Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) has been declared as one of the 15 winners of the Equator Prize 2017 by UNDP, chosen out of 806 nominations from 120 countries, for its women-led climate-resilient agro-ecological farming model, which has empowered more than 72,000 women in the Marathwada region of India.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) empowers 72,000 women in the drought-prone state of Maharashtra to act as decision-makers, improving their health and economic well-being. Engaging at the nexus of nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and gender, the initiative has created 5,500 self-help and saving groups that support women to engage as farmers, entrepreneurs, and leaders.
SSP trains women to negotiate with their families to obtain their own plot of land for cultivation, usually about 0.4 hectares each. Low-input sustainable farming techniques -- including efficient water use, organic farming, mixed cropping, and increased crop cycles -- enable these women to improve food security, increase climate resilience, enhance agrobiodiversity, and reduce stress on water resources.
Through these projects, women develop capacity to influence household decision-making, improve nutrition, and increase water availablity in the region. The initiative provides a space for local women to co-create their own development solutions and to connect with likeminded women and organizations to spread their knowledge and experise in a broader network, creating a mechaism for widespread sustainable change.
UNDP described the SSP model as "Operating at the nexus of nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and gender, Swayam Shikshan Prayog empowers 72,000 women in the drought-prone state of Maharashtra to act as agricultural decision-makers, improving their health, food security, and economic well-being."
"International agencies, Governments and UNDP's Equator Prize recognize that grassroots women and communities are central to innovation and solutions to safeguard nature towards achieving sustainable development goals SDGs ! "
You can read the Press release here.