Breaking Barriers: Empowering Ultra Poor Women through SHGs and FPOs

Bhubaneswar:  The inclusion of ultra-poor women in Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) is an important step towards empowering them and promoting sustainable livelihoods. However, this process comes with various challenges that need to be addressed to ensure successful inclusion.

One of the primary challenges is providing access to markets and resources, which is crucial for ultra-poor women to increase their income and improve their living standards. Trickle Up, an international non-profit organization, has successfully implemented the Ultra
Poor Market Access (UPMA) project in Balangir, Odisha with support of Walmart Foundation. This initiative has demonstrated how marginalized households living in poverty can work collectively, consolidating their input needs and agricultural production to reach
economies of scale, market access, and negotiating favourable terms.

To share the proven models and best practices related to the inclusion of ultra-poor women in SHGs and FPOs, Trickle Up organized a workshop in Bhubaneswar on May 4, 2023, with the theme of “Inclusion of Ultra Poor Women in SHGs and FPOs – Challenges
and Success Stories.” The workshop brought together stakeholders from various organizations, including government agencies, NGOs, academics,, practitioners to network, learn, and share ideas.
In his address to the gathering, Pritiranjan Gharai, Hon’ble Minister of State (Ind.Charge), Rural Development, Govt of Odisha, said, “Under the leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government made a significant impact towards development in Nagada with various
initiatives such as infrastructure development, rural housing projects, and enrolment in government schemes.”
In the quest for inclusive and sustainable development, the inclusion of ultrapoor women in Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) is gaining momentum. However, this process comes with its own set of challenges. The recent workshop organized by Trickle Up brought together stakeholders from various organizations to share their success stories and brainstorm on models that empower women.
Recognizing the presence of thought leaders from the development sector, the Minister sought their valuable insights and suggestions to foster collaboration, networking, and innovation, leading to a better quality of life for all. He appreciated Trickle Up’s efforts in
organizing the workshop to ensure that the community’s voices are heard and included in the decision-making process.
The key to empowering ultra-poor women and including them in group activities, SHGs, and FPOs is to adopt a holistic approach that addresses their multi-dimensional needs. “For successful inclusion of ultra-poor women in SHGs and FPOs, a holistic approach that
addresses their multi-dimensional needs is essential. There are many successful models and best practices available, and these can be tailored to the specific context and needs of the ultra-poor women being targeted. Replicating such success stories requires concerted
efforts from various stakeholders, including government agencies, NGOs, and local communities,” said Sushant Verma, Asia Regional Director, Trickle Up Overall, the UPMA project has laid the foundation to providing participating women with necessary skills and resources to become market-ready and achieve higher and sustained returns from their livelihoods, thereby building resilience to the frequent economic shocks
they experience.

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