Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP), an initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), has a keen focus on facilitating decentralised planning, implementation, and monitoring of skilling activities and promote convergence. SANKALP also aims to encourage innovative best practices at the local level that result in enhanced access, quality, and capacity in the skilling ecosystem.
One of the pillars of SANKALP is inclusion, wherein efforts are being made to make skill development programs accessible to and inclusive of underserved and marginalised groups. Special focus is given to improving the participation of women in skill development programs, leading to a significant improvement in their livelihood.
Skill and Entrepreneurship Development of Women in Golden Grass Craft
In one of its first, the District Skill Committee (DSC) of Kendrapara in collaboration with State Institute for Development of Arts and Crafts (SIDAC), Handloom, Textile and Handicraft Department, Government of Odisha has developed a project for ‘Skill and Entrepreneurship Development of Women in Golden Grass Craft’. The project aims at skilling 3000 women artisans in golden grass craft in 12 villages of Kendrapara block, Kendrapara district, Odisha, and has been taken up as a National Pilot under SANKALP.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, MSDE in partnership with SIDAC and DSC Kendrapara launched this first of its kind project on 12th June, 2020 with formal tripartite MoU being signed between MSDE, DSC, and SIDAC. The MoU was signed by Mr. Srikant Prusty, IAS, Member Secretary, SIDAC, Mr. Samarth Verma, IAS, District Collector, Kendrapara, and Mr. Lendup Sherpa, Undersecretary, MSDE.
The project will focus on skilling of the women artisans to provide them with basic, intermediate, and advanced skill training along with entrepreneurship development and forward and backward linkages. Exposure visits are also a part of the pilot program, to enable the women artisans to gain a wider perspective and understanding. There is also a component of the establishment of a Community Owned Company (CoC) in the pilot program.
Related article: District Skill Toolkit: A major initiative towards empowering District Skill Committees (DSCs) through a standard framework – Read more: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/district-skill-toolkit-a-major-initiative-towards-empowering-district-skill-committees-dscs-through-a-standard-framework/
The women who practice the traditional craft hail from weak economic backgrounds, with mostly their source of income based on seasonal agriculture. While the craft, which is environmentally sustainable, has been practiced traditionally, there is a need to build the capacity of the women artisans engaged in this art form to turn this into a lucrative livelihood option. Such work, if encouraged will open pathways for the inclusion of natural fibre products in mainstream consumption and have a significant impact on the local as well as a national community.