Once shunned by society, the Dalit (untouchable) and Tribal (indigenous) worker participants in our project now talk proudly about how they are recognized as people and even receive letters from government officials. This sense of identity for people who traditionally sit outside the caste system was a common theme in the conversations we had when the UnionAID monitoring team visited the project in March. Although the hard data from surveys will not be analysed till the end of the project, the anecdotal evidence is that households are earning more, paying off debts and sending their children to school.
Already half way through the project, they are well on the way to meeting – and surpassing in some cases – the objectives of the project. Four worker cooperative societies have been formed, with a total of 902 members, and another for flower growers will be formed during the final year.
All talked about the benefits of purchasing raw materials and marketing collectively. Training has been a significant component of the project, with 467 people trained as trainers. These people have gone on to train another 1120 members, in both practical and business skills. The next year will provide accounting and financial skills and risk management training, and they also aim to increase credit union activity and set up life and health insurance schemes for members.
For more information visit Dalit and Tribal Workers Economic Development Project mid-term report