The projects below were approved at our April 2016 board meeting.
In April 2016, the RSWR Board approved 21 new projects. 6 of the projects are in Sierra Leone, 3 projects are in Kenya and 12 in India. Each of these projects will support between 20 and 45 women to begin small businesses that fit with their skills, their culture, and the resources and markets available in their local economy.
Society for Rural Health and Development Project
Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Mini snacks outlets, Vegetable vending, Rice vending, Fruit vending
SRHDP is a current partner of RSWR. The women in the villages adjacent to the current RSWR project have asked for a similar project to be started in their villages. The initial beneficiaries of this project will be women who are in particular distress because they have been abandoned by their husbands, have been widowed, have recently been released from the bonded labor system, have disabled children to care for, or who have HIV/AIDS.
The women will first receive training and then they will receive loans of $117 – $142, depending on their business. They will repay in 10 months with 10% interest. They expect to net $82 to $116 per month, again, depending on which business they choose.
Jana Priya Seva Samithi
Andhra Pradesh, India
Beneficiaries: 30 migrant women without male breadwinners
Projects: Vegetable vending, Petty shops, Fish sales, Sari sales, Empty bottle business,Tailoring
JPSS received a grant from RSWR in 2014 and have successfully completed that project. The leader of the NGO, Mrs. V. Prasanna Kumari is a grassroots women organizer who lives in the slums among the women she works with.
The beneficiaries of this project are migrant women who have come to Chittoor City from the rural villages and are without male partners. Because they have no male support, they are marginalized and neglected and they find it difficult to feed their children. The migrant families do not have the official registration cards necessary to access government welfare schemes and it takes a long time to obtain these cards. In the meantime, the families are starving.
Five women will do each activity. They will undergo training on revolving fund management and business skills and then they will receive a loan according to the project they have chosen, from $74 to $147. They will repay their loans in 10 months @ 12% interest calculated on a reducing balance. Depending on the project chosen, they expect to net $63 to $99 per month after expenses and loan repayment.
Dungululwa Friends Women Group
Beneficiaries: 25 young married Quaker women
Projects: Green groceries, Tailoring, Poultry, Cereals & groundnuts, Tomatoes, Baked goods
The purpose of this group is to encourage young married women to undertake self employment projects to strengthen their financial resources and create self-reliance for the women. The group has an elected management committee that is re-elected every 3 years. Members meet each week after Meeting for Worship and each woman contributes 50¢ to a merry-go-round scheme. Recently, they have begun making small loans to members with the accrued funds.
The members of the group already have established businesses. They are seeking RSWR funds to expand these businesses. They will be loaned $149 to $199 and repay in 6 months with 2% interest per month. They expect to net $32 to $62 per month. . If members repay on time, the group expects to grow their resources so that they can take new members into their group and give them loans within two years.
Society for Social Service
Andhra Pradesh, India
Project: Dairy cows
SSS works with tribal and Dalit (lowest caste) people. They conduct awareness programs for their women on issues such as women empowerment and the importance of children’s education. They help them access government programs for the poor. SSS was a RSWR partner in 2014-15 with another dairy project. That project is doing well and is still revolving its funds. So far, 25 people have received loans to buy milk cows.
This project will benefit another set of women in newly established self help groups. The women are landless agricultural laborers, but they don’t get enough work to make enough money to lead a sustainable life. Dairy is an ideal project because it can be done part time along with daily chores and the women can still do agricultural work as it comes available. The initial beneficiaries of the project will be 17 women, but each month another beneficiary will receive a loan from the repaid funds. A total of 29 women will received loans by the end of the year. The women will borrow $368 to buy a good quality cow. They expect to make $137 per month from the sale of milk and cow dung. Their monthly net income will be $79 after expenses and loan repayment.
