Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) through its last mile distribution network of women entrepreneurs seeks to enable low income families in rural Maharashtra to reduce vulnerability to water and other vector borne diseases. The women entrepreneurs/ Sakhis provide awareness on sanitation, personal- menstrual hygiene, behavior change and promote products and services for safe drinking water and safe pre –fabricated toilets in their underserved communities.
Scale can be achieved by leveraging SSP’s model of last mile distribution network of women entrepreneurs (Sakhis). With the community at the core, these Sakhis will be trained and equipped to be the conduits – Clean ambassadors or change agents for the proposed intervention, through a market based approach that generates income for Sakhis. The program seeks to apply a three pronged approach:
Establishing the last mile network of entrepreneurs: The program seeks to create an ecosystem for accessing affordable safe drinking water and sanitation solutions through a well established last mile network of women entrepreneurs. Women from the communities will be identified as potential entrepreneurs and provided with 10 day entrepreneurship education by SSP team. Further, SSP team with support of Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise (SURE) provides business handholding support to the women entrepreneurs by linking products and services to be delivered at the grassroots level. Sakhis will earn a margin on each product sales that will contribute to sustainability of their role as a Clean Ambassadors and contribute to their socio-economic empowerment within their homes and communities. This encourages women to mobilize more community members, provide awareness and create more demand.
Awareness generation: As Clean Ambassadors (Sakhis), they will generate awareness for improved sanitation – access to toilets, safe drinking water, promote behavior change around sanitation and hygiene practices in the rural communities. SSP aims to end open defecation and generate peer commitments to adopt healthier practices for a clean community. Consultative group dialogues, Gram Sabhas, corner meetings, and door to door awareness are conducted at the community and household level. This will support in creating the latent demand for safe drinking water and sanitation solutions.
Access to affordable water and sanitation solutions: The consultative awareness generation process by Sakhis will be augmented by sales of affordable water and sanitation solutions including individual household toilets, water filters and other hygiene management products. SURE, an associate social enterprise of SSP will support centralized procurement from product developers and link to the women entrepreneurs for rural distribution. Innovative finance schemes through Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK), associate social enterprise of SSP, will support low income community households and address affordability constraints. Women entrepreneurs will ensure door to door delivery, installation, and post-sale support for products.