The FINANCIAL -- As part of its
India commitment towards empowering the youth and women, MasterCard inaugurated the seventh Rural Urban Development Initiative
processing centre at Bodeli near Vadodara, Gujarat.
This initiative is in association with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) that helps women in India secure employment opportunities, empowering them to be self-reliant with supportive services.
MasterCard pledged INR 2,500,000 to SEWA earlier this year, which will help benefit approximately 2,000 farmers and 400 SEWA members. The number of beneficiaries is expected to increase with the growth in the business of the centre.
At an event held at Sukhi Mahila SEWA Mandal at Bodeli, members of SEWA shared their experiences and expressed their enthusiasm for the centre, which started its operations today.
The initiative ensures fair prices to the farmers for their produce as well as safeguards their interests from unscrupulous middlemen. Farmers can now sell their agricultural produce to the processing centre and collect money for their goods immediately. The centre will process the agricultural produce for cleaning, packaging, branding and coding. With this initiative, farmers can generate additional income of approximately 20 percent more than the market price.
Says Reema Nanavaty, Director for Economic and Rural Development, SEWA, “RUDI is the brand owned by the small farmer women of SEWA. RUDI ensures fair return to the small farmers, generates employment opportunity and ensures food security to the rural women and their households. Thereby it strengthens the local economy, local village economy and builds self-reliant villages. It makes agriculture viable and sustainable for small farmers. We are very happy that through this association we are able to reach out to the poorer tribal women and their households.”
Under this program supported by MasterCard , SEWA members will provide necessary training to empower the centre’s workforce with necessary skill sets as per the needs and demands of the market. As more women are trained to run the centre, they will become entrepreneurs, retailing in the neighboring areas, thereby sustaining the business activities of the centre. SEWA members are treated as entrepreneurs and would participate as shareholders in the trust. There will be at least 125 SEWA members working for the centre permanently.
At the occasion, Mr. T.V. Seshadri, division president, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide, said, “At MasterCard , we are focused on developing links with the wider community and building strong relationships with a variety of organizations as part of our social responsibility. Today, our relationship with one of our key community partners has taken on yet another dimension. We are pleased to partner with the Self Employed Women’s Association to help women in India realize their economic potential as entrepreneurs and we believe that by empowering women with financial skills and life skills, they will be able earn a livelihood, and help better the lives of their family and the community they live in.”
The centre aims to generate funds and circulate it within the SEWA network, which will enhance the quality, capacity and efficiency of rural production. The RUDI centre initiative was piloted by SEWA in the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. SEWA leverages its large-scale membership for nurturing local skilled businesswomen along the rural production value chain.
As MasterCard reported, the program will create ample full-time employment opportunities for women in 100 adjoining villages and will ultimately cater to a catchment of 300 to 500 villages in Gujarat.
MasterCard philanthropic efforts are focused on furthering financial inclusion through entrepreneurship. We believe that by supporting entrepreneurship we are helping individuals overcome barriers to financial inclusion and ultimately achieve positive economic outcomes for themselves, their families and their communities. Through our core competencies, our technology, our people, and our charitable giving, we make a difference in people’s lives around the world.