SEWA Punjab is part of the Women’s Association (SEWA), a federation of poor women workers, and a movement for them to create better alternatives through forming a trade union. SEWA in Punjab works to organize women workers in the informal sector, build their skills and capacities, and advocate for their rights. In line with the SEWA values, SEWA Punjab aims to secure for its members the twin goal of full employment and self-reliance.
SEWA Punjab began its work in 2016, in ion with the National Health Mission, leading a capacity building program of Mahila Arogya Samitis (MAS) across twenty-one cities in eleven districts of Punjab. The MAS are urban slum-based health committees of women leaders responsible for connecting their communities to efficient and effective health solutions. As part of the program, women were trained on leadership, community-based monitoring, and public health linkages for improving the health of their communities. By May 2017, SEWA Punjab had completed 349 trainings, reached out to 13,000 women and refreshed and trained 4278 MAS.
An impact assessment on the MAS training conducted by SEWA Punjab was carried out by the Indian School of Business, Mohali, which showed that MAS women leaders benefited from both awareness and leadership aspects. We discovered that MAS trainings contained the potential to act as a pivotal link between the community and public health services and can bring about a paradigm shift in the quality of life of marginalized, poor sections of Punjab.
Acknowledging the work done, the Government of Punjab signed an MOU with SEWA Punjab in 2017 to collaborate on various programs related to women empowerment and poverty alleviation.
Since then, SEWA Punjab has been carrying out integrated development activities to uplift and empower informal women workersin six districts- Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur, Patiala,and Mohali.