Project Muskaan is women micro-entrepreneurship & empowerment project.
We believe that community participation is very crucial for the success of projects which
are trying to solve complex problems like waste management. Household waste is highly
involved in the daily life of women. So we have to emphasize to increase the participation
of women as important stake holder in the solution of this deep rooted complex problem.
Women can display active participation in all implementation steps of any project in the
community. Women are powerful agents of change, as well as innovators in response to
environmental changes. Women's responsibilities in households, communities, and as stewards
of natural resources, position them well to develop strategies for adapting to changing
environmental realities. In this sequence we decided to onboard underprivileged women from
rural areas. We launched a project called 'Muskaan' which is a capacity building &
micro-entrepreneurship program for women of rural areas. We formed Self-Help Groups (SHG)
and trained them to make up-cycled products out of waste materials. Mainly, these SHGs make
Lamps, Flowerpots, Rugs, Doormats, Home Decorative items, Sofa & Seats from waste glass
bottles, old tyres, textile waste, paper waste, etc.
The project aims at empowering women, and bringing a women micro-entrepreneurship culture in the socially and economically disadvantaged groups, as well as individuals from underprivileged and people living with disabilities, by offering them continuous employment and a guaranteed salary. In order to make long-term, sustainable changes there will also be opportunities for the start-up of micro-enterprises in up-cycling.
We provide them with all of the required infrastructure, training, raw material to make up-cycled products. We sell their finished products and share revenue with them. We also train them to list their products on e-commerce websites. This helps them to sell their products themselves. This is very innovative model on financial, environmental & social inclusiveness.
'Visibility of impact' is a great tool to spreads a massage in society which can lead to behaviour change and this is what we want. 'Muskaan' is empowering women and providing them opportunity to showcase their creative skills. As women represent the nucleus of the community, therefore 'Muskaan' Programs gives financial independence and better quality of lifestyle to them. The 'Muskaan' is an effective awareness-raising scheme to make people realize the economic value of waste. Returns from up-cycled products can be an incentive for people to pursue optimized waste to value concept. With the help of 'Muskaan' we are catering Sustainable Goal number 5 (Gender equality), 8 (Decent Work & Economy Growth), 10 (Gender equality). Under 'Muskaan' we have trained 80 women in 6 SHG.
In initial phase, we are targeting those areas in Rajasthan where water scarcity is high and agriculture is not the primary occupation. To scale this project quickly we are collaborating with Social Organisations that already have their presence in such locations.