Shivi Development Society

An NGO in Special Consultative Status with United Nations ECOSOC

Women Empowerment

Women's empowerment and gender justice is at the centre of all programmatic interventions as well organisational policies of SDS. It is seen both as a core programme and a cross cutting strategy as well as an organisational value that SDS adheres with. We consider women empowerment vital to sustainable development and the realization of human rights for all. Under this programme domain, SDS centers on the issue of women human rights defenders, which includes safety and security of women activists, survivors of violence specially in the context of conflict situations; women in governance which also implies representation of women in political and administrative spaces, and women livelihood focusing on skill building and financial inclusion.

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD)

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) are people who work towards ensuring the rights of those who are marginalized and more specifically women from diverse communities. They are active in human rights defending which emanates either from a strong belief in human rights or because of their own life experiences which shape their decisions to engage in such work. SDS associates WHRDs as all those women working at the grassroots level with the various village communities, particularly on women issues to help the community women fight for their rights and take appropriate actions whenever and wherever necessary. To achieve the same, the WHRDs program equips the women by improving their leadership and articulation skills through various capacity building trainings, workshops, advocacy and campaign support. The participating women in this program are from various women organizations, with few of them working as individuals and as human rights activists. SDS is currently working with Women Human Rights Defenders in 4 states of India, i.e. WHRD- Rajasthan, WHRD- Chhattisgarh, WHRD- Uttar Pradesh and WHRD - Manipur.


Women in Governance (WinG) programme was initiated in 2009, with threefold objectives: enhancing women's participation and representation in political and administrative spaces, reviewing customary law and practices from the perspective of their impact on rights of women, and leadership building among women.

The programme was implemented very effectively in the state of Assam where it resulted into a high level of ownership of the process among the women groups working at field level in five project districts namelyJorhat, Kamrup, Sonitpur, Kokrajhar and NC hillsdistrict to play the role of grassroots organizers, experts, lobbyist, and monitors. The programme also made legal interventions while dealing with incidences of violence against women and a legal cell was been started to provide legal support to women in distress and also to document cases related to violence against women. In addition, an alliance has been built up with individual lawyers, organizations providing legal support such as HRNL, ACHR at the state as well as national level.

Following the experiences from Assam, initiatives were undertaken on similar lines in other states, especially Chhattisgarh and Utter Pradesh in collaboration with local civil society organisations including Mahila Swarozgar Samiti (MSS) and Prayatan.

Promotion of Women Livelihood

SDS takes initiatives to positively impact a group(s) of women with low incomes who intend to enhance their skills leading to better livelihood options. This organization offers the opportunity to women of gaining a sustainable source of income by providing them with skills in tailoring and crafts and helping them access low-interest loans which otherwise are unattainable through the banks. In addition, it also provides the target group of women with basic business training to help them make the most of their loans. All actions put together, support the economic participation of women, promote gender equality, and improve the economic welfare of women.

It is a cross- cutting action in terms of thematic groups as well as it covers a wide range of age group in so far as it focuses not only upon women but also adolescent girls (both school going and drop outs). The project also facilitates enhancement of vocational skills of adolescent girls and thereby increase their employability in both formal and informal market sector. This is done by providing vocational training in the areas of tailoring and other related crafts, and education in computer use, including basics IT, accounting, and other such tools.