On International Women’s Day, the IKEA Foundation is announced a grant for €3.5 million to support its partner PRADAN with its successful women’s empowerment programme in India.
PRADAN helps women living in rural communities in India to organise themselves into self-help-groups (SHGs). These groups give them a stronger voice within their families and villages and enable them to take charge of their lives. In a result of previous grants from IKEA Foundation, women from the groups have started new businesses and improved their farming and animal husbandry skills. They have also advocated for better healthcare and schools for their communities, an IKEA release claims.
Equality works better—for everyone. More money in the hands of women has an emancipatory effect, helping them improve their own opportunities in life. Plus, because women often spend much of their own incomes on nutrition and shelter for their children, when women earn a sustainable income their children are more likely to grow up healthy and go to school.
Women’s empowerment takes patient investment; it’s not just a one-day theme. That’s why the IKEA Foundation has been working with PRADAN since 2013 and invested a total of €11.5 million in their programmes, which will reach up to 421,000 women. Ever since 2013, the partnership has supported over 75,000 women through social mobilisation and financial inclusion. About 33,000 marginalized households attained year-round food security and an average annual income increase by Rs. 15,000 over the baseline. An enhanced food security, coupled with diversified farming and income increases contributed to greater dietary diversity in these households. Awareness and practice adoption around vaccination of children, feeding of infant and young children, pregnant and lactating mothers have increased.
Petra Hans, head, IKEA Foundation’s Building Self Reliance portfolio, said, “PRADAN has developed a strong approach to empowering women and their communities in remote, rural areas of India. Thanks to PRADAN, women are starting businesses, improving their farms, and helping their communities access government funding for better healthcare, schools and incomes.
“Our new grant will also help women learn about the importance of nutrition for the growth and development of their children, change feeding practices and improve the nutritional value of their crops. This will lead to better health in their families and communities,” Hans added.
Narendranath Damodaran, Executive Director, PRADAN, said, “The collaboration between the IKEA Foundation and PRADAN has resulted in meaningful changes in the lives of rural poor women in different aspects of their everyday life. The self-help-groups into which they are organised, even while acting as strong social networks for the women, open up pathways to enhanced incomes, improved access to basic services of health, sanitation, clean water and education, and promise to lighten up not only their lives but those of their children also.”