This project examines the pathways through which a digital platform can improve women’s access and take-up of government entitlements and create sustainable livelihoods.
Digital tools hold the promise of accelerating efforts of SHGs towards women’s social and economic empowerment while providing new opportunities to access information, services and livelihood opportunities. In recent years, several efforts have been made to leverage digital tools to enhance the functioning of women self-help groups. In Chhattisgarh, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, LEAD is partnering with the State Rural Livelihoods Mission (SRLM) and Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Limited (HESPL) to train SHG members on a digital application, which can enhance their livelihood opportunities.
The digital tool, Haqdarshak, is an innovative mobile application developed by HESPL. The application provides a ready reference of more than 200 central and state government welfare schemes and programs, their benefits, eligibility criteria, documents required, and the application process for each scheme. HESPL provides training and handholding support to SHG members for using the app while building an understanding of the Haqdarshak model.
5,077 SHG members have received training on using the Haqdarshak application, in 25 blocks across 7 districts. In addition to collaborating on the implementation of this livelihood model, LEAD and IWWAGE are conducting an impact and process evaluation of the Haqdarshak program, which will answer questions on its effectiveness and efficiency. The project is being implemented in four districts of Chhattisgarh (Raipur, Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari and Gariyaband). 1,618 interviews with Haqdarshikas and 12,676 surveys with citizens and SHG members in both treatment and control areas have been conducted. From the trainees, 3,623 women successfully completed a post-assessment and obtained a Haqdarshak ID.
The Way Forward
Most agent drop-outs happen within the first four months after the training. The saturation of applications for schemes and documents for which Haqdarshikas (HDs) have the most information is a major factor for dropouts, which means that a combination of better agent training, and more refresher training would be beneficial to overcome this challenge. Upcoming plans include accessing administrative data on applications to different schemes/documents from specific villages to validate findings on the impact of the program, take measures to understand the district-level administrative and bureaucratic factors that affect turnaround time for benefits. ndertaking a comparative Cost Effectiveness Analysis of the model, based on operations costs and data from HDs and citizens collected through survey rounds.