Unemployed Women’s Programme

Peaceful Society In Collaboration With Save The Children Fund Of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Unemployed Women’s Programme

BACKGROUND OF FINAL REPORT

The Peaceful Society had started “Unemployed Women’s programme in July 1985, which was later known as Women’s Employment Programme (WEP), with the financial assistance from ‘Save the Children Fund of British Columbia, Vancouver”.  The project was totally committed to; provide economic support to the women through employment.  The Society had submitted its first interim comprehensive report in July 1986 to the Funding Partner Save the Children Fund of British Columbia (SCF-BC) after the completion of first year of this project.  The said emphasized the experiences of the society during this period supported by several photographs of the activities of this project.

The society had suggested some alteration and appropriation of the approved programmes, proposals and their budget.  The society has requested an extra grant of Rs. 20,000/- with an extended budget for the period of July 1986 to June 1987.  Previously the whole project comprised seven production units with a revolving fund of Rs. 29,000/- while in the alternative proposal the society had centred its efforts on four production units with the revolving fund of Rs. 29,000/-.

The SCF-BC had informed this Society by its letter dated August 28, 1986 of its willingness to provide the extra grant of Rs. 20,000/-.

IMPLEMENTING THE FINAL PHASE OF THE SAID PROGRAMME

The programme is basically founded on the production of different eatable and domestic items in order to provide employment to women.  The whole production unit totally depends on suitability of the weather conditions that is why the production must be discontinued during the rainy season which extents generally from June to 2nd week of October.  Last year the Society had established the Papad production unit and had also planned to expand it.  The Society had decided to re-start the production immediately after the close of the rainy season.  Generally the rainy season ends around the third week of October.  But unfortunately last year (1986) Goa received less than half the normal year rainfall and consequently faced severe drought conditions in the long history of the territory.  There was absolutely no rain in September and besides the rain had started very late that is why the Society instead of last week of September.  Surprisingly the rains again asserted their in predictability and it continued to rain till the first half of November.  The papad made during September consequently became qualitatively poor and resulted in the accumulation of the unsold stocks worth Rs. 900/-.  The deterioration of the quality is attributed to another cause.  The availability of bright sunlight is not enough to dry but it is equally imperative that the inner layers of the soil should also be dry when raw papads are laid on the mats to get dry by exposure to the sunlight.  Any humidity in the inner layers of the soil is absorbed by papads promptly and deteriorations of their quality set’s in.  The abnormal rainfall ended almost in the third week of November and as it takes almost two weeks for the soil to dry we re-started the production in the second week of December.  But once again unfortunate events took place in the second week of December due to which the peaceful life of Goa was completely disturbed by linguistic agitation which turned into hostility, violence and riots and it took almost one and a half month to regain normalcy in this ordinarily peaceful state.  The Society had sent newspaper cuttings as documentary proof to the SCF-BC.  The production unit was re-started in full swing in February 1987 and efforts were made to regain the regain the previous marketing response.  But even after a month the demand failed to pick up and the unsold stocks started piling up causing us a great anxiety.  There were two main reasons for the sluggish demand for the papads in spite of their good quality.  Owing to the almost four months of absence of our papad in the market a new brand of papad come up with attractive packaging and a very fast supply system.  The producers of that had invested about Rs. 1.3 million to spread their product to the length and breadth of Goa.  The third reason was that a government agency had supported many women’s groups for making papad.  This resulted in many producers of  papad flooding the market at the same time and creating an unhealthy tough competition to secure market for their own product.  It was therefore not easy to increase the sale.  The papad production continued in the remaining months but gave marketing problems continued to confront us. However, in a short time of two months this year and in the last week of April we demand that the consumers and the sellers had arrived at the conclusion that the over all quality of our papad was superior to the other varieties in the market.  So the Society increased production of the papad to meet the higher demand in May, but once again unexpected rainfall had started.  Generally the pre-monsoon rainfall starts in the second week of May with only a few occasional showers but this time the pre-monsoon rainfall continued interrupted for 10 days. Once again we were forced to finally stop the production of papad in the last week of May.  The cycle of seasonal rainfall is unbalanced and it is adversely affecting the village industry.  It is really surprising that this year Goa is receiving a very good rainfall but the neighbouring states are experiencing acute drought conditions.  Last year the situation was entirely different and while Goa suffered drought the neighbouring states had received good rainfall.