Tewoh Community Development Organization
Bo District, Sierra Leone
Beneficiaries: 30 poor women affected by Ebola
Projects: Bread baking, Soap making, Hair dressing
The target beneficiaries of this project are widows and survivors of Ebola from two communities that have been badly hit by the Ebola virus. 26 people from these two communities died between July and November 2014. There are also many children in the community, including many Ebola orphans for whom the women are providing foster care. Although there have been relief efforts targeting these communities in the form of emergency food and supplies, there has been no program to help the people restart their economic activities.
The goals of this project are to help the women begin income generating projects to support themselves and also to give them training in business skills and education about Ebola and other infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.
The three income-generating activities, bread baking, soap making and hair dressing were chosen because they have a good market in the local community. Each activity will be undertaken by 10 women and they will do the activity jointly. Each woman will borrow $123 and pool it with the others in her group to buy start-up supplies for their business. They will repay over 12 months with 20% interest. Once a group has fully repaid, the funds will be given to another group of 10 women to begin a business. The women expect a monthly income of $63 – $156 each depending on the business.
Association for Social Solidarity and Empowerment Training
Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Vegetable and fruit vending, Flower vending, Petty shops
The target group that ASSET works with are Burial Ground workers. These are among the lowest of the Dalit sub-castes. They perform rituals on the bodies that are brought for cremation and help with the cremation process. Although the families of the dead spend lots of money on flowers and drums for the funeral, they do not think to pay the Burial Ground workers adequate wages. They are just expected to do this job and their children are expected to do it too. The Burial Ground workers have no permanent homes but live in makeshift huts on the edges of the graveyard. They only eat one meal a day because of their poverty. Economic deprivation causes the children to drop out of school and so continue the cycle of poverty and discrimination. ASSET Trust has been forming self help groups with the Burial Ground women and seeks to restore their rights to dignity, equality, education and equal wages.
The beneficiaries of this project have chosen the businesses they wish to engage in. They will receive two days of training and then will be given loans of $89 to $177, depending on the activity chosen. They will repay their loans in 10 months with 10% interest. They expect to net $116 to $129 per month depending on the business.
Maganda Friends Women Group
Beneficiaries: 55 poor Quaker women
Projects: Poultry, Cereals, Firewood
This group belongs to Maganda Friends Church of East Africa Yearly Meeting. The pastor of the Meeting is the Chair Lady of the group and she has arranged training for the women on various topics pertaining to empowerment of rural women. The women formed this group to work together to overcome the many problems of their community, including high poverty levels, high unemployment among women and youth, food insecurity, and poor health standards. They meet once a month and each contribute $2 to a group fund. This fund is used to make loans to members to start small businesses which currently include kerosene and firewood selling and keeping of local cows and chickens.
For the RSWR project, the group will undertake 3 projects that they have determined are the most economically viable in their community. 19 members will undertake poultry rearing, 18 members will undertake firewood selling, and 18 members will undertake the buying and selling of maize and beans. The project will be implemented over a period of 12 months. They will take loans of $64-$73 and will repay at 2% interest per month. They expect a net monthly income per person of $45-$52.
Rural Health Development Center
Tamil Nadu, India
Beneficiaries: 30 marginalized women without male partners
Projects: Thatch making, Flower vending, Vegetable vending, Home-based refreshment vending
RHDC works with poor, landless agricultural laborers who have lost their livelihood because of the shrinking of agricultural activities. The NGO provides awareness programs on child labor and illegal schemes including the Sumangali Scheme that lures poor young girls to work in the textile industry by promises of a dowry.
The agricultural lands in south India are shrinking because of drought and also because landowners are selling their lands to real estate agents to put up housing plots. The landless laborers are getting less and less work and finding it hard to make a living. Especially vulnerable are the women without male partners because it is more dangerous for them to migrate to find work.
The beneficiaries will first receive training and then they will receive loans of $92 – $145, depending on their business. They will repay in 10 months with 10% interest. They expect to net $84 to $115 per month, again, depending on which business they choose.
