Women Empowerment

Women's empowerment is the key to progress in rural communities and has proved a highly effective vehicle for change in all sectors. Through nurturing women's self-help groups, YUVA encourages women to become more active in the social and political spheres and to advocate for gender equity in their community.

Because women's empowerment underlies all YUVA's areas of operation, the focus on turning marginalized women into true stakeholders in their communities has not only advanced their status but has also resulted in more stable households, healthier families, greater political influence, and more prosperity overall.

Besides the tangible benefits of women's empowerment projects, the greatest accomplishment in this sector is the women's newfound self-respect, belief in their potential, and confidence in their capacity to change their lives.

A self-help group is an informal association of 10 to 20 poor women belonging to the same village and sharing a common socio-economic background. The group enables its members to gain their identity as individuals, while realising – and utilising – the immense power of mutual aid. It provides them with a platform from where they can access banks and public services, and spearhead changes that affect them as poor women. These self-help groups work for the women in a number of ways: they provide guidance; they give support and assistance to women; and they identify and promote home-based enterprises among its members. These home-based enterprises, called “honeybee activities”, involve a myriad of ventures. The SHG members take loans from the SHGs and set out to begin an enterprise of their own. As a result of YUVA’s Intervention efforts, an increasing number of rural families – especially women – are engaging in independent livelihood activities. These activities serve as opportunities for diversifying and enhancing their Incomes.

YUVA gives particular attention to women because even as they comprise half of the country’s population, they remain the most disadvantaged sector among the poor. Yet it is the women who prove to be most effective in fostering change in their families and communities.

With YUVA’s guidance and the members’ own experiences, S.H.Gs can potentially play four key roles through the different stages of evolution:- mutual help, financial intermediation, livelihood planning, and social empowerment.

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