Boost Women’s Livelihood Collectives for Equality
The project began with the plan of assisting 200 mushroom growers from six villages of Baksa district. Post-production and selling of the mushroom produced till the month of May 2019 in namely Kalipur, Matangapar, Natun Howly, Auzurguri, and Amlaiguri villages; the women over these past three months have been engaged in forming their community organization at the village level. As they plan for the next cycle of mushroom cultivation, taking into consideration the challenges, they have come together to form collectives beyond Self-Help Groups. Believing and facilitating in FST’s approach of community philanthropy, the women from these villages have formed five community organizations namely:
- Kalipur Mahila Samiti at Kalipur village with a total number of 40 members.
- Trinayan Mahila Samiti at Natun Haoli with a total number of 62 members.
- Milan Jyoti Mahila Samiti at Motangapar with a total number of 41 members, and
- Udangsri Mahila Samiti merging the Ahuzarguri and Amlaiguri villages with a total number of 40 members.
Thus, for enhancing discussion on their livelihood opportunities, market linkages as well as networking with the other stakeholders of the village such as the Village Council Development Committee, that works as the village level state institution; these women collectives have come forward to plan and have a dialogue both within themselves and with the external environment. They have focussed in their community organization meetings on increasing the number of women into mushroom cultivation, planning on market linkages beyond the immediate village vicinity, exploring ways to develop in this livelihood activity by exposure visits to established entities on mushroom cultivation. Moreover, the women collective is also engaged in efforts and actions towards their village development in terms of taking up infrastructural issues on roads and connectivity, access to rights of the people from the community and so on.
Major work is done in the last quarter:
- 4 women collectives formed encompassing 5 villages of Tamulpur and Nagrijuli blocks of Baksa district
- Regularizing meeting within these collectives on further plans of mushroom cultivation and beyond – expansion of production and markets, village concerns, etc.
- Kalipur Mahila Samiti has set the benchmark for the collectives by partnering with local institutions in campaigns of cleanliness, raised their concerns to local authorities of community issues as well as expanded in numbers of women mushroom growers in their village.