Cairn India empowers women to be the change agents


India CSR News Network

HYDERABAD: Gender equality is important not only for the corporates but for the entire society. Cairn India Ltd. has always been a crusader for the socio-economic empowerment of women, especially in its operational areas. Below are some initiatives by the company in this direction:-

  1. Skill development and employment opportunities

Through its 7 satellite centres, the Cairn Enterprise Centre (CEC) has provided various vocational trainings, career counselling, and linkage to employment opportunities to over 7,000youth and women since 2007.  In the current financial year, 1241 people have been enrolled, 945 youths have completed academic and On Job Training and 905 trainees have been placed through the program. In an area like Barmer in Rajasthan where the community has limited employment opportunities, this program has been instrumental intransforming the lives of women.

1.1 Masonry and Dairy management training

In a move away from the usual vocational training courses for women, such as sewing or handicraft, Cairn India has empowered ~300 women to be trained masons. All these women also go through a provisional literacy program specifically designed for them. This ensures that after completion of the training, they are not only financially independent but can also face their social challenges more effectively.

At CEC’s Dairy Development Programme, ~1270 women have been trained and appointed to take care of the cattle and to ensure that the milk reaches the dairy centre on time. The programme has helped the local women uplift their socio-economic status significantly. Cairn has helped set up 18 SHGs having 342 members from the savings earned out of selling milk. These SHGs have been able to secure a loan of Rs 14 Lakhs from ICICI Bank for starting their entrepreneur setup like Flour mills, bangle shops, tailoring machines, grocery shops including re-investing back into the dairy business.

1.2 Success stories

The masonry training proved to be a boon for Shugni Devi’, a mother of three at Bhimda village in Barmer. Once trained, she could break the social barrier that prohibited the local women to go out of home for livelihood. Today, she and many other women masons like her are helping to build toilets as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Similarly, Chanchal Jain from a conservative family in Barmer aspired to establish her own identity at a very young age. The CEC helped her and many other youth from the region by training them for the entrance test for HDFC Bank, one of the largest private sector banks in India. A month long course not only honed their aptitude, numeric ability, and English language proficiency but also groomed their personality for the corporate life. Post the training at CEC, Chanchal was immediately selected by HDFC Bank. Today, she is a role model for many girls of her age in Barmer.

2. Promoting entrepreneurship

Another proven way to empower women in rural India is to establish Self Help Groups (SHGs). Women from the marginalized section of the community get together and form SHGs, which help them in times of need (emergency, disaster, social reasons, economic support, etc).The CEC also provides financial support to help these women to start their own businesses. Approximately 450 women have been trained under Agri NRM project and started growing vegetables for own consumption as well as selling in the market.

3. Access to safe drinking water

Considering that water is a scarce resource in the arid land of Thar, women need to walk miles to fetch drinking water for their families. This precious time can be used for other skill enhancing and income generating activities. Therefore, Cairn India executed a major sustainability intervention to support the Government of Rajasthan (GoR) in providing safe drinking water to communities in Barmer and Jalore districts through Water ATW (Any-time Water) kiosks. Moreover, constructing water harvesting and storage tanks in villages of Rajasthan where Cairn India operates immensely benefited these women. Now they can devote more time to skill enhancement, family care and their own health.

As a result of the above initiative, reach of the safe drinking water doubled from 30,000 to 60,000 community members in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Average Water consumption also increased 3.5 times from 24,000 to 90,000 liters per day. This was accomplished by expanding the water distribution mechanism.

4. Providing direct employment

Surasaniyanam is a remote village in East Godavari district in coastal Andhra Pradesh. The Ravva JV onshore terminal, operated by Cairn India, is village’s first and the only tryst with industrialization.

Aunique women empowerment initiative by Cairn India in the village is — The Suraksha brooms making unit. Started in December 2014 with 6 women as direct beneficiaries, the unit today receives supply of raw sticks from about 120 economically weak households from the project area. The project has helped women, who are the driving force of this business, to save money, live a better life and educate their children.

5. Women health

Aimed at women and child wellbeing,Project Rachnaby Cairn India stands for Reproductive and Child Health Nutrition & Awareness (RACHNA). So far, it has been implemented in three blocks of Barmer district namely – Baitu, Sindhari, and Dhorimanna.

The project’s goal is to bring down the maternal and infant mortality, and to improve menstrual hygiene and reproductive health of adolescent girls and women in Barmer district. Under this project special campaign is being undertaken to educate the adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene management and addressing the myths associated with this key topics. Through this initiative so far we have covered and educated more than 600 adolescent girls (of both school going and non-school going girls) and developed exclusive puppet video to address this key issue.

Further, contributing to the Government of Rajasthan’s initiative of “BetiBachaoAbhiyaan”, Cairn India has introduced a unique campaign to celebrate the birth of a girl child around the operational areas. Under this campaign, the company presents a “New Born Baby Kit” to parents of the baby girl born in government hospitals and institutions. This kit consists of a clean towel, two sets of dresses, socks, toys, a mosquito net, and an immunization check-list. The kit also has a message embossed on how a baby girl brings happiness to the family. The campaign will increase awareness about the importance of institutional delivery that brings down the Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Rate.

6. Women leading the change

Cairn India believes that when women are empowered, they can be the change agent for the society. Therefore, through its various unique initiatives, the company aspires to enable more women to cross social barriers and chart out a new future for them, their families, and the society.

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