Newest Projects!



The projects below were approved at the

April 2017 RSWR board meeting.


The projects chosen include 12 groups in India that have businesses ranging from selling tea and crunchy rice snacks at the local train station, to organic farming, to vegetable and fruit vending, to tailoring to photocopying services– and many more! The businesses are only limited by the imagination of the women entrepreneurs and the local market!

In Kenya, one of our 5 projects there is a group of Masai Quakers located near the Tanzania border. This area has been hard-hit by a drought and many animals that the people depend on for their livelihood have died. The RSWR grant comes at a crucial time so that this group can rebuild their herds.

In Sierra Leone, among our 6 projects there is a group of foster mothers working to support adopted orphans. RSWR will also help restart a chicken farm after devastation by the rebel war and the Ebola crisis. And there are several groups that are growing cassava, rice, and groundnuts – staple foods that are in short supply after the Ebola crisis.



Nellorepet Sri Narayani Women Self Help Society
Vellore District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 25 women who are heads of household

Projects: Vegetable vending, Mini-canteen, Milk vending, Tailoring, Sale of drinking water, Petty shops, Coconut leaf weaving, Saree business, Hair buying and selling, Xeroxing services, Milk animals


NSNWSHS works with Dalit (formerly called “untouchable”) communities. The beneficiaries do not own land or have any other assets. Their only income is from agricultural labor, but this is seasonal and pays low wages. They are too poor to send their children for higher education, meet their medical needs or participate in community functions and festivals. They regularly must take loans from money lenders to meet their day-to-day expenses. Because they have no male support, they are often the victim of sexual harassment. This project has been evolved to help the women escape from this cycle of poverty. The projects have been chosen according to the interest and experience of the beneficiaries.

The beneficiaries will receive 4 days of capacity building training and then they will be given loans ranging from $118 to $224, depending on the business they will undertake. They expect to net $54 to $172 per month after expenses and repayment, depending on their business. They will also save $2 per month.



Rural Service Programme
Tiriki, Kenya


Beneficiaries: 30 poor women who are running small businesses but lack capital

Projects: Various businesses involving buying and selling of consumable goods such as fish, greens, cereals, kerosene, etc.

Rural Service Program is a Quaker church organization set up by all the Quaker Yearly Meetings in Kenya. RSP works in the Western, Nyanza and part of the Rift Valley provinces where most of the community members are living below the poverty line. They organize women who are operating businesses in a given area into cooperative groups. They currently support 10 groups with a total of 125 women members. The groups are from various religious denominations and various tribes. The members are expected to contribute “shares” of $3 each month to a general fund from which they make loans to upgrade their businesses. These “shares” are the members’ individual savings and can be withdrawn if the member leaves the group. A member must be at least 18 years old, must be a Kenyan citizen, and must have a share savings of at least $12 before they can receive a loan. RSP trains the members of all their groups on the importance of savings, how to identify and operate businesses in order to maximize profit, and how to utilize loans properly and avoid default.

The RSWR funds will support 30 women with a loan of $100 each. The women will be part of a women’s group, but they may be in different groups. When they repay their loans, the funds are sent back to RSP and are loaned out to another woman, who may or may not be in the same group as the woman making the repayment. Each of the women will have a different business selling various consumable goods such as greens, vegetables, tomatoes, etc. However, the economies of each business are generally the same and they are each expected to net $25 per month after repayment and savings.


Winner Trust
Erode District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 25 lowest caste women age 20-45 in 5 villages

Projects: Cloth and ready-made clothing sales

Winner Trust works for women empowerment through self help group formation and awareness programs for women. They are a member of the organization CANG which stands for “Campaign Against Neglected Girl Children”. The project coordinator is from the beneficiary community.

The beneficiaries of this project are “Scheduled Caste” people. This is the term used in the Indian constitution for “Dalit” or “Untouchables”. They are working as virtual bonded laborers for the upper caste landlords. They take advances from their employers because they don’t have enough money to live on and then they are paid very low wages because they must pay back the advances. It is a never-ending cycle of poverty and exploitation. They do the dirtiest, hardest work of septic tank cleaning and other undesirable jobs. Often the men are addicted to alcohol as a way to escape their life.

