Need: ARM NGO: Strengthening of a Woman’s Committee, Baliapal Block, Balasore, Orissa, India
*Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her;
she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression* Margaret Sanger
To build a mass movement of women’s social empowerment in north eastern Orissa through combating gender inequality and helping women build themselves out of poverty.
To create a ‘Woman’s Committee federation’ structure in the Asti Gram Panchayat of Baliapal block, Orissa, consisting of female community leaders who will work to eradicate gender inequality and promote women’s empowerment. This model will eventually be replicated across all other Gram Panchayats within Baliapal covering the whole of the region.
• To act as a support group for rural women to seek advice in areas focussed on gender inequality, women’s rights and entitlements
• To pro-actively work with the whole community and sensitise them on issues promoting social empowerment and the reduction of gender inequality
• To act as a link between grass roots women and other stakeholders for the advancement of women’s socio-economic empowerment
• To build the leadership capacity of women at grass roots level through bespoke training and revolving Committee leadership
ARM has begun the process of forming a ‘Women’s Committee’. The objectives as mentioned above will work in tandem to create a gradual awakening of the benefits to a society that works towards achieving gender equity as a means to social empowerment and development. ARM has partnered with ‘NAWO’; the National Alliance for Women who have given us their full support for this initiative. The Committee will work directly with rural communities to increase their capacity building needs with a continued focus on how to address the current power imbalance; the culmination being real community development. The Women’s Committee consists of a collection of carefully selected women who are motivated, dedicated and educated community leaders. They are committed to village development and inherently understand the true value of women’s social empowerment. In order to address many of the potential challenges they may face as a result of disturbing the current social structure, it is imperative that they now go through a rigorous training process, covering areas such as leadership, female stereotyping, feminism, patriarchy, and sexuality. The Women’s Committee leaders will also engage with other key stakeholders, to ensure everyone is sensitised on the issue and can work together to further women’s empowerment. ARM strongly believes in the need to invest time in building strong foundations of the Woman’s Committee before engaging with the community, and will carefully outline a structured and systemic approach in the way it will build and strengthen the Women’s Committee from the beginning.
How can you help us? ARM would be delighted if you could support us with the any/all of the following:
• Training costs: This will include hiring professionals to come and provide local training to Committee leaders as well as for us to send Committee leaders to key training programmes across Orissa
• Marketing: This will include the production of posters, leaflets, banners, phone cards and any other promotional publications. We will be proud to display your logo on any of the materials we use
• Training equipment: We would like the pro-active training to be as innovative, interactive and effective as possible. We would therefore like to purchase visual peripherals such as a projector, camera and camcorder. We would also like to purchase bicycles, uniforms and badges for Committee members
• Technical support: For example, the professional consulting services of an employee who could assist us with strengthening the structural organisation of the Committee and help drive it to have the widest impact possible
• Legal support: This would help cover the costs of any legal battles the Woman’s Committee decide to pursue
Last Note As this is such a progressive and exciting initiative, ARM remains ambitious and confident that with the correct time and investment, the Woman’s Committee will prove to be an incredibly powerful tool to help India’s development through dualistic woman’s socio-economic empowerment. We hope you agree and support us in any way possible.