Towards empowerment: working with rural and indigenous women and girls on rights to mobility, work, education and health

Project title Towards empowerment: working with rural and indigenous women and girls on rights to mobility, work, education and health
Project’s fields of workHuman Rights
Program ParticipantsDirect beneficiaries: 3 800 women and adolescent girls (2 000 women and 1 800 adolescent girls)

Criteria: Young girls educated in 15 establishments for young people mainly from indigenous populations, women from 50 villages of the Surada block in the district of Ganjam, their entourage and family 

Indirect beneficiaries: 5 500 people

Other participants: civil society organisations of Odisha, local authorities, masters of schools, teachers and matrons of ashram schools, District Welfare officer

Extension periods: 

60 unions leaders, 500 unions members in 10 model villages and 5 migrant families

Approximately 730 boys and girls


Project Location50 villages (reduced to 10 in 2019) from Surada block in the Ganjam district of Odisha, India : AAINA partner. From July 2019, AAINA started working in tribal girls hostels.

15 ashram schools for girls in Khordha district of Odisha (Bhubaneswar), India : ISD partner. In 2020, ISD extended its work with boys.

Timeframe2 years from January1st, 2019 to December 31st, 2020. 

Extended with no-cost extension to December 31, 2021. 

Project HolderThe International Secretariat of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW-IS) is the project holder and coordinator of the project. The local level implementing organizations in India are:

  • Institute for Social Development (ISD)

They are both members of the GAATW network and based in Odisha. The local partners work together, when adolescent girls attending ashram schools are concerned so that ISD shares her experience with girls to Aaina. GAATW also implements some of the activities directly.

Budget Total budget contracted: 120 721 €

Odisha is one of the poorest States in India, so that rural migrations to urban and economic centres in and out of the State are important. Globally, various studies estimate the number of migrants between 200 to 300 million comprising of inter-state and intra-state. With the coronavirus pandemic and the general lockdown, most of the migrants decided to return to their native places and millions of people working in the informal economy have been at risk of falling deeper into poverty. On the other hand, schools have been closed since March 2020, and children sent back to their home villages, barring girls from education and life skills.  


Project key objective is to work with rural and indigenous women and girls in a holistic manner so that they will be empowered to exercise their rights to mobility, work, education and health in their homes, villages, educational centres and work places away from the home state. 


Following are the Specific Objectives (SO) of the project:

  • To ensure that steps are taken by communities and Government to address distress migration (withdrawn during the second extension),
  • To ensure that steps are taken to protect rights of women migrant workers (withdrawn during the two extension periods),
  • Second extension: To enhance local livelihoods for the potential migrant workers as means of preventing distress migration through promotion of organic farming and different livelihood initiatives
  • Second extension: To facilitate marketing of different products and to establish linkages
  • Second extension: To raise awareness on safe migration
  • To enable women to advocate for their rights as workers and citizens,
  • Second extension: To strengthen Unions through different capacity building training programs of the leaders
  • To create opportunities for holistic education, reading for pleasure, thematic discussions, for girls in rural schools (2 extension periods: for boys and girls in the communities around the project schools) so that they get the best out of their time at schools (2 extension periods: so that they get some input during the pandemic). 
  • To create adequate understanding and behavioural change among the girls regarding personal healthcare, environment, labour and work and other social issues (2 extension periods: replaced by Create community awareness among children on Covid 19)
  • Second extension: To involve the union leaders to prevent COVID 19 by raising awareness in the communities
  • To bring about attitudinal change among teachers and matrons with regard to the ‘culture’ of their students (withdrawn during the 2 extension periods)
  • To gain an understanding of the aptitude and interest of the girls so that they can be guided in their future career choices (withdrawn during the 2 extension periods)


The project, which has been supported by SCCF since 2017 has two components that are interlinked but carried out by two partners:

  • capacity building of tribal adolescent girls who are most likely to join the informal sector work within or outside the state in future (ISD partner).
  • rural to urban inter-state migration and migration focused skills building efforts (AAINA partner).


Following are the Expected results of the project:

  • Women from the project villages have got relevant trainings and entitlements under various government schemes and are not forced to make migration decisions 
  • Women migrate with adequate information and skills
  • Women are unionized as workers and engage in collective bargaining  
  • Girls from indigenous/rural schools (extensions: boys and girls in the communities) have acquired better skills at knowledge seeking behaviour
  • Project hostels become role models for other similar hostels for their clean and healthy practices
  • 2 extension periods: Healthy and clean habits in girls and boys
  • Teachers and matrons are better able to understand the ‘culture’ of the girls
  • Students and teachers are better aware of the aptitude and interest of the girls


Project activities are conducted in two districts of Odisha, Khorda and Ganjam (a district which has always had a high incidence of out-migration) with the aim to:

  • equip the adolescent girls who are a big part of the migrants and of the local low-wage workers with any life skills; the target is 1 800 girls.
  • adress problems of distress migration by creating income opportunities, by linking women to the services of the State, providing safe migration information and facilitating unionisation of women workers. Before the pandemic, inter-state migration of young girls and women had been increasing significantly. In the villages of Surada Block (Ganjam district) the target is around 3 800 women.


Requested profile of the consultant(s)


It is possible to send the application of a team of 2 consultants, if justified and relevant.

Ideally, the consultant fulfils the following requirements:

Postgraduate degree in social work, human rights and agricultural studies

Strong expertise on migration, rural livelihood and indigenous issues

Understanding of the local context (ideally with a previous experience of work in India)

Evidence of substantial work on social, mobilization and advocacy projects

Significant experience in project management, coordination, design, and evaluation

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Ability to write clear and relevant reports

Impartial and independent of the parties

Proficiency in English


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