The women have discussed their situation and have decided that cloth and ready-made clothing sales is the best business to undertake because there is a big wholesale cloth market in Erode District so they can easily buy their stock. The women will first receive capacity building training and then they will each be loaned $171. They expect to net $97 per month after repayment and savings.


Jipange Maendeleo Women Group
Hamisi, Kenya


Beneficiaries: 22 interfaith women

Projects: Poultry, Cereals and legumes, Secondhand clothing, Grocery shops, Vegetables, Firewood

This group was formed in 2013 in response to difficult economic conditions experienced by the women. The purpose was to work together in a self help group and cooperate in economic activities to improve their incomes. There are 22 members from several different Christian denominations. 4 of the members (including the chairlady) are Quakers and they introduced the rest of the group to Right Sharing of World Resources.

All of the members are currently involved in small businesses. They are seeking a grant from RSWR to upgrade these businesses. They will borrow $151 to $201 depending on their business. They expect to net $22 to $47 per month after repayment and savings.


National Women Development Trust
Theni District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 25 migrant women from 3 villages

Projects: Murrukku (crunchy rice snack), Vegetables, Women’s garments


The beneficiaries of this project are landless laborers living in the area along the border between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Because of a water dispute between these two states, land that used to be irrigated by the Vaigai river no longer gets this water. In addition, rainfall has been significantly less in recent years. These factors have caused a huge decrease in agricultural jobs and the landless laborers have been forced to migrate to other areas to look for work. Migration is a big problem for families because it disrupts the children’s education, healthcare and daily routine. The women in the self help groups sponsored by NWDT have asked for support to begin businesses in their own villages so they do not have to migrate.

The three trades have been chosen because of the skills and interests of the women beneficiaries. The women will first be given capacity building training for two days. Those doing garment making will also have 3 extra days of skill upgrade training. Then they will receive loans to begin their projects. They will receive $143 to $172 depending on their business. They expect to net $90 to $145 after repayment and savings.



Rural Educational and Economic Development Trust
Pukukkottai District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 24 small marginal farmers and landless laborers

Projects: Cashew nut vending, Flower vending, Organic horticulture

REEDT is a woman-headed organization of young social workers. The NGO works with women, youth, children and marginal farmers. They promote self help groups, encourage small savings, and teach eco-friendly practices.

This project will benefit small marginal farmers who have less than an acre of land and also landless laborers who make their living working on the farms of the big landowners. In recent years, both have suffered because of low rainfall that has impacted agriculture. The target beneficiaries are all from the lowest castes. The cashew nut and flower vending will be done by the landless laborers. The marginal farmers will use organic methods of farming on their own small plots to make them productive despite the lessened rainfall.

The women will first be trained for two days on project goals. The women doing organic agriculture will also have 7 extra days of intensive training on organic farming methods. Then they will receive loans of $131 to $197 to begin their projects. They expect to net $61 to $113 after repayment and savings.



 Bisil Friends Church Women Group
Bisil, Kenya

Beneficiaries: 20 poor Quaker women in the Maasai Community

Projects: Goat buying and selling, Bead making and selling, Animal fat buying and selling

The area where this group is located has a harsh, dry climate that does not support food crop production. In addition, Kenya has experienced a severe drought in the past year. The drought has had very negative and serious effects on the livelihood of the residents of Bisil. The Maasai are pastoralists and their lives revolve around animals. The main preoccupation of women in Bisil was/is trading in sheep and goats. This has been disrupted because many of the animals have died due to drought. The RSWR grant will help to repopulate the herds.

The members of this group are already involved in several small-scale businesses. These include: shanga (bead) making, animal fat selling for cooking, goat rearing, salt selling, and selling shuka ya kimaasai (colorful traditional cloth). They sell their beaded and cloth articles to tourists who travel through their township to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

For the RSWR project, they will divide themselves into three groups and each group will undertake one of three projects. 6 women will buy and sell goats, 7 women will make and sell Maasai beads (shanga) and 7 women will sell animal fat. They will borrow between $159 and $167 depending on their business and they expect to net $65 to $78 per month after repayment and savings.



