On March 6, to commemorate International Women’s Day, Apollo Tyres felicitated eight women achievers from across the country who had made a positive impact on their communities. These recipients had not only worked for their own empowerment and livelihood improvement, but also aligned with women from their own or nearby villages and generated income opportunities for them by forming self-help groups (SHG).

This ties in with Apollo Tyres Foundation’s initiative, Navya, which focuses on generating livelihoods and improving the well-being of underprivileged women. Launched in 2014, this programme is being implemented in Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

The official spokesperson of the company informed CauseBecause that the achievers were shortlisted through a process that assessed their leadership skills and the contributions made. The basic criterion was that the beneficiary should be from an underprivileged background and should have received training under Navya.

In a programme held in Vadodara, Gujarat, to felicitate the achievers, the mayor and district collector of Vadodara as well as other dignitaries and Apollo Tyres’ representatives were present. The success stories of these achievers were shared to inspire other women in the audience. The award did not include any prize money or sponsorship. The event also hosted a panel discussion on gender diversity in India, with special focus on rural livelihoods.

The recipients of the award are:

  1. Mini Joshi, Mazhuvanoor Panchayat, Airapuram, Kerala
  2. Saraswatiben Hiteshbhai Chauhan, Narmadpura, Waghodia Taluka, Vadodara, Gujarat
  3. Rupali Yogesh Bandal, Chavhanwadi, Shirur Taluka, Pune, Maharashtra
  4. Sulekha, Vazhoor Panchayat, Kottayam, Kerala
  5. Varshaben Dilip Singh Gariya, Amodar, Waghodia Taluka, Vadodara, Gujarat
  6. Pushpavalli, Eraiyur, Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu
  7. Rekha Hanumant Bendre, Amble, Shirur Taluka, Pune, Maharashtra
  8. Ramilaben Bharatbhai Parmar, Narmadpura, Waghodia Taluka, Vadodara, Gujarat

Apollo Tyres supports rural women by providing them livelihood opportunities and sensitising them about gender rights and other social issues. Women are trained in farming and non-farming activities. The latter includes vocational skills such as tailoring, apiculture, khakhra making, sanitary napkin making, rubber sheet making, mushroom cultivation and pineapple processing. Farm-based trainings include livestock care and management and scientific agriculture practices.

Some of the achievements under this initiative are as follows:

Number of women outreached 7,000
Number of self-help groups (SHG) formed 385
Number of women part of SHGs 5,259
Women who received income-generation training 4,300
Number of women engaged in income generation 3,352
Average monthly income of the trained women Rs 5,000–Rs 13,000

The programme also encourages women to save through SHG formation. They are trained in financial literacy, bookkeeping, gender rights, etc. The company aids them in establishing business units by providing one-time investment including raw-material support. It also helps in linking beneficiaries with government schemes and availing loans from bank.

As per a survey conducted by the team in Gujarat and Maharashtra in 2017, due to this intervention, the number of women not engaged in some income-generating work has declined from 97 per cent to 62 per cent. There has also been an increase of 20 to 30 per cent in the crop yield.