Centre for Women’s Development and Research
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
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
Update – May 2012
After 7 years of work in this area, when we reviewed our programme one of the significant tangible results we found was the trees we planted in this area. We were also reading and analyzing the UNICEF’s report on Malnutrition in India, which says one in every malnourished children of the world lives in India, 50% of childhood deaths are because of malnourishment. 90% of the adolescent girls are Anemic. So like reinventing the wheel we have decided to introduce kitchen gardens that would help them to earn an income and also to solve the malnourishment.
Computer skill Training for girls
Life skill and Sexuality and vocational skill Training for adolescent girls: We are continuing our Lifeskill, sexuality and vocational skill training for adolescent girls. Since most of the girls in our working area had already attended these programmes we have changed the modules during this period. We wanted the adolescent girls to participate in their own and community developments. We have organized 5 days leadership training for 20 girls from different villages. After the training along with our staff members they visited the villages and collected data about the village particularly about women and girl children. These data were later analyzed to understand the village situation. In addition to that we have also organized weekend trainings in folk arts, street plays. We are also continuing our computer skill training. 85 girls benefitted from these programmes.
Planting seedlings in Kitchen garden
Education and income generation programme for women : Our staff members organized regular monthly meetings of women and single women. During this period they along with a team of adolescent girls visited a nearby farm to learn about nursery raising, vermin-composte making, cattle rearing. We have distributed vegetable ( chillies, brinjal, ladies fingur, drum stick) and fruit seedlings (papaya) to 100 families. We have also organized trainings on backyard poultry. 40 women participated in this programme.
Roof repair work after Thane cyclone
‘Maithri’ resource centre: We have initiated works of model kitchen garden, vermi compost making in the centre. We have also started the repair works of the roof damaged during the Thane cyclone during 29-30th December 2011.
Staff team: We have organized 5 days training for staff members to orient them in our new perspectives and activities like introducing kitchen garden, backyard poultry, cattle rearing. Tackling malnourishment among children particularly girl children.