Skill Sakhi, Maharashtra
This topic provides information about the Skill Sakhi in Maharashtra.
Skill Sakhis is an initiative UNDP and Government of Maharashtra to tackle the problem of quality mobilization of women. The initiative was launched in 2016.
Underprivileged Girls and Women in Aurangabad, Nagpur and Mumbai districts of Maharashtra.
Maharashtra, with 40,000 villages, has introduced major reforms, wherein rural women are able to explore options for alternative income outside agriculture. The State, which has already ensured free school education for women including higher professional courses, is now linking avenues for sustained livelihood. The Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Department of the Government of Maharashtra in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has pioneered a unique initiative called 'Skill Sakhi' that focuses on the most critical aspect of India's skill ecosystem, i.e. mobilization, handholding and mentoring.
The initiative promotes mobilization and skilling of employable girls and women in the peri-urban and rural areas through network of young women community leaders. It focuses on bridging the information gap among women and girls on skill development, creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, enhancing the role of the private sector in skill development and employment, promoting women entrepreneurship in key areas such as small retail, and supporting community-managed resource centers for women.
The Skill Sakhi initiative promotes mobilization and skilling of employable girls and women in the peri-urban and rural areas of the state through a network of young women community leaders (the Skill Sakhis). Skill Sakhis are a special cadre of young women in the age group of 18-25 years with a good social network in their villages. These Skill Sakhis have access to digital content provided to them through Pratham's Smart-PC. The content includes employment awareness, life skills and information about various important elements like hygiene, safety, etc. Skill Sakhis form groups of women who can access this content and disseminate it amongst women who may not have direct access to this content. The role of Skill Sakhis in the Nagpur and Aurangabad Career Guidance and Counseling Centres is essentially to create aspirational village leaders who can motivate and inspire young girls and women in the village to appreciate the value in skilling and educating themselves, hence, enabling the community members to access information and utilize 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 akin 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 introduce innovative projects based on local requirements and available resources.
- Initiatives that are embedded in the community with strong government institutional set-up have a larger outreach and impact, and are sustained over a long period.
- Women welfare programmes, for achieving greater impact, need to be cross-sectoral and not confined to a single department/ministry. In a clear departure from past 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 community is important to mobilize in a better way.