 Royana Child Mother Association
Tonkolili District, Northern Province, Sierra Leone

Beneficiaries: 50 poor rural women farmers in 3 villages

Projects: Groundnuts and Cassava

Royana Child Mother Association started as an orphanage for children. When the children were placed with foster families, the organization began implementing entrepreneurial activities to help the caregivers support the adopted orphans. For this project, each woman (who is a caregiver for at least one orphan) will borrow $62 to buy two bags of groundnuts and cassava seedlings and pay for transportation. They expect to net $37 per month after expenses, repayment and savings. This is the second time that RSWR has supported this organization. They created a very successful venture selling soap and tie-dyed articles with the first RSWR grant. Now they are expanding to grow income crops with a new group of foster families.



 Fothane Bana Community Women Farmers
Kono District, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone

Beneficiaries: 48 poor women farmers

Projects: Cassava, Rice, and Vegetables

The women of Fothane Bana Village are traditionally subsistence farmers. They decided they wanted to upgrade their farming to a commercial level so they organized themselves into three groups and adopted specialized farming methods depending on which crop they plan to raise. One group of 12 women will grow rice, one group of 12 women will grow cassava and one group of 15 women will grow various vegetables and fruits. They took the initiative to change their farming methods in an effort to improve their lives. There is a gold mine in their area which attracts many young men looking for jobs, and these men need to buy food, so they feel they will have a good market for their produce. The gold mine has caused the price of food to be very high and so this project will also provide food for the community at reasonable prices.

Each woman will receive a loan of $80 to $100 depending on which crop she grows. They expect a net monthly income of $38 to $40 each after expenses, repayment and savings.


 Rural Education and Association for Social Development
Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India

Beneficiaries: 25 underprivileged rural women

Projects: Vegetable vending, Petty shops, Flower vending

REASD is a woman-headed organization. The NGO is currently organizing women’s self help groups and giving them capacity-building training so that they know how to maintain accounts and records. REASD also offers skill trainings on tailoring and hand embroidery to the women in their self help groups, as well as and educational support for the children.

The beneficiaries of this project are landless poor women who work in the agricultural sector. There is simply not enough work for them to earn a sustainable income. They live without access to running water, proper sanitation or adequate health care. They do not have money to cope with any emergencies in their lives.

The women will first be trained for 2 days in their chosen business activity and then they will be loaned $134 to $149 depending on their business. They expect to net $76 to $89 per month after repayment and savings.


 Kitulu Women Self Help Group
Banja, Kenya

Beneficiaries: 22 interfaith women

Projects: Maize, millet and sorghum, Green groceries, Fruits, Potatoes, Smoked and dried fish

This is a group of women from different Christian denominations that come from neighboring villages. The majority of the women in the group are less educated and unskilled. They and their children live in extreme poverty. The community as a whole is impoverished and there is much food anxiety because there is a permanent shortage of food. Malnutrition and poor health also result from their impoverished situation.

The women currently each run very small businesses, mostly selling farm produce, but their income from the businesses is insignificant because they do not have much to invest in them. They came together in 2014 to try to improve their livelihood by working together. They are now seeking a grant from RSWR to upgrade their businesses. Each woman will borrow $200. They expect to net $45 to $55 per month after repayment and savings.




Fori Water Poultry Farm
Western Rural District, Sierra Leone

Beneficiaries: 20 indigenous women

Projects: Poultry

FWPF was first established in 1990. It quickly became known for the best poultry and egg production in the area. Everyone came here to buy their poultry and eggs. When the war broke out in 1996, the rebels took over Freetown and the nearby rural communities, of which Fori Water was one. They burned the houses and raped the women. The women of Fori Water fled the village. The rebels took up residence in the village and ate all of the chickens and eggs. The business was no more.

After the war, the women returned to their village and tried to restart their business, but they had no capital, so they were unable to return it to the scale it once was. Today, they sell only a few eggs and chickens in the community. They hope the RSWR grant will give them the needed funds to build up the business to be successful again.