Taduba Women’s Association
Bo District, Sierra Leone
Beneficiaries: 25 poor rural farmers
This group consists of 30 women in 3 villages. Most are widows who lost their husbands during the Ebola epidemic. They meet monthly to discuss issues of agriculture and food production. The goal of the group is to increase the income of the farmers in the chiefdom. However, this is difficult because the farmers lack necessary inputs such as farm equipment, seeds, and planting materials. This project will give the farmers loans so that they can buy the inputs needed to produce a sustainable amount of crops.
The beneficiaries will each be given a loan of $200 to grow rice, cassava, corn, pepper, okra, and potatoes. They will repay their loans within six months with an interest rate of 2%. The beneficiaries will eat some of their produce and reserve enough seeds for the next planting season. In addition, they expect to make an average monthly income of $287 when their crops are sold after six months.
Multipurpose Association for Rural Upliftment Technology and Human Integrity
Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Mini snack stalls, Vegetable vending, Ironing carts, Tailoring
This NGO works with women who are living in the slums of the city of Manamadurai in Sivagangai District. Single women who do not have any male support will be the beneficiaries of this project as they are the most needy of all the slum dwellers. Currently, the beneficiaries are mostly working as household maids for rich families but they make very little money. They cannot afford to send their children to school and some of their children are working as household maids too.
The women will first receive training and then they will receive loans of $126 – $178, depending on their business. They will repay in 10 months with 10% interest. They expect to net $48 to $62 per month, again, depending on which business they choose.
Mayogba Rural Women Farmer’s Association
Moyamba District, Southern Province, Sierra Leone
Project: Agriculture and Goat rearing
Mayogba is a small community where the farmers practice subsistence farming. Everyone has a small piece of land from 1-2 acres on which they grow various crops such as rice, cassava, groundnuts, vegetables, corn, potatoes, etc. Some people also keep small animals such as chickens and goats. For years the people lived in this way, growing just what they needed for food, with a small surplus which they sold to pay for school fees and other domestic needs.
However, with the ebola outbreak, this pattern was broken. The farmers were not able to work in their fields and lost most of their harvest. They were forced to eat the food they had stored up and to kill and eat their animals. Ebola stopped all activities for one year and there was much hunger in the village; people were not sick from Ebola, but hunger and lack of nutrition, especially the children. Now, even though the Ebola virus has been eradicated, they have little or no resources to grow new food and restart their lives.
This project will help the community restart their economic activities. 34 woman will receive loans to cultivate one crop of their choice: cassava, potatoes, groundnuts, maize, rice or vegetables. 8 women will work together to rear 20 goats. They will borrow $111 to $147 and repay in 6 months with 2% interest. Their net monthly income will range from approximately $56 to $98.
Rural Women Development Organisation
Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: 10 Income-generating projects chosen by the women themselves
RWDO is a small NGO that is completely led by women. The Secretary is Mrs. N. Deivarani, who was trained as a nurse. She began her career as an “animator” who presented health information to poor rural women. She later formed RWDO with some others.
The target area for this project made international headlines in 1992 when it was confirmed that female infanticide was taking place on a regular basis. Although there was a flurry of activity by activists and the government to eradicate this practice, there is still a pervasive feeling among the rural poor that girl children are undesirable. RWDO works to raise the subordinate status of women. One way to do this is to empower them economically.
This project was created in consultation with the beneficiaries and the activities were chosen based on the women’s capabilities, the availability of local resources, and market potential. They will sell ready-made garments and textiles, prepare and sell pickles and masala powder, raise sheep, and offer wet grinding of rice, among other businesses. The women will borrow between $118 and $177 repay in 12 months with 12% interest. They expect to net $63 – $75 per month depending on the business they choose.
Gbenthas Women in Progress
Bombali District, Sierra Leone
Project: Seed rice production
The village where this project is located was destroyed by the rebel war, 1991-2002. Many people were killed; others were raped or forcibly conscripted. Almost all of the houses were looted and burned down. This project is an attempt to rebuilt the community, eradicate hunger and poverty, promote women’s rights and restore unity and harmony.
