Across India, rural women are stepping out of their households and participating in community life via Self Help Groups (SHGs). But SHGs are merely a launching pad and, once empowered, many women are going on to hold formal and informal leadership positions in their local communities.
ACF's work in empowering women has led many women to take up leadership positions in their own villages. 14 women have been elected as village Sarpanchs, 86 women are involved in their local Panchayats and 17 women are ward members.
By creating women leaders, the overall women's agenda across communities is being elevated and pushed forward by these dynamic women - transforming the lives of thousands of women who are impacted by the initiatives and policies they pursue.
Additionally, women are also playing more diverse roles in their communities - highlighting an increase in participation, involvement in decision making and engagement of women in the broader community. Women under ACF programmes have gone on to become Anganwadi Workers, ASHAs and Auxiliary Nurse-Midwife (ANM).
Chanda Tai, from Hardona Village in Chandrapur, is one such leader who rose from being an SHG member to Secretary of the Ekta Women's Federation and has become a role model for women across 30 villages. She empowered women via a Rs. 57 lakhs seed and compost business, helped tackle sanitation by creating ODF villages in partnership with a leading bank and worked to make her village a SMART village.