Palkot MVM has mobilized close to 99.9% of the women who are a part of SHGs and have also helped them to increase their income of households through different livelihood programs. To make them understand about gender and develop a sense of realization in retrospect to certain social aspects; leadership camps are organized for the elected representatives of these collectives. We initially decided to focus on women health as Jharkhand ranked very low in health status especially with respect to women and infants. During the camp, domestic violence emerges as a common problem, even after they have earned a decent amount of money for their house. Earlier there used to be hardly any discussion or complaints around it. It was considered that it was a right given to the husband by the society by which he was entitled to discipline the women. Trainings are also organized at the village level where male members also took part. One of the incidents was very interesting, where we are doing ‘Taraju ka Khel’ to build an understanding of work division. The activity brought out the reality in the division of work beautifully in case of men and women. It showed that women worked much more than the men did.
After training many women have begun to question against such discrimination and have also taken certain strict actions towards it. In one of the instances, one of the SHG strictly punished another SHG member and their husband for accusing one of the widows as a witch and doing physical harassment with her. Because of this, they were asked to pay Rs. 25000 as a penalty to her. Similarly, one of the VO took strict action against domestic violence and got a bond signed by the husband that he will never beat his wife otherwise VO will send him out of the village. When her husband realized his mistake and promised not to hit her again in the future only when his wife returned.
One of our VO (kurra gram Sangathan) took the issue of women health as a challenge, as one of the pregnant women died in their village in past years. So they easily relate the importance of health. After this, they along with all SHG members conducted various discussion and meetings to aware the women about the cleanliness and facilities availed at different institutions for women. They ensured the proper distribution of nutritional food to all pregnant women. Not only this but this VO also along with her Swasthya Sahiya (Asha worker) spread the awareness about contraceptive tools to avoid regular pregnancy and also ensure their proper distribution. In the initial days, many women hesitated to discuss but now many women were easily talking on these issues.
We also organized gender sensitization workshop for agriculture trainers which include 30 men and 3 women. This workshop was organized with the objective of creating curiosity and consciousness among the participants around gender so that they can plan and move in the direction of engendering the existing livelihood activities with an expectation to touch the sentiments of men in a different village to break the gender stereotypes. During this workshop, some of the men become very emotional and came out of their comfort zone.
Apart from this, Poshak Vatika has also been introduced to improve the nutritional aspect of women. About 2500 families this year have grown kitchen garden only for the consumption purpose. Some of the VOs have been inviting representatives to ask about Anganbadi, Swasthya Shaiya, ANM, etc. to their meetings to make them aware of various schemes. Some of the VOs have also organized the health checkup camps.
Similarly, with respect to engendering livelihoods and giving women an identity of a farmer, our agriculture trainers are also giving training in ways so that they really own the things and come into the decision making role. Didis are being motivated to take some land on their own name. Also, to reduce the drudgery of women, new tools and techniques are introduced in farm-based activities.