The Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Department, Government of Maharashtra in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have developed a unique initiative named “Skill Sakhi” which focus on the quality mobilisation of women. This initiative promotes mobilisation and training of employable women in the rural and urban areas through young women community leaders. In this article, we look at the Skill Sakhi in detail.
Objectives of Skill Sakhi
The objectives of the Skill Sakhi are explained below.
- To support underprivileged women in India to learn marketable skills and connect with income opportunities.
- To helps women become economically self-sufficient through training, employment and entrepreneurial skill development.
The underprivileged girls and women in Aurangabad, Nagpur and Mumbai districts of Maharashtra are the eligible participants of Skill Sakhi, Maharashtra.
The Government of Maharashtra has introduced significant reforms, wherein rural women can explore options for alternative income apart from agriculture. It focuses on bridging the gap among women on skill development, creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Also, it enhances the role of the private sector in skill development and employment, promoting women entrepreneurship in selected areas such as small retail, and supporting community-managed resource centres for women.
Skill Sakihs are a specific group of women in the age group of 18-25 years with an extensive social network in the village to access the digital content through Pratham’s Smart-PC. The digital content includes employment awareness, life skills and details about other elements like hygiene, safety, etc. Also, these groups of women can access this content as well as disseminate it among other women who don’t have direct access to this content. The role of Skill Sakhis in the Nagpur and Aurangabad is to provide career guidance and counselling centres to create inspirational village leaders who can motivate their skills and inspire young women in the village. Skill Sakhis enables the community members to access information and utilise the avenues of higher education and skilling available to them. The Skill Sakhis are envisioned as the next generation leaders, who can be the local change-makers engaged with the panchayat or lead an all-female village committee to Mahila Gram Sabha focusing on women’s issues in the community. While reaching the maximum women through ‘Skill Sakhi’, the State Government also plans to propose innovative projects based on financial requirements and available resources.
As of now, 1086 “Skill Sakhis” in Nagpur and Aurangabad have mobilised over 15000 girls and young women towards skill training, career guidance and counselling activities and psychometric tests.
- Women welfare programmes for achieving more significant impact, need to be cross-sectoral and not confined to a single department or ministry. In a clear departure from experience, the state government has demonstrated this by extending the mandate for development and empowerment of women and integrating it with the Department of Education and Skill development.
- Involvement of the community is more important to mobilise in a better way.