Disha: Creating Employment and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Women in India

What the Project is About

Creating Employment and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Women in IndiaPhoto: UNDP India

Disha Evolves: A Note

In a short span of two years, Disha has emerged as a powerful collaboration between stakeholders demonstrating the potential for women to participate in greater numbers in India’s growth story. Xynteo’s participation in the Disha project has come to its scheduled completion. Xynteo’s role was to engage Indian and global businesses and link skilled women to business needs; Xynteo built private sector collaborations and adapted its project incubation methodology to an Indian context, catering to the diverse, regional, economic and industry specific context. We thank the Xynteo team for their continued commitment to fostering a greater consciousness amongst businesses of the benefits of having more women in the workforce. Moving forward, Disha partners, UNDP and IDF, supported by IKEA Foundation, will continue to deliver the project to ensure that more and more women learn marketable skills and connect with income opportunities.

About Disha 

Disha is a partnership between UNDP and the India Development Foundation, supported by IKEA Foundation, that aims to support one million underprivileged women in India learn marketable skills and connect with income opportunities. The Disha project helps women become economically self-sufficient through training, employment and entrepreneurial skill development; it tests innovative models of public-private partnership for scalability; and establishes a continuum that connects education with skills, jobs and growth.


What Have We Accomplished So FarPhoto: Vivek India/UNDP India-Disha
  • Touch the lives of 1 million women over a period of three years and establish a model for broad-based replication.

  • Provide women and girls with the skills and knowledge that will help them secure employment or start their own businesses.

  • Support the Government of India’s flagship skill development initiatives through policy, research and development support services.

Funding Support by

Donor Name Amount Contributed
IKEA Foundation US$  12,253,883


Expenditure in Previous Fiscal Year

Year Amount
2016 US$ 3,089,167
2015 US$  773,435.18



Helping women farmers transition from traditional to organic farming
Organic farming presents an opportunity for women farmers to cultivate with fewer inputs, generate higher profits and contribute to the sustainability of land and its ecosystems. Watch to find out how.


Connecting women artisans to new markets and consumers

Disha partnered with Industree Foundation to support over 2,000 women artisans. Watch how training and mentoring is helping them connect directly with markets and consumers.



Disha in Action

Watch how Disha is impacting women across the country.


More Videos


Stories of Change

pearl farms women haryana india

Pearls of Pataudi

How women in rural Haryana are cultivating oysters, growing pearls – and becoming entrepreneurs



organic farming by women in telangana, India

From Soil to Shelves

How switching to organic methods is helping women farmers in India

Photo Essays


Disha on IWD 2018
This International Women's Day, Disha brought together several thousand women from Haryana, Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka to address pressing issues around self-employment and entrepreneurship. Find out more! 

Stories of Aspiration, Stories of Direction: ‘Disha’ in Action

Stories of Aspiration, Stories of Direction: ‘Disha’ in Action
Disha aims to improve the lives of one million women in India by helping them learn marketable skills, connecting them with income opportunities and assisting women to become economically self-sufficient. It was a busy year for us with over 40 pilots in the National Capital Region of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana. Take a look at our year! 

Press Releases

UNDP partners with Larsen and Toubro Infotech and FUEL to skill and empower 2000 women artisans in Mumbai and Thane
27 December 2018: The United Nations Development Programme in India (UNDP India) announced its partnership with Larsen and Toubro Infotech (LTI)’s CSR initiative, and Friend's Union for Energizing Lives (FUEL), an Indian not-profit organization, to provide skill training to 2000 women artisans in Mumbai and Thane. The partnership will provide them with sustainable and viable livelihoods opportunities. The initiative, Women Artisan Skill Enhancement project, aims to skill, empower and create income opportunities – through employment or entrepreneurship - for women artisans, most of whom come from marginalized communities.

Career Guidance Counselling Centres launched in Delhi-NCR to improve employment opportunities for young women

Career Guidance Counselling Centres launched in Delhi-NCR to improve employment opportunities for young women
14 March 2016: Career guidance counselling centres set up in Delhi-NCR will provide dedicated career services to young women seeking employment in the region. The Counselling Centres, a first of its kind for women, builds on the findings of a UNDP commissioned study which revealed that almost 80 percent of young women in Delhi did not have access to accurate and timely information on educational and job opportunities.


Government of Maharashtra and the United Nations Development Programme Strengthen Partnership on Development
17 February 2016 - Shri Devendra Fadvanis, Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra met with Jaco Cilliers, Country Director, UNDP in Mumbai today. The two discussed ways to deepen collaboration on key development issues facing the state. The collaboration will focus on bridging the information gap amongst women and girls on skill development, creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities; enhancing the role of the private sector in skill development and employment; promoting women’s entrepreneuship in key areas such as small retail; and supporting community-managed resource centres for women. 

IKEA Foundation Commits EUR 16 Million for Programme to Improve the Lives of One Million Underprivileged Women and Girls in India
12 October 2015 -
To celebrate the Day of the Girl Child, IKEA Foundation announced a new partnership that aims to provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to one million underprivileged women across India. The unique three-year programme will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Xyntéo and the India Development Foundation (IDF). The programme is approved by India’s Ministry of Finance.

In the News



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