Jeevika’s 8th Stakeholder Workshop was recently held at the Vishtar Training Centre near Bangalore in Karnataka. Eight women and eight men from our five partner organisations came from Tamil Nadu and Orissa to take a fresh look at Gender Equality – most importantly, how to achieve this more efficiently and effectively within our project activities?
But why look at Gender Equality, when already we successfully work with women to provide safer, cleaner water; have helped women become producers of organic compost and fertilisers, bees & honey, crabs, prawns & fish, cashews, bananas and vegetables; and have helped families gain access to toilets in villages and their children to toilets in schools? Because the more we have worked with women the more we have found the need to look further ahead strategically than when we first put women at the heart of our Mission.
Now the daughters of the women we have already worked with need access to low-cost, hygienic, eco-disposable sanitary napkins so that they can stay in school to receive a better education than that of their mothers; so they become more aware, more self-sufficient and confident; so their own children might live and work in a better world.
So what did we take away from our workshop? Following discussions, brainstorms, games, exercises, work groups and feedback sessions, partners agreed that all future projects need to consider the time women already spend undertaking their family responsibilities before loading them with additional project activities. And secondly, their menfolk need to be included in discussions related to project design.
Men need to understand why it is that women are given priority in income-generation and other activities; and why it is relevant for men to play a supportive role (eg. in marketing and other external roles that women are often reluctant to employ).
Workshop participants also took away some great singing and dance routines to break the chain, an on-line song & dance campaign to highlight violence vs women: in between the serious stuff, we danced our socks off!
If you would like to support Jeevika Trust bring Gender Equality to its women’s income-generation activities in some of India’s poorest villagers