Mahila Haat came into being on November 23, 1987, the outcome of numerous workshops and action research conducted during the 1980s by various NGOs with grass- roots women engaged in traditional trades and crafts. The common problems faced by these women include lack of marketing support, difficulties in raw material procurement, inadequate wages, lack of access to advanced technology and importantly exploitation by middlemen. MH emerged as a national level support to extend enabling assistance in solving these problems. To expedite the socio-economic advancement of women, MH started as a facilitation centre for small women producers. Initially it worked on an all India basis, and supported about 80 women producer groups from across the country. As a facilitation centre it has been providing technical and other support services to women producer groups covering raw material procurement, product development, and design, marketing support, networking for exchange of information and skills between groups, costing, management, and policy support.
However, since 1997, MH has extended its activities primarily in the rural areas of Kumaon region in the State of Uttarakhand. During its engagement in the region, Mahila Haat noted several factors which were hindering the development of women of the region like illiteracy, improper education in early age, unwise use of natural resources, lack of knowledge and awareness about their power and strength etc. Thus MH diversified the scope of its activities for accomplishing its mission. Mahila Haat also felt that adolescent girls are future women and nurturing them now would be a worthwhile investment in making them strong, powerful and confident women in the future. Also, the great concern of the women is to nurture their child by providing basic necessities but poor economic condition restricts them from doing so. Thus Mahila Haat came out with these focus activities besides skill development activities to achieve its long term objectives.