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Ministry of Rural Development Partners with J-PAL to Empower Rural Women

New Delhi: In a significant stride towards inclusive development, the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, has forged a strategic alliance with Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), South Asia at IFMR. J-PAL, SA@ IFMR will serve as a knowledge partner, spearheading initiatives aimed at empowering rural women and fostering self-sufficiency. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was formalized in the presence of Charanjit Singh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, and Shobhini Mukerji, Executive Director, J-PAL South Asia.

Charanjit Singh emphasized the importance of real-time feedback in the implementation of any program. He underscored that the MoU with J-PAL would facilitate this crucial process, enabling more effective decision-making and impactful interventions.

At the core of the inclusive development strategy lies the adaptation of BRAC’s Graduation Approach, a holistic livelihood program recognized for its efficacy in lifting vulnerable households out of poverty. Through rigorous randomized evaluations, researchers affiliated with J-PAL and Innovations for Poverty Action have validated the effectiveness of this approach. As part of the partnership, J-PAL South Asia will collaborate with the Ministry of Rural Development to catalyze the adoption of scientific evidence and data-driven solutions.

Moreover, J-PAL South Asia will work closely with the Ministry to establish a Gender Impact Lab, dedicated to conducting new research and institutionalizing data usage within the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY NRLM). This initiative aims to empower women and drive women-led development initiatives within the DAY NRLM framework.

DAY-NRLM stands as one of the largest community mobilization efforts globally, having organized over 10.04 crore women into more than 90.76 lakh self-help groups. The program, while promoting financial inclusion, digital literacy, and sustainable livelihoods, primarily focuses on empowering women to lead dignified lives.

Notably, J-PAL South Asia, in collaboration with Bandhan-Konnagar, has been actively involved in supporting the Government of Bihar’s JEEViKA initiative since 2018. This partnership aims to expand the Satat Jeevikoparjan Yojana (SJY), touted as the largest government-led scale-up of the Graduation Approach worldwide. SJY is poised to reach 200,000 women-headed households across Bihar by 2024, marking a significant milestone in women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation efforts.

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