“Yeh kaam to hamne karvana hi karvana hai” –Leela
Leela, one of the women from the SHG’s perfectly encapsulated the grit and the determination of the SHG women to see the project through to fruition. In a video clip taken during the training sessions, she describes the personal successes of her SHG in initiating work, and maintaining enthusiasm for seeing it complete. She says that they have received knowledge and training’s, and now they want to take the work forward, and ensure its implementation.
She reiterated this same point and enthusiasm at a later stage, when the project faced bureaucratic hurdles from the Forest Department, hindering the proposed construction of a johad in Kali-Khol. The women involved in the project have mobilised, and along with their families have made continuous efforts to speak with forest officials and vouch for the benefits of the project, and allay any concerns that the officials might have.
One of the biggest successes of the project is the realisation of the confidence and empowerment that Leela and her SHG co-members now embody in taking responsibility and ownership for the project, and dedicating themselves, and their resources to making sure that the work gets done for themselves, and for their community.
““Paani ki training mei bhi gayi phir paani kaise bachaane, ped paudha kaatne nai dena, jangal khatam nai hone de … inke peeche bhi hum ladte rahe” – Kailash Kunwar
Kailash Kunwar is a ward panch from Pindwara block in Abu Road. In this video, she recollects her first time being a constituent member and how she had almost no knowledge of political functioning in the area. She used to sit quietly with her ghoonghat on at all times, and was a passive member until she started to attend the CSR-administered trainings. Through these focused trainings, she picked up the tenets of political functioning, and began her gradual journey of gaining a strong voice in the panchayat. She thus became an active voice in the panchayat by putting forth her opinions, vehemently supporting proposals for good work, and also strongly standing against malevolent practices such as land grabbing and deforestation. Furthermore, she enhanced her knowledge of water systems through the program trainings in other parts of Rajasthan such as Jaipur, Lapodiya and Alwar, and has undertaken restoration and management work in conjunction with the Panchayat. It can be extrapolated from her accounts that CSR not only improved her understanding of water systems for effective usage, but also played an important role in her journey of self-actualization as an Elected Women Representative. She became highly aware of her electoral post (where earlier saw her passive participation), the best way to perform her duties for social upliftment of the community, and is now a key agent of change in terms of water conservation in her constituency block area. She has incorporated takeaways from the trainings in both her personal and professional life, and has also accomplished program-specific results. Firstly, through her proposal efforts in the gram panchayat meetings, she was able to restore a 35 year old dried-up well. The water from this perennial well is now actively used by every single household. Secondly, through her activism, acquired skills, training and knowledge about water resource management, she even secured 32 lakhs worth of funding from the government under the MNREGA scheme, to restore a local pond- which now supplies drinking water to grazing animals and livestock, and also collects safe drinking water from the nearby hills.
Our Women Security Guards Program,trains our candidates and seek to link our guards with appropriate jobs upon the completion of the course.
Our 45-days training program for women to become Unarmed Security Guards has a curriculum that includes 100 hours of theory, 80 hours of physical training and 40 hours of soft skills training. The training program ensures that our #SheGuards receive up to date training on the latest security techniques, policies and procedures in accordance with the following practices and upon completion of the course the candidates receive government and PSARA certification.
The day of the certification ceremony for Batch 4, the womenshared their stories with the other women present in the hall and encouraged them to find work, seek employment in the field of security, break stereotypes that naturally link men with security guards and reap the benefits that ensure they get legitimate pay and can move towards financial independence.
Women present, belonged to various sectors of society. They all wanted to finally break their struggle with unemployment or with domestic work. One such candidate really motivated the rest of the women who had gathered. Her name is Amrita and this is her story:
“My name is Amrita and I come from Vikas Nagar. There, through an NGO, I heard about The Women Skill Development Centre run by CSR and I came here . I started training here and I really liked it. The trainer here taught me really well and I understood everything that he would teach us. Then, he asked us to explore various professional avenues ourselves as well. That’s what I decided to do. My mother also made it a habit to ask guards around her working area. One day, my mother asked a guard about vacancy and he gave her a number. Even though I did not get positive response from the beginning, I was strong and patient and kept calling the number again and again. My supervisor called me and took an interview and I found that that I had been selected for the position and they asked me to join immediately. It’s all because of everything that I learnt during the training. “
What all did you learn from the CSR training?
