Gender Seminar @ IFPRI: Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Climate Resilient Agriculture

Thursday, November 3, 2016, 2:00pm-3:00pm EST

Presented by Ms. Reema Nanavaty, Director, Economic and Rural Development, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ahmedabad, India

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Abstract:

 The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is a member based organization of poor self-employed women, with a membership of over 2 million across 15 states in India. For over 4 decades, SEWA has been working with its rural members to help them improve their livelihood through various initiatives in technical training, microfinance, market linkages and natural resource management, across a number of trades. A majority of SEWA’s members are small and marginal cultivators, and landless agricultural laborers. Over the past decade, these households have borne the worst brunt of increasingly unpredictable climate and unseasonal weather events. This presentation will review SEWA’s strategies to enhance livelihoods, and plans for a new initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture, including work on groundwater governance and access to financial and marketing services.

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 Reema Nanavaty joined SEWA in 1984. Under her leadership, SEWA has grown to become the single largest union of informal sector workers in India with around 1,836,550 women members. Her focus is on women’s economic empowerment by building women-owned enterprises and women-led supply chains in energy, agribusiness, food processing, waste recycling, and textiles. Ms. Nanavaty founded the SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), now owned by 15,000 women artisans. Under her leadership, the TFC model is being replicated in all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries to build the social enterprises of homebased women workers. Majority of SEWA members work in the field of agriculture. Reema initiated the agriculture campaign in 1995 to address the issues of the agriculture workers and small and marginal farmers. The agriculture campaign works on organizing, providing capacity building and technical services, providing access to agricultural inputs, financial services and market linkages so that agriculture moves form subsistence to becoming viable and profitable. SEWA also provides them with inputs in improving agricultural practices which are climate resilient along with other supportive services. SEWA’s agriculture campaign works with more than 500,000 farmers at the National level. She also initiated SEWA’s food security programme that covers one million households. She spearheads the ‘Hariyali’ Green Energy and Livelihoods Initiative to provide 200,000 women access to renewable energy. Ms. Nanavaty worked to rebuild the lives and livelihoods of 60,000 earthquake-affected rural women as well as 40,000 members affected by communal riots in Gujarat. She leads rehabilitation programmes in crisis-torn Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. She was awarded the Padmashri by the Government of India in 2013.

 

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Meeting ID: 376-552-749

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