I am happy to present our Annual Report 2012- 2013. The backdrop for The Hunger Project‘s work during the past year was in an environment where we brought a sharper focus on the new challenges and opportunities for empowering women and improving the lives of their communities through their effective leadership. (Click here to download the report.)
We at The Hunger project constantly strive to enrich our knowledge of women’s roles in rural local governance and of the obstacles they face. One such endeavour has been the commissioning of the action research study on the impact of the Section 40 of the Madhya Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act that provides for the removal of an elected representative who is found to be not working in public interest, guilty of misconduct or failing to carry out the duties assigned. The research study report has helped in strengthening the understanding of Section 40 and its misuse particularly against the elected women representatives.
We have played a critical role in support of the ‘National Coalition against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population measures’. Our experiences in the field have showed how the ‘Two-Child Norm’ is being misused, hindering the elected women representatives to emerge as effective leaders. Our support for the coalition is to uphold that the imposition of ‘Two-Child Norm’ on Panchayat representatives would adversely affect the lives and health of women in particular, whether as elected representatives or as wives.
Women’s participation in politics has added a gender dimension to the hitherto male dominated public offices in rural India, resulting in violent acts on them as they assert their identities as women and leaders. Given the magnitude of the problem, we initiated a campaign on the issue of violence against women (VAW) campaign in seven states where we work through the elected women representatives and their federations.
In efforts to lessen the evident gaps in bringing effective governance, The Hunger Project is continuing to develop innovative tools and expertise, and constantly measures the impact of the interventions on women’s lives, families and communities. Here, I would like to thank our supporters: UN Women, CORDAID, Forum Syd, Ribbink Van Den Hoek Foundation, The Asia Foundation and our field partners without whom this work was not possible. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE), New Delhi for supporting the Sarojini Naidu Prize (SNP) for the year 2012.
It is my honour to work with a dedicated team at the National level and the State teams spread over six offices in eight states of the country. It is this dedication that has allowed us to initiate such intensive Gram Sabha mobilisation campaigns aimed at strengthening and deepening democracy at every stage, and investing in the transformative leadership of elected women representatives in rural local governance. I thank them for all they do – and the people all around the world who support us in so many ways.
Global Vice President and Country Director, India