Women on Wings’ latest milestone is the co-creation of 281,000 jobs for women in rural India. The growth in the number of jobs is the result of successful partnerships with 48 business partners in India. It comes after a loss in jobs in 2021 due to lockdowns and lack of business during the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth proves the drive of the social enterprises, that Women on Wings is partnering with, to make a difference to rural families.
Recovering jobs after a loss
In January 2022, Women on Wings reported a loss of 25,000 jobs due to the pandemic. Especially in 2020 with a three months’ total lockdown, Women on Wings’ partners were severely hit. And again a second wave in April and May 2021 constrained activities and took a heavy toll on people and on businesses. Says Shilpa Mittal Singh, joint MD at Women on Wings: “In these difficult times our experts continued to work with our business partners and we did 358 remote workshops in FY 2021-2022, compared to 315 in the previous year. It also proves the commitment of our business partners to continue to build resilient companies. The willingness of Indian consumers to contribute to the ‘support our local’ campaign translated into booming online sales last year. Especially during the festive season our business partners reported that sales had picked up compared to the previous year. So, we hoped to see some recovery of the jobs lost. The actual result however exceeds our expectations. The result of over 281,000 jobs co-created with our business partners is measured per March 31, 2022. This means that of the 25,000 jobs lost last year, 21,200 were recovered. A wonderful result.”
Welcoming new partners
Adds Ronald van het Hof, joint MD at Women on Wings: “The first year of the pandemic, we entirely focused on keeping our partners on their feet. The second year we started building their businesses again. The positive flipside is that unknown social entrepreneurs used the lockdowns to look for business support and reached out to us. We are very happy to have welcomed eight new business partners between April 2021 and March this year. Now that we can travel again, we are in full swing with workshops, with the existing and the new partners.”
Improved livelihoods for 1.4 million people
These 281,000 jobs are co-created over a period of over fourteen years. Thanks to these jobs, 1.4 million people in rural India have improved livelihoods and as an extra result, 843,000 children are in (a better) school thanks to the fact their mothers have a job with an income. The impact of a job goes beyond the money it brings. A job is empowering and adds to gender equality and a better social position for women. Women on Wings is always eager to hear from rural women themselves how having a job and income changed their lives. Read the inspiring stories composed from field visits.
For next financial year, Women on Wings expects to see complete recovery of the jobs lost and also the co-creation of new jobs to the tune of 25,000. Concludes Ronald van het Hof: “The new women entrepreneurship program, which we will execute in partnership with state governments, will bring extra opportunities to accelerate our impact. Through this program we target to co-create another 30,000 jobs for women in rural India by the end of fiscal year 2022-2023, next to the 25,000. Not only that, it also brings new spirit to our team and an opportunity to work with large scale government programs.”
Photo | artisans from Women on Wings’ partner Rangsutra Crafts and Industree Foundation for IKEA