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Enhancing livelihoods through Project Shakti

Project Shakti enables women in villages across India to nurture an entrepreneurial mindset and become financially independent.

Under this programme, women micro-entrepreneurs called Shakti Ammas are trained on the basic tenets of distribution and acquainted with HUL brands. Shakti Ammas are empowered to sell our products to small retail outlets in their immediate villages as well as directly to households within their communities.

Our team of Rural Sales Promoters (RSPs) coach the Shakti micro-entrepreneurs to manage their businesses better. This includes training on basics and troubleshooting, as well as enhancing their negotiation and communication skills.

Evolution of the initiative

We also help impart training to Shakti entrepreneurs in sales, marketing, and accounting by recruiting and training sales agents from villages. With the integration of technology, incentives to Shakti entrepreneurs are now directly transferred to their banks, helping them enter the formal banking segment.

We are now working towards creating a more significant social impact by conducting sessions on nutrition awareness, waste recycling, women empowerment and more to enable Shakti Ammas to become agents of positive change in their villages.

Resilience during COVID-19

With travel restrictions interrupting the distribution and affecting the timelines of our operations, our key challenge was to service Shakti entrepreneurs in remote areas. To ensure an uninterrupted supply of stock to our Shakti entrepreneurs, our regional sales teams and distributors implemented innovative ways of demand capture and fulfilment for the Shakti channel. We immediately switched to taking orders via tele-calling and ensured that rural demand for essential products was captured effectively.

Looking after the wellbeing of all our stakeholders

Our rural sales promoters were given hygiene kits, were trained on best hygiene practices, and a COVID-19 care package was included in their medical insurance policy. The rural sales promoters also extended their support to Shakti entrepreneurs by going beyond their traditional roles and helped create awareness on handwashing and maintaining proper hygiene during the pandemic. We also set up a mobile application with a daily monitoring process to ensure their wellbeing.

Overall impact

We have over 1,60,000 Shakti entrepreneurs spread across 18 states. Project Shakti has greatly impacted the livelihoods, confidence, and self-esteem of women with enhanced skills and entrepreneurial mindsets.

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