought about the desired outcome and impact.
The first cohort of the 32 enterprising women owned businesses (WOBs) from the Class of 2016 from AP, Delhi NCR, Telangana, Punjab & UP and into both food and non-food categories graduated on 13 April 2017. The training modules aimed at helping the women owned businesses build robust businesses comprised Life Skills, IT, Social Media Marketing, Operations, Replenishment, Logistics, Supply Chain, Product Marketing, Financial Planning and Resource Management, Negotiation Skills, among others.
Beyond classroom sessions, the participants met and interacted with Walmart India Senior Leadership Team; engaged and showcased products to Walmart India’s Merchandising team, interacted with Global Sourcing team; visited Best Price Stores to understand the format; and got the opportunity to set up stalls and attend Think Big, the largest international confluence of WOBs and buyers. All the WOBs have also got connected to mentors based on their need and interest.
We feel a sense of pride that this program has created a pipeline of strong women owned businesses for the industry’s supply chain as well as for Walmart India, in line with our efforts to be ‘partners in progress’ with the Government in the country.
Women Owned Logo
In October 2015, WEConnect International launched the ‘Women-owned’ logo in India to identify the significance of the high quality & unique products made by women. As part of an overall strategy and goal to source more from WOBs, Walmart supported WEConnect International, to develop the logo to help members easily identify products made by WOBs. All WOBs that are WEConnect-certified are eligible to display the logo on their product packaging.
Training Women in Factories
The ‘Women in Factories’ (WiF) program aims to empower workers, especially women in factories, using life skills as a method to help them cope with life challenges and make advances in their career. The initiative also focuses on building the capacity of the factory management to identify and develop talent, encourage retention and create an enabling environment for the workers.
The WiF program, supported by Walmart Foundation, was initiated in India in 2011 as part of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative. Currently, NGO partner Swasti is implementing the programme in 34 factories located in Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Daman. The program includes critical life skills training on communication, hygiene, reproductive health, occupational health and safety, identifying personal strengths and gender sensitivity.
The program ultimately facilitates creation of an eco-system that promotes, conserves and sustains workforce development and empowerment. The program has:
- Enriched the lives of 26,005 workers (21,885 women and 4,120 men) through 15 hours of Foundational Training in 34 factories.
- Trained 4,055 women under 80-100 hours of Advanced Training to equip them with leadership skills; Sensitized 1,620 Supervisors to create an enabling environment .
- Trained 141 factory trainers (through the training of trainers approach) and 1,297 Peer Educators to sustain the learning, project efforts and outcomes of the WiF program beyond the project period.
Training Women in Retail
The Walmart Foundation supported the Retail Opportunity Training Initiative, collaboration between the Global Fairness Initiative and the Self-Employed Women’s Association – SEWA.
Launched in 2015, this program delivered opportunity–driven training in retail sales and management, bridging the opportunity gap between India’s underemployed women and the country’s fastest growing economic sector.
This effort supported Walmart’s larger Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative.
Key program highlights:
- Trained more than 11,000 participants, both men and women, in Gujarat.
- Delivered a world class, certificate-level curriculum on Retail Sales and Management emphasizing essential technical and “life skills” necessary for full employment
- The program tackled key social issues along with bringing in solutions for long-lasting systemic change.
- Created a Centre of Excellence in retail sector leadership and employment within the highly regarded SEWA Manager Ni School
- The program was supported by a robust job placement platform aimed at promoting women, and placing women certificate holders, in India’s organized retail sector
Women in Farms
Apart from other programs in the last few years, Walmart Foundation supported the following project:
- Agribusiness Systems International’s Sunhara Prayas project facilitated increased socio-economic empowerment for 6,000 smallholder farmers – 5,000 of them women – in the vegetable value chain in four districts of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in India, through improved and inclusive horticultural production and marketing systems.
- This two-year program focused on empowering women through female-achieved, on-farm income gains and addressing barriers (market and social) that restrict their ability to access and exercise control over economic opportunities.