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Partner spotlight: What happens at a mohalla meeting?

April 30, 2019 / Blog, Rajasthan The Freedom Fund / @freedom_fund

In Jaipur, India, Freedom Fund partner Industree tackles the root causes of poverty by training and empowering women entrepreneurs that create child labour free products. Industree conducts outreach and awareness to showcase their products among retailers to develop buyer demand for child labour free products, and its initiative aims to triple the incomes of female artisans in four neighbourhoods of Jaipur by capitalizing on their artisanal skills and integrating them into the creative industries sector.

In our Rajasthan hotspot, as part of organising women into social producer companies, Industree is conducting mohalla (urban colony) meetings with members of the community. These meetings are a way to share information and to encourage women to join the intervention. The meeting starts with the introduction of Industree, including why the organization is there, why it wants to work with them and how the project could impact their lives and livelihoods.

A number of topics are discussed including: The benefits of forming economic Self-Help Groups (SHG); benefits of being in a group with common interests and common art forms; understanding the value of their work; earning and learning opportunities as a group; improvement in women’s social status within the community if they have increased regular earnings; gaining more bargaining power in the value chain; and understanding their contribution towards the final value of the product.

Once SHGs become active, stable and trained with the required skill sets, a certain number of SHGs will form one overarching producer company (or several producer companies). Industree explains to the women about what a producer company is, how are they formed, and what makes them different from regular companies. There is an emphasis on producer ownership, and on having direct access to the market.

Although initially women expressed that their skill sets are enough for what the market demands, once Industree introduced financial and work management skills training, a significant number of the women transitioned to responding positively to the opportunity of taking ownership versus simply getting very low daily wages.

The Freedom Fund’s Rajasthan hotspot is implementing a Child Labour Free Jaipur Program that aims to progressively eliminate child labour through a united strategy involving apparel and handicraft businesses, the state government, enforcement systems and communities. Learn more about our hotspot

Pictured: Mohalla meeting organised by Industree.

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