SKOCH Shakti was initiated with an aim of empowering women financially, socially and digitally. Experiences of wide ranging of field visits and action researches articulated that women's micro and small-scale enterprises can provide an opportunity to accelerate economic activities. Women account for about half or more of the entire informal sector's workforce and given access to credit and market linkages, even marginalized women can form and benefit from such enterprises. Experiences across the world show that credit and market linkages are important to create gainful economic activities for women.

SKOCH Shakti aims for holistic empowerment of women. The Foundation has been working to encompass different aspects of women empowerment through the following prisms:

  • Highlighting and encouraging successful of women leaders at various levels of governance.
  • Analysing Programmes and schemes by government for women.
  • Leadership development and financial literacy programs.
  • Entrepreneurship development.
  • Health, hygiene and sanitation.
  • Capacity building and resource management.
  • IT and education.

Empowerment always leads to making people responsible. They would be responsible for what they are and what they will be. They will remain responsible what they do and what they reap from their behaviors or actions. Accordingly, their standard of living will be influenced.

Since its inception the Foundation has been working on:

  • Identifying successful SHGs of women and highlighting the good practices.
  • Making them aware about government schemes and programs addressing women and child issues.
  • Mainstreaming livelihood activities and their presence in the development process.
  • Enhancing the role of women in Panchayati Raj by educating them about their rights and providing financial literacy.
  • Encouraging income generation and self-employment initiatives by making women equal partners in development.
  • Supporting women's concerns over health, sanitation and hygiene.

Objectives of Shakti:

SKOCH Development Foundation has been aiming to provide social inclusion of women with income protection. While inclusion has got the attention of policymakers in recent years, the issues haven't been addressed in a holistic manner yet. Also, the inclusion cannot be complete till the time we include gender & rural areas in our frameworks.

Thus, the major objectives behind the SKOCH Shakti are as follows:

Women Empowerment

  • Women empowerment is pivotal to financial inclusion which has been the motive and agenda of the SKOCH Development Foundation. It is of utmost importance to make women empowered in taking decisions to enable them to play a central part of any human development process. There is a growing realisation that rural women have been underestimated and discriminated in all walks of life despite their substantial contribution to the household economy and in turn, the national economy as such. Through the platform and resources available, we aim to sensitise the public about gender roles and their implications.
  • The empowerment of women is required in all aspects ranging from primary health care access to women, education of women, economic independence of women and even social status improvement beginning from their households.
  • Women are generally limited by society towards household activities, childbearing and nurturing activities, especially in rural areas. There is not much importance and not much fondness is shown towards women being aware of their financial rights and handling the money.
  • To do away with this stigma, we have been organising financial literacy and financial inclusion program “Samavesh” aimed at alleviating poverty and making women equal partners in it. More than 6,000 people have been trained under the scheme so far and many continue to be trained and bridge the divide from have-nots to haves. The main objectives of the Samavesh programme are defeating poverty, women empowerment, promoting village-level entrepreneurship, livelihood linkages and creating an additional revenue stream for the industry. We have been doing field research across states like Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu etc and our learnings have helped us bring felt-needs to the national stage.
  • We have tried to document and bring in notice various issues concerning women through our publications, documentaries and national level consultations.

Creating a Knowledge Repository

We are in the process of creating a knowledge bank to cater to scholars, policymakers, academicians, or whoever wishes to understand the contribution of SKOCH Development Foundation in women empowerment one of the pivotal aspect of human development programs as well as policies for the betterment of society. With a decade of experience of field research at the grassroots, we have first-hand knowledge about the issues, and challenges in remote areas which do not get the limelight easily. Through this repository, we aim to address all those who wish to study and gain knowledge about the same.

Program Implementation Analysis

Women are the backbone of society so it is inevitable for the government and the society to protect and safeguard the rights of women. It is also a prime responsibility of the government to enhance the quality standard of women’s life, and for upgrading the existing standards of the existing society as well as improving the national economy. Women are the foundation and pillars of this world. Women’s security and welfare contributes more towards societal development, creation of an economic environment. Hence it is important to analyse and understand the various welfare schemes for women in India. We have been analysing and studying the impact of various policies on women development and empowerment. We did a first-hand study of the NREGA, Mudra Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana, NABARD’s initiative with German Bank called Wadi Project, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana, Bhamashah Yojana, Mahila Suraksha Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, Aanchal Mother’s Milk Yojana, Shatabdi Gram Yojana, Women in Panchayati Raj, Impact of SHGs , role of microcredit for women etc. The analysis is based on the interaction with the beneficiaries of various schemes.

Providing Recommendations & Clear Evaluation of the Policies to the Policymaker

The Foundation organises various national-level consultations on the issues identified, where experts of the relevant fields come up to speak on topics ranging from financial inclusion, delivering equity & justice to data protection, banking system etc. After which we derive the recommendations through research as well as our experience and aim to provide that to the policymakers by the medium of our books, policy papers and the in-house Inclusion magazine. The Foundation has been appreciated and sought out by various policymakers for our reports.

Highlighting the Good Practices

The Foundation, through its awards, aims to honour the practices of Ministries, Corporates Village level entrepreneurs who have been able to address the social issues daunting the society and its development. The social issues like women’s education, livelihood, sanitation & health. It not only motivates the doers but also sets an example for other states to replicate the same.

Financial Literacy and Awareness and Program for encouraging women entrepreneurship & leadership: Samavesh

The Foundation, through its awards, aims to honour the practices of Ministries, Corporates Village level entrepreneurs who have been able to address the social issues daunting the society and its development. The social issues like women’s education, livelihood, sanitation & health. It not only motivates the doers but also sets an example for other states to replicate the same.

  • The Foundation has been working towards inclusive growth, also organising financial literacy program Samavesh to encourage:
    1. Financial awareness
    2. Vocational training awareness in locally relevant areas to generate employment
    3. Creating digital awareness among women
    4. Encouraging women leadership
  • The scope and target of Samavesh programme has been gradually broadened. Initially, the focus was on women Panchayat representatives and members of self-help Groups (SHGs), it has been broadened to include rural entrepreneurs and other members from the public. Samavesh programme was launched after one-and-a-half decade of field research, action research and national consultations by the Foundation. With changing technological and economic dynamics, the need and scope are bound to change.

Our interventions have brought definitive change at the grassroots level and we further endeavour to catalyse the inclusive growth of the country.