VOICING THE VOICELESS:

 

Facilitating women’s empowerment by strengthening women by forming their Corps at various levels in a holistic approach involving community health and education for good governance and neighborhood peace

 

Introduction:

Any society must have harmony and order. Where there is no harmony and order, there, existence of society is questioned because; society is a harmonious organisation of human relationships. This vital attribute for peaceful co-existence of society and its members is at stake due to various internal and external factors.

For peaceful social change women have a larger role to play. After centuries of subjugation, women have been given larger responsibilities under Panchayatiraj system. The constitution, in its 73rd and 74th amendments, emphasized that the Panchayatiraj institutions should be so worked that they become true units of self-rule. In asserting this concept of local self-governance, and to make Panchayatiraj institutions more meaningful the political and economic empowerment of women as well as their popular participation in development programs would be very instrumental. The increasing participation of women in Panchayatiraj institutions would give a positive twist to democratic governance. Participatory democracy is the need of hour and women have to play their political responsibilities well through their popular participation and by that deliver to the purpose of the society. Women, as active participants in electoral process and Panchayatiraj, could begin to influence policy priorities at local level in a way that can truly meet the needs of women, children, families and neighborhood. In furthering the development at the grassroots, it is well-understood how vital women’s education and awareness is to the achievement of social justice and political empowerment.

Gender dominance and the consequent attitude of the society towards women, women’s relatively low awareness level in the unorganized sector give them little space to play their role in governance and decision making processes. Irony is that there are women in rural unorganized sectors with potential strength and talent of delivering to the society, who are least utilised in bringing about a positive value oriented social change in their domain. What they require is a little recognition as social change agents, appreciation for their popular participation and empowerment by information, awareness and skill development training through possible means. To discharge their responsibilities to the democratic society they need to be built up properly which, can be facilitated by development agencies.

It is a beyond doubt that neither economic growth nor anti-poverty programmes can alone improve the quality of life of the rural poor. Their well being can be improved only when they have the access to basic minimum services especially health and education. These basic services namely health, safe drinking water and education are essential conditions for realizing the potential of an individual.

While there have been efforts at various levels to boost the status of women in Orissa with political and economic empowerment, the purpose is not reaching the desired ideal as programmes focus on segments and smaller space. We at Unnayan perceive that unless and until women are organised, groups are formed and linked with larger networks, they cannot truly lead a peaceful development in their neighborhood. The Gandhian philosophy and ideology, in the present context, seem to be the pathfinder in bringing women to the forefront in the development process. Examples are many where the Gandhian approach to women’s development towards ensuring a peaceful and harmonious neighborhood through cooperation and solidarity has succeeded in Indian States. These successful models, if can be replicated properly in different areas, the scenario of women’s development would be different altogether.

Unnayan has been keeping notes on the positive consequences of several women empowerment programmes at the national level. Out of many examples, the ‘VAISHALI SABHA’, in Bihar is worth mentioning. ‘Vaishali Sabha’, organised by “Shramabharati”, a Gandhian organisation at Jamui, Bihar, under the leadership of Acharya Ramamurti, its director, is a systematic initiative envisioning building of a self-reliant violence-free social order in India through organizing, educating and training women PRI members to make them better equipped for their new political roles. Referring to Gandhi’s idea of establishing ‘Peace Brigades’, ‘Shrambharati’ decided to call the trained women “Mahila Santi Sena” (MSS). In year 2002 ‘Vaishali Sabha’ was organised at Vaishali, Bihar to consider the implications of women’s roles in Panchayatiraj; and the need to promote participatory democracy and peace building. The program comprised of three components such as peace training camp for members of MSS, a three-day seminar and a very large one-day gathering (‘Vaishali Sabha’) of village women and area politicians. The highlights of the ‘Vaishali Sabha’ was the public reading of the Vaishali declaration, a declaration embodying a number of Gandhi’s principles around the importance of village level self-governance and consultative decision-making, of economic self-sufficiency and dignity of work. The ‘Vaishali Sabha’ generated ample consensus in every quarter and soon got the attention of the development thinkers across the National boundary.

The overall idea of this proposed project is to build awareness in favour of democracy and development by all and for all, ultimately leading to the building up of a democratic violence free social order. It also envisions to capacitate the poor and marginalized women and develop their leadership in elevating the health, education, nutrition and sanitation status of the community by cultivating the spirit of social responsibilities and inculcating the sense of basic minimum services. In this context, the ‘Vaisali Sabha’ disseminates a viable strategy for women’s development through encouraging popular participation in strengthening democratic order and development at the grass-roots. The ‘Vaishali Sabha’ also has contextual merits and its down-to earth approach may be replicated for women’s empowerment at the grassroots. With women coming forward to shoulder social responsibilities a new forward-looking, creative social force would emerge. Women need to be enabled to come forward and contribute their potential to the fulfillment of social objective.

Unnayan wish to go along the lines of Shramabharati’s “Mahila Santi Sena” and wish to constitute Women Corps taking women Panchayatiraj functionaries, traditional women leaders, selected women SHG leaders who will work initially in their neighborhoods, particularly in the sphere of health and education services, good governance, maintaining neighborhood peace and harmony. Unnayan plans to create enough competent women under the WC banner through leadership development programs and motivation campaigns, and later on constitute WC teams for Panchayats, Blocks and over larger spaces.

Goal:

 

Enhancing the political and social status of women at grassroots to ensure good governance, empowerment and mobilization for creating value oriented healthy and peaceful neighborhood.

 

 

Purpose:

·         Building healthy and peaceful neighborhood

  • Delivery of quality basic minimum services especially community health, sanitation, safe drinking water and education
  • Promoting participatory democracy through capacity building of women
  • Formation of women peace workers’ action groups (through leadership skill development training, crisis intervention, conflict resolution and prevention)
  • Women’s holistic involvement in the societal change process

 

Specific objectives:

  • To motivate and organise women from grass roots for peace, social solidarity, social justice, participatory democracy and good governance and for creation of a value based society through working in close association with Panchayats.
  • To develop leadership among women for securing their rights, to undertake responsibilities for civil society empowerment and to overcome the barriers to women’s development
  • To bridge the gap between social and economic discriminations, gender preferences by ensuring empowerment through information dissemination
  • To create potential human resource in Orissa and capacitate them for furthering initiative with a broader dimension.
  • To organise large meeting and public hearing on issues concerning women and for propagation of Gandhian philosophy and social values addressing women’s liberation from subjugated role to political responsibilities
  • To form women’s units at the grassroots level and developing their linkages to form federations that would work as pressure groups and advocacy fronts at various levels.

·         To develop the skill of women in conflict resolution, maintenance of social value systems, representation of their issues in appropriate fora, moral and economic self-reliance.

·         To elevate the health and educational status of the communities by cultivating the spirit of social responsibility and inculcating the sense of community health, sanitation, and education among them

  • To create a consultative forum to review women’s issues at the grassroots and find suitable means for their empowerment.
  • To develop networking with other organisations at national and international level executing similar initiatives.

 

 

 

Activities:

1.      Training camp (3 days) for 160 women drawn from four nodal points (Leadership development, institution building, conflict resolution, importance of Gramsabha and Pallisabha in ensuring participation in decision making process, exercising rights over accessing basic minimum services such as health and sanitation, safe drinking water, education etc.)

The training shall be conducted at 4 nodal points separately each consisting of 40 participants.

2.      Training of Trainers: A 5 days training of trainers programme shall be conducted for 15 potential persons who will be capacitated to impart training to the women corps members. This would help in training more trainers and spreading the movement at the grassroot level without dependency on external resource persons.

3.      Seminar: A seminar on MSS will be conducted involving participants from different states and abroad including those trained participants from Orissa. This will provide a platform for sharing of experiences and initiatives in different parts of the country and abroad. The conference shall focus on various cross cutting themes related to this program and an action plan to sustain the process. Total participants in the conference will be about 250. Seminar shall be immediately followed by a peoples assembly.

4.      People’s assembly:  A peoples’ assembly (might be named as Kalinga Sabha) shall be conducted to popularize the concept and encourage voluntary action for a social change adhering to the ethics of this program. The Sabha shall involve 2000 women participants coming from all over Orissa, 250 others including  MSS representatives from other states , delegates from peace institutions (both these categories of  participants shall be participating in the seminar), NGOs, academicians, journalists, politicians and bureaucrats.

Although Unnayan has taken the initiative to make the process a movement, ultimately the awareness and belief at the grassroot level can spread and sustain the movement. Without this the process either dies or curbed. The Sabha becomes a groundwork to spread the concept further.

 

5.      Publicity Literatures: Printed materials in local language shall be prepared and distributed among the participants for wide publicity to gain popularity on the initiative. This will be in shape of small booklets and posters dealing with the conceptual message and working methods for larger public.

Operational strategy

Trainings shall be conducted at 4 nodal centers namely, Mayurbhanj, Anugul, Cuttack, Rayagada. Participants for the training shall be drawn from the nearest districts surrounding the nodal centers. In Rasgovindpur block of Mayurbhanj district Unnayan has been working with rural and tribal communities since more than last 10 years. Thus it has a good community presence over there and the surrounding areas which would make implementation of this project easy in this district. The other nodal centers have been decided on the basis of good presence at the community level of the organisations who would be co-partnering with Unnayan in this initiative. Unnayan has initiated dialogues with organisations such as Utkal Navjeevan Mandal (Anugul and Dhenkanal having branches at a number of districts), Kasturba Gandhi National Women’s Trust (Satyabhamapur, Cuttack having branch at Rayagada), Sovaniya Sikshyashram (Bidanasi, Cuttack) for co-partnering this noble initiative with Unnayan. Moreover, these organisations have also been involved in the process of Mahila Santi Sena initiated by Acharya Ramamurthy. These organisations follow Gandhian ethics as their core principle for functioning. Unnayan is also working in Jagatsinghpur district with women as primary target group. Thus participants from this district can be mobilized to be involved in this process. In Gajapati district a the country representative of AID (Association of India’s Development) who has also been involved with MSS process can help in this implementation of this programme in the district.

The nodal center organizers on the basis of relative natural leadership qualities, communication skills and commitment to social cause shall select participants for ToT. The trainers for camp training and ToT shall be invited from Shrama Bharati, Bihar.

Participants for the conference shall be invited from organizations from different states of India involved in similar processes. Most of the foreign delegates shall comprise of a team from the Department of Peace Studies, McMaster University, Canada, which is an active institution in this process. Efforts will also be made to involve delegates from other institutions active in international peace movement and studies who will be interested to participate on their own.

Time Duration: One year (Commencing tentatively from May 2005)

Methodology:

 

 

  • Training:

Training will be imparted to the target women through camp method. Nature of training will be participatory and correlative. Exercises, role-play, lecture method and dramatics shall be utilized for imparting training. So far as possible participatory method in training shall be emphasized and different subjects will be presented while correlating problems so that interest may be sustained in subjects and practical solutions may be found to problems. The subject may be related to politics, economics, sociology, education or any aspect related to life, the presentation will be rendered easier through correlation.

Subjects for the training will be: Leadership development, institution building, conflict resolution, importance of Gramsabha and Pallisabha in ensuring participation in decision making process, exercising rights over accessing basic minimum services such as health and sanitation, safe drinking water, education.

·         Seminar :

This two day seminar will mainly focus on sharing of experiences among the various groups in Orissa and MSS representatives  from other states as well as those from outside countries. Media will be invited to take note of the process and publicise the initiative through both electronic and print media. Group discussion, sharing sessions and presentation shall form the major part of this seminar. Strategy will be worked out to strengthen and spread the movement to more areas.

  • Assembly :

The assembly cum public hearing shall be conducted at a central place, possibly in Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. Video recording of the occasion shall be made. Compact discs of the event shall be made and distributed to each partner NGO, media and concerned Government departments. In the public hearing the consultative paper shall be presented, strategy to strengthen participatory self-governance shall be discussed and participants’ suggestions shall be dealt with analytically. A common action agenda shall be prepared on the basis of which an oath taking ceremony shall be held. This will be called Kalinga Declaration for all future purposes.

 

Expected Outcome & Impact Assessment:

  • The training camps will help women to understand the purpose, goal and modus operandi of Women Peace Corps in the long term and in the short term
  • The training camps will help to motivate women for self-confidence building, self- decision making and in generating the spirit of self reliance.
  • Awareness among participants on good governance through participatory democracy, Panchayatiraj system, social and economic issues concerning women, development ideals would be generated.
  • Active and positive participation in Panchayatiraj, specially in Gramsabha and Pallisabha for successful implementation of programme through Panchayatiraj institution.
  • Through training camps, 160 women will be trained and they will be able to link about 2000 women with Women Corps and organise them in groups.
  • Trained women will take initiative to form SHGs in their village and counsel other SHG members towards economic empowerment.
  • The programme shall develop attitudinal changes among the participants so as to contribute to the creation of a strong and vibrant society.
  • The peoples’ assembly (Kalinga Sabha) can generate ample awareness on need of women’s participation in participatory democracy, economic processes, solidarity to enforce a value based social change and disseminate the consensus developed from the consultative workshop. The impact of the assembly will be multidimensional and would pave way for coordination among politics, bureaucracy, local self-government and media in accomplishing the task in long run.

 

Monitoring, Evaluation and Follow-up:

A monitoring system shall be devised by the applicant organisation Unnayan and would comprise of a committee including representatives from Unnayan and its partners in the process. The evaluation committee shall include women leaders from operational districts along side the monitoring committee. For future action plan and follow-up of the programme another workshop will be conducted in which representatives from operational districts (partner agencies, women) shall participate.

 

 

Report Writing:

Detailed process documentation shall be done. Immediately after completion of the programme a detailed project report shall be prepared by Unnayan and submitted to the donor(s) and others concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

Future Directions:

In this phase of the program 4 different zones  have been taken for coverage. Two more similar programmes shall be organised for remaining area followed by a state level convocation. The Women Corps units formed by that time shall be linked to each at the Panchayat level, block level, sub-division level, district level and state level in a federation structure. Unnayan and its partners in the process shall facilitate leadership promotion and advocacy related matters of these federations towards fruitful achievement of the goal.

 

Operational reference:

The entire programme shall be conducted under the able guidance of Acharya Ramamurti who innovated and strategized the Vaishali Sabha in Bihar. The original concept shall be replicated in principle.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Possible Sponsorship:
 

The following agencies shall be approached for extending financial support for this project;

  • UNICEF, Orissa Office
  • Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Orissa
  • Association for India’s Development
  • Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University, Canada
  • Water Aid, Bhubaneswar Office

BUDGET

Summary of the Programme Budget:

S.N

Particulars

Amount in Rs.

Participants’ contribution

Donations to be mobilized locally

Grant Required

1

Four Training (Each camp of 3 days duration with 40 participants)

1,88,000.00

12,000.00

16,000.00

1,60,000.00

2

Training of trainers

( 5days duration for 15 participants)

44,000.00

2,500.00

4,000.00

37,500.00

3

Seminar (250 participants for 2 days duration)

  4,10,000.00

42,500.00

3,67,500.00

4

Assembly

  6,26,250.00

52,500.00

5,73,750.00

5

Personnel

  1,44,000.00

1,44,000.00

6

Administrative expenses

  1,27,000.00

1,27,000.00

7

Contingency

25,000.00

25,000.00

 

GRAND TOTAL

15,64,250.00

14,500.00

1,15,000.00

14,34,750.00

 

 

Break-up of budget

Sn

Budget head

Amount in Rs.

Participants’ contribution  in kind/cash (in Rs.)

 

Other donations to be mobilised in kind/ cash (In Rs.)

 

 

 

Grant Required

1

Training (Each camp of 3 days duration with 40 participants)

  • Food charges: 40x3xRs.100
  • Lodging charges 40x4xRs.50/-
  • TA to participants 40xRs.150/-
  • Training materials 40xRs.150/-
  • Logistics (Lump sum)
  • Resource person honorarium for 3days, including TA

12000.00         8000.00

6000.00

6000.00

5000.00

10000.00

3000.00

2000.00

2000.00

7000.00

6000.00

6000.00

6000.00

5000.00

10000.00

 

Sub-total

 

47000.00

 

3000.00

 

4000.00

 

40000.00

For four camps

188000.00

12000.00

16000.00

160000.00

2

Training of trainers (5days duration for 15 participants)

  • Food charges: 15x5xRs.100
  • Lodging charges 15x6xRs.100/-
  • TA to participants 15xRs.300/-
  • Training materials 15xRs.200/-
  • Logistics (Lump sum)
  • Resource person honorarium for 5days, including TA

 

7500.00

9000.00

4500.00

3000.00

5000.00

15000.00

2500.00

4000.00

5000.00

5000.00

4500.00

3000.00

5000.00

15000.00

Sub total

44000.00

 

2500.00

4000.00

37500.00

 

 

3

Seminar (250 participants for 2 days duration)

  • Food charges 250x3xRs.150
  • Lodging charges 250x3xRs.100/-
  • TA to Orissa participants 175xRs.300/-
  • TA to other state participants (non foreign) 50xRs.1500/-
  • Conference files @Rs. 200/-x250
  • Logistics (Lump sum)
  • Venue charges and set up

112500.00

75000.00

52500.00

75000.00

50000.00

15000.00

30000.00

 

 

 

 

37500.00

5000.00

75000.00

70000.00

52500.00

75000.00

50000.00

15000.00

30000.00

Sub total

 

410000.00

 

 

42500.00

 

367500.00

4

Assembly (Kalinga Sabha)

·         Travel and mobilization expenses for Elected members of PRI, WC and others

·         Assembly place (Stage, Samiyana, Chair, PAS, etc.)

·         Food packets (@Rs. 55x 2250)

·         Lodging and conveyance of guests

·         Publicity and propaganda

·         Badges @Rs.10 x 2250

·         Videography & CD preparation

·         Exhibition on Panchayatiraj

·         Publicity literature                                                                   (LS)

120000.00

125000.00

123750.00

25000.00

25000.00

22500.00

25000.00

10000.00

150000.00

 

 

 

 

 

25000.00

27500.00

 

 

120000.00

100000.00

96250.00

25000.00

25000.00

22500.00

25000.00

10000.00

150000.00

Sub Total

626250.00

52500.00

573750.00

 

 

5

Personnel

  • Program coordinator –1 no.

            @Rs. 5000/-x12

  • Program assistants –2 nos.

            @Rs. 3,500/-x12

60000.00

84000.00

 

 

 

 

60000.00

84000.00

Sub total

144000.00

144000.00

 

 

6

Administrative expenses

·         Office rent @Rs. 2000 pm x 12 months

·         Telephone and communication L.S.

·         Travel & Conveyance @ 4000 p.m.

·         Stationary L.S.

·         Documentation

24000.00

20000.00

48000.00

10000.0

25000.00

24000.00

20000.00

48000.00

10000.0

25000.00

Sub Total

127000.00

127000.00

 

7

contingency

25000.00

25000.00

GRAND TOTAL

1564250.00

14500.00

115000.00

1434750.00

 

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UNNAYAN

HIG-55 , Kanan Vihar (Phase – 1)

Po. Patia, Bhubaneswar-751031

Phone- 0674 – 2741198 / 2741112

E’Mail: unnayan89@yahoo.co.in

Categories: FeaturedMSS