Women on Wings and MAVIM partner to break chains of poverty for rural women in Maharashtra

The Hon. Rubal Agarwal, Managing Director of Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM) with Shilpa Mittal Singh and Ronald Van het Hof, joint Managing Directors of Women on Wings, have signed an MOU on January 31, 2023, in Mumbai with a mission to co-create sustainable livelihoods for rural women of Maharashtra.

Both parties have agreed to collaborate for a minimum of three years; from January 2023 till January 2026.

Women on Wings’ mission is completely aligned with MAVIM’s objective. MAVIM is a groundbreaking initiative undertaken by the Government of Maharashtra, under the aegis of the Women and Child Welfare Department. Its mission is to advance gender justice and equality for women, invest in women’s human capital and capacity building, empower them economically and socially, and to enable access to sustainable livelihoods.

The huge potential of MAVIM’s programs

One of MAVIM’s flagship programs is Tejaswini, which is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The program operates on a Federation model through a designated body of members called Community Managed Resource Centers (CMRCs). The role of the CMRC is to improve the stability and sustainability of the Self Help Group movement in Maharashtra by providing grassroots institution building.

The Tejaswini project improves income generation by developing participants’ skills and provides market and policy support. It increases women’s access to functional literacy and labor-saving infrastructure and boosts their participation in local governance. It also supports government policies that empower women.

Another MAVIM project, the Nav Tejaswini program, builds on the Tejaswini’s success. It aims to enable one million poor rural households to sustainably overcome poverty while improving rural women’s capacity to develop sustainable enterprises, engage in remunerative employment, and access markets.

The Nav Tejaswini project will support all existing nano- and micro-enterprise clusters, as well as develop new commodity clusters. Target beneficiaries are female marginal farmers, livestock/fisheries micro-entrepreneurs, producers of non-farm products, workers in the service sector, and agricultural laborers.

Research and next steps

Women on Wings conducted a field assessment in March 2022 and visited two CMRCs to understand their current structure, functioning, and activities.

Based on the assessment and the subsequent meeting with the MAVIM and IFAD teams, it was decided that Women on Wings would run a strategy workshop with the MAVIM and IFAD teams. During the May 2022 two-day strategy workshop, the teams arrived at defining MAVIM’s why, how, and what. Subsequently, they worked on the ‘SWOT’, gap identification, and jointly developed a road map for MAVIM.

The next steps: MAVIM will develop a separate revenue-generating vertical aimed at creating a market that provides rural women a sustainable income. To realize this, Women on Wings will offer a series of integrated interventions with workshops at the leadership level of MAVIM.

Shilpa Mittal Singh: “We are delighted and proud to work with MAVIM on its ambitious goals. Women on Wings will deliver the required business knowledge to MAVIM, jointly develop strategies and an implementable plan to create a scalable, market-driven, and self-sustained entity by 2026 that can continue to provide regular income and livelihood opportunities to the women mobilized under the Tejaswini and Nav Tejaswini programs.”

Picture f.l.t.r.: Shilpa Mittal Singh, Ronald van het Hof, Rubal Agarwal, Meera Mishra (India country coordinator at IFAD)