The women will first be trained in modern poultry farming, business management, micro credit and revolving loan schemes. Then, each woman will be loaned $231 to buy chickens, feed, and supplies. They will sell eggs and they will also sell fried, roasted, and baked chickens during the festival seasons.

Each woman is expected to net $150 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.



Rural Women Development Trust
Salem District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 28 women who were previously bonded laborers

Projects: Coir rope making

Rural Women Development Trust works with marginalized women. They are working to free child laborers, bonded laborers, and manual scavengers and helping them to establish new sources of livelihood. The managing trustee of the organization, Mrs. V. Alamelu is from the Arunthathiyar community which is considered to be the lowest of the Dalit (untouchable) groups. She has dedicated her life to empowering the underprivileged. In 2016, she received an award as the “best social worker of 2016”.

The beneficiaries of this project have previously been bonded laborers working in coir rope units run by the dominant landowners in the district. They were released from bondage by the efforts of RWDT and the government of Salem District. They are presently working in agriculture, but the wages are too low to support their families. The previous employers are trying to entice them to return to the bonded labor system. RWDT has evolved this project in cooperation with the beneficiaries so that they may run their own coir rope making units and reap the profits as owners.

The women will first receive 3 days of skill upgrade training on coir rope making. They will also be given two days of capacity building training. Then they will each be loaned $144 to begin a coir rope making business. Two women will share a machine and the profits. They expect to each make $91 per month after repayment and savings.



Women’s Consortium for Development
Kambia District, Northern Province, Sierra Leone


Beneficiaries: 35 Disadvantaged women

Projects: Rice, Corn, Groundnuts, Palm oil

Members of WCD are war-affected women and widows. They formed this group in 2007 to try to work together to overcome their poverty and hardships. WCD received a grant from RSWR in 2015 to undertake a similar program. This new project is for new beneficiaries since the original project is not revolving the funds fast enough to help all of the women in the village. The group is gradually growing and extending to another community. They have a large plot of land to grow their crops as the community chief is part of the group and she is a woman.

For this project, each of the 35 women will receive a loan $111 to undertake production of all 4 of the commodities listed. The women will be trained in mirco-credit before loans are disbursed. They expect to net $135 each per month after expenses, repayment and savings.



Children Watch
Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 30 Irula tribal women who are former bonded laborers

Projects: Charcoal making and fuel wood cutting

Children Watch has completed three projects in partnership with RSWR. All three were for Irula tribal people who were former bonded laborers. CW helped them set up their own businesses in the activity that they were formally bonded laborers in, so they are now the owners of the businesses and reap all of the profits.

The Irula people are often exploited because they have no financial literacy, so they can’t calculate whether they are being paid fairly. Recruiters visit their villages during the low season of agriculture and offer them a large advance to go to another district to work in jobs such as charcoal making, tree cutting, brick kilns, sugar cane plantations, etc. They are supposed to work to repay the advance, and then be given a fair salary, but the employers add huge interest so every day they go more into debt no matter how hard they work. The people take their children with them when they leave their villages to work in these industries and the children are taken out of school. They often end up working alongside their parents as bonded laborers themselves. Bonded labor is illegal and CW works with the government to get these laborers released, but they need to have another way to make a living to prevent them from being exploited in the same way again.

The current group of released bonded laborers worked in the fuel wood cutting and charcoal making businesses and so they know how to do this work. They will be trained for 2 days on revolving fund management and for 4 days on financial literacy. Then 15 women will be loaned $178 each to do fuel wood cutting and15 other women will be loaned $136 each to do charcoal making. They will work in groups of 5 and share the profits. They expect to net $108 per person per month after repayment and savings.



Women’s Organization for Rural Development and Training
Sivagangai District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 26 marginalized women

Projects: Banana leaf sales, Dry fish vending, Tea stalls, Palm leaf baskets, Vegetable vending

WORDT is a small grassroots NGO that works among marginalized women in semi-urban areas. All of the board members are women. It was founded by Mrs. K. Kalai Arasi who comes from a “backward class” and belongs to a small farming family. She is the only one in her village that has a high school degree. WORDT has formed 19 Self Help Groups among the marginalized women and organized awareness programs on the environment, health care, and legal rights of women. They have recently started a new project to educate people to use toilets instead of open fields and they are working to get public toilets installed in the villages.

