Two major initiatives taken by READ with regard to the empowerment of women are the formation of various Self-Help Groups (SHG’s) and the initiation of the Women SHGs Federation in the Gram Panchayat level.
Since the financial services of the formal banking system have traditionally remained inaccessible to a majority of the poorer sections of the rural population, especially women, an initiative was made by READ to start a women’s federation on the principle of mutual help. However, its success was limited as the operational area was in selected pockets only due to limited resources. Against this background, to meet the credit needs of rural women from the operational areas,
READ initiated the creation of Self-Help Groups.READ also has initiated Gender equality & equity program in Ramanaguda Block of Rayagada District of Odisha, India. Rayagada District is one of the most backward districts of Odisha state. The total population of Rayagada district is 967911 out of which 495951 are female. The tribal women are 57.03% and Scheduled Caste women are 14.41%. There are 39.19% women are illiterate. As a result the increasing cases of gender based violation and related complications in accessing justice has become inadequate by women in the state of Odisha. The GRC (Gender Resource Centre) has been established at Ramanaguda Block of Rayagada Dist by READ to support those women who have violence related issues and difficulties to access justice.
READ women empower will:
- Establish women taskforces at community, Gram Panchayat, Block & District level, who will fight for their rights, dignity, entitlements and justice of Dalit, Tribal, poor and marginalized women of rural Orissa.
- Improve family income through different entrepreneurial activities and live better and dignified life in the society.
- Create leadership quality to participate equally in different decision making, planning and implementing process. They also will be encouraged to participate in self governance process (PRI) and lead the communities in democratic way.
- Ensure gender equity and collectivize action to check women violations both in public and domestic sphere.
- Increase girl children education and minimize the school dropout, child marriage and discrimination of girl children in the family, society & education institutions.
Formation of women self help groups(SHGs)
We have formed 152 Nos. of self help groups comprising with 1224 Dalit, Tribal and poor, marginalized women of the community. They are supported for different income generation activities looking to local marketing viabilities. So that the women can improve their livelihood and live a better & dignified life in the society.
Formation of SHGs Federation
We have promoted 3 nos. of women SHGs Federation in 3 Gram Panchayats level including 72 women SHGs to act as a change agent of the women and the community. These federations play vital roles in doing lobby, advocacy in different government level to mobilize various government schemes and programs of the women as well as give more importance on women participation in various decisions making, planning & implement process.
Empowerment of Widows:
READ also has been working with the widows who are demolished after the death of husbands and live in miserable life in the society. The widows are treated as ill-fated in the community and discriminated at all social functions and gatherings. Despite of their family burden the persecution of in-law families supplement to the despondent life of the widows. Therefore READ has initiated to organize the widows of the community and are forming SHGs and SHGs Federation. Through these SHGs and SHGs Federation the widows will undertake different development activities for their sustainable dignified life. We hope this process initiative will gradually bring smile and happiness in their frustration life. Thus READ has initiated to empower widows through different capacity building programs, supports for entrepreneurial activities to enhance economic empowerment, promote widow SHGs, SHGs Federations and enhance their skill, knowledge and information to create leadership quality so as to access their rights and entitlements with dignity and participate in different decision making, planning process.
Promotion of entrepreneurial activities
The women SHGs are supported to initiate income generation activities in the community level. We encourage SHGs to produce, process, marketing & mobilizing resources for enhancing income of the beneficiaries.
Capacity building of women
Women are provided skill development trainings to improve leadership on quality management of the IGP products, creating skill as a critical element of sustainability, bargaining of the products and fixing of the rates & extension of marketing network. Despite of that, the women are provided leadership training, legal aid, decision making, personality development, communication and coordination development among different
- Link the SHGs with different government financial institutions to access financial support for income generation program
- The intervention focused on providing inputs to women citizen and panchayat leaders on issues of value of education for girls and women, governance, election procedures, rights based entitlements. Strategically, the intervention also created interface platforms between the leaders and the officials of various government departments.
- 1750+ disadvantaged tribal women have improved access to financial services and alternative livelihood options through skill and cooperative /federation development, market linkages and technical guidance
- 765+ women SHG leaders trained and are now leading their groups and accessing their rights and entitlements through collective actions.
- Different gender issues are being identified and solved by the Gender Vigilance Committees (GVCs) members.
- To prevent and address the atrocities against women through awareness building in the area
- Provide legal Aid support to Women organisations and other bodies to address the issues of women & children
- Family Counselling support to the needy.
- Impart capacity building training to women leaders to increase knowledge and resources for the community development programmes
- Evidence based advocacy on women’s rights.