Ms. Reema Nanavaty

Secretary General, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

Reema Nanawaty has been working with the Self Employed Women’s Association since 1984 and stayed on to be elected as the General Secretary in 1999, expanded membership to new heights making SEWA the single largest union of informal sector workers.

She negotiated the first ever IFAD loan to rebuild lives of 60000 earthquake affected rural women and is running post conflict reconstruction for 40000 members affected by 2002 riots; leading rehabilitation programme in Afghanistan and in Srilanka; providing vocational training in agro and rural livelihood security and heads the ICT cell to connect information technological with the farm women.

Reema is expanding activities of Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) making women’s voice and contribution central to world trade decisions. Currently she is replicating the Trade Facilitation Centre model in all the SAARC countries.

Reema initiated the food security covering one million households through its rural distribution network, named RUDI, where women farmers and labour trade their agro-produce with each other.

Reema is spearheading the Hariyali–Green Energy and Livelihoods Initiative to provide 2,00,000 mostly farm women access renewable energy tools of cookstoves and solar lights.

Reema oversees 3200 self help groups (SHG), 110 co-operatives and 15 federations totaling 428,281 members, Nationally including Kashmir, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar.

Reema was awarded Padmashri on 26th January 2013.