“This is the first-of-its-kind sustainable housing on a large scale in India under which we train women to build sustainable houses. We aim at empowering women by enhancing their technical and entrepreneurial skills, creating women-led enterprises, promoting climate-adaptable and green housing support services at community level. Women’s issues are important for us and so are environmental issues, therefore, this project. The Union is investing close to 1 million euros in the first phase.”

Raimund Magis,
The Chargé d''affaires at the European Union in India.

“Within India development challenges are further aggravated by COVID-19, especially in rural areas. Therefore there is a dire need to assist these communities and in particular vulnerable women, whose situations have worsened over the past few months. It is in this context that civil society actors like Habitat for Humanity have a critical role to play in ensuring nobody is left behind, by attacking poverty as well as formal and informal obstacles to social inclusion. Nirmanshree is a timely intervention that will assist in enhancing the entrepreneurial and technical skills of women, thereby empowering them.”

Delphine Brissonneau,
Attaché –Cooperation Section, Delegation of the European Union to India.

“Through Nirmanshree, we intend to create economic opportunities for marginalized women through development in the housing sector and make them proactive participants in the decision-making. Strengthening the collective voice of women in engaging with policy-makers, the project also aims to enhance their core capabilities in accessing social entitlements and sustainable solutions related to housing and the housing eco-system. We thank the European Union for entrusting Habitat for Humanity India to engage the community through project Nirmanshree.”

Rajan Samuel,
Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India.



The Economic Survey of India 2018 showed declining trends of female labour participation, lower women’s engagement and prevailing gender gaps in the housing eco system. Addressing these gaps and creating economic opportunities for women can significantly contribute to the national economic growth.

Project Nirmanshree seeks to empower groups of marginalized women by creating economic opportunities and improving access to services and entitlements related to housing, including drinking water, sanitation, and energy.

Habitat India provides technical and entrepreneurial skills to 3,000 women, with the goal of minimizing housing disparities and to strengthen their livelihoods through 50 women-led social enterprise model. In doing so, Project Nirmanshree ultimately seeks to improve the quality of habitat of 200,000 families in Odisha (Dhenkanal and Jajpur) and Maharashtra (Osmanabad and Beed), through the inclusion of women in planning processes and the effective delivery of housing and other services at local levels.

Therefore, Nirmanshree hopes to create a favorable environment, through focused advocacy, to influence program and policies on gender-sensitive housing policies and programs.

Project Nirmanshree is supported by the European Union.

Project Strategies

o Facilitate effective partnerships with stakeholders from Government to improve accessibility of housing and other social entitlements for marginalized families.
o Strategically engage stakeholders to share information related to development schemes and delivery mechanisms, and come up with the recommendation to influence the policy and programs to ensure adequate, safe and affordable housing and economic growth.
o Promote livelihood opportunities, improved standard of living and habitat development
o The capacity building and business advisory services and handholding support will focus on enhancing women’s self-confidence, knowledge and skills including technical and entrepreneurial competencies
o Focused training and capacity building through well-structured curriculum and experiential learning
o Demand generation for services and products, market linkages
o Improve knowledge base, thematic and sector knowledge through innovation
o Improve access to affordable and appropriate habitat solutions and services
o Strengthen the efforts of the women towards achieving gender inequality in the housing sector in terms of participation, decision making, service delivery and income generation

Frequently Asked Questions:

 1. How will Nirmanshree impact women?

Nirmanshree will address gender inequalities that exist in India’s housing sector, such as barriers to owning land, insufficient engagement in decision-making, low wages, lack of skills, and limited training opportunities that prevent women from improving their capacities to ensure decent livelihoods in new market conditions. The project will create economic opportunities around habitat development, i.e., the housing ecosystem consisting of housing, energy, water and sanitation, energy and livelihood. It will improve access to services and entitlements related to housing, including drinking water, sanitation and energy. Through this project, 3,000 poor and marginalized women and girls will have access to technical and entrepreneurial skills, strengthening their core capabilities to help them demand social entitlements and basic services related to housing.

The project will contribute to the following SDGs:

SDG 1 (Poverty reduction by income enhancing by facilitating decent employment for women in the housing sector); SDG 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for women by promoting climate- climate resilient); SDG 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth - Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment for women); SDG9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure - Build climate-resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable consumption and foster innovation); SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities - Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by providing sustainable housing solutions to women in cities); SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption & Production - By promoting resource and energy efficiency in housing sector, sustainable and green infrastructure, and providing access to housing support services and green jobs) and SDG 13 (Climate Action - Developing climate-resilient housing solutions to combat climate change and its impacts).