“I learnt what the word security means. And that our life, values and possessions are what equates with having security in our lives. It was not just theory but we were even given practical knowledge like what are the types of fire and how do we differentiate between suspicious people. I learnt everything with passion. What I really liked was that CSR helped me to become independent and proudly stand on my own two feet, I can now earn my own money and raise my kid and family well now. “
When you told your family about the training and how you now have an opportunity to actually become a paid employee, how did they react?
“My mother, my brother and sister, they were all very happy. My mother has always supported me through the hardest of times. She’s helped us with our education, marriage and everything. She worked really hard, work as a laborer, to make sure that us brothers and sisters will never want for nothing and become independent. Even after I got married and faced a lot of problems in my married life, she was there for me and my child. My husband and my family did not want me to do any work, they wanted me to bury my potential and get outside the house. My husband still doesn’t want me to work. My mother stayed with me through all this, and the trainers here also made sure that I can stand here and become an independent woman.”
What do you do as a part of your duty?
“Where I work, we have to make sure that bad people do not enter the complex. So we do data entry. Whoever comes and goes, we enter and exit the people so we can keep a record and hold people accountable for their actions. “
How did you feel when you received the certificate for completing your training?
“I feel very good and happy. Especially because I have a job now and I feel really great. I feel like I’m not dependent on anyone anymore, I can sustain myself with my own money and even help my family financially. “
What would you like to say to the other women from your batch?
“I’ll try my best to make sure that if I ever find a vacancy, I will let them know. I would like it if all the women from our batch get a job and starting working. I would also like to urge them to try to find a vacancy, but also that I’m here and the trainers are here to help them out.“
Now that you go to work every day, do you face problems at home?
“Not at all. My mother and brother have created a support system around me and because of them, I go to work at 9 in the morning and come back in the evening.“
What are the benefits of working in the private sector?
“I have been told that I will get Rs. 12,700 for one month and I am also entitled to Provident Fund and health insurance if and when I get sick.
“I would just like to say that I am very thankful and even though I have been sad and faced horrible things, after this has happened, I feel like I’m on top of the world.“
My Name is Shabnam, I am from Chattarpur. I participated in the CSR training program and now I am working in SIS as a Women Security Guard. I really enjoyed the training; it helped me gain knowledge regarding new things. I decided to work for a better future for myself and my children. Before I did not even step out of the house and now even my neighbors are encouraged on seeing this change in me.
Ms. Uma Sharma (Jaipur)
Uma Sharma is a Sarpanch from Chakshu ward in Jaipur.Ms. Sharma has been one of the most active participants of CSR’s climate change and water conservation trainings and has rigorously fused together advocacy and practice development. On being asked about her experience of associating and collaborating with CSR, she enthusiastically replied that her self-confidence and motivation levels are amplified and she put them into use for community benefits. She is informed about her role as a Sarpanch, and urges other women too to become politically empowered. Being from a water-scant part of Rajasthan, she understands the value of water and urges her ward members to be careful users of it. Her active participation and learning from CSR water trainings has manifested in the speedy processes of gully plugging, treating of water resources and construction of trenches and check dams. She particularly imbibed takeaways from the field visits made to Abu Road and Alwar as part of the workshops, post which she implemented a similar pattern of narrow gully plugging in her ward as in Abu Road. After the Alwar visit, she mobilized women and formed the MahilaJagrukManchand further trained women in her capacity as a Sarpanch to increase their motivation levels and advocacy for water conservation. Maintenance of ponds and supplying recharged water for livestock use is also an activity which she oversees. In late 2017, she drafted and submitted a proposal for the construction and revamping of bandhsand trenches which were passed by the panchayatfirst, and later saw ratification from the ZilaParishad. She was able to successfully forge the link of these initiatives with the MukhyamantriJalSwavlambanYojanaand Gram Panchayat Development Plan. She recalls that the local government authorities didn’t pay much heed to her efforts and despite her strong position, her proposals were initially dismissed. However, her perseverance and dogged efforts at raising awareness, mobilizing communities and ability to liaison with pertinent government stakeholders made her a resource. She became a regular at the district collector’s office where she stressed on the importance of these practices, and the greater good of the community. Now the proposal is in its fourth stage of advancement and Umaji is supervising the construction work with full gusto.
