Centre for Women’s Development and Research
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update- May 2013
We have been continuing our activities with women and adolescent girls that are Education and empowerment of women and lifeskill and sexuality education for adolescent girls. This period is examination and holidays for adolescent girl so concentration was more on adolescent girls. During this period Ms. Katharina and Ms.Daniela of Comtour Germany visited our project area to explore the possibilities of community based ecotourism. We hope that will open new possibilities for the community and our organization.
Lifeskill and sexuality education for adolescent girls: We have been continuing the life skill and sexuality education, actually it is integrated in all our activities with adolescent girls. Because of severe power cut and infra structure repairs(old computers, building) we could not continue our computer skill activities in full scale. The government is also not distributed free laptops to higher secondary school students in our working area. We have been organizing weekend trainings on life skill and sexuality education. 145 girls participated in these trainings. We have also organised life skill and sexuality education for boys. Nearly 80 boys participated in these trainings. We have also conducted lifeskill and sexuality education and environment education in 3 schools in our working area, that helped more than 400 students both boys and girls.
Folk Arts Training for Adolescent Girls
The increasing incidents of violence against women in India made us think seriously about our work with boys. Snihidhi members both in the city and villages discussed the issue of rape in Delhi on 16th December and participated in several protests, they also discussed the issue of the brutal acid attack and death of Vinodhini from Tamilnadu. The recent rape incident of a 5 year girl in Delhi also made the adolescent girls discuss about this issue. Discussion with our staff, girls, women and boys also helped us to relook into this matter and we have decided in the coming years we would intensify and give equal importance to our work with boys. We strongly feel that without the involvement of men and boys it is difficult to reduce or eliminate violence against women. In the coming years we will increase the number of boys we are working and also focus on boys in the schools, at lease organise one fathers meeting of Adolescent girls. Since it was examination time, we have organized supplementary education classes particularly for 10th and 12th standard girls. Passing these examinations are very important for these girls. If they fail; parents will automatically think about the marriage of the girls. Many of these girls now want to have a career and want to marry only after 21 years of age. That is a very positive thing and we are happy about our work. After the examinations from 1st My onwards we have organized 10 days community development programme for adolescent girls. 30 girls participated in that programme. The idea is motivate these girls to participate in their own development, this would also help to sustain the development activities initiated by us. That would help us to have a set of volunteers to help us in our activities. This would also open them a new career option of community development worker. If they are interested they can also go for higher studies in Social Work.
Training for Women
Education and income generation programme for women: We have been facilitating regular village level meetings and trainings. Nearly 300 women participated in these trainings. The recent rape incidents in Delhi and Acid attacks on women in Tamilnadu is also discussed in the meetings, because it is become popular because of the Media and even rural women want to do something about it. We have also conducted trainings in Kitchen garden and nursery rising, 120 women participated in these trainings. After seeing the success of the kitchen garden programme now we are thinking of initiating a Producers company with women as share holders. This would help them increase their yield and earnings. Our farm coordinator attended three days training programme on backyard poultry conducted by Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Science University extension centre Kancheepuram. In the coming months we are planning to introduce backyard poultry, goat and cow rearing trainings. We have kept a bee box in our centre and also educating about apiculture for those women who visit our centre. We have been contacting several organizations in this regard and will introduce in the coming year.
Ms.Kathrina and Ms.Daniela in a Kitchen garden
Another important thing happed is Ms.Katharina and Ms.Daniela visited the village to explore the possibilities of community based ecotourism. They visited villages and has discussions with the women to find out the possibilities. Actually the area is beautiful with lot of greenery and Bay of Bengal on the East side. The national highway ECR-East Coast Road was developed to develop this area as tourist area. They also visited the Alambarai and Kadapakkam our target villages and visited the Alambarai fort a historical place and the point where Buckingham canal joins with the bay of Bengal. If everything goes well soon we may start the community based ecotourism in these villages this would help the villagers earn some income from tourism related activities. Tourist will also learn about the villages.
During this period we have organized the second phase of RBM-Result Management Training and filed visits in rural area. Both our rural and urban area project staff attended this 3 days training programme.
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
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.
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