Federation building of EWRs was the main activity in 2009. Even though the initial training programs were held in the previous year, it was only last year that EWRs got the real import of the program. Hence to create full ownership of their respective federations, preliminary discussions regarding the process of federation building was initiated with EWRs in all the selected blocks of THP working areas, and the entire process was so designed as to reach and enable EWRs to form and sustain their federation. By the end of the year, 10 block level and 24 cluster level federations with their own Executive and General Body members were formed across all 6 districts of THP working area. A follow-up ToT was held this year in February to refresh and reinforce existing skills of trainers so that the process can be further strengthened and EWRs are able to form a viable support structure for
themselves before the next panchayat elections.
Need –Based Workshops:
In order to equip EWRs with specific skills and information to address local issues, “need based” workshops were held on various topics like the NREGA, BRGF (Backward Region Grant Fund), Forest Rights Act, Gram Sabha, Women related Laws like the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, Government programmes and schemes like the NRHM (National Rural Health Mission), Role of EWRs in PDS (Public Distribution System), MDM (Midday Meal Scheme), Gaon Kalyan Samity etc.
To sensitize the media about the particular constraints of EWRs fighting against which they still manage to bring a qualitative change in their local communities, local media persons starting from the State Capital to the various districts and blocks were invited to interface meetings with EWRs. This helped in highlighting issues of EWRs and also served to change society’s prevailing notions about women’s leadership. Around 16 articles were also sent for publication in the annual Sarojini Naidu Publication, “Thus spoke the press” last year.