Women's empowerment is crucial to sustain various community development programmes. It is a proven fact that attitudinal changes on the part of women have an impact on the attitudes of their families and communities. Several women have emerged as role models for others, when they have taken lead as "sakhis" in our comprehensive health care programme, or supported the education programme as "Balmitras".
ACF supported women's self-help groups serve as platforms for women to launch themselves as entrepreneurs. These groups have supported vegetable and fish farmers transform their work into profitable livelihood options.
ACF supports over 870 self-help groups across locations, with cumulative corpus of over Rs.3.9 crores. Today, these groups have gone beyond their simple monthly savings, and built linkages with banks providing technical support to start their own entrepreneurship leading to sustainable livelihoods. These enterprises include dairy development, nurseries, mushroom cultivation, handicrafts, tailoring and food processing. Women have also enrolled themselves in various skill based training programmes like nursing aides, computer hardware and software, and beautician courses offered through various ACF run Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (SEDIs). These women, full of vigour with newly developed confidence and increased exposure, are now ready to take on every challenge in life.
ACF also works on the issue of female foeticide by organising various awareness rallies, campaigns and celebrations in the community on the birth of a girl child. ACF's advocacy effort against female foeticide hopes to balance the sex ratio in the communities it works in. Skits and role plays educate villagers about social evils like dowry and discrimination, sexual and psychological harassment on special occasions like International Women's Day.