In India, the country with the largest number of hungry people in the world – the key change agents for ending poverty, hunger and injustice are the one million women elected to India’s panchayats, or village councils.
Operating a VCD machine.
The Hunger Project in India is proud to report the successes of the 30,000 women leaders who are paving the way to a more holistic approach to local democracy in partnership with THP and more than 80 nongovernmental (NGO) partners. Their effective and insightful leadership is influencing the lives of more than 12 million women, men and children in rural India.
Banwari Devi uses a cell phone for the first time.
To break the cycle of malnutrition in India, The Hunger Project’s four-pronged strategy includes:
(1) The Women’s Leadership Workshop: A 3-day training – the centerpiece of our national strategy to strengthen the leadership of women elected to Panchayats. In the last 5 years, experience has shown that when women take on the mantle of leadership they take on issues which affect them, their families and their communities on a daily basis – issues of food security, water, education, health and income.
Participants in the Women's Leadership Workshop in Karnataka State along with government officials.(2) Alliance building for advocacy and support: The Hunger Project continues to work in partnership with local community-based NGOs whose trainers deliver the workshop and provide support to the elected women representatives in achieving their goals. Today, we have strong partnerships with 96 such NGOs.
Savitri, a woman at Aagaz Academy, THP's Center for Women's Leadership, learns to ride a bicycle!
Tania speaks to a government official for the first time.
(3) Mobilizing the media: Since 2001, The Hunger Project has awarded the Sarojini Naidu Prize for Best Reporting on Women in Panchayati Raj to those deserving journalists, women and men, who are stepping up to the plate to stand in partnership with the rural women leaders as they fight their battle for freedom from subjugation, marginalization and disempowerment.
Maya from Uttaranchal (left) and Marudhambal from Tamil Nadu at the Sarojini Naidu Prize event in India
Sarbati Devi from Rajasthan addressed the biggest problem that ailed her village--water.
(4) National and state level advocacy: In December 2004, the national Ministry of Panchayati Raj requested The Hunger Project to organize a round-table meeting of all state ministers on capacity building. To date, we have disseminated 150 resolutions passed by the Ministry to policy makers, bureaucrats, academia, NGOs and civil society in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu.
In the 13 states where The Hunger Project works, elected women representatives have begun to change the development agenda, and create a new way of life for their families, villages and communities. The women include every woman, man and child who are counting on their leadership, and are becoming a powerful voice of the marginalized, the poor and the tribal communities. The women continue to envision a Panchayat which is accountable to the people, and which operates with honesty and integrity.
Three Panchayat Presidents surrounded by THP Staff Trainers.
Nineteen elected women representatives with THP investors and the team from Bangladesh.
US investor Sheree Stomberg interacts with Aradhana from Orissa.
Nilkamal, Panchayat President, with team from Orissa.