Una, November 21
A delegation of 12 experts from the Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods Improvement Project reached Una yesterday.
It was an exposure visit of the Swan Women Federation, comprising over 10,000 rural women who are organised into 712 self-help groups in 89 panchayats of the district.
The project, funded
by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is functional in six districts of the state and has a mandate to constitute self-help groupsfor promoting income generation activities related to forest produce, including medicinal herbs.
Livelihood experts Reena Sharma and Richa Mehta said they were here to learn the working model of the Swan Women Federation, which is widely acclaimed by the JICA as a model to be replicated in its projects in the state. She said during their visit, they learnt about the working of the self-help groups, visiting spices unit and the Cooperative Society of the federation.
Raj Kumari, president of the Swan Women Cooperative Society, informed that it had small saving deposits for its women members amounting to Rs 10 crores and loans worth Rs 4 crore had been extended to self-help group members for undertaking livelihood activities.
Swan Women Federation chairperson Subhadra Devi deliberated on the schemes of the organisation.
She said 600 quintals of pure spices, including powder of turmeric, coriander, garam masala and red chilli, produced by women self-help groups, estimated at Rs 1 crore had been marketed during the last four years.
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