Rural women enterprise: SHG institutions have vital role in food production to improve health & nutrition

Baijnath Paswan


PhD Researcher

Faculty of Social Sciences

Currently i am working as sustainability and climate change expert. I did my graduation in Food Technology as major key areas of studies include food chain influencer, dense nutritional food for special purpose and lost cost food production technologies.


Key Takeaways

    How To Apply Insights

    • Promote this kind of women institutions because all the women covered by an institution come in one place. This means we can reach out to 2000 to 3000 women at a time and that allows us to increase the coverage.
    • Focus on the women, because they are the most vulnerable in terms of access to nutrition. In Indian culture, women eat after men, which means that they are left out and do not get proper nutrition. Because of that, children of pregnant women also do not get proper nutrition and become stunted. Focusing on women is a way to reduce the disparity of nutrition within the family.
    • Establishing this kind of small units allows women to earn money, get access to the nutritious food and they can have some freedom. Small units like that improve their household economies, and then maybe they have some freedom or they can have a say in familly matter and their voices can be raised. Also, if you are earning money your financial awareness is increasing and your financial literacy improves.
    • Promote the local food made by women and improve the local supply chain so women can spread the product and improve the coverage to a larger areas.

    Why This Research Matters

    The purpose of this research was to explore the area and to find a solution to the malnutrition problem that both districts of Gaya and Khagaria are facing. These two districts are entirely different from each other, demographically but also in terms of climate (Gaya is a drought-affected zone and Khagaria is a flood-affected zone). However, the situation is that there is a higher number of malnutrition, children are stunted, lactating mothers have low hemoglobin. The purpose was to see how we can provide a nutrient solution to women and children so that they can get properly balanced nutrition in their diet. To do this, we have established one food unit in each district, and we have given their ownership to women.

    Findings & Research Conclusions

    The most interesting finding was that children and lactating women benefited the most from the food we provided them, because that food is dense, high in energy and in nutrients. That way, they were not only getting food that has more carbohydrates in nature, but also food with vitamins, calcium, zinc and other micronutrients. What we concluded is that this kind of intervention is costly, it required huge investment from the government, but if we introduce these kinds of units in a small area or size, they can be beneficial. That way, more women will be engaged as employees and the product will be distributed to a larger area.

    Research's methodology

    We have analyzed focus group discussions qualitatively, and make community score card to check the women participation in women institutions.


    One limitation is mapping of the strength of the institution in quantitative terms. You cannot map the quality of the institution in quantitatively, only qualitatively.

    Women institutionsSelf-Help Groups (SHGs) are primary institutions of women’s institutions. 10 to 12 SHGs groups combine and make “Village Organization” (Village level Institutions), and more than 20 Village Organization forms a “Cluster Level women institutions”, that includes more than 2000 families.
    Microfinance small enterprise (MSME)women participation in economic activites runing the small enterprise with help of seed money of government intially but sustained with their good quality of products.
    Women as ownersWe are using women as owners of these plants. The ownership goes only to women and the only workers are women. They decide which areas the food will go to, they decide who work in a plant. All the leaderships activities are given to the women.

    Reference this research

    Paswan, B. K. (2015). Rural women enterprise: SHG institutions have vital role in food production to improve health and nutrition. Social Sciences International Research Journal, 1(1), 1-11.

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