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Family Life Management Project

Micro-Enterprise Development (MED) for Poor Urban Women in Madurai, Tamil Nadu- AusAID NGO Scheme Sponsored by Oz Child – Children Australia Inc (1997-1999)

Brief Activity Description :

The Goodwill GSWC undertook a ‘Micro-Enterprise Development(MED) for poor urban women in Madurai, Tamilnadu to establish small business projects in the following viable activities : tailoring; metal craft; laundry services; market vending and one additional activity still to be confirmed. The program was aimed a setting up a total of 50 viable income generating activities for poor urban women in Madurai with children over the next year and provide appropriate vocation training and ancillary skills to project beneficiaries. Ancillary training was provided in financial management and marketing and Gender training raised women’s’ consciousness and understanding of gender issues. As part of the project, the centre established a counselling and referral service respond to problems of alcohol and substance abuse among the spouses of the women.

Major Development Objectives :

  • To generate income which will alleviate poverty in 50 poor, urban households in Madurai,India
  • To provide small loans for MED to 50 poor, urban women in Madurai with children.
  • To establish a women’s’ credit cooperative with 5 separate, self-managed, self-help groups which will promote savings habits among project participants.
  • To provide vocational training related to MED
  • To provide training relating to financial management, marketing of produce and gender awareness to 50 poor, women in Madurai through a series of participatory workshops within the project cycle.
  • To establish a counselling and referral service which will mitigate against significant problems relating to alcohol and substance abuse (which the GSWC have identified as undermining women’s participation in MED activities)

Beneficiaries :

50 poor urban women in Madurai with children.

Major Activity Outputs :

  • Establishment of 50 viable businesses managed and controlled by female project beneficiaries. Business activities will include tailoring; metal craft; laundry services; market vending and one additional activity still to be confirmed.
  • A pool of 50 skilled women who can demonstrate understanding of MED, marketing and financial management principles.
  • Demonstrated gender awareness amongst project participants.
  • Establishment of a fully autonomous women’s credit cooperative with “core” loan funds of Indian Rupees 125,000.
  • At project completion, core funds returned to the credit cooperative were advanced to other poor women in Madurai.
  • Improved savings habits among project participants.
  • Alleviation of problems associated with alcohol and substance abuse in the family.

Major Activity Outputs :

  • Vocational training relating to tailoring; metal craft; laundry services; market vending organised. Specialist training sessions pertaining to gender, financial management and marketing of consumer produce were organised. All training programs promoted appropriate technologies which were replicated locally and assisted in rescheduling exorbitant loans from local money lenders.
  • Gender training using participatory training techniques.
  • Provision of small loans (averaging Indian Rupees 2500) for MED activities was made available to 50 project participants.
  • Repayment schedules were worked out in line with production-sales cycles.
  • Formation of 5 separate self-managed self-help credit and savings groups with an enrolment of at least 10 members in each group. Each cooperative could correspond to set activities, i.e. a tailoring cooperative, metal ware cooperative, etc.
  • Establishment of a counselling and referral service designed to deal with problems pertaining to alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Participatory evaluation was identified as the major project successes as well as the lessons learned.