In spite of all these unexpected events the Society is able to say with full confidence that the future of papad production is very bright till it continuous to be one of the favourite and common dishes in Indian food. In spite of all these painful experiences the society has planned vigorous steps in production, supply, and overall co-ordination and follow up in this unit.  In spite of this continuously dull situation the papad unit had provided 418 women’s days employment and produced 47070 no. of papad worth Rs. 9,414/- during September 1986 to May 1987.

JACKFRUIT UNIT

Besides the not so good but not bad either overall performance and achievement of the Papad Unit in the same period the Society had encouraging and marvellous achievement in the establishment of Jackfruit Unit.  During the last year while the Papad Unit was found running well the Jackfruit Unit had been just introduced and had produced only 27 kg. of  Jackfruit Wafers worth Rs 5000/-.  Last year there was the problem of marketing of wafers.  But this year although the production of wafers was started with some hesitation it was really a miracle that the demand soared high very soon.  Initially the wafer production was10 kgs., and it ended with 30 kgs., so the Society increased the capacity of the unit almost 5 times that of the last years.  This was indeed a very inspiring and encouraging achievement this year.  The increasing demand was mainly caused by improved quality of the wafers produced.  This year we are mature and experienced in the selection of appropriate Jackfruits, which are suitable for good quality wafers.  This unit had generated 106 days employment for women and had produced 90 kgs. Of wafers that is double the last year’s production.  This unit also closed almost one and a half month earlier due to early heavy rains, which increased in inner humidity of the Jackfruit and rendered them unsuitable in inner humidity of the Jackfruit and rendered them unsuitable for good quality wafers.  The Society has planned in a realistic way to double the existing production next year.

SWEET PAPAD FROM JACKFRUIT

This year the Society had introduced sweet papad and got very good experience and found that it has also very vast market potentiality in and outside Goa.  For the preparation of raw material for it equipment is required.  But the Society procured the equipment with same delay due to its non-availability in the market.  This equipment is not going to reduce the manual work.  Due to the receipt of this equipment and the early arrival of the rainfall the unit could not commence commercial production because Jackfruit sweet papad takes at least 15 times more time and bright sunlight to dry than any other variety of papad.  But this was not available due to early commencement of rains.

LEAF PLATE UNIT

Due to lack of managerial capacity and lack of time the Society had started this unit by giving financial assistance and marketing outlet to six women’s.  This approach had created a good result and these women are earning about had Rs. 150/- per month in their leisure work time.  Now the Society is planning to try them for the other varieties of the Leaf Plates, which are specially produced in Andhra Pradesh.  In the coming season we can increase the employment of women twice by the same approach.  Please take note about that this unit also needs bright sunlight and wet leaves are not suitable of this purpose.

DISH PLATE FROM BETEL NUT LEAVES

The available machine to make Dish Plates from betel nut leaves received from Mitra Bir Trust was defective and we sought for its replacement from its suppliers.  The Society after a long period of waiting arranged for its repairs and brought it to a unit working condition.  All this took into too long a time and in the mean time the rainfall had started.  The evaluation team of this project inspected this machine and the production can be started by November 1987 when dry leaves will be available.

SPICES UNIT

Now the Society has planned to add one more unit, which is the spices unit.  This unit was expected to start around end of May but due to the late delivery of the required equipment it can be started in October 1987.  This unit has a good marketing potential.

