Centre for Women’s Development and Research
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update- February 2013
We started the year 2012 with ‘Thane’ cyclone, which damaged our buildings and trees in our training centre, we also faced another cyclone ‘Nilam’ during October 2012. We needed additional money to repair the roofs of our buildings because we have never expected that our building roofs will be affected by cyclones. There was funding crunch and it’s become difficult for NGOs to raise funds. There were additional restrictions on NGOs by the government. There was also staff turnover. So 2012 is a tough year for us. But towards the end when we look back we are happy about our decision of introducing kitchen gardens in our working area. Seeing the seeds grow and provide fruits and vegetables gives lot of hope and motivation for us and the people. We could also able to build roofs for 50% of the building. We also provided scholarships for 50 adolescent girls with local funds.
Scholarship distribution (photo)
Life skill and sexuality Education for Adolescent girls: The important happenings during the last three months (November-January) are the 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women during 25th November to December 10th 2012. It started on 25 November is the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against women and concluded on 10th December, The International Human Rights Day. 20 girls were trained in street plays, folk dance and songs. During the training they developed plays related to violence against women and sexual abuse of girl children, these plays were performed in 20 villages and nearly 8000 people seen the plays and participated in the discussion about women’s rights after the play. We are also continuing weekend workshops on life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls. 128 girls participated in these workshops. During this period the village level adolescent girl group ‘Snehidhi’ members prepared their village plans and it is reviewed for further improvement. On 29th December we have distributed Rs,1000 as motivation scholarship for 50 girls of single women. In the coming years we want to help 1000 adolescent girls from high school to complete their university degrees. We have developed a project G2G-Girls to Graduates; the idea is to help girls in 9th standard for six years to complete their university degree. Even now all most all the girls are first generation learners they are the first generation entering schools. Since there is 14 hours power cut we could not provide computer skill training, so we started giving kitchen garden training for adolescent girls. We use laptops to provide computer skills training to save power. We do not have enough laptops. We are expecting the government to distribute free laptops to class 11 and 12 students, as they promised during the elections.
16 days activism to eliminate violence against women (photo
Education and income generation programme for women: We are really happy about our decision of introducing kitchen garden in our working area. We have distributed seeds and seedlings to 500 women and most of them are yielding vegetables and fruits now. Our field workers are most welcomed in the villages now, our field workers are also happy to see the tangible results of their work. We have created a model kitchen garden in our ‘Maithri’ training centre, trainings on organic farming and kitchen garden is organised continuously. 240 women were trained during this period and also given seeds and seedlings. They have also learned about solid waste and water management related to kitchen garden. We hope that within one year these women can grow additional vegetables and fruits to market and earn some money. We are also planning to introduce backyard poultry, goat, cow and buffalo raising.
Kitchen garden training(photo)
During this period the staff members also participated in the second phase of RBM-Result based Management at Chennai during 21-26 January 2013. We are happy about achievement during last year and also for the last 3 months. In the coming months we are planning to complete the roofing work and also develop the G2G-Girls to Graduates project further and finalize it by discussing with the girls and parents.
Update- November 2012
We have been continuing our life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls and education for women’s groups. Since our training centre ‘Maithri’ repair was not over most of the trainings and meetings were organized in the villages itself. Our kitchen garden programme finally got off, 500 women have received seeds and seedlings and created kitchen garden in their homes. During this period ‘Snehidhi’ adolescent girls association members and staff team visited Chennai city, they also participated in the Eliminating Violence against Women campaign in Chennai city.
Life skill and sexuality Education for Adolescent girls: We have been continuing our weekend life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls. 140 girls participated in these programmes. We are trying to involve adolescent girls in their and their village development. As part of this we have been organizing village level trainings for adolescent girls. The focus of the training is preparing village level development plans. After the training they are expected to prepare their village development plans. Our computer skill training is affected by 14 hours power cut in Tamilnadu, because of that not many girls are coming for the computer skill training. We have solar system but that hardly supports 2 computer for an hour. We are looking for ways of solving this problem. The girls who were trained in ‘Thappattam’ (Folk dance) visited Chennai during October month and they performed Thappattam in 3 slums as part of educating women’s rights for public. The girls and staff team also performed street plays on eliminating violence against women. They also had discussions with their counter parts ‘Snehidhi’ members from our City area.
