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India - Women empowerment project

Women are a particularly strategic social group to focus on empowerment projects since their involvement to the main social dynamics of a community and the positive effects of their inclusion to several dimensions of sustainable development. Maire Tecnimont Group keeps investing on training opportunities to disadvantaged women in India considering the economic independence as the first step to walk the talk toward gender equality. Partnering with the local NGO CORP, our Group for the fifth year in a row promoted the active participation of Indian women in the economic life of their communities thanks to vocational courses able to generate quality employment and/or micro enterprises (tailoring, beautician, computer literacy and income generation programmes).

The project, started in 2015, involved each year around 1000 women and their children, in 7 centers located in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of Greater Mumbai. It encompassed specific skill training as well as education on women’s rights and empowerment, providing at the same time proper support services (creches and preschool for women’s children) so to maximize women attendance and making real their involvement. According to the participant reviews and follow-ups, the more women were economically independent the more they increased investment on their children education, so activating a virtuous circle with an additional long-term positive effect. Moreover, women are provided with basic monthly medical check-ups and health awareness campaigns, creation of individual bank saving accounts and introduction to a number of government saving schemes. Every activity included in the programme is designed and developed to support women with a 360 degrees approach, tailor made on real women’s and community’s needs in a holistic perspective.

The outcomes of the initiative covers a wide range of positive returns: the approach to social and economic issues in an integrated but very pragmatic way, allowed to touch at the same time key topics in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals our Group decided to embrace (SDG 2, SDG 3, SDG 4, SDG 5, SDG 8). Our Group and CORP kept active a constant flow of co-planning, reporting and review of both results and improvements in project management of the activities, working together in a partnership perspective. Moreover, CORP involved also other third sector local players to ensure the sustainability of the project also in terms of environmental impact. All the fabrics needed for tailoring training and income generation production come from second-hand market and are up-cycled thanks to the work done by the women. The waste and leftovers generated are donated to one organization that finally use them as raw material for other textile products.