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Empowering Women’s, Building capacities

Basically in rural Odisha, women are not involved in the village decision making process, their roles are very minimal in the public affairs of every village .A key to the capacity building of women is to ensure that “they have a voice and are involved in taking decisions that will impact the people in a village. To address these kinds of issues SHG (Self Help Group’s) have been formed at village level. Which help women in a village come together to collectively address their problems.

The objective behind these groups is to help women increase their savings and access small credits, but gradually this turns into a platform enhance the capacities, where women speak out and gain confidence, which enabling them to voice their opinions in village meetings (Gram Sabha’s)and become active participants in the village development process. This year AJSA Has  further worked in joint collaboration with Adhar Bolangir and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, on certain issues with women group’s, and now the leadership for grassroots advocacy on issues such as the Forest Rights Act, Right to Information, Anti-liquor Struggle, and NREGS, in which there is rampant corruption rests with the women.

Generally in rural areas, women bear the major economic burden of poverty, as they are earning members, even as the care of the family falls on their frail shoulders. Thus organisation building was a tough challenge, as there was little time for village women to even look up from their family work, and other works. Yet, we found surprising strength and resilience in every way. Now women are coming to the fore front, not only in addressing gender issues and participating in village development processes, But also they now able to issue their own job card’s, they demand their jobs in panchayat offices and now they are taking active participation NREGA and different schemes .They are able to free their villages from Local Mahajan’s (Money lender’s) and by providing loan with small interest rate to needy families in emergency times. In some villages women are playing a very strong role for banishing liquors.

From the very beginning, AJSA has persistently worked with women’s groups and committee’s at the village, Panchayat and block level’s to help them address issues of denial of rights, and privileges. This space enables women to develop the confidence that they need to be able to speak out even when men are present. In a village council meeting, this allows women to play a greater role in the decision making process.AJSA sought to address these problems through a multi-pronged process of organisation building, training and skill development, and livelihood supports that focused on rural and dalit women, sought to help them have a measure of empowerment, and build up sustainable livelihoods option’s.

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