Programme for Empowering Women through Comprehensive Initiatives in Health, Education, Livelihoods in Barmer, Rajasthan
India is fast emerging as a global power, but for the 614.4 million women who call the country their home, each day is a fight against cultural and social handicaps that leave them struggling to live life with dignity. According to a global poll conducted by Thomson Reuters, India is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for women, behind only Afghanistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan.
Women in India face overwhelming challenges in every sphere of life – be it employment, access to health care or property rights. Until women are empowered and given the opportunity to be a part of the change that needs to be brought about in these areas, the socio-economic development of India may remain a distant dream.
The team at SACH has been working with rural communities in the Barmer district of Rajasthan for the last 13 years. In the course of this work, it was realised that the first and most important step in the process of empowering women is their integration into the process of community development, i.e. asking them to analyse their own problems and to come forth with alternatives and consequently, taking collective action.
However, seeing the male dominance, feudality and gender biases in the area, SACH gradually initiated this process of community development with women in the year 2000, after gaining the trust and confidence of village communities.
With the goal of promoting, supporting and educating rural communities in order to lead them towards development and well-being, SACH facilitates activities that are consistent with the needs and environment of these rural communities. The organisation follows a process-oriented approach to work that advocates critical analysis and creativity with people’s needs at the centre of all development processes. SACH’s work is built and maintained within an environment of mutual trust, transparency and learning.
With the support of the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, SACH has been able to develop learning materials and implement community health interventions focusing on immunisation, antenatal and postnatal care, water and sanitation, prevention of vector borne diseases and income generation programme for the community.This ongoing programme by SACH is in the midst of a process including a human resource force of 30 women animators and 56 village groups comprising of 1,678 women.
The Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation supports SACH’s programme for empowering women through comprehensive initiatives on health, education and livelihoods in