A satisfying smile at Women's Skills Development Organization

Amazed by the impact!

On 5th and 6th of June, 2019, I accompanied the visit of Ms. Kate Attwooll, Ms. Kalayaan Constantino and Ms. Cecilia Keizer from the Country Governance Group to Women’s Skills Development Organization (WSDO) in Pokhara, one of the enterprises being supported by Enterprise Development Program of Oxfam in Nepal. We visited the main office of WSDO in Srijana Chowk and the production office in Lamachaur. We interacted with Ms. Ramkali Khadka, the lady behind the establishment of this Fair-Trade organization and some of the producers working there. The organization was established in 1975 and is working for the economic empowerment of poor, differently able, socially and physically abused, widows, divorced, single, orphan or outcast women of Kaski district.

Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) in Nepal has been working with WSDO since late 2017. EDP targets to improve the economic condition of 500 marginalized and outcast women in 3 years and improve the business performance of the organization. Before EDP, WSDO was providing employment to around 400 women. We observed that in past 18 months, EDP had already supported to create employment opportunities to around 300 new women from the most vulnerable and marginalized community. With the support of EDP, the number of producers being employed by WSDO has increased to 700 (100% women). EDP’s support to provide skill development training (weaving, sewing, doll making) to the new and existing producers, equipment and tools support, technical support on product design and development, linkage development with different markets, mentoring on financial and business management and providing support on access to finance has made a huge impact on the organization itself and on the producers. Since, the organization provides home-based jobs, many women find have been benefitted and have started to earn for their living, working from home.

We found out that a woman working with WSDO can earn up to NPR 20,000 (USD 200) per month doing the home based weaving job. The organization also provides different empowerment trainings to its producers, yearly free health camp, discounted checkup facility to its producers in Manipal Hospital, child-care centers to producers having children, scholarships to deserving children of producers and many more. It was inspirational to know that women working in WSDO have also established their own cooperative, where they save regular income and get loans in times of emergency. We feel honored to be supporting this wonderful organization through EDP to strengthen their supply base, develop linkages with market, increase sales, design new product and product lines and enhance business management skills and most importantly improving the economic condition of the most vulnerable, marginalized and outcast women.