On International Women’s Day, the IKEA Foundation is proud to announce a new grant for €3.5 million to support our partner PRADAN with its successful women’s empowerment programme in India.

PRADAN helps women living in rural communities in India to organise themselves into strong self-help groups. These groups give them a stronger voice within their families and villages, and enable them to take charge of their lives. Thanks to previous grants from the IKEA Foundation, women from the groups have started new businesses—such as a dairy collective—and improved their farming and animal husbandry skills. They have also advocated for better healthcare and schools for their communities.

Equality works better—for everyone. More money in the hands of women has an emancipatory effect, helping them improve their own opportunities in life. Plus, because women often spend much of their own incomes on nutrition and shelter for their children, when women earn a sustainable income their children are more likely to grow up healthy and go to school.

 

Equality is not a one-day theme

Women’s empowerment takes patient investment; it’s not just a one-day theme. That’s why we have been working with PRADAN since 2013 and invested a total of €11.5 million in their programmes, which will reach up to 421,000 women.

Petra Hans, head of the IKEA Foundation’s Building Self Reliance portfolio, said: “PRADAN has developed a strong approach to empowering women and their communities in remote, rural areas of India. Thanks to PRADAN, women are starting businesses, improving their farms, and helping their communities access government funding for better healthcare, schools and incomes.

“Our new grant will also help women learn about the importance of nutrition for the growth and development of their children, change feeding practices and improve the nutritional value of their crops. This will lead to better health in their families and communities.”

Narendranath Damodaran, Executive Director of PRADAN, said: “The collaboration between the IKEA Foundation and PRADAN has resulted in meaningful changes in the lives of rural poor women in different aspects of their everyday life. The self-help groups into which they are organised, even while acting as strong social networks for the women, open up pathways to enhanced incomes, improved access to basic services of health, sanitation, clean water and education, and promise to lighten up not only their lives but those of their children also.”

Empowerment around the world

Globally, we support more than 20 partners to empower women through work, education, skills training and healthcare. Also in India, our grant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the India Development Foundation (IDF) is aiming to help one million women learn marketable skills and connect with income opportunities.

In Kenya, we’re funding Root Capital to give training and support to small and medium agricultural businesses. The programme, which focuses on involving women, will help 200,000 people increase their incomes.

And our grant to Oxfam is creating training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people—the majority of whom are women—in rural communities affected by climate change in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Read more about our women’s empowerment programmes