Various studies, as well as our experience, have shown that when we work towards women empowerment, the whole society benefits. But unfortunately in India, far from being empowered, most women are denied even their basic rights like health, education, employment and a respectable status in society.
According to a recent UNDP Human Development Report, India has a dangerously imbalanced sex ratio, the chief reason being rampant female infanticide and sex-selective abortions.
Swabhiman, meaning self-respect in English, was initiated in 2005 to address these challenges through a simple yet effective approach. The programme is specifically aimed at realization of both individual and collective self-esteem and inner strength for marginalised and socially excluded women and adolescent girls through innovative community practices.
A tailor-made strategy called the ‘4 S Model’ has been developed under Swabhiman for women empowerment. The ‘4 S Model’ is an acronym for four novel approaches, namely Seeking Healthcare as a Behaviour, Support for Education, Supporters through Male Involvement, and Sustaining the Change in Communities.
The programme identifies adolescent girls and women from the community and develops them into Change Agents, who in turn actively contribute to the community mobilization process.
So far, Swabhiman has successfully made a difference to the lives of over 500,000 women and girl children.