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Bhubaneswar, 6 May 2022: The Department of Mission Shakti, Government of Odisha and the United Nations Population Fund, India (UNFPA) signed an agreement today to launch an initiative to accelerate progress, and bridge gender, financial, digital and social gaps by strengthening Mission Shakti SHG network.


The initiative titled “Social Empowerment of Women through the Women Self Help Groups of Mission Shakti in Odisha” is backed by a comprehensive plan of action and concrete resources. It will play a critical role towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in the State, particularly Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and Goal 5 (Gender Equality). 


The targets of the three-year project focus on promoting digital and financial literacy amongst WSHG members of Mission Shakti for improving their social and economic development.


Digital literacy would enable women to be better connected, more informed and communicate with the external world. It would also enable them to find, use, and create content for their social and economic development. This would also be useful to improve their knowledge and help them access public services and welfare schemes, which are increasingly being made available online. Financial literacy will equip WSHG members with the knowledge and skills to manage money effectively. It would also entail the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, and investment. It would enable women to reach out to cooperative societies, banks, etc. for accessing loans. In this connection the MoU with UNFPA will equip and certify nearly 600,000 women across self-help groups with digital and financial skills (such as accessing online public services, banking services, social media). Known as Digi Shaktis, these women will in turn reach out to millions of other women to educate them on these skills.


The project, by virtue of harnessing the Mission Shakti platform, has remarkable scope to reach out to marginalized women especially those from the lower socio-economic strata. State-wide implementation, ensures coverage of women from tribal and scheduled caste communities and the rural and urban poor households, thus leaving no one behind. This project will train over 250,000 women as champions of sexual reproductive and social rights of women, who will be empowered to address violence, discrimination and regressive social norms such as child marriage, witch-hunting, and dowry in their communities.


Empowering women with information and skills for their social development will also have an intergenerational impact on addressing the vulnerabilities of their daughters, especially adolescent girls and elderly women in their households. The initiative would also train to forge strategic alliances and partnerships to ensure the sustainability, replicability and scalability of the work.


Speaking at the signing of the agreement, Smt. Sujata R. Karthikeyan, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Department of Mission Shakti said, “Our experience shows that investing in women’s social and economic empowerment pays huge dividends: both in terms of collective social progress and accelerated local economic growth and development. With this timely and crucial partnership between Mission Shakti and UNFPA, we are poised to take significant leaps towards our goal of Empowered Women – Empowered Odisha.”


“With this visionary Mission Shakti initiative, over 6 million women will gain powerful digital and financial skills along with increased control over their sexual and reproductive health,” said UNFPA India Representative, Ms Andrea M. Wojnar. “This is a definitive win-win for both the women as well as the socio-economic development of Odisha and beyond if these transformative results can be replicated elsewhere.”




For More Information and Media Queries, Please Contact

UNFPA India:

Ms. Pinky Pradhan (Communications and Media Specialist)

Email -; Mobile - +91 98107 88435 


About the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

UNFPA is the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency. UNFPA's mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, quality maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education.