BRIEF HIGHLIGHTS OF PRODUCTION UNIT

1)      In spite of all inconvenient conditions to run and increase the capacity of the papad production unit ultimately the society succeeded to get rid of all the bad consequences and had provided man at work.

2)      Up to June 1986 only papad unit was established but Jackfruit wafers hit, leaves plate unit, are also established this year.

3)      After the completion of two years of this project the society is able to retain overall revolving fund amount and had spent on the labour and on the material which we consider as one of the positive and inspiring achievements of this project.

4)      The Society created a marvellous market for the Jackfruit unit, which is another achievement of the current year.

5)      The workers efforts to make this programme a success was very great and due to these sustainable women’s team has been built up and this programme will continue forever.

6)      The Society maintains all the relative registers like Production register, Stock register, Attendance Register, Sale Book, Bill Book, Cash Book, Ledger Book etc.

7)      The Society has taken all the care to do the necessary record work.  The Society has also filled the required documents at the appropriate state and Central Government offices.

8)      Welfare Measure:  The Society has concentrated its efforts on the Welfare Measure, which were indicated in the previous report and has paid minute attention to the employed women as to where they spend their money.  There are very encouraging changes in these women who was the income earned from the project for their livelihood and most necessary domestic things.  All the beneficiary women are operating their bank accounts and have formed a healthy habit of regular saving.

PRACTICAL PROBLEMS

a)      How Developmental policy is stressing its efforts to the development and establishment of Industrialization.  There is no clear demarcation in this developmental approach as to which production will be for the Village Industry and Cottage Industry sectors.  Now days the multinational and other indigenous large industry have introduced their products, which can be easily produced by the village and the cottage industry.  It is really a very tough period for the village and cottage industries to face the encroachment of the Himalayan task for village industries to compete with multinational and big industries.  The position of the village industries is almost like the have-note but their capabilities and potentialities endless.  They require professional out look and structure, which is not possible in a limited provision of budget and within a period two years.

b)      This project faced such limitations like suitability of climate and appropriate infrastructure.  If the society can solve these two problems within a short span of time than this whole project can be turned into a vast expansion.

c)      The society is trying to acquire land develop infrastructure for its overall functions in which the women employment programme will receive main attention.  It requires liberal support from resourceful institutions.  How one of its supporter institutions has promised funds to purchase land.  The society hopes that it can acquire a sufficient area of land within two to three months.  Then the question will arise about preliminary construction for which society has received the bonafide assurance of a small fund by which urgent requirement of work shed can be completed within a short period.  So the question of infrastructure for such activities is on the way of concrete solution.  In spite of this the society requires further support to this project in a big frame.  Many times the problem arose due to adverse climate and this can be almost minimized by the installation of an electrical oven that will help to continue the papad project during the rainy season as well.  And if the society can feed the market demand during the rainy reason also then nobody can interfere into its market span.

d)      After the last two years experience it is also necessary that the society should leave enough stock of raw materials which the cost of production can be reduced.  As raw materials are normally cheaper during certain periods of the year, this will help us to control our cost of production.

e)      For the production of any type of items and its sale in the market with the aim of generating employment specifically among the needy women in the village atmosphere the whole thing fully depends on a band of committed workers teams.  But commitment does not mean that they have professional skill are not sure that they are committed. All types of programmes committed for a new social order requires a team of professional colleagues.   The commitment normally comes from their experience of the work, and their involvement, relation and communication with the Society.  The present trend of materialism has created drought to get and cultivate committed colleagues.   Therefore a period of two years is insufficient to assess the success or failure of any such programme or to develop a confident team of colleagues.

f)       In view of all the above problems and their situations the Society had planned in a big frame to expand this project, which requires very specific support from the SCB-BC.  The society understands that it will not be possible for SCF-BC to provide the entire fund for expanded programme. Therefore the required infrastructure expenditure can be made by the SCF-BC for three years.  The expansion proposal is enclosed.