The Hunger Project’s approach of mobilizing people for self-reliant action, empowering women as key change agents and engaging with local government has culminated in one comprehensive strategy, the Panchayati Raj Campaign.
The Hunger Project, working in 10 states of India, focuses empowerment of elected women representatives in Panchayats. Through effective strategies, and in partnership with more than 59 civil society organisations, we have worked with and supported the leadership of more than 75,000 elected women representatives.
Empowering Women in Elections
To encourage voter participation among women and nominations of potential women leaders, The Hunger Project conducts intensive pre-election campaigns. SWEEP (Strengthening Women’s Empowerment in Electoral Processes) campaigns include meetings, film screenings, street plays, door-to-door contacts, trainings and distribution of posters and pamphlets.
Federations for Advocacy and Mutual Empowerment
To empower women leaders and their communities, The Hunger Project supports the formation of federations among their elected leaders. In the states of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan, women leaders are creating federations at the district and state levels to voice their concerns as a collective unit. Priority issues include 50 percent reservation of seats in local government for women, removal of two-child norm laws and increased transparency and support between levels of government.
Mobilizing the Media to Support Women Leaders
To highlight the work of women leaders and Panchayati Raj, The Hunger Project actively engages with the media and annually awards the Sarojini Naidu Prize. The prize showcases the efforts being made by the elected women and recognizes three journalists reporting on their work in Hindi, English and other Indian language categories.
Coping with Climate Change
In partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, The Hunger Project is training elected women to build the capacity of their villages to cope with the ravages of climate change.
Implementing Disaster Preparedness
To strengthen local governance and improve disaster preparedness in 17 areas affected by the 2004 tsunami, The Hunger Project facilitated the formation of contingency plans for use by each of the panchayats, including digitized maps that will help villagers evacuate in times of natural disasters and developing the capacity of the community for managing disasters.