Development is the most crucial concern for all countries. It ensures sustained economic growth in a nation through infrastructural and industrial development. As a result, the economic development and material well being of the people can also be achieved.

However, development also brings in its wake undesirable changes in the society and environment and leads to deleterious consequences on the people for whom it was envisaged. As such infrastructure projects are developmental projects having huge potential to impact socio-economic aspects of a region.

One such was the Vadodara – Halol Toll Road (VHTR) and the Ahmedabad – Mehsana Toll Road project constructed in 2003 by IL & FS, commissioned by the Government of Gujarat.

ICECD had undertaken the study of the catchment area of Vadodara – Halol with an aim to identify the socio-economic development needs of villages affected and likely to be affected by the toll roads and formulate a plan of action for the next 15 years.

The overall goal and objective was to plan and recommend suitable development interventions so as to enhance the local economy and improve the quality of life of the communities in the project catchment area.

ICECD is designing and implementing a Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WEDP), with a view to lead rural women towards self employment and entrepreneurship, particularly in the non-farm sector.

It has created livelihood through entrepreneurship development among 30 women in the villages of Asoj and Jarod in the Vadodara-Halol stretch in 2014 as a pilot program. Based on its success, another program for training 80 women of Vadodara – Halol Toll Road and Ahmedabad – Mehsana Toll Road has been implemented.

ICECD has conducted a 4 week training program for rural women in Baska on Vadodara – Halol Toll Road in Panchmahal district and Shertha and Saij in Gandhinagar district on Ahmedabad – Mehsana Toll Road.

The program has achieved over 70% success rate. 83 women have taken the training. Out of that, 76 (91%) entrepreneurs have started or enhanced their business performances. The business projects are varied ranging from the traditional work for sewing and garment manufacturing, fast food, paper cup manufacturing, food product, beauty parlour, tea stall, scrap trading, soft toy, bag making, etc. The women are earning about Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month.

An inspiring example can be drawn from Baska where 98% of the women population are Muslims who never used to venture out of their home. Now they are successfully running their own businesses. Their status in the family has improved a lot and they have transformed into key decision makers. With their businesses earning profits, they can afford to finance higher education for their children.

Most of these women are ordinary individuals who have lived through their own experiences – good or bad. But led by ICECD, they have made the effort to dream and create a vision and this has motivated them to take this uncertain path despite all odds.