The target beneficiaries live in small thatched homes without household toilets. They work as unskilled labor in agriculture, construction, and other wage labor, but they do not get enough work to make a sustainable income. The women will be given 10 days of training before loans are disbursed. Training will include: skill development, marketing, account maintenance, profit sharing, and loan repayment process.

Each woman will be given a loan of $118 to $177 depending of the project she will undertake. They expect to net $61 to $76 per month.



Neneh and Friends Development Association
Kambia District, Northern Province, Sierra Leone


Beneficiaries: 30 poor illiterate rural women farmers, most of them are mothers of 4-8 children

Project: Rice production and sale

This group was established and registered in 2010 but it has been inactive. After the Ebola crisis, the women decided to regroup themselves and began a rice production effort in 2015. In recognition of their efforts, the community chief has given them extra land so that they can grow more crops in the future.

Before receiving loans, the beneficiaries will first have a five-day training in business management.

Each woman will receive a loan of $151 to produce 8 bags of rice per month plus some extra for family consumption. She expects to be able to sell all 8 bags of rice and make a profit of $111 per month after expenses, repayment and savings. With this amount of income, she should be able to feed and care for her family and pay school fees for 3 of her children.


Njabawo Destitute Women Development Project
Waterloo Village, Southern Province, Sierra Leone


Beneficiaries: 40 poor rural women – 4 groups of 10

Project: Sale of fish, grain, palm oil, fruit, vegetables, or cooked foods – Beneficiary’s choice

NDWDP was begun in 1994 before the rebel war by 30 women who had dropped out of formal schooling and were trying to develop skills to enhance their economic situation. During the war, on April 15, 1995, 18 of the women were killed in a cross-fire that happened in the village and 8 of the women were captured by the rebels and taken to be their wives. Virtually everything owned by the project was destroyed at that time. The remaining women escaped to safety, but were forced to resort to prostitution and begging in order to survive.

After the war, they returned to their village and restarted the project with new recruits. They registered it in 2006.

This group was a partner of RSWR in 2008-09 and in 2015-16 and they report that they have given loans to 80 women so far. However, there are 200 women still waiting for loans, so they need more funds.

Most of the beneficiaries are illiterate and so they will be working in 4 groups of 10 so that there will be a literate person in each group. Each woman will be given a loan of $110 to start one of the above businesses. She will choose which of the above commodities she wishes to sell. The women expect a net profit of $70 per month after expenses, repayment and savings.



Vanathy Women’s Development Trust
Sivaganga District, Tamil Nadu, India



Beneficiaries: 23 Dalit and underprivileged women in 7 self help groups

Project: Snacks preparation and sales, Textile sales, Sheep rearing, Coconut sales, Petty shops, Dairy

This project will target women from the lowest caste communities. The beneficiaries are living in poverty and their situation is getting worse. Prices are rising and agricultural jobs are becoming scarce. No industries exist in the area. The men in the families are not able to find adequate work and besides, the majority of the men are alcoholics and spend their earnings on alcohol. The women cannot find adequate work to support their families. Indebtedness is increasing as the women borrow money for everyday necessities. Children are malnourished and are often engaged in child labor to help their families make ends meet.

This project will try to address these problems by providing employment opportunities for the women so that they can make a decent living and pull their families out of poverty. All of the products are marketable in the local community and will give an assured income. The women will be loaned $147 to $176 depending on their business. They expect to net $58 to $71 per month after repayment and savings.



Boiboyet Self Help Group
Nandi County, Kenya


Beneficiaries: 20 interfaith women

Projects: Omena (fish) selling, Maize buying and selling, Tomato buying and selling, Hair salon, Eggs buying and selling, Secondhand clothes selling, Village kiosks

Women in Kenya are dependent on their husbands and children for survival. They are not allowed to own or inherit land and property and they have little access to education. At the same time, it is the women who bear the greatest responsibility for taking care of their families.

