Women's ICT-Based Enterprise for Development
Project Page

This page aims to tell you three things:

a. What do we mean by "women's ICT-based enterprise"? (Link)

b. What are the purpose and outputs of this project? (Link)

c. What is the nature of the focal "Kudumbashree" project? (Link)


Understanding "Women's ICT-Based Enterprise"


We define ICT-based enterprises as those using ICTs for new economic activities that arise from the advent of ICTs. There are three main categories:

      ICTs as an enterprise output: enterprises that produce hardware, software and telecommunications products.

      ICTs as a primary, processing technology: enterprises that provide data entry services, ICT-based business services, software customisation, ICT-based distance learning, etc.

      Other ICT-related support activities: enterprises that provide computer training, consultancy and other services.

Put more simply, we can ask of any enterprise the question, "Would this enterprise exist without ICTs?". If the answer is "no", then that is an "ICT-based enterprise". They are a "women's ICT-based enterprise" if they are majority-owned or majority-managed by women. To find real-world case studies of women's ICT-based enterprises, click here.


Project Purpose and Outputs


ICTs have facilitated job, income and skill generation in enterprise worldwide. However, as yet, those benefits have rarely been accessible by the poorest groups in society. The purpose of this project is to help increase the number of sustainable ICT-based enterprises run by groups of poor women in developing countries.


This will be achieved through a series of project outputs, targeted at a specifically-identified set of institutions in developing countries:

      An ICT-enabled network for those involved in ICT-based enterprise projects for women in developing countries. This would seek to provide ongoing support and knowledge-building around this topic, and to develop target institution links. To get details on joining our network, click here.

      Copies of a guidance handbook on development and support of women's ICT-based enterprises. This will be made available in relevant languages helping government/NGO officials to plan, initiate, evaluate and improve ICT-based enterprise projects for poor women; and helping groups of poor women initiate, operate and improve such projects. To access a copy of the handbook, click here.

      An international knowledge-sharing workshop in Kerala, India to which overseas representatives of relevant government, NGO and community organisations would be invited. This would provide a forum: for direct experience of the Kudumbashree initiative (see below); for sharing of experiences and development of knowledge frameworks between Keralan and overseas participants; and for development of personal/institutional action plans. To access a report on this workshop, click here.

      Five action workshops with the same aims as for the handbook (the handbook will form the basis for the workshops), to be held in South Asia, East Africa and the Central America.


The data required to produce these outputs will be generated through an intensive study of the Kudumbashree initiative, through commissioned studies from other developing countries, and through sharing of experiences on the project's online workspace.


The Kudumbashree Initiative


As noted, this project will derive data from many different sources. However, there will be a particular interest in the Kudumbashree initiative.


The Kudumbashree poverty eradication initiative based in Kerala state in India is a unique scheme that has created a state-wide series of cooperative microenterprises, which are all owned, managed and operated by women from 'below poverty line' families. In addition to more 'traditional' enterprise, Kudumbashree has facilitated the creation of more than 100 ICT-based microenterprise units thus providing jobs for more than 1,000 poor women.


Each of these employs ten women from its immediate neighbourhood, plus others on a piece-rate basis. The units are focused around three main activities: data entry/digitisation, IT training, and hardware assembly.


Data has been gathered from these units through six main methods: key informant interviews; case sketches; focus-group-driven case studies; individual questionnaires; financial document analysis; and work/life story-telling. Most of this fieldwork has been undertaken by Planet Kerala, a research and action network NGO based in Kerala.


The overall Kudumbashree Web site can be accessed by clicking here.


The "Women's ICT-Based Enterprise for Development" project is coordinated by the University of Manchester's Institute for Development Policy and Management. The project is funded by the UK Department for International Development's Knowledge and Research programme.



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 http://www.womenictenterprise.org/project.htm December 2005