Press Release: UNDP partners with Larsen and Toubro Infotech and FUEL to skill and empower 2000 women artisans in Mumbai and Thane

27 December 2018, Mumbai, India: The United Nations Development Programme in India (UNDP India) today announced its partnership with Larsen and Toubro Infotech (LTI)’s CSR initiative, and Friend's Union for Energizing Lives (FUEL), an Indian not-profit organization, to provide skill training to 2000 women artisans in Mumbai and Thane. The partnership will provide them with sustainable and viable livelihoods opportunities. The initiative, Women Artisan Skill Enhancement project, aims to skill, empower and create income opportunities – through employment or entrepreneurship - for women artisans, most of whom come from marginalized communities.  

As part of the partnership, UNDP shall be the knowledge partner for this unique end-to-end creative value chain project and FUEL shall be the implementing partner. The Disha Project of UNDP and India Development Foundation supported by Ikea Foundation is also providing technical and knowledge support to this partnership. The Disha project focuses on enabling women in India to learn marketable skills and connect them with income opportunities.

Speaking on the partnership, Clement Chauvet, Chief – Skill Development, UNDP India, said, “Skilling women artisans and connecting them with employment opportunities can unlock their economic potential. Investing in women’s economic empowerment and skills development is one of the most urgent and effective means to drive progress on gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth. Through our partnership with LTI and FUEL, we hope that we can empower these women artisans to grow their businesses and advance the lives of their families and communities.”

Women artisans in Mumbai and Thane will be organized in clusters and trained in business skills, product design and packaging, so that they are able to achieve economic empowerment. As part of the pilot initiative, 250 women artisans have been brought on board and trained in handicrafts, such as Warli (traditional art from Maharashtra) painting, terracotta sculptures, and more.

“Training and creating entrepreneurship opportunities for these women in the creative clusters of Thane and Mumbai, shall make them ‘Job Creators’ rather than ‘Job Seekers’, which is the best way to enhance livelihood of the underprivileged communities of India. We look forward to creating a scalable and sustainable success story out of this project” says Ketan Deshpande, CEO of FUEL.

Speaking on the partnership, Sanjay Jalona, CEO & Managing Director, LTI said, “Studies show that if women were able to participate equally in the economy, global GDP could increase by as much as 26 per cent by 2025. Through effective market linkages, our goal is to enable thousands of women in rural parts of India to contribute to the economy and become self-sufficient. Solving for Society is one of our core beliefs and we are proud to partner with UNDP and FUEL in this initiative that is not only empowering women and creating entrepreneurs but is also helping to revive traditional art forms like Warli.”

By 2019, the project aims to touch the lives of 500 more women artisans by not only skilling them but also connecting them with exhibitors, retailers and online handicrafts stores to create the necessary market linkage.

About UNDP

On the ground in about 170 countries and territories, UNDP works to eradicate poverty while protecting the planet. We help countries develop strong policies, skills, partnerships and institutions so they can sustain their progress.

UNDP has worked in India since 1951 in almost all areas of human development, from democratic governance to poverty eradication, to sustainable energy and environmental management. UNDP’s programmes are aligned with national priorities and are reviewed and adjusted annually.

About Larsen and Toubro Infotech

LTI is a global technology consulting and digital solutions company helping more than 250 clients succeed in a converging world. Founded 20 years ago, with present operations in 27 countries, as the information technology arm of the Larsen & Toubro group, LTI’s unique heritage gives them unrivaled real-world expertise to solve the most complex challenges of enterprises across all industries. Each day, LTI’s team of more than 20,000 LTItes enable their clients to improve the effectiveness of their business and technology operations, and deliver value to their customers, employees and shareholders.

About FUEL

FUEL is a non-profit organization which has its origin in Pune, was initiated in 2006 and emerged from the idea of providing students with access to information and opportunities. Over the last decade, with experiences from wide sectors like education, skilling, employment and entrepreneurship, FUEL has earned its name in the ‘Champions of Change’ Team spearheaded by Niti Aayog.