Reaching the Unreached Scaling Up Project: Training & Technology for the Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls in Poor Rural Communities in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Building on the success of the RtU model, the Reaching the Unreached Scaling Up Project: Training & Technology for the Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls in Poor Rural Communities in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was launched in July 2018 with funding from the government of Australia. The scaling-up project has three objectives that focus on female participants, local community, and the governance system. To date, the project trained 27,448 women and girls.
1. Improved Livelihoods for Women and Girls
RtU provides training to strengthen female leadership skills and livelihood opportunities. Programmes provide girls with the information, skills and support structures they need to advocate for themselves and improve their own status and wellbeing. Specific training includes life skills training, livelihoods training, social rights and reproductive health training, and exposure to future careers.
The scaling-up project will create skill-based “value chains” in communities that will enable women and girls to not only sell products and services locally but to engage in online selling. Training and support will be provided for e-commerce enterprises including product and service development, marketing, distribution, technology, and administration.
2. Increasing Community Participation and Support
This project will enhance its engagement strategies to create a strong belief in communities in the benefits of educating females. This includes creating a community strategy that involves men and boys, community leaders, and mentors. A community mentorship programme will be established in which family, friends, and neighbours will be identified to act as mentors for each trainee and become local advocates for women and girls training and empowerment. Male members of the community will also be solicited to undertake a key project in the community to benefit female advancement. Community groups will be formed to develop growth and sustainability strategies with assistance and leadership training from the project.
3. Engaging Government in Policy Change
Moving RtU from a developmental project to a scaled-up implementation requires a shared understanding and commitment from governments, NGOs, private sector organisations, and civil society groups. Using the project communities as a model, RtU seeks to identify and involve stakeholders at the regional and national levels in the development of a method to sustain the project and explore ways to expand it to other communities.