These accounts represent the power of a politically aware and empathetic female leader who fought against all odds to implement what she learnt from the CSR trainings. Her self-drive and determination has ultimately paid off as she now leads a grassroots cadre of women into becoming leaders of water resource management.
Ms. Kamal Devi Mandal (Nepal)
She is a Ward Panch from TilathiKoladi bock in Sapatari district of Nepal
Ms. Kamal Devi Mandal hails from a traditional Nepalese household, who secured a ticket in local elections owing to the women’s reservation in the ZilaParishad. Ms. Mandal was victorious by a large margin beating the Ward Chairman. Even then, her husband ‘did not allow’ her to participate in panchayat meetings and hence, would sign documents from home, unaware of her duties as a constitutionally elected member.
When she participated in capacity building trainings on disaster preparedness for its mitigation, she asked the trainers to explain the roles and rights of EWRs and was made aware of her rights and responsibilities, after which began to make small changes to break regressive familial framework that she was bound by. She told her husband that she could not stay within house because she is elected by people as she has to perform her duties from the ward office and that she has to go in the field to solve the problems of her voter. These small steps went a long way as Ms. Mandal along with flood preparedness also fights against alcoholism in her region.
She was successful in making a budget allocation of INR 5,00,000 in her ward from the general assembly of Thilathi Koiladi Gaun Palika. Now she understands her rights and responsibilities and has a higher confidence of what she does. She says, “if we can convince people to understand then we can bring the change”.
Ms. Durga Devi (Bihar)
She is a ward panch from Saharsa, Bihar.
At 24 years of age, Ms. Durga has a very strong mindset which aims to break gender stereotypes and biases. In her family, she has grown up amongst five sisters, and hailing from a traditional setup she was made to feel the vacuum for lack of a son in the house and the presence of a brotherly figure. Her upbringing was a traditional one with limited access provision to girl children – limited education, involvement in household and early marriage. Her husband was a changing point in her life as he was supportive towards her life decisions. A painter by profession, her husband makes 500 INR on a daily basis, and is the primary breadwinner for the family of five, including two daughters and one son.
Ms. Durga Devi is keen on breaking gender notions by providing equal opportunities to her daughters and son, by giving them the right to education. She even sends her children for extra tuition’s, which in itself is telling of her belief in equal education. Her husband also encourages her wishes to be part of ward panchayat and realizes the importance of her role in the community role. The success point of her time during training’s was the knowledge that she gathered from the trainings and increased sense of self-confidence to tackle gender biases within her family, and using it to manage floods as well by gathering the women in her village. Over the years, she has exemplified all of this by her sharing her experiences and thoughts at state and national level consultations.
She has effectively advanced the disaster management agenda of CSR training’s by actively organizing community mobilization drives and engaging with key government stakeholders such as district officers and mayors. Hers is an account of how gender sensitization creates channels of empowerment and consequently enables women to become active leaders in disaster risk reduction.
1. In its multi level and multi pronged approach to garner support of all sections of the society, the Women Reservation Bill department carried out a massive signature campaign throughout the nation. The campaign aimed at collecting endorsements for support to early passage of women reservation bill. It was a nationwide campaign covering every section of the society. The outcome of the campaign was massively successful. This signature campaign, along with provision of display of massive support to the bill, also enabled large scale mobilization of people for women’s political rights. The campaign was successful in receiving more than 30 thousand signed endorsements for the bill, even from the remotest corners of the country. Along with the support from the common people of the country, the campaign was successful in receiving signed endorsements from 42 MLAs including the then chief minister of Mizoram – Mr. Lal Thanhawla, and Mr. A.K. Balan- Minister for SC, ST and BC, Law and Culture, Kerala Government. The campaign shook the national political landscape and it shall not be an exaggeration to give credit to the campaign for bringing the Women Reservation Bill back into the main political discourse of the nation and making it one of the decisive and contested political issues for upcoming general elections.