2. What are the expected short-term and long-term impact of the project?

In the short term, Nirmanshree will address the growing demand for skilled workers in the housing sector by building the capacity of existing women’s federations and developing women’s skills for housing solutions and entrepreneurship development.

In the long term, Nirmanshree as a social enterprise will be established to strengthen the voice of women and related agencies for undertaking policy dialogue with decision-makers to enhance women's participation in habitat-related interventions. Women and girls that were part of the project would be able to participate at the local level in planning, designing and implementation of service delivery (habitat development) for poor families with particular emphasis on vulnerable women.

3. Who are the target audience (beneficiaries) and on what criteria will they be selected?

Nirmanshree aims to work with women entrepreneurs from selected women’s federations, particularly single women, girls, widows, and women living with HIV/AIDS.

4. In which districts will the project be operational?

Habitat for Humanity India will implement Nirmanshree in Dhenkanal and Jajpur in Odisha, and in Osmanabad and Beed in Maharashtra.

5. What is Nirmanshree’s project timeline?

 Habitat for Humanity India will implement Nirmanshree for three years, from January 2020 to December 2022.

6. Would Habitat for Humanity continue its involvement with the communities after the end of the project?

 Yes, Habitat for Humanity will continue its involvement with the project through the establishment of the social enterprise, Nirmanshree. Habitat India will continue using the services/products developed and produced by Nirmanshree in some of its housing projects. Habitat India will recommend the same to its partners.

7. What are the expected communication material and publications to be developed with EU emblem with the project logo?

  • Training material /modules
  • USB lanyards with the presentation for the project staff and trainers
  • Banner/stand-up banners for the training and other events
  • IEC Material-posters, leaflets / large signs at project sites and community events
  • Eco Friendly /re-usable training bags/kits with logo
  • Project Video and small promotional video clips for campaign
  • Press release and media kits during events
  • Webinars

8. How will the Nirmanshree Project contribute to the specific SDGs and EU Result Framework (EURF)?

The project Nirmanshree is proposed to impact sustainable development goals such as  

  • SDG 1 :Poverty reduction by income enhancing through facilitating decent employment for women in housing sector.
  • SDG 3 : Good Health & Well Being – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for women by promoting climate-resilient solutions.
  • SDG 8 : Decent Work and Economic Growth.
  • SDG 9 : Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure - Build climate resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable consumption and foster innovation.
  • SDG 11 : Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by providing sustainable housing solutions to women in cities.
  • SDG 12 :Responsible consumption and production – By promoting energy efficient resources, developing sustainable and green infrastructure, providing access to Housing Support Services (HSS) and green jobs.
  • SDG 13 : Climate Action – Developing climate resilient housing solutions to combat climate change and its impacts) and
  • SDG 16 : Peace, justice and strong institutions.

The EURF (European Union Result Framework) was adopted in the project to measure the impact and its contribution towards the goals. The EURF indicators for the project basically focuses on employability of women in the housing and housing allied sectors including WASH and Energy sector, Improved economic governance, promote resource efficiency, production of eco-friendly housing materials and advocacy for inclusive policy for women.

Project Nirmanshree was launched on August 6th by Ms. Delphine Brissonneau, Attaché – Cooperation Section, Delegation of the European Union to India.

Watch the Launch Video


Nirmanshree Project Management Committee

NAME Position
Rajan Samuel Chair - Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India
Nilesh Sawant Vice Chair - Chief Financial Office, Habitat for Humanity India
K. Davidson Chief Of Party (CoP) - National Program Manager, Habitat for Humanity India
Sanjay Daswani Senior Director, Programs and IMT, Habitat for Humanity India
Joy Abraham Director, PDME, Habitat for Humanity India
Nilesh Karkare Director, Special Projects, Habitat for Humanity India
Saint Kamei Manager, Communication, Habitat for Humanity India
Pramil Aruldoss Deputy Regional Director, Delhi Hub, Habitat for Humanity India
John Mathew Deputy Regional Director, Karjat Hub, Habitat for Humanity India
Aslam Naved Associate Director, Programme Development, Habitat for Humanity India
Marco Montemayor Associate Director, Programs, Habitat for Humanity International, Asia Pacific Office
Jasmine D’souza Senior Manager, Human Resources, Habitat for Humanity India
Rahul Bhardwaj Manager, Technical, Habitat for Humanity India
Laavanya Vinayagaswami Senior Manager, PDME, Habitat for Humanity India
Jalal Khan Manager, IMT, Habitat for Humanity India
Ritwik Sawant Director, Communications, Habitat for Humanity India
Suprita Tambe Director, Resource Development, Habitat for Humanity India
Aswathy Nair Finance Officer, Habitat for Humanity India
Joebel Gurang Senior Manager, PDMEAL, Habitat for Humanity International, Asia Pacific Office/td>