SEWA - Self Employed Women's Association

Project Brief: Large scale computer usage for poverty alleviation
Project Type: Community Based Interventions (description)
Primary Focus: vocational training (description)

Secondary Focus: girls

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Yale
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Ajay Dalmia
Project Partner(s): Reema Nanavaty
Other Contacts: Hitten Zaveri
Project Address: , ,,,
Stewarding Chapter: Yale
Dec 2002YaleUSD 6453

Total = $6453

This project seeks to understand the challenges involved in introducing IT-based solutions for alleviating rural poverty and illiteracy and creating a scalable paradigm that will serve as a blueprint for bridging the digital divide between the developed and the developing worlds. 375 computers will be installed in the villages (with SEWA membership) of 11 rural districts of Gujarat, India. SEWA members will employ them for multiple purposes including improved communication within SEWA, access to information and markets, administrative and design tasks for SEWA collectives, vocational computer training of SEWA members and computer based education for children in government schools. A big part of the success in the effective use of the computers by the SEWA members is setting up the training and maintenance infrastructure.
1. To create and maintain an online database of its 200,000+ members
2. To maintain a database of all its meetings and programs
3. To set up a computer training center to train its cadre of organizers and grassroots leader
4. To set up a computer training center at its employment cell, to train its younger members and their daughters and sons, in basic computer (SEWA plans to train 1000 children over a period of 3 years).
5. To promote the economic organizations of SEWA members
6. To enable social security program of SEWA to maintain
7. To enable SEWA Academy in worker’s education and capacity building
8. To linkup all the computers within the various SEWA organizations amongst themselves and to the Internet
9. To form a virtual alliance of organizations and groups of people in similar situation around the world.
10. To facilitate e-commerce
SEWA is a trade union registered in 1972. It is an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers. SEWA’s main goals are to organise women workers for full employment and self-reliance. Full employment means employment whereby workers obtain work security, income security, food security and social security (at least health care, child care and shelter). SEWA organises women to ensure that every family obtains full employment. By self-reliance we mean that women should be autonomous and self-reliant, individually and collectively, both economically and in terms of their decision-making ability.

SEWA is both an organisation and a movement. The SEWA movement is enhanced by its being a sangam or confluence of three movements : the labour movement, the cooperative movement and the women’s movement. But it is also a movement of self-employed workers : their own, home-grown movement with women as the leaders. Through their own movement women become strong and visible. Their tremendous economic and social contributions become recognised.