December 17 - 19
National Institute of Design
India
Megha Desai

Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA)
Ahmedabad, India

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Megha Desai holds a degree in Commerce and Law from Gujarat University and has undergone the Senior Management Development Programme from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Before joining the Self Employed Women's Association - SEWA, in Ahmedabad, she has worked as Senior Research Analyst with the Center for International Financial Analysis and Research Inc., USA . At SEWA she is currently Coordinator for Economic Development after working in various capacities in the Technical and Management Consultancy unit. There she has led the initiative for rebuilding war-torn Afghanistan that enabled more than 1300 Afghan women to achieve economic empowerment.

www.sewa.org




Social Networking:
SEWA's Sister To Sister Initiative For Rebuilding Afghanistan

Motivation
30+ years of war have not only destroyed the physical and human assets of Afghanistan - they have also killed hope of its people for peace.
In conditions, where many women who are widowed or left alone to care for families of 6-7 children in a harsh social environment with a lack of security and employment, we see many who are confident and eager to learn new skills.
This ignited our attention at SEWA, the Self Employed Women's Association, to take-up work for Afghan women.
We feel privileged to be invited by the Government of India to lead such a development initiative.

Approach
SEWA has deployed a well tested method – the integrated approach to sustainable livelihood generation. Basically this strategy follows two important directions:
Based on Feasibility studies we
Altogether we trained more than 1300 poor Afghan sisters on market led vocational subjects, small-enterprise-development and management.

Conclusion
Through SEWA's training many Afghan women who were deprived of opportunities for socio-economic growth developed enterprise skills and gained employability. Most of these women have either joined small-scale-businesses or organizations who were keen to employ them. Over 90% of the trained women found positions where they could apply their newly learned skills. 60% were able to make a monthly salary of $90 - compared to the average of $15.
At least 25 micro-enterprises have been established.
The women invested towards seed-capital, prepared business-plans, started production and developed backward-forward linkages, running entire supply-chains by themselves. All this helped to foster a sense of ownership and accountability. The turnover facilitated so far exceeds $41,655.

Extensions
Another outcome of SEWA's initiative has been the creation of Baagay Khazana Sabah Women Worker's Federation - BKSF, by war-affected women of Afghanistan as a non-governmental, non-political, democratic, non ethnic, secular organization. While the formal registration process has been initiated, BKSF has already developed a platform for empowering women through different educational programmes. BKSF is committed to provide employment opportunities which will help providing Afghan families with stable income, affording secure livelihood, and ultimately creating peace.

References
External Publicity Division, Ministry of External Affairs, India. India and Afghanistan - A development partnership.
url.iidi.in

Sewaorg. SEWA Baagay Khazana Wealth Of Afghan Women url.iidi.in

Shashikumar, V.K. (2010). The India Factor in Afghanistan. Indian Defence Review.
url.iidi.in

Sewaorg. Stitching the dreams.
url.iidi.in

Sewaorg. A Bridge Of Friendship ‘Bagey Khazana’ (SEWA). url.iidi.in



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