Sustainable Economic Development of Single Women Headed Families

Rockflower Commitment: Provide funding to enhance economic empowerment for 150 deserted women. 
Location: Tamilnadu, India

The program will run for three years with Rockflower providing the first 12 months of support, from January to December 2017.


The project for the Sustainable Economic Development of Women Headed
Families towards Financial Independence will be carried out among the deserted women of 15 coastal villages of Manamelkudi block, in Pudukottai district. Depletion of natural resources, the increasing lack of empowerment opportunities, less access to information and political vested interests all result in a lack of development and progress.  These factors ultimately affect the livelihood of every individual but in particular the extremely vulnerable community of deserted (widows/separated) women and their children. 

There exists a cultural system which prevails in keeping them in isolation and denying them from any public or family functions. Gender discrimination and patriarchy are extremely prevalent and single women are especially meted out for subjugation. They are afforded scant respect and are denied any opportunity in decision making processes. These women are not allowed to interact socially with others and hence are dependent for their survival on other members of their families. It is in this area that SPRIT plans to support them to rebuild their socio-economic status. SPRIT is the first organization to produce an action plan for this community and has taken it upon themselves to magnify the issues faced by these women.

Project Description

The comprehensive socio economic empowerment of 150 deserted women is envisaged through this project. This will be achieved by creating economic empowerment programs which in turn will increase self confidence and motivation. The project aims to bring a significantchange in attitude amongst the men to understand the problems and atrocities suffered by these deserted women within the family and the community. It is also aims to create a safe space for these women to discuss their problems and to explore opportunities for credit assistance and the potential for sustainable livelihoods. 

Further this project intends to enrich the leadership qualities of the proposed single women which will serve as a platform for them to assert their rights and to move towards their socio economic empowerment. The project will also incorporate a program for enhancing the health status of the identified deserted women and motivate them to focus on the education of their children. They will gain knowledge and experience about women rights, gender issues and government and welfare schemes.

Project Objectives

  • To create a platform for economic empowerment.
  • To increase self confidence and self dependency among widows and separated women. 
  • To create employment opportunities by providing credit assistance.
  • To increase the capacity of women in marketing.
  • To create access to public health facilities.
  • To ensure deserted women have rights and protection.

Project Activities

  • Organize regular monthly meetings.
  • Provide credit assistance for appropriate income generation activities (Sea weed collection/ Cultivation, Thatched roof making & Fish vending).
  • Training on accounting and documentation.

Expected outcome

  •  Enhanced economic status.
  • Enhanced self respect.
  • Positive attitude change among the targeted women.
  • Increase in self confidence and collective bargaining power.
  • Maintainance of good health for regular work.

The women themselves will be responsible for the selection of the beneficiaries and the introduction of repayment systems.  Initially twenty women will receive financial support for sea weed collection and cultivation. Each beneficiary will be given Rs.10,000/- maximum of credit assistance for this activity. The repayment duration will be 10 months (10 equal installments) and the interest will go to the sangam (women’s collective) and not to SPRIT.  

In addition a further Rs.5,000/- will be given to five beneficiaries for the development of thatched roof making and Rs.5,000/- for five women for fish vending. The same repayment system will be followed for these activities.


About Society for Participatory Research and Integrated Training

Society for Participatory Research and Integrated Training was started as a secular, non-profit making voluntary organization engaged in rural development in Dindigul, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Kayakumari and Pudukottai Districts, Tamilnadu, S. India. SPRIT strongly believes that development can only come from “within” but as outsiders we must provide help and assistance to get the job done.  SPRT believes in an integrated approach to rural development ensuring that the local community is responsible for all aspects of forward progress and decision making. 

  • To build and establish an effective local self-government by federating the village organizations whereby the deprived sections of the community gain equal bargaining power.
  • To increase the income level of communities by strengthening the agro based knowledge and resources and alternative skills.
  • Organizing women against financial matters under the self-help concepts.
  • Making people aware of human rights, especially child rights, gender rights, forest rights, common property rights etc.
  • Enabling the communities to create opportunities for the children to exercise their rights.
  • Revive the traditional health care system by providing alternative heath care skills to traditional healers and community level.
  • To maximize the utilization of natural resources entirely managed by the local communities whereby the benefits reach the poor segments of the society.

Since 1993, SPRIT has been implementing dalit and tribal development programs in lower Kodaikanal hills of Dindigul district with the support of Uniting Churches in Netherlands. SPRIT also implemented an HIV/AIDS prevention program in and around Kodaikanal town with the support of Bread For the World Germany. SPRIT has been involved in a Child Labour eradication program and women empowerment program in Virudunagar district. SPRIT also implemented disaster preparedness and rehabilitation program among the Tsunami affected fishing communities in Pudukottai district since April 2006 with the financial support of M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai. We have great experience in organizing single women empowerment programs in Manamelkudi block of Pudukottai district with the support of AJWS, USA. We are implementing tribal economic development programs in lower kodaikanal hills and women empowerment program in the coastal villages with the support of FPSI, UK.