Local Solutions for a Global Economy

Retail Opportunity Training Initiative

Program Information

Program Supporter The Walmart Foundation
Implementing Partner: SEWA Ni Manager School (SMS)

The Challenge

Representing close to 20% of GDP, India's retail industry is the fifth largest in the world and the fastest growing in India, and it is expected to grow at double digit rates over the next decade. While retail, and many other sectors in the economy have grown rapidly, it remains that well over half of India’s working-age women are unemployed or under-employed. In both urban and rural locations throughout India women fall behind men in employment rates by as much as 50%, and the largest gaps are in the formal and organized sector of the job market. With fewer livelihood options, Indian women have experienced high rates of dependency and often remain in the lowest-skilled and lowest-paying jobs, mostly in the informal sector. There are many causes for this problem including high levels of illiteracy, lower primary school participation and graduation rates, and limited training opportunities on the skills necessary for success in the country's growth sectors. In addition to technical job skills, many women also lack fundamental "life skills" training centered on literacy, self-esteem, personal communication, basic financial management and other skills central to an empowered life and livelihood. Bridging this gap between available jobs and the fundamental hard and soft skill necessary to secure them is an essential step in addressing the challenge of underemployment of women and to building the confident, well-prepared workforce necessary to maximize the success of India’s growth sectors.

The Opportunity

With core support from the Walmart Foundation, the Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) and the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) have launched a robust certificate-level training program aimed at delivering high-value, opportunity-driven instruction in retail sales and management to 36,000 women in India. The program is designed to prepare graduates for market-facing job opportunities, and build a foundation of key life and livelihood skills. ROTI trainings combine practical retail sales and management knowledge with the personal and professional life management skills essential for success in India’s competitive formal job market. The ROTI curriculum is designed in close collaboration with retailers and market stakeholders to ensure that the necessary hard and soft skills are well reflected, and it is rooted in GFI and SEWA’s training methodology that maximizes participation. Using highly accessible and interactive instruction aimed at building confidence and core skills, the ROTI courses will provide women the skills and opportunity to move from traditional low-skilled, low paying informal employment to stable, higher-skilled and higher-income jobs with real professional growth potential. The program is designed to bridge the opportunity gap between India’s underemployed women and the country’s fastest growing economic sector.

Program Leadership Team

Smita Bhatnagar, Director, SEWA’s Manager Ni School, India
Jennifer Marlay, ROTI Program Director

Recent Activities

Visit soon to learn more about the ROTI program activities and milestones


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