60 Years of Indo-German Development Cooperation (2018 | Issue 2)

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When one section of society is lagging behind, there can be no true progress. The world cannot achieve its full potential if half of humanity is denied basic human rights. German development cooperation in India seeks to right some wrongs with regard to gender discrimination, which denies many women equal opportunities. What’s Up, Germany? acknowledges the progress made on women empowerment.

Germany supports a range of programmes that promote gender equality in India. It has joined hands with the government as well as local NGOs and businesses for projects that seek to empower women and girls, especially economically. According to experts, India’s GDP would increase by a whopping 27 percent if the number of working women increased to the same level as that of men! It is heartening to know that Germany co-finances more NGO projects in our country than it does anywhere else in the world.

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) worked together on three projects to improve women’s livelihoods:

1. IGEN Access SEWA Hariyali: Financial products were introduced to help women farmers in Gujarat get access to irrigation facilities.

2. In 2013, Microsoft India and GIZ teamed up with SEWA and DISHA to tackle problems arising from electronic waste. Over 1,100 intermediaries are delivering scrap to recycling companies and 200 schools have been trained in recycling e-waste.

3. In 2017, GIZ and SEWA conducted a study in Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttarakhand to explore the access women have to energy. The key findings were that energy would greatly improve the lives of home-based workers, most of whom are women.

The German Embassy New Delhi partnered with local NGOs to better the lives of women and girls:

Image: © Luisa Wegener

Navjyoti India Foundation: Women entrepreneurs in villages near Gurgaon were taught to produce bio-sand water filters to sell to neighbouring communities.

Vikalp Sansthan

Image: © Jonathan Torgovnik / AJWS

Vikalp Sansthan: A help centre was opened for women and girls in distress.

Keeping it Natural!

Germany’s NGO partner, the Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of India (ALEAP), won the GreenTec 2018 Award for turning industrial waste into a business opportunity. Formed in 1993, ALEAP fosters women entrepreneurship by strengthening their capacities and supports micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). It won the first prize for setting up plants in Telangana which produce 15 tonnes of compost and 1.75 tonnes of handmade paper every month. Now that’s really something!

In addition, German development cooperation aims to uplift MSMEs by providing access to finance and strengthening vocational training in order to create qualified personnel:

Promotion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs): Numerous initiatives are being carried out with the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), which give smaller businesses access to finance.

The Indo-German Programme for Vocational Education and Training: Germany has a lot of experience and expertise in vocational education and training (VET), making it an invaluable partner for improving the quality of vocational training in India. The aim is to create dual training opportunities for the 15 million youngsters entering the labour market every year, especially women.