Prema Gopalan is the Executive Director of Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), based in Pune, India. At the core of Prema’s belief is that excluded and resource-poor communities can be revitalized through economic growth and social progress if the true potential of grassroots women entrepreneurs is realized and tapped.
Since 1998, Prema through Swayam Shikshan Prayog has built a robust ecosystem that enable women led entrepreneurship and leadership in emerging high impact sectors clean energy, agriculture and nutrition, health and sanitation. SSP inspires, educate and builds socially-minded women entrepreneurs who generate incomes, enhance women’s leadership, and create social impact and environmental gains within the marginal communities. SSP’s work, by choice is centered around low income climate threatened communities across seven states in India. Since 2009, through SSP, Prema has empowered over 170,000 grassroots women to solve problems through revitalizing rural economies.
After two decades plus, what drives Prema’s work is the passion. The monumental need to empower women at the grassroots “perceived as vulnerable” into change makers especially in the most vulnerable and climate affected areas.
Prema is a steering committee member of GROOTS International and member of the Huairou Commission’s Global Program on Women and its Community Resilience Program. She earned an M.Phil in Sociology and Research Methodology and Masters in Social Work.
Her accolades include SEOY India 2018 of Schwab Foundation and the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, Ashoka Globalizer and Synergos Fellow. Prema has received the UNDP Equator Prize 2017 and UNFCCC Momentum for Change Award 2016 for pioneering the network of grassroots women entrepreneurs. In her free time, she enjoys sketching and listening to music.
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Swayam Shikshan Prayog
Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) stands for self-education for empowerment through experimentation. SSP is a learning and development organization that aims to promote women's economic and social empowerment as entrepreneurs and leaders for sustainable community development. SSP offers a large range of skill-building, livelihood generation, innovation finance and health-enhancing opportunities to rural women, youth and communities at large. SSP works in disaster-prone, climate-influenced rural communities to promote development.