Monthly Archives: January 2012

Jagruti Mahila Okkuta: The Power of Village Level Volunteers

Jagruti Mahila Okkuta is a group of village level volunteers from about 10 different villages in Khanapur Taluk who come together weekly to discuss relevant issues and undergo leadership and informational training. They then go on to inform their respective villages on issues salient to the community. Relevant issues include domestic violence, education for women, child marriage, NREGA, food security, financial literacy, rights of underprivileged, and account keeping for Self-Help Groups (SHGs), health/malnutrition, and hygiene.

This quarter the training focused on the building of a Mahila Bank. Many members visited a Mahila Bank built by the Navajeevan Mahila Okkuta in Lingasugur and were able to gain first hand knowledge by speaking with founding SHG members.

JMO has recently chosen two of their village volunteers to participate in Loka trainings. Loka is a level campaign group that will provide leadership development training on social and cultural issues in different districts in Karnataka. Jagruti is also sending another two village volunteers for training sponsored by HID Forum of Bangalore. These two will undergo training focused on Dalit issues.

JMO also took part in organizing a Mahila Samavesha – a one day event in a small town called Bidi which brought hundreds of women together to discuss their achievements. These impressive women groups have discovered new livelihoods by coming together, creating, and selling locally made medicines, Terracotta beads, and food products. Women also were able to meet with other SHGs who have successfully started their own Mahila Bank (All-Women’s Bank). This self-organized event included speeches, songs, and an exchange of their experiences. More than 200 women participated in this event and left feeling rejuvenated, motivated, and hopeful that their own future ventures will become successful due to the collective power, exchange, and management of such strong female voices.

Other JMO activities involved building toilets for 12 homes under a village government scheme that promises to reimburse every household for building a toilet in their homes. Unfortunately, families are not being reimbursed by the Gram Panchayat, the village governing body, in a timely fashion. To add insult to injury, the panchayat has also delayed on the creation of work for rural laborers under the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). Angered by such bureaucratic neglect, village women demonstrated in front of the Gram Panchayat demanding that payment be made and NREGA issues be resolved.  After being cornered by the women, the Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) promised to solve the problem and pay them within a week.

 

More news on NREGA and Jagruti’s activities to come!

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