Society for Urban Poor (SOUP)

शहरी गरीबहरूको लागि समाज

Women Empowerment

Empowering women is one of the major activities of SOUP. SOUP believes that investing in women fundamentally strengthens families and societies. It functions on the principle that long-term social change is most effectively accomplished through initiatives that promote self-sufficiency and sustainability. SOUP's goal is to help women build assets so that they can stabilize their income, raise their standard of living and reorient themselves and their families. Once women start making more visible economic contributions to the household, this can lead to growth in women’s self-esteem, self-confidence and their status both within the household as well as the wider community. The activities for women empowerment will bring sustainable and self-sustained growth among the poor. The organized groups can raise their voice for their human rights and security to their livelihood.

SOUP empowers women through a saving and loan program. At present in the urban area SOUP works with street vendors and in semi urban areas SOUP works with organic farmers who have land. Next to that SOUP has extra activities, like different trainings, to empower the women.

 

Saving and loan program

SOUP believes that saving and loan is an effective tool in organizing the urban poor communities to build their income and strengthening them by providing economic opportunities through income generation. Microfinance can significantly contribute to women’s empowerment by generating additional income earning opportunities either for the women themselves or for the household.

The women groups for the saving and loan program don’t have an income or a low income which is mostly spend on shelter and food. Therefore they have less money to invest to expand their business. SOUP created a fund for women so they have access to a loan. There is access to a minimum loan from NPR 500 to maximum NPR 1000. To make a better position for the saving and loan program, a small percentage of the profit will go into a provision fund. This fund can be used for bad debts and create share amounts from each members helps to sustain the group.

At present, through microcredit the members took loans for different purposes: to invest in their business, family expenses and education for their children. By saving and loan program, the members improve in their daily lifestyle as well as their economic status. The economic situation will be improved with access to loan and security of income. This will support the economic empowerment of women.

 

Urban area

People in the urban area with low educational level and skills are forced to work as street vendors. To empower the street vendors SOUP started Economic Improvement Program for Poor Vendors Program at Kalimati since 2007 and at Balkhu since 2009. Two facilitators are in each area for facilitating the women regularly. The responsibilities of the facilitators are coordinating the loans, organizing the groups, regular monitoring the groups and discussions on their issues, coordinating trainings and other activities. The street vendors take a loan from which they expand their business. A good street vendor can save NPR 50-300 per day. When they are making a profit they will pay back the loan and continue saving. After a while they can rent a place for their business instead of being mobile. 

SOUP wants to replicate its activities in other urban poor communities. Hence, SOUP plans to move ahead in these ways integrated program of Empowering and Enlistment of Vendor of Urban Poor (IPEEVUP). Goal of this program is the economic situation of vendors which will be improved with access to loan and security of earnings and the main objective of this program is to support and develop vendors capacity for economic empowerment and improve their social status.

 

Semi-urban area: Organic farming

SOUP organized seven different Integrated Pest Management trainings for four months by active participation in a good environment. Women learnt the organic farming and management of eco-friendly organism as well as harmful organisms in the field of agriculture. They are able to make the organic pesticides and insecticides by using different grasses and herbs from local level. Participants get a complete knowledge from sowing the seeds, planting the crops and cut off the plant both theoretically and practically.

All women groups for organic farming are involved in the saving and loan program. Women who did the training and involving in saving and loan program are now more skilled, efficient in modern techniques and farming.

 

Capacity Building and Strengthening CBOs

For the capacity building of CBOs SOUP organize different training to the CBOs on women empowerment program, Leadership, Group manage, Account Keeping training for Capacity Building. We are also performing our different program like scholarship with the collaboration of CBOs.

 

Registration of Women into Cooperatives

SOUP has been working with different women group of Urban Poor Communities for more than five years. In Kathmandu, 4 women groups have been formed where as two women groups in Patan and two in Kirtipur were formed with the support of SOUP. These Women groups were formed with the literacy class which helped them to raise the value of unity and they established groups. The group started with saving and credit. SOUP provides different trainings, exposure visit to these women groups. Different trainings on leadership, capacity building, saving and credit, literacy class empowered the women group and increase their access in the family and community. After the period of 3-4 years, different women group have registered into co-operatives. The four women groups of Kathmandu; Ma Pucha (2052), Nhu Pucha (2056), Nali Misa Pucha (2057) and Lajaga Pucha (2060) have registered into one co-operative named Gophal Palanchowk Bhagwati in 2064 B.S. In Lalitpur, Dhalache Women Group (2054) and Luja Misa Pucha (2059) have registered into a co-operative named Aaju Saving and Credit and Luja Saving and Credit respectively in 2064 B.S. In case of Kirtipur, The two women groups – Gamcha Jagaran Women Group (2062) and Gamcha Misa Pucha (2063) have been doing saving and credit activities and they have planned to register into co-operatives in coming days.

 

The most of members in all women group have expressed that they felt that they have got opportunities in learning through the activities done by SOUP. Most of the trainings and exposure visits have ma

de a great change in their way of thinking. It is indeed an eye opening for them. They have been able to speak openly with each other without any hesitation and shyness. They can communicate at least with the familiar people by themselves. Before them joining in the group, they were timid and afraid to speak openly in the meetings. They learnt that they can be a member of a small saving and credit group and save money outside the home and get access to loan and give loan when it is needed. It is helping them to manage their emergency need. They expressed that literacy can make their life different. It can bring confidence at least to go around in the city and make an effort to open a small store or do any small economic activity. They feel that they do not have to depend on their spouse or on their children for small money. They realized it as a big achievement. They pointed out that the learning has reduced their prejudiced attitudes toward women in general. The members of the women groups viewed that they can use their saving to make their children study and meet the emergency economic crisis at home independently. They see it as a big benefit for them. The members of the women groups have felt that they are benefited by being in the women groups. They see it as a force of strong collective action. They can bring positive changes in their live and in the society if women do things and act collectively. Above all impacts expressed can be noted for the initial steps to take off a momentum to come out from their cocoon. We can regard it as the indicator to proceed on as a departure point to measure the milestone.

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