Boiboyet Self Help Group was started in 2012 to bring small business women together to strengthen their business network. Most of the women in this group are in their mid twenties and early thirties. They are members of a variety of different churches. The area has been settled by different ethnic groups and this is reflected in the group composition. They have started a table banking system to combine their meager resources to help grow their businesses. They meet once a month and each member contributes $2 to the group fund. These funds are used to make small loans to members of the group.

For the RSWR project, the group will first arrange training for themselves on business skills and revolving loan fund management. All of the members are currently involved in small businesses. The RSWR grant will help them expand these enterprises. They will borrow $142 to $235 depending on their business. They expect to net $62 to $123 after repayment and savings.



Dhalit Blessing Charitable Trust
Theni District, Tamil Nadu, India



Beneficiaries: 26 women from the lowest castes, especially widows and disabled

Projects: Herbal products, Vegetable vending, Fruit vending, Pickles and jams

DBCT is a women-led NGO dedicated to the economic empowerment and social upliftment of marginalized women. All of the trustees are women who are from the lowest of the dalit castes called Arunthathiar.

The beneficiaries of this project currently work as agricultural laborers, but they cannot get enough work because of drought and crop failure. There have been many government programs implemented in the villages, but the lowest castes do not benefit from them. Those in a slightly higher caste position take all of the benefits. If the lowest caste people try to resist, they are violently suppressed by the higher caste people. Women from the lowest caste community are especially exploited since they are also oppressed by their own men and by oppressive traditions and superstitions. And from these already-exploited groups, the women who are widows and are disabled are the most neglected. Widows are seen as bad luck by the community and are not allowed to participate in community and family functions. Disabled people are not seen as equal to others and are ignored and abandoned.

The women will first be trained for 4 days on how to establish and run the micro-enterprise successfully, including marketing and trouble-shooting problems. Then they will be loaned $110 to $147 depending on their business. They expect to net $58 to $80 per month after repayment and savings.



Rural Organisation for Oppressed Folk
Tiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 27 marginalized farming women

Projects: Flower, fruit, vegetable, or milk vending, Tailoring and ready-made textile sales

ROOF is governed by a 7 women committee. All 7 members have more than 15 years experience in women’s development work. The target group consists of marginalized farming women. They get work in agriculture for only 60 to 70 days in a year and make less than $100 for the whole year. In 2015, ROOF undertook a project in partnership with RSWR that supported women in 5 villages to start income-generating activities. So far 46 women have received loans under that project and the funds are still being revolved. ROOF is applying for a second grant to replicate their program with 97 women in self help groups in another 5 villages.

All 97 women will be trained in financial management, marketing, collective bargaining in the wholesale market, skills to attract customers, and management of a small business. 27 women will receive the initial loans of $126 to $148 depending on their business. The others will receive loans from the repaid funds. Every month, 2-3 new women will receive loans. They expect to net $72 to $76 after repayment and savings.



Kalanjiam Trust
Pudukottai District, Tamil Nadu, India


Beneficiaries: 30 women farmers and landless agricultural workers

Projects: Vegetable farming, vegetable vending, milk value-added product vending

The leaders of Kalanjiam Trust are local women who were leaders in their self help groups for 10 years or more. They decided to join together to form this NGO. Their aim is to prevent the migration of the marginal women farmers and the landless women agricultural workers from their villages by helping them develop sustainable businesses in their own villages.

The target villages are suffering because agricultural work is becoming less available due to drought and the overuse of chemical inputs over the last 4 decades. Many of the men have migrated to nearby towns to seek work as casual laborers. However, the women must stay in the villages to care for the children and the elderly. The plight of the widows and women who are heads of their families is especially severe.

This project will provide 5 days training in organic horticulture, intercrops, and production and application of organic inputs. Then the funds will be loaned to 10 marginal farmers and 20 landless women. Loans will range in amount from $108 to $148, depending on the business the women will undertake. The marginal farmers will raise indigenous crops in their lands using organic farm practices. 10 of the landless women will buy the vegetables from these farmers and resell them. The other 10 landless women will buy milk from local farmers who own cows, make value-added products out of it, such as yogurt and ghee, and sell those products. The women expect to net $61 to $75 per month after repayment and savings.



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