District-level Coordination Meetings and Convention (Orissa, India)

As part of local alliance building, coordination meetings of partner NGOs associated with KARRTABYA (Kalahandi District), AYAUSKAM (Nuapada District) and ANKURAN (Rayagada District) were held to discuss proper implementation of the WLWs and to devise methods to inculcate a leadership spirit among women PRI members. Activities of the last quarter were also reviewed and a plan of action was finalized for January 2008.

The team at Nuapada held a district-level workshop in Khariar, Nuapada on November 5, 2007. This featured a women's convention in which the attendees included women panchayat representatives, Zilla Parishad President, Vice-President, The Hunger Project State Coordinator, Aradhana Nanda, Mr. J.K. Mund, President, (Farr) and Partners of Ayauskam.

The workshop provided a good interface for the elected women representatives and other leaders to share their experiences and problems with each other. The main complaint the elected women had against the authorities was the bungling of the PDS and the NREGA schemes. They had also brought with them samples of the rice provided in the PDS scheme to show the Collector, but the Collector could not attend the convention due to some other work. Nevertheless, the elected women leaders have resolved to pursue this matter until it is rectified.

Story from the Field

Trained by The Hunger Project-India and its partner the Institute of Women's Development (IWD), thirty-nine year old Martha Badaraita, sarpanch of Bada Kalapat Gram Panchayat in Gumma block of Gajapati district, in the eastern state of Orissa, has set a new record in the state by successfully starting and implementing work worth US$119,266. Her panchayat has undertaken various works such as road construction, check dams, irrigation canals, plantation and terracing projects and the proper implementation of the flagship scheme of the present UPA government ‘The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme' (NREGS). The sociological e-magazine, "View Point" has carried an article highlighting her work and success. This article can be read here. A leading commercial news channel, NDTV (Hindi) also telecast an interview with Martha on August 17, 2008.

On the December 10, 2007, Human Rights Day, a district convention of women organizations from FARR, Kalahandi Women Cell and LASK got together to discuss female feticide and the need to enforce the Prenatal Diagnostic Test Act (PNDTA) more stringently. About 60 EWRs participated in the meet, which was also attended by several district officers. The assembled women shared their experiences. Some cases of violence against women, such as case of a widow who is being harassed by her in-laws and a case of an unmarried girl who was sexually harassed on the false assurance of marriage and subsequently imprisoned, have been identified with LASK promising to follow them up.