Education and income generation programme for women: We have been organizing regular leadership skill training for local level women’s organizations. During this period our village level meetings for women served as training programme on ‘Kitchen Gardens’. More than 500 women participated in the village meetings in 23 villages. We have also distributed seeds and seedlings during these meetings/trainings. There is a good response for kitchen gardens from women, may be because they already have the knowledge and skills for growing plants. We have also selected 3-5 women from each villages as resource persons they will be trained as trainers in promoting kitchen gardens in their villages. Already 20 these women visited the nearby farm training centre to learn about nursery raising and kitchen garden.
We could not complete the the repair work of “Maithri” training centre because of the financial reasons. We could able to complete 50 percent of the work. That is our tailoring training hall and small meeting hall still has damaged thatch roof. During this period we have added a bio-gas plant in this centre. Our farm extension coordinator also prepared ‘Panchagavya’ it is concoction prepared by mixing five products of cow – dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee and it fermented using yeast. This is a potent organic pesticide and growth promoter. As part of promoting organic farming methods particularly in kitchen gardens we promote, we have educated women about the ‘Panchagavya’ and also distributed them. Organic farming and kitchen garden is a new area for us and local women, so we are learning a lot from this experience. During this period the staff team also participated in a 5 days training on RBM-Result Based Management at Chennai.
Snehidhi members performing Thappattam in a Chennai slum
Street play on Eliminating Violence Against women
Women’s meeting in the Centre
Update- August 2012
Most of the last three months was spent on repairing the damaged roof at Paniyur village. This also affected our regular vocational trainings for adolescent girls and trainings for women. During this period mostly we organized follow up meetings and trainings at the village level. Since it was the beginning of academic period most of the adolescent girls were busy in their new academic year, so we did not organize many trainings for them.
New Roof in Maithri Resource centre at Paniyur village
Maithri Resource centre at Paniyur village: Most of our trainings are organized in this centre and the roofs were damaged during the Thane cyclone during December 2011. We have been ;using centre as it is till June 2012 one of the reasons is we did not have enough funds to repair it. But after some rains it damaged further. So with little funds we have started the roof repair work and completed 60-70% of the work. Still we have to complete some portion. We have removed the Thatch and grass roof and put “Madras” roof, this is traditional roofing system done with brick and cement. Actually now no one goes for it, mostly they go for RCC roofing. We did Madras roof because it saves money and also reduces the use of cement and steel. Now the centre is ready and we are continuing our training programmes there. We have also raised a nursery of 500 drumstick tree(Murungai keerai in Tamil) seedlings to distribute to women. Drumstick is a small tree and people use its seeds and leaves as vegetable that is rich in Vitamin A and C and calcium. With the removed thatch we have built a small shade for our vermin-compost pit. Still we need Rs.300,000 (US $ 6000) to complete the work and looking for donations.
Adolescent girls performing ‘Thappattam” (Folk dance)
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: During this period we have organised follow up trainings of lifeskill, sexuality and vocational skill trainings for adolescent girls. During the last months we have organized 10 weekend workshops, and nearly 125 adolescent girls in these workshops. Since it is the period of summer holidays and beginning of academic year, future and career guidance was given lot of importance. During this period we also organized one week training in folk dance and music. 20 girls participated in this training. After the training the girls performed in different villages and also in Paniyur centre. We have also provided orientation on collecting village data and preparing village level development plan. One of the encouraging development is all most all the girl children in our working area are attending school. Now most of them even want to go for college education.
Education and income generation programme for women:
We have organised village level meetings and leadership trainings for women in 23 villages and more than 500 women participated in these meetings. We have also distributed seedlings for their kitchen garden. In most of the meetings Kitchen garden and its advantages were discussed. Since women already have the skill and knowledge in agriculture the idea of kitchen garden easily understood and adopted by them. One of the important development is the women from our working area suggested to campaign for ‘Equal Wages for Equal Work”. So the women’s group members and our staff members are educating the public about the gender disparities in labour and wages and demanding for equal wages. This campaign we are planning to expand it to other areas and also network with other state level networks.
Murungai Keerai (Drumstick Tree) Seedlings