The initiative is about enabling WSHGs gain control over resources and ensuring their sustenance by,
• Transferring management of Haat to women,
• Creating of Haat Development Committees and building interaction with PRIs and government agencies,
• Designing organized Haat structure.
The Haat Development Committee, carved out of WSHGs started a haat in village Digwar. Its management for the first time in the country, was in the hands of women rural, illiterate and hitherto little empowered with no resources at their command. The committee demarcated land for various types of shops and fixed the area for each shop. The fees for SHG members were fixed at concessional (50%) rate. In all 150 shops were allotted. Basic amenities like cleanliness and drinking water were also provided free of cost. Total maintenance cost subtracted from total fees collected was the net profit. Half of the profits were given to the village Panchayat and the rest was added to the savings of the WSHG every week.
Women got not only their rightful place in the haat as well as the society but also control over resources. They are able to allot land, shops etc. and decide market days, place, fees etc. for others (including men) in the community.
Started in village Digwar district Sehore, more than 10 years ago, the initiative now encompasses experiment is now expanded to 1775 shops in 36 haats benefitting almost 1800 sellers and 415,000 villagers from 217 villages.
The means to measure the impact of the initiative were,
- regular visits to the area.
- media/audio-visual documentation during pre-initiative & post-initiative period.
- evaluation by funding/external agency.
1. A comparison between pre-initiative ( in the year 2002) and post-initiative period (in the year 2012) of the tangible parameter showed considerable up-scaling in various tangible parameters viz. number of haats, no. of villages covered, population benefitted, no. of shops etc.
2. Per shop income as fees to the Haat Committee increased fivefold (from Rs.2/- to Rs.10/-).
1. Women became more vocal with increased confidence and awareness levels, able to take decisions both in the family and the community. Their participation in Gram Sabha or Village Forum became more regular and effective. Consequently a substantial number of women got elected as Panch/Sarpanch (Village Heads) across the state.
2. Effective interaction between the WSHGs/Haat Committees and the PRI resulted in the development of the village (construction of roads, drainage, hand pumps and sheds).
3. WSHGs became more powerful with increased savings, (from Rs.12,000 to Rs.90,000) inter-loaning benefitted more women.
i. The primary beneficiaries were the members of WSHGs and Haat Committee who could control the resources for their empowerment and communities' betterment. It also facilitated drudgery reduction.
ii. Other beneficiaries were the villagers/ community who got additional market allowing for more products, services and trade leading to upscaling the village's economy.
iii. The Panchayat, who got additional funds as profit share without incurring any expenditure or effort.
iv. Shopkeepers from the catchment villages also got access to market hitherto unavailable.