European Union launch Project Nirmanshree to empower 3000 women-led households in Odisha and Maharashtra

Mumbai: With an aim to enhance women’s entrepreneurial skills in low-cost and green housing related services, and to strengthen the delivery of such services through government and private sector in India, Habitat for Humanity India today launched Project Nirmanshree, funded by the European Union. Nirmanshree messengers (field workers), CSO partners, representatives from the government, private sector and Habitat International launched the event.

The total cost of the project is EUR 9,49,694 (INR 7,40,85,628 or US$1,075,307) of which 90% is funded by the European Union and the remaining 10% cost is shared by Habitat for Humanity India.

The project will be implemented in Dhenkanal & Jajpur districts in Odisha and Beed & Osmanabad districts in Maharashtra.

Nirmanshree will focus on providing technical and entrepreneurial skills to 3000 women in the housing sector including in the area of, plumbing, electrical fitting, tiling, sanitation, drinking water, material mobilization and management and housing finance management. This will foster upward mobility for the poor and marginalised women in the construction sector by generating jobs and opportunities, thereby strengthening their livelihoods. Sustainable construction practices to ensure sustainable and climate resilient and adaptable houses will form an essential part of this training.

The project also aims to set up 50 social enterprises, by supporting women through entrepreneurial trainings and skills. By creating these local networks, resources and ecosystem for sustainable construction, the project hopes to improve the quality of habitat of 200,000 families in these areas, making them sustainable and climate resilient. This will also be achieved through the inclusion of women in planning processes and delivery of housing and other services at the grassroots level.

“Through Nirmanshree, we intend to create economic opportunities for marginalized women through development in the housing sector and make them proactive participants in the decision-making. Strengthening the collective voice of women in engaging with policy-makers, the project also aims to enhance their core capabilities in accessing social entitlements and sustainable solutions related to housing and the housing eco-system. We thank the European Union for entrusting Habitat for Humanity India to engage the community through project Nirmanshree” stated Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India.

Raimund Magis, Chargé d’Affaires, Delegation of the European Union to India said, “The construction sector is the second-largest employer in India. While Women constitute a significant part of the workforce of the housing sector, they mostly work as unskilled labour, facing inequalities and discrimination. Nirmanshree is therefore a timely intervention that aims to empower them by enhancing their technical and entrepreneurial skills, create women-led enterprises to strengthen their livelihoods, promote climate adaptable and green housing support services at community level and also influence gender-sensitive housing policies and programmes.”

Nirmanshree will also work towards addressing gender inequities like barriers to owning land, low wages, and lack of skills, limited training opportunities and facilitate linking of Government Schemes (MUDRA, ECLGS, UYEGP), Banks, MFIs and Corporates. The project will in turn contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the SDG 11 on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It also answers to the SDG call to “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and to upgrade slums.”

Funded by the EU, the project will be implemented over a period of 3 years from 2020 to 2023.

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