Women’s Leadership Development in India

Seizing the opportunity of India’s 73rd amendment, The Hunger Project builds leadership skills among women who have been systematically denied information, freedom of motion and voice in decision making.

The overall goal in this leadership development is for women in the community to lead, own and shape development processes that give priority to basic services like water, sanitation, education, health care and an efficient food system.

Women’s Leadership Workshops (WLWs) are the first major capacity-building initiative of The Hunger Project-India’s five-year cycle with first-time Elected Women Representatives (EWRs). These three-day workshops are participatory in nature, and are conducted primarily to build confidence among EWRs and provide them with information and knowledge about their key roles and responsibilities in their Panchayats. They are the first step towards transformative leadership, and are implemented in the first and second years of the five-year election cycle.

WLWs seek to:

  • Transform “I cannot” into “I can”, and further “We can”. This becomes a recognition and acceptance of one’s leadership.
  • Instill confidence, self-respect, dignity and solidarity
  • Navigate power structures to empower local communities and themselves
  • Create advocates for social transformation

Follow-up workshops are workshops that are organized a few months (three to six months) after a WLW to address issues and practical concerns EWRs may face as Panchayat leaders. EWRs are able to share experiences of successes and challenges, enabling them to share lessons learned and form alliances.

Women’s leadership programming through The Hunger Project aims to accelerate the process of political empowerment of women by strengthening their leadership so that they are able to move from participation to leadership roles within their elected constituencies. Once there, The Hunger Project seeks to practice gender responsive governance and transformative leadership based on the principles of women’s human rights and justice.