The Swayam Shikshan Prayog, an organization in India that supports women entrepreneurs, is recognized for their work during the COP27 climate summit.
The Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), an organization based in India, recently won the Local Adaptation Champions Award by the Global Center on Adaptation during the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from Nov. 6 to Nov 18. The award was presented to four organizations this year with SSP winning the award in the Capacity and Knowledge category for helping vulnerable communities deal with and adapt to climate change.
SSP was created in 1998 after an earthquake devastated Maharashtra, India, in 1993. It helped women in the area become farmers and entrepreneurs, making them financially independent and overcome the hardships after the disaster. Since then, SSP has helped women in other areas across India and has expanded their focus to include sustainable agricultural practices, sanitation, nutrition awareness, and clean energy etc.
Ban Ki Moon, Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation and previous Secretary-General of the United Nations, said, “Swayam Shikshan Prayog empowers women to become agricultural leaders rather than laborers. In the process, they are not only able to feed their families but also in time produce a marketable surplus to generate income.”
In fact, SSP reported that they have helped 6,000,000 people over time and have empowered 3,000,000 women to become leaders in their communities. They also said that they have helped 2,320 villages in India and seven states in the U.S.
During and even after all this success, SSP has faced challenges including the initial reactions by men about their work. SSP Director Upmanyu Patil described, “Earlier, men didn’t like it when we met with women exclusively and they were not involved. They were wary and suspicious.” He said that now things have changed, and men view their organization differently. He stated, “They [men] actually welcome us, because they’ve seen how our helping women helps their children in turn, and improves the families’ quality of life. There’s more appreciation now replacing the snarky comments that we got earlier! This is a major change we’ve seen over the last 30 years.”
For their Local Adaptation Champions Award, SSP also received €15,000 ($15,806) to further support their organization. With this money, Patil said he plans to use it to continue to expand SSP and try to get more people involved.
Overall, SSP is certainly deserving of its Local Adaptation Champions Award. It is a great award for such a wonderful organization that supported women in India to help them be more independent. It still is growing, and it hopes to help women in other countries and teach them about sustainable farming practices to counteract climate change. To learn more about SSP and its initiatives, get involved and contact them through this site!