Empowering women to become self-reliant through Samriddhi- a micro poultry farming programme

By auther pic. Jyoti

August 19, 2019

Empowering women to become self-reliant through Samriddhi- a micro poultry farming programme

Women taking part in Self Help Group meetings

The densely populated state of Uttar Pradesh is heavily dependent on Agriculture. There are 75 districts in the state and there exists a need for improvement in health, nutrition and agriculture in this region. In 2018, NITI Aayog identified 8 of the 117 aspirational districts in UP as a priority improvement zones. Siddharthnagar is one of the 8 districts. It is also the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.


Unemployment has driven men out of Siddharthnagar in search of greener pasture, leaving most household responsibilities to women. Problems such as gender-based discrimination and lack of financial independence plagued women here. Shohratgarh Environmental Society (SES) has been working on social issues as these in the area for the past 30 years.  With the help of Asia Initiatives and Dining with Women, SES had started the ‘Samriddhi Programme’.


The programme helped in increasing the income for women by providing them assistance to set up their own micro-poultry businesses. In addition, the programme involved financial literacy, public health and hygiene education and gender equality training. Samriddhi empowered women to become independent and strong decision makers.


There were 498 participants in the program in the first phase. Women worked in their community to earn Social Capital Credits (SoCCs). Several activities that earned SoCCs included taking part in Self-Help Group meetings (15 points), bringing their mother-in-law, husband or a friend to the SHG meetings to increase their learning earned them 10-20 points, regular saving income added 50 SoCC points, taking pledge against child marriage earned them 50 points, and practicing good personal hygiene added 50 SoCC points.  Once they have earned 400 SoCCs, women are given 20 chickens along with chicken feed, medicines and access to veterinary supervision.


Women earning a Social Capital Credits (SoCCs)


Through group meetings and short films, women learnt about personal and menstrual hygiene.


Dr. B.C. Srivastava, Secretary, SES says – ‘With Asia Initiatives’ help, SES started backyard micro-poultry farming to improve skills and the financial situation of these women. The central theme of the program is that women earn SoCCs by working to improve their community. Through the micro-poultry business, women are expected to earn Rs. 2000 a month on a rotational basis. Financial training is also provided to the participants.’


Dr. Udaybhan Mall – Consultant, Veterinary Doctor added – ‘I have been working with SES as a veterinary consultant. We come once a month to monitor the chickens; we vaccinate the one day old chicks and provide medicines for skin diseases after one week of birth. Villagers used to believe that chickens fall ill and die quickly and that micro-poultry wasn’t a safe business. However, mortality rates in properly looked after chickens is just 15-20%, compared to 10% nominal casualty rate in any livestock business. We have decreased mortality rate in chicks and more women now want to take up poultry farming.’


Women had been taught about accounting, savings, insurance and government schemes. Women used their income in various ways including borrowing additional funds, buying automobile from the borrowed funds to earn extra income and move out of poverty. Through this program, women have sold 10,813 chickens thereby making a profit of Rs. 21,720,600/-


Mrs. Savita, Sahjan Women’s Group from Kharagwar is a success story. Narrating her story, she says – ‘I am associated with Sahjan Mahila Group. We have 2-3 group meetings a month where we collect money and plant Sahjan (Moringa) trees. Earlier, we were poor but since I joined the group we are doing better. After earning points, we received chickens, grains and utensils. I sold hens to earn Rs. 5,300/- and open a bank account. I took loan and bought a tempo with the money which my husband drives and we are happy. I am now confident and can talk to anyone, which has increased my self-respect.’



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Jyoti, a post graduate of International Business, is working as a Senior Analyst Communication in NGOBOX and CSRBOX. A resident of Ahmedabad, she likes to spend her weekends in solitude by reading, with a steaming cup of coffee to give her company.


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