Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
SEEP would like the thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their support of this project.
This case focuses on access to identity cards and health insurance for low-income artisans in the historic jewelry sector in Jaipur, India. Starting in 2009, ACCESS Development Services, an Indian non-governmental organization (NGO) with expertise in microfinance and rural value chain development, has stimulated market-driven improvements in working conditions among jewelry artisans in Jaipur, a large city in northwest India with a population of 340 million. The jewelry sector is estimated to employ 215,000 people. Jaipur—sitting at the crossroads of Hindu and Islamic culture for centuries—is a hub for tourism, traditional crafts, and modern trade between India and Pakistan.
Its jewelry sector typifies urban informal industries in Jaipur and in many Asian countries: growing, but experiencing tight margins, especially the workers. These workers operate as informal family businesses outside the official regulations, under unhealthy working conditions, and with no access to social benefits, such as health insurance, education, worker organizations, pensions, paid holidays, etc.
ACCESS Development Services launched the Jaipur Jewelry Artisans Development project (JJADe) with three consortia partners: the 100-year-old Jaipur Jewelers Association (a business association of elite businessmen who control the sector); and two community-based organizations committed to improving living and working conditions in urban communities, Jan Kalyan Sahitya Manch Sansthan (JKSMS) and Rajasthan Abhuyudaya Sansthan (RAS). Together, with financial and technical support from The SEEP Network’s Value Initiative, these partners identified and supported market-driven strategies for improving working conditions among urban jewelry artisans.