SEWA Federation is committed to the holistic development of poor self-employed women through their co-operatives/collectives. Our main objective is to help women’s co-operatives and collectives achieve full employment and self-reliance. The Federation conducts various activities which serve as a platform to upgrade and diversify the skills of its members.
The Federation is an accelerator and comprises of a team of experts who are equipped to support women’s co-operatives/collectives as needed. This team aims to help these social enterprises achieve their own goals and become profitable so that their members can benefit.
Co-operatives/Collectives Currently Supported:
Agriculture & Allied Activities | Artisans | Credit & Thrift
Services | Social Security Services | Trade
- Co-operatives/collectives approach us with their specific needs
- We understand how we can help them meet these needs
- The Federation team proposes solutions
- The co-operative/collectives implement these solutions independently or work with the Federation for the same
We also directly approach co-operatives/collectives if we have insights on how we can support them. The Federation also has the capacity to incubate new co-operatives.
SEWA Federation provides back-end services in areas where a co-operative may need support. We take an integrated approach in finding solutions for members with the help of our vast network of co-operatives as well as other organizations/experts to develop and implement solutions.
SEWA Federation provides to its members the following key services:
Our training modules are customized as per the needs of the co-operatives/collectives. The main areas of training are:
- Awareness building: To bring women into the co-operative movement and recognize their status as ‘workers’.
- Capacity building for collective management and grassroots leadership: To strengthen the capabilities of individual members and groups/co-operatives to enable them to run their own enterprises effectively and democratically and to be their own decision makers.
- Vocational and technical trainings: To provide technical trainings to members through partnerships with experts as well as our own trainers, which helps them progress in the co-operative/collective which they are a part of. This helps them diversify their existing skill-set and stay in sync with emerging technologies and opportunities.
- Co-operative education: To educate the new members about how the purpose of the collectives and co-operatives and how they work – their structure, organization, activities, etc.
- On-the-job training: To provide hands-on training to the new members to help them gain the knowledge and skills required to perform their specific role as part of their co-operative/collective.
SEWA Federation conducts need-based research for upgrading and reviving co-operatives and collectives. To keep the members abreast of changing norms and policies, it provides orientation to new co-operative laws, government schemes, and credit programs.
Co-operatives and collectives are assisted in accessing newer and larger markets along with strengthening their marketing capabilities through trainings and exposure visits. New markets are accessed through exhibitions – our members regularly participate in pan-India exhibitions – which helps to bring in new customers, as well as to educate the women about changing market trends. We are now also venturing into e-commerce and B2B collaborations in order to increase scale and access to markets.
The accelerator, with input and support from technical experts, trains its members in effective packaging, labelling and pricing to make their products more attractive to customers.
In 1996, SEWA Federation acquired an export license which has facilitated international sale of goods produced by member co-operatives and provides to our sisters an opportunity to participate in various international exhibitions. The Federation supports the members in completing the export process including packaging, billing, shipping and documentation as well as product inspection and quality control.
In addition to the above services, The Federation also manages marketing outlets for two of its most active trades – Artisans and Agriculture.
a. SEWA Kalakruti
A platform to showcase mainstream products created by the Women Artisans’ Co-operatives, SEWA Kalakruti connects producers and customers to facilitate directly negotiation and to formalize sales.
SEWA Kalakruti has two physical outlets in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), and organizes/participates in various national and international exhibitions. It works with national and international customers and designers who wish to collaborate with the member artisans, and is also planning to go online in order to reach more customers.
b. Lilotri [APMC Shop No. 40]
This is the only women-managed shop among around one hundred vendors located at the Agriculture Producers’ Marketing Committee (APMC) Market located in Jamalpur, Ahmedabad.
- Serves the women engaged in cultivation and distribution of vegetables.
- Links rural vegetable producers with vendors, eliminating exploitative intermediaries and hidden costs.
- Introduces an efficient marketing system that enhances the income of producers while also benefiting the vendors.
- Provides technical support, credit, and transportation facilities.
In 1992, SEWA launched its ‘Design SEWA’ service to support women artisans and to enhance and update their craft skills, thereby increasing their income-generating capabilities. Today, Design SEWA works towards preserving traditional crafts as well as teaching and propagating modern trends and sustainable fashion.
Design SEWA trains women in different handcrafted techniques like block printing, tie and dye, patchwork, embroidery, badla work, etc., and also assists in the process of screen printing required to print invitation cards, visiting cards, posters, pamphlets and banners for exhibitions and functions.
To know more, visit ‘Kalakruti website’
In order to assist in governance and improve the economic viability of the co-operatives/collectives, SEWA Federation has set up a consulting cell which provides low-cost, high-quality consulting services to the co-operatives. Following are the key areas in which these services are offered:
- Strategy for scaling up
- Branding and advertising strategy
- Raising capital
- Establishing contact with institutional customers
- Setting up MIS systems or outsourcing IT capacity
Even after a co-operative’s training has ended, the Federation continues to monitor the effectiveness and successful functioning of the co-operative. The Federation assists its members in maintaining records, accounting and book-keeping, monitors on-the-job training and services, and steps in to fill in the gaps if needed.
SEWA Federation conducts regular national and international visits for the Board members, staff and co-operative members to:
- Promote learning and exchanging ideas with different organizations and co-operative structures.
- Conduct market studies and organize industry visits at local, national, and international levels.
Collectives and co-operatives in the informal economy often struggle to streamline and standardize their financial systems and processes. SEWA Federation offers these social enterprises a process audit to understand their financial systems and diagnose any difficulties, helps train staff members to implement best-in-class processes, and provides accounting and audit support to the members.
Throughout history, technological innovations have been a central force in shaping economic landscapes, workplaces, and working time. Technology has also been a determining factor in the geographical distribution of industry, and in facilitating global flows of capital, goods, and people. It has created a more connected world, increasingly interdependent economies, and the rapid inclusion of millions into paid work arrangements. We strive to holistically include our members in this digital world through social media, e-commerce portals, platforms/apps, and others digital channels.