The following are just a few snapshots from our WEP academies durring the past few months:
The first week of January, 38 WEP students from our Madurai and Ramanathapuram program partner Ilakku gathered at a retreat center in the forested hills outside of Madurai to learn about fundamental rights and the Indian constitution. Leading the sessions was a Lawyer named Sumitha, one of WEP’s first students, who is now an Advocate in the Madurai District Court. Sumitha discussed with students the concept of Nations, functions of the government and courts and the process of law making. The students then attended sessions on the Constitution and its fundamental rights with a Madras High Court Advocate whose specialty is constitutional law. Vijayalakshmi, the Madurai Program Director, reported that the students were excited to meet Sumitha and enthusiastically participated in the sessions. They also fully enjoyed the retreat, which included morning yoga and other activities in nature.
In February, we completed a pilot with our partner Aarti Home in Kadapa, testing our ability to deliver the WEP Leadership Academy program remotely, and also provide specialized training specific to the needs of the remote communities. For this pilot, Aarti Home staff surveyed 7 Mandals around Kadapa and identified a need for sustainable dried produce production within the local farming communities where there was limited access to cold storage for crops. They selected a group of 16 women farmers, provided WEP certificate classes which included women’s health and nutrition; mindfulness in daily life; gender equality, rights and justice; leadership, decision making, problem solving and goal setting; financial literacy; and communication skills. They educated the women and the community on the benefits of solar dryers and worked together to build solar dryers on their farms. The women were then trained on drying crops such as tomatoes and chilies which would have otherwise gone to waste. Through the certificate sessions they also learned about pricing and marketing the resulting products. At the end of the pilot, many of the women enrolled in the program were using the solar dryers effectively and exploring new avenues and buyers for their products with increased confidence.
Finally, on March 8, we gathered members of the WEP community virtually for an International Women’s Day roundtable discussion on DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality, UN Women’s 2023 IWD theme. Our panel featured recent WEP alumnae Tulasi, Nagaveni and Savitri, all IT Support Officers at Akasa Air, and Caroline, a Client Care Support Officer with Standard Chartered Global Business Service. They were in conversation with Shalini Puchalapalli, Country Head & Sr. Director at Google Customer Solutions, Pooja Goyal, Co-Founder & COO of Avishkaar, and Shobha Kapoor, Director, Media & Communications at Sesame Workshop India. All candidly shared their experiences working within the technology sector, the challenges they have faced, and their insights and aspirations for the industry moving forward. The inspirational conversation was part of WEP’s Women Leaders Connect series.
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