The women will work in groups of five women each. This is so that the women who are illiterate can be assisted by more educated women. All of the women will be growing seed rice to sell to bigger NGOs and other villages for planting. Each of the 40 women will borrow $146 and will produce and sell six bags of rice each month. They will repay $13 per month for 12 months which works out to an interest rate of 3% per annum. Each woman’s net monthly income will be $53 after loan repayment and expenses of production.
Karunai Vizhigal Samooga Vizhippunarvu Sevai Trust
Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Thatch making, Flower weaving, Rice vending, Idly, dosa and aappam vending, Vegetable vending, Fruit vending, Petty shops, Rice grinding
This NGO is woman-headed and works among poor tribal people. They currently run an orphanage, support 135 self-help groups in 25 villages, and sponsor awareness campaigns on environmental conservation and adolescent health awareness. They have recently completed a project in partnership with RSWR which has supported 72 women so far (31 original and 41 new women), and the project is still revolving its funds.
The target group for this project are poor, single women who have lost their homes and livelihoods because of the flooding in Cuddalore District in November and December 2015. Currently they are living in schools and makeshift housing. KVSVST has helped with flood relief by distributing food and other supplies. Now they want to help the women rebuild their lives. The single women without male support are the hardest hit by the disaster. There are 141 poor, single women in this situation. 40 of them will be the initial beneficiaries.
The women will first receive training and then they will receive loans of $93 – $163, depending on their business. They will repay in 10 months with 10% interest. They expect to net $73 to $121 per month, again, depending on which business they choose.
Makomo Friends Youth Group
Projects: Poultry, Firewood, Rabbits
This is a group of young adults from Makomo Friends Church. There are 25 young women and 5 young men. They formed this group in January 2013 to try to work together to overcome the economic challenges of the youth of their community. Some of these challenges include: illiteracy and high unemployment among women and youths, poor health standards, food insecurity, and high poverty levels. They have arranged training for themselves by officers from the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture on how to do farming as a business. They have also been trained on successful group management skills by the Kenyan Department of Social Services.
They meet once a month and each contribute $2 to a group fund. This fund is used to make loans to members to start small businesses which currently include vegetable and fruit selling, indigenous vegetable farming, firewood selling, and local chicken keeping.
For the RSWR project, the group will undertake 3 projects that they have determined are the most economically viable in their community. 10 members will undertake poultry rearing, 10 members will undertake firewood selling, and 10 members will undertake rabbit rearing. The project will be implemented over a period of 12 months. They will borrow $114 to $125 and will repay at 2% interest per month. The repaid funds will be used to give new loans to women who have repaid in full and to new members in the church. They expect a monthly net income of $80 – $105.
Tamil Nadu, India
Project: Vending of milk value-added products
Aruna Trust has recently completed a project in partnership with RSWR. They report that this project has been very successful, benefitting 41 new beneficiaries as well as the 35 original beneficiaries. And the loans are still being revolved. In addition to their micro-credit activities, AT offers skill training in tailoring and computers, and adult education courses for young women who have dropped out of school.
For this new project, Aruna Trust will support a different group of beneficiaries. In their working area, there are many women who sell milk value-added products — yogurt, butter, buttermilk, etc. by carrying them on their heads and traveling from village to village. These women have already established businesses and regular customers. The problem is that they are poor women and they do not have financial resources to invest in their businesses. So, they rely upon the local money lenders to buy their stock. The money lenders charge high rates of interest, so the women make very little profit from their activities, even though they work very hard. AT will offer them loans at only 10% interest and they will be able to repay over 10 months, so they can invest their profits in their businesses and in their families. They will borrow $120 and expect a monthly profit of $74.
Masimoh Vulnerable Organization
Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone
Projects: Rice, Groundnuts, Corn
Members of this project are Ebola survivors or widows. They have been left destitute by the disease and are living in hunger and poverty. They are hard-working women but find it difficult to feed their families and cannot afford to educate all of their children because of their financial constraints. The aim of this project is to help them achieve economic stability and self reliance.
All 40 women will each produce three crops: rice, groundnuts and corn. They will each be loaned $140 to buy inputs for the three crops and will repay in 12 months with12% interest. They expect an average income of $44 per month after production costs and loan repayment.
Women’s Voice Trust
Tamil Nadu, India
Project: Brick Kiln
WVT works among rural Dalit women, starting self help groups for them, helping them to begin group savings plans, and offering them awareness programs on the environment, health education, and entrepreneurship.
There are many brick kilns in the target area where WVT works. The owners of the kilns offer the landless agricultural laborers an advance to come work in the brick kilns. Then they pay them less wages than prescribed by law because of the advance. The laborers become dependent on the owners and are trapped in a cycle of taking advances because of their poverty and then not getting paid adequate wages, which continues their poverty. There are 108 women in the self help groups that WVT works with who are in this situation.
WVT will support 20 of these women to start their own brick kiln so that they, as owners of the kiln, can reap all of the profits. The women will first be trained for two days. Then they will each be give a loan of $203. They will pool their money to buy start-up supplies and lease land for a brick kiln. It will take them 45-50 days to realize a profit from their brick kiln. Then they should be able to “harvest” 75,000 bricks every month. This will give them a net income of $162 per woman per month. They will repay their loans over 10 months with 10% interest and the repaid funds will be revolved to another group of 20 women until all 108 women have benefited.
Asorbeh Women Development Project
Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone
Projects: Rice and Groundnuts
This project is located in a fairly large village in Tonkolili District. There are over 60 women and girls in the village. Many of the teenage girls became pregnant during the long stay at home because of the Ebola crisis. Some are now continuing their schooling but others will need to work to support their babies. The project will start with 30 beneficiaries, but the others will be incorporated once the initial funds are repaid.
Before receiving loans, the members will first be trained “frequently, effectively, intensively and extensively” in groundnut and rice production and marketing. In addition, there will be frequent meetings, seminars, workshops, etc. about the project.
All of the women will grow and sell both rice and groundnuts. They will each be loaned $162 to buy inputs for the two crops and will repay in 12 months with 7% interest. They expect an average income of $68 per month after production costs and loan repayment.
Community Organization for Women
Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Thatch making, Vegetable vending, Coconut vending, Paper bag making, Milk and milk product vending
The Managing Trustee of COW, Mrs. M. Pennarasi, is a grassroots women activist with many years of experience as a Community Health Worker and a woman organizer. To date, COW has implemented two RSWR projects and 119 women have benefitted from loans under those projects.
The beneficiaries of this new project are poor mothers of children with disabilities. There are 108 of these mothers organized into 10 self help groups supported by COW. Because of their poverty, these women are obligated to work to help support their families, but this means they must leave their disabled children alone for long hours each day. And often they must miss work (and therefore miss out on income) because of care needed by their children. They have asked COW to help them find income-generating activities that they can do at home so they can earn an income and care for their children at the same time.
The women will first receive training and then they will receive loans of $100 – $129, depending on their business. They will repay in 10 months with 10% interest. They expect to net $68 to $97 per month, again, depending on which business they choose.
People’s Educational and Economic Development Society
Tamil Nadu, India
Projects: Papaya vending, Guava vending, Coconut thatch making, Greens vending, Fish vending
PEEDS is a woman headed organization with all women members. They are from the grassroots community themselves and so they have a clear understanding of the problems of the poor rural women. The managing trustee, Mrs. S. Radha, lives among the women she works with.
This project has been developed at the request of the Dalit women and their families. Because of dwindling jobs in agriculture, they have been forced to migrate to neighboring districts in search of work. But wherever they go, they are exploited economically and sometimes sexually. “Their bad time is continuing wherever they go”. They have decided it is best to stay in their own villages and find work there.
The women will first receive training and then they will receive loans of $81 – $117, depending on their business. They will repay in 10 months with 10% interest. They expect to net $67 to $124 per month, again, depending on which business they choose.
Thank you for your generous contributions.