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Empowering Women through Knowledge: A Comprehensive Workshop on Marketing and Supply Chain Management

We organized a transformative event in YamunaNagar, Haryana, on May 5th, 2024. The event was a one-day workshop on Marketing and Supply Chain Management for leaders of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). This workshop was part of Project SEAL, a project to empower rural women.

Project SEAL: A Beacon of Hope

Project SEAL, supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, works with bride trafficking survivors in YamunaNagar district of Haryana. It aims to empower survivors by promoting social integration, entrepreneurship, assistance, and leadership building. The project identifies and engages survivors of bride trafficking to reclaim their agency. It does so through educational and vocational training programs as well as community engagement activities. The goal is to ensure survivors can reclaim their voice and independence. Survivors are also encouraged and supported to take on community leadership roles. An independent, survivor-led community-based organization is established to facilitate the project. It puts in place an effective mechanism for survivors to lead proactive awareness and empowerment campaigns. By enabling entrepreneurship and engaging survivors in their community, Project SEAL aims to provide long-term socio-economic security and assimilation. The initiative works to empower survivors to achieve social change against all forms of violence against women.

The Facilitator: Meghna Gohain

Meghna Gohain, a multi-skilled entrepreneur, conducted this workshop. She founded, a platform that provides prospects for women artisans. Meghna holds a degree in Political Science from Delhi University and another degree in Fashion Technology from the International Institute of Fashion Technology (IIFT), Delhi. Her diverse educational background and entrepreneurial experience qualified her as a perfect leader for this workshop.

The Team: A Collective Effort

The success of the workshop was a result of the collective efforts of the Empower People team. District Coordinator Dildar Hussain, and Program Coordinators Mishal Rizvi, Sanaya Singh, and Anjule Shyam Maurya played crucial roles in organizing and executing the workshop. Their dedication and hard work ensured that the workshop was a resounding success.

The Workshop: A Deep Dive into Marketing and Supply Chain Management

The workshop was meticulously designed to provide CBO leaders with a comprehensive understanding of marketing and supply chain management. The participants were introduced to various marketing strategies that can help them effectively promote their products and reach a wider customer base. They learned about the importance of understanding customer needs, creating value propositions, and leveraging different marketing channels for promotion.

The workshop also covered the basics of supply chain management, including procurement, production, and distribution, to ensure smooth operations. Participants learned about the importance of supplier relationships, inventory management, and efficient distribution strategies.

In addition to marketing and supply chain management, the workshop also touched upon business planning and financial management. Participants were guided on how to develop a robust business plan, including setting realistic goals and strategies for achieving them. They were taught how to conduct market research, identify their target audience, and create a unique selling proposition. The importance of budgeting and financial planning in running a successful enterprise was also emphasized. They learned about managing cash flows, understanding financial statements, and making informed financial decisions.

The Need for the Workshop: Challenges Faced by Rural Women in Business

Rural women entrepreneurs often face numerous challenges that can lead to the failure of their businesses. These challenges include:

  1. Lack of Education: Many rural women lack access to quality education, which can limit their understanding of business management, marketing strategies, and financial planning.

  2. Financial Constraints: Access to finance is a significant challenge. Rural women often struggle to secure loans or other forms of financial support due to lack of collateral, credit history, or formal business plans.

  3. Limited Market Information: Rural women entrepreneurs often lack access to critical market information, which can hinder their ability to identify business opportunities, understand customer needs, and stay competitive.

  4. Limited Access to Technology: Technology plays a crucial role in modern business operations. However, rural areas often lack reliable internet connectivity and access to digital tools, which can limit business growth.

  5. Societal and Cultural Norms: In many societies, women face cultural and societal barriers that can restrict their mobility, limit their access to resources, and discourage them from pursuing entrepreneurial activities.

  6. Inadequate Infrastructure: Poor infrastructure in rural areas can make it difficult for businesses to reach their customers and access necessary resources.

Addressing the Challenges: The Role of the Workshop

The workshop played a crucial role in addressing these challenges. It provided comprehensive training on marketing and supply chain management, business planning, and financial management. This education empowers the women with the knowledge they need to run their businesses effectively.

The workshop covered financial management, including budgeting and financial planning. This knowledge can help the women make informed financial decisions, manage their cash flows effectively, and potentially improve their ability to secure loans or other forms of financial support.

The workshop introduced various marketing strategies and taught the women how to conduct market research and identify their target audience. This can help them understand customer needs, effectively promote their products, and stay competitive.

While the workshop may not directly address the challenges of limited access to technology and inadequate infrastructure, the knowledge gained can help the women optimize their operations and make the most of the resources they have. Additionally, Empower People could consider conducting future workshops on digital literacy and the use of technology in business. by empowering women with knowledge and skills, the workshop helps challenge societal and cultural norms that restrict women’s mobility and access to resources. The success of the women in running their businesses can also serve as a powerful example for others in their communities.

The Impact: Empowering Rural Women

This workshop is particularly beneficial for rural women as it equips them with the necessary skills to run their enterprises effectively. Under Project SEAL, women in YamunaNagar have started a slipper manufacturing unit equipped with 10 machines. The knowledge gained from this workshop will enable these women to manage their marketing and supply chain operations efficiently, thereby contributing to the success of their enterprises.

The Participants: Women CBO Leaders

The workshop was attended by 32 women CBO leaders who have been representing 15 groups of BT survivors. These women, hailing from different backgrounds and experiences, came together to learn, grow, and empower themselves.

NoorAisha, one of the participants, shared her thoughts, “This workshop has opened my eyes to the possibilities that lie ahead. The knowledge I’ve gained today will be instrumental in taking our business to the next level.”

Sharmila, another participant, expressed, “Understanding the intricacies of supply chain management was a revelation. I now feel equipped to handle the operational challenges of our enterprise.”

Rajni echoed similar sentiments, “The session on financial management was enlightening. I now understand the importance of budgeting and financial planning in ensuring the success of our business.”

The Goal: Women’s Economic Empowerment

This workshop, part of the ‘Women Enterprise’ initiative under Project SEAL, generously supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, marks a significant step towards women’s economic empowerment and the reclamation of their agency. It provides rural women with the tools and knowledge to become self-reliant and contribute to their communities’ economic growth.

By equipping these women with the skills and knowledge to manage their own enterprises, the workshop contributes to the broader goal of women’s economic empowerment. It enables them to make significant contributions to their communities and the economy, thereby promoting gender equality and social inclusion. Dr. Savithri Subramanian, the President of Empower People, shared her thoughts on the workshop, “We are committed to creating opportunities for women in rural areas to become self-reliant and contribute to their communities’ economic growth. This workshop is a significant step towards achieving this goal.”

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