Feminist Leadership-Building between Women and Adolescents (2016-2017)

The Sadbhavana Trust organised this programme for the partner organisations of AJWS (American Jewish World Service) which had been working with adolescents and young men and women in leadership roles. Around 25 youth leaders received training on feminist organisation-building. The objective of the programme was to strengthen these leaders’ contemporary socio-economic and political understanding. At the end of the training, they were given an action plan to help them apply their knowledge in their respective organisations.


MGNREGA: Action-Research and Capacity-Building Project (2009-2011)

Between 2009 and 2011, the Sadbhavana Trust implemented the Dalit Women's Leadership Initiative (DWLAI) in partnership with Gender at Work and four community-based organisations working in eight districts in rural Uttar Pradesh. It was led by a group of independent resource persons (Arundhati Dhuru, Praneeta Kapoor, Madhavi Kuckreja, Malini Ghose). The project’s objectives were to increase Dalit women’s participation, information levels and community leadership with regard to the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The project designed and piloted four innovative gender-transformative intervention projects led by Dalit women.

Key achievements of the project:
8,000 Dalit women were reached through awareness-raising activities regarding entitlements under MGNREGA; 94% of the women became conversant with the wage rates. Dalit women's participation in MGNREGA activities as workers and supervisors (called Meths) increased substantially. At the start of the project, of the Dalit women surveyed, only 2,811 women accessed MGNRGA; by the end, this figure increased to 14,174.
Many Dalit women were unionised, which gave them a collective voice to raise concerns. There was a nearly 49% increase in union membership and a 95% increase in union membership of Dalit women. Dalit women were more visible, gained greater respect, and were more recognised as a force that cannot be ignored.
Each location piloted innovative training of women as site supervisors (previously an all-male domain), all-women worksites (with guaranteed provisions such as child care) and an increase in the participation of women in Dalit MNREGA workers’ unions. These pilots formed the basis for advocacy with the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, which responded by setting clear deadlines. It made the following commitments to ensure the inclusion of women in the MGNREGA scheme:
~ Strong efforts will be made to capture demand for work.
~A nation-wide study will be undertaken on the gender impact of MGNREGA.
~An annual consultation on “Women and MGNREGA” will be organised every year.
~There will be convergence with the Ministry of Women and Child Development for the construction of Aanganwadi centres and expansion of child care services.
~A national rule that ensures that delays in payment are automatically compensated to the worker will be explored.


Gender at work

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