UN Women Pakistan’s pilot project on Women & Food Tech Sharing Economy aims to economically empower women & improve their access to income generation using ICT. It seeks to build upon and adapt the social enterprise model of Million Kitchen (millionkitchen.com) based in Delhi, India, pioneered by Mr. Vimlendu Jha. Million Kitchen is a tech-based home food ordering platform that enables home cooked meals to be delivered at home or at work, prepared by low income women homebased workers.
Women and Food Tech Sharing Economy: Status Update
UN Women Pakistan’s pilot project on Women and Food Tech Sharing Economy aims to economically empower women and improve their access to income generation using ICT. It seeks to replicate the social enterprise model of Mr. Vimlendu Jha and Mr. Pratik Kumar in Pakistan who are social entrepreneurs and founders of Million Kitchen based in Delhi, India. Million Kitchen is a tech-based home food ordering platform that enables home cooked meals to be delivered at home or at work, prepared by women homebased workers.
In launching the project, a five-day skills development workshop was conducted in Lahore in January 2016 on ‘Women and Food Tech Sharing Economy: Employability and Empowerment’ and was attended by 60 participants including: social entrepreneurs, international and local NGOs, homebased workers, transgender people, technology institutes, IT professionals and students, food bloggers and representatives from UN agencies in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. Both Mr. Vimlendu Jha and Mr. Pratik Kumar were present to facilitate the trainings. They sought to promote women’s self-efficiency and resourcefulness through innovation, create opportunities to access new markets through ICT, generate employment and develop enterprise which will result in women’s economic empowerment.
Keeping in line with these objectives, the next stage of the project was to give it a material form. UN Women is supporting Ms. Madiha Hamid, a food blogger/entrepreneur based in Islamabad, in launching her own food based tech enterprise that employs women. The Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Programme of UN Women supported her in conceptualizing the business venture. Madiha is working towards launching the ‘Chefling kitchen’ app by 15th August 2016. To start off, she has selected 10 women from lower middle income backgrounds that have cooking experience. A delivery partner has also been identified and the service will cater to all parts of Islamabad. Similar to Million Kitchen, every woman who is employed to cook for the enterprise will have her personal story uploaded on the website with her food dish/es for the day as well. Ms. Hamid is currently organizing an entrepreneurship training for selected women chefs on developing their business skills.
The UN Women skills enhancement workshop in January also yielded another business venture in Lahore that will be implemented by Value Resources (A consulting firm and a private sector company) in collaboration with All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) and UN Women. Value Resources (VR) will launch the project in September 2016 and the steps include development of android application, communication and marketing plan and preparation, administration and delivery of food items. They will initially employ 20-25 women home based workers and enhance their cooking and business skills to prepare them for the intervention. The target audience will be people in the radius of 5 kilometers from the point of production. UN Women will provide technical advice to VR and APWA in implementing this exciting initiative. Both these projects will improve the selected women’s access to income generation opportunities and empower them economically in Islamabad and Lahore.
 Ms. Madhia Hamid runs an online food blog called, ‘Chefling Tales’ that features several contributors and showcases regional Pakistani cuisine. It also provides underprivileged women homebased workers living in remote areas of Pakistan with an avenue to earn an income utilizing their cooking skills. http://cheflingtales.com/