State Coordinator: Shabnam Khaled, Programme Associate: Virendra Shrimali
Panchayati Raj in Rajasthan
- 32 District Panchayats
- 237 Block Panchayats
- 9,187 Village Panchayats
- 40,644 Elected Women Representatives
It is only through capacity building and empowerment of women that we can find a path to better the conditions of the disadvantaged women who have been excluded from all processes and benefits of development.
Working in six districts of Rajasthan in collaboration with ten local partners, The Hunger Project organizes Women’s Leadership Workshops, Training of Trainers, Follow-up Workshops and need-based workshops.
Below are some highlights of our activities.
Aagaz Academy in Udaipur
On September 2005, Aagaz Udaipur was started in Udaipur. 48 elected women representatives from 22 Panchayats in Udaipur, Rajsamand and Sirohi Districts of Rajasthan participated in the six-day module organized at the Astha Training Centre.
Out of the 48 Elected women Representatives:
- 7 were Sarpanches, 1 Deputy Sarpanch, 40 Panchs
- 8 were literate, 40 were illiterate
- 37 were Dalits, 11 were general
Though some women were shy at the start of the course, soon they all became familiar with each other and showed great potential. Motivated, courageous and humorous, many of these budding leaders faced the wrath of their relatives to attend the training. Some were very motivated to learn, others had left their village for the first time, for some everything was new for them. Bonding with each other, they enjoyed the different environment, being pampered and getting some time to themselves.
Picking up practical skills like learning to ride a bicycle (for the first time) or learning to use a mobile, by the end of six days these women leaders were thirsty for more knowledge and information that could help them in being effective leaders in their constituencies.
NGO Network Meeting In Rajasthan
In June 2005, The Hunger Project organized a multiple stakeholder meeting in Rajasthan to capture their perspective on Panchayati Raj Institutions and also to address the gaps existing in the different interventions. 30 Civil Society Organizations, State Government officials, elected Representatives and other civil society members participated in this forum to visualize a common minimum programme for the marginalized which would help build the Gram Sabhas, Ward Sabhas and women leaders at the grassroots.
Post this meeting; a smaller meeting with existing partners was organized to identify concrete advocacy issues that can be initiated for the successful implementation of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the state.
Pre Election Campaign
Rajasthan went to polls in early 2005. A large majority of the voters casting their votes in Panchayat elections are usually ignorant of election processes, voting techniques and the power of their vote in strengthening the democratic system. The Hunger Project has been actively involved with the Pre Election Campaign, designed to reach out to women both as voters and candidates and increase their participation in the election process.
Focusing on women, The Hunger Project organized 3 Training of Trainers in Rajasthan during which 160 NGO Functionaries were trained by Samavesh Bhopal to create awareness amongst voters.
Out of 32 districts in Rajasthan, The Hunger Project campaign extended to 21 districts covering 879 Panchayats out of 9187 village Panchayats in the state.
THP employed several activities and used audio visual tools to convey messages in a simple and easy manner and disseminate information to create awareness amongst the villagers.
Partner organisations have acknowledged that the availability of information in a systematic manner has helped them to disseminate information for creating awareness amongst the villagers. The information has helped them to clarify several doubts, be it on the provisions of reservations and the fact that women could contest from general seats or the electoral processes.
Techniques used in PEVAC for disseminating information
- Screening of film, ‘Hamara Faisala’ (Rajasthan)
- Holding meetings/camps and training programs- to spread awareness on voters rights (including a sustained campaign on voters lists, and how they are manipulated)
- Development, publishing and dissemination of posters
- Development, publishing and dissemination of a booklet on Panchayat elections.
- Development, publishing and dissemination of audio cassettes
Engaging with students
A two-day workshop and a three day exposure visit were organized to sensitize budding media personnel from the Centre for Mass Communications, University of Rajasthan towards women in Panchayati Raj through talks and exposure visits. Students were encouraged to meet the elected women representatives in Panchayati Raj and understand their struggles and triumphs.
One of THP partners – Jyotiramya set up an exhibition at the ‘Kolayat Fair’ in Bikaner District. About 1 Lac people visited Kolayat (near Bikaner) during this time. The exhibition on Panchayati Raj and elected women representatives was set up at a prime location and hence got a huge viewership.
Women’s Participation in Governance
The Hunger Project in Rajasthan has been strengthening the capacities of the elected women representatives of village Panchayats and equipping them to understand their
roles and responsibilities. In a state, where women are yet to emerge as ‘decision makers’ in governance it has been a challenge to ensure women’s increased participation in village meetings, Gram Sabhas and Panchayat meetings.
Local Partners in Rajasthan
- CECOEDECON, Jaipur
- Astha Sansthan, Udaipur
- Shanti Maitri Mission Sansthan, Lunkaransar
- Mahila Mandal Barmer Agor, Barmer
- Humana People to People India
- Urmul Rural Health Research & Development Trust
- Urmul Setu Sansthan
- Jan Chetna Sansthan, Sirohi
- Matashri Gomti Devi Jan Seva Samiti, Alwar
- Social Action for Human Resources Development (SOHARD), Alwar
Contact in Rajasthan:
Off Pradhan Marg
Jaipur – 302017