In India, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) has focused on enabling its member co-operatives to continue operating. A study by SEWA in November found that the average monthly household income of its members had dropped by 65% over the course of the pandemic, from INR 18,068 (£181) to INR 6,313 (£63). Lockdown measures also impacted informal workers’ access to social services such as healthcare, childcare and insurance.
To support its members, two of SEWA’s co-operatives (Abodana, a handicraft co-op, and Lok Swasthya Mandali (LSM), a health co-op) switched to the production of masks and low-cost hand sanitisers.
LSM, whose members are mostly community health workers, runs three low-cost pharmacies in Ahmedabad city and provides health education and other primary healthcare services to informal women workers. Its members also act as insurance agents, linking women and their families to VimoSEWA’s, which provides micro-insurance services and products and sells affordable Ayurvedic products produced by LSM.