The Production Credit for Rural Women Programme (PCRW) was a project representing the first major initiative on the part of the Women Development Section. It was not the first project of the Section, though. The first project was entitled 'Train the Trainers for Income Generating Activities and Labour Saving Devices for Rural Women', for which the Voluntary Fund for United Nations Decade for Women had extended support through ESCAP. Initially assisted by Government of the Netherlands through UNICEF, the PCRW project was piloted in five districts in 1982. The encouraging empowerment effect led to its rather rapid extension to 25 districts within the pilot phase which may be considered to be the sixth five-year plan period (1980-1985). In the ensuing years, additional development partners, notably IFAD, UNFPA and USAID, also co-operated on different aspects of the project.
The year-on-year replication of the PCRW project continued, covering 49 districts by 1989. Other development partners chose to support separate interventions. The ADB-assisted Micro-Credit Project for Women (1994-2002) is a case in point. The PCRW project covered a total of 58 disticts and lasted until the phasing out of the IFAD support in December 1997. Even so, many people are so familiar with the PCRW initiative that they still tend to refer to the Women's Development Programme as PCRW.