SHG women in Chandrapur have set up and are managing an outlet to provide Health & Safety equipment to key stakeholders at Maratha Cement Works, a unit of ACL Upparwahi, Maharashtra - helping rural women earn another revenue stream to support them and their families. The outlet provides Safety Helmets, Reflector Jackets, Safety Shoes, Safety Goggles and Wheel Guards on a rental basis and laborers pay a minimal rate to avail the necessary safety gear. Handling the outlet is an opportunity not only for the SHG member but also for the male members of the SHG families. This provides an employment opportunity not only for the SHG member but also for the families of the SHG members.
Maratha Cement Works (MCW) provides services like a canteen, shelter and water to stakeholders, mainly truck drivers, at the Transport Nagar. Transport Nagar is an area that includes offices of contractors through which transportation is controlled. Focusing on the company's mission they were looking for an organization that would be able to provide safety kit services to truck drivers at Transport Nagar. An organization that would be responsible and ensure that the safety kits provided should be well preserved and clean from the health and appearance point of view.
MCW turned to Ekata Mahila Sakshimikaran Sansthan, a Women's Federation based in Upperwahi that creates sustainable income sources by establishing income generation activities for socio-economically marginal women families from the villages of Chandrapur, Maharashtra. Having known their work for the past few years, MCW had faith in them. They are known for their capacity building in maintaining all types of records, networking with banks, mobilizing with community for development, creating employment opportunities, skill based training and income generation activities. In fact they also run a canteen in the SEDI, Chandrapur premises providing great quality and nutritious food to the SEDI students.
They have been associated with the company for the last 10 years and have participated in various Health and Safety campaigns run by the company. They are aware about the Road, Fire and Electric Safety and Guidelines to ensure Zero Harm. The SHG members have also participated in role plays at village levels promoting health and safety issues.
Since they were already aware about the criteria's, they were ready to follow all safety rules and not hamper the mission of the company - they even ensured that the drivers followed with the same sincerity. The Federation is so sustainable with their own savings that they were able to pay a deposit amount of Rs. 30,000 for purchasing all safety Personal Protective Equipment (PEE) to kickstart the outlet.
Women were trained in essential safety guidance by the concerned safety officer at MCW, before starting the service. MCW provided a safe place for the setup of the service outlet and awareness about the safety outlet to all transporters and truck drivers.
Health and Safety is of primary importance to Ambuja Cements Limited in and around their plants, and having the right safety equipment and gear is mandatory for anyone who wants to enter the cement plant area. The company's mission is to have Zero Harm and provide clean safety kits to our stakeholders.
Ekta Mahila Sakshimikaran Sansthan provides women training on micro-credit and income generation activities linked with local banks. The federation members are availing loans and developing a credit rotation plan among group members. Since the Federation is associated with Ambuja Cement Foundation, it is playing a crucial role in driving other ACF programmes such as sanitation and village development. Currently there are 1806 members from 45 villagers and 159 SHGs.