Jindal Steel in Haryana earlier had only one woman working in the accounting department in its 500-people factory. To have a better gender workforce ration, the steel giant worked with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to mobilise the women in the community, counsel their family that it is a safe environment for women to work, and also co-created the curriculum to train the women. Now, they have 100 female employees working on the shop floor.
Similarly, UNDP has also worked with Godrej to set up their new factory in Maharashtra, enabled people from the community to economically benefit from the new set up.
These corporate tie-ups are a part of UNDP's Project Disha that started along with India Development Foundation (IDF) and are supported by IKEA Foundation to improve lives of 1 million women by providing them the opportunity to get a job or become an entrepreneur.
"Short loop" is another concept that is a part of Project Disha where UNDP is working with corporates to source directly from producers.
MindTree foundation has built a mobile app so farmers can bypass intermediaries and sell directly to consumers in Karnataka. Future Group too has started sourcing pulses for their retail chain Big Bazaar from Federation of self-help groups in Maharashtra, which has a network of 10 lakh farmers, after UNDP worked with them to build their capacity to meet the FMCG retailers' requirements. "This isn't a part of company's CSR project but sourcing directly from farmer makes business sense for them," says Clement Chauvet, Skills and Business Development chief at UNDP.
Project Disha has 60 such prototypes of corporate partnerships in the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, National Capital Region of Delhi and Telangana, where they have already impacted the lives of two lakh women in last three years, adds Chauvet. "The idea is to economically empower women so they become a part of the decision making process in households."