CASE STUDY ON SDG1-NO POVERTY

Case study on SDG 1- No Poverty.

Please review the case study and share your reflections for the questions listed below:

SEWA: Self Employed Womens Association

Imagine you were from a poor community and a woman somewhere in India. You have four children and happen to be the primary breadwinner of your family. What if you have very few skills and fail to get into employment that would meet your needs. In all probability, you are forced to work as a domestic worker, a hawker, a street vendor or a construction laborer. These options earn very little or no money. This means that you are self-employed and work in the informal sector. So far so good. What if you were exploited, however? This could mean that you are made to work long hours, are paid less than you are due, or even paid irregularly and worse, and are paid nothing at all. What if you were harassed for selling vegetables on the streets? Remember, that until recently there were no laws to protect those in informal employment. These are real challenges for a poor woman and inhibit her from getting into decent employment that can actually help her escape poverty through her hard work. Evidently, poor people need capital or an ability to raise capital from savings, credit, and insurance to have incomes that meet their needs and also allow them to purchase or acquire assets like a sewing machine, a house, cattle, a pushcart, etc. This reduced the risk of relapsing into poverty for a variety of reasons. Women needed to have knowledge, information, and skills of the trade and management to succeed in the market. They needed security in terms of health and child care to be able to ward off risks. Last but not the least, they needed collective strength to be heard and address their own needs in a meaningful way.

Studies show that women could increase their incomes through gainful employment due to credit and acquisition of skills and capacities. All this, ultimately, helped women find more self-esteem and confidence to conduct their businesses more effectively. But today, there are indeed many such women! And they earn more than 12,000 INR a month! How was that possible? Through SEWA, a collective of women, founded in 1972 in Ahmedabad, a city in the western state of Gujarat in India by Ela Ben Bhatt women are finding better employment prospects. Ela Bhatt started SEWA with women who worked outside the textile mills with no formal source of income. The association now has nearly two million members. SEWAs main goals are to organize women workers for full employment and self-reliance and lift them out of their poverty. Women had faced a variety of problems wages were suppressed, there were fewer opportunities of full time, and continuous employment and employment conditions were not always favorable. SEWA carefully examined the kind of support that women need to reach a state of full employment. It looked at an integrated approach which involves

1. Capital
2. Capacity
3. Social security
4. Collective and organized strength.

Evidently, poor people need capital or an ability to raise capital from savings, credit, and insurance to have incomes that meet their needs and also allow them to purchase or acquire assets like a sewing machine, a house, cattle, a pushcart, etc.

This reduced the risk of relapsing into poverty for a variety of reasons. Women needed to have knowledge, information, and skills of the trade and management to succeed in the market. They needed security in terms of health and child care to be able to ward off risks. Last but not the least, they needed collective strength to be heard and address their own needs in a meaningful way.

Questions to reflect and respond:

1. What are the four components identified by SEWA to address poverty?
2. Did SEWAs initiatives address income poverty or multidimensional poverty?
3. What would you propose to the government of your country by learning from the SEWA example for a poor community?
4. What role can education and training play in enhancing the capacities of communities?
5. Poverty is a classic chicken and egg situation. How did SEWA break this vicious cycle for women?

Useful Links:

Website of the Self Employed Womens Association (SEWA): www.sewa.org

SEWA on Asian Initiatives-website: http://asiainitiatives.org/health-initiatives/sewa-ahmedabad/

HERE IS A EXAMPLE OF HOW THE STUDENT ANSWER THE QUESTION TO THE
CASE STUDY:

Case study on SDG 1- No Poverty.
What are the four components identified by SEWA to address poverty?

I believe the Self -Employed Womens Association (SEWA) identified health, economic capability, self-reliance, and employment as components to address poverty.

Did SEWAs initiatives address income poverty or multidimensional poverty?

SEWA initiatives address multidimensional poverty. It addresses poverty at all levels which include income security, health care, housing, and food security.

What would you propose to the government of your country by learning from the SEWA example for a poor community?

I originated from a third world country in Africa and the conditions of the women in Ahmedabad, India before SEWA was found in 1972 are not different from the women in my country Cameroon, Central Africa. I would suggest that my government follow the example of SEWA. The majority of women in rural areas depend on agriculture for their livelihood. These women farm and sell their products to neighboring markets and villages. Some of these women farms in lands that belong to different owners and so they have to pay the landowners rents for these farms and then whatever is left belongs to them. With this said, I would propose to the government of my country to help fund cooperation were women in a small farming business and small business owners could save and borrow money at very minimal interest to expand and sustain whatever small business they are doing.

What role can education and training play in enhancing the capacities of communities?

According to Preece (2006), education can be a powerful tool for empowerment and building capacity and capabilities to challenge inequalities. Education is one factor that can aid in the improvement of poverty and socio-economic growth. Training is important because it covers essential work-related skills and knowledge to improve communities.

Poverty is a classic chicken and egg situation. How did SEWA break this vicious cycle for women?

SEWA was formed with the goal of empowering poor women to attain full employment and self-reliance (SEWA, 2006). SEWA breaks the vicious cycle of poverty for women by making them self-reliant and autonomous. SEWA made them economically dependent on decision making with assistance from the joint action of unions and cooperatives (SEWA, 2006).

Reference

Preece, J. (2006, January 1). (PDF) The role of education in poverty alleviation for sustainable development [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247981796

SEWA. (2009). Self-employed womens association. Retrieved from https://www.sewa.org/About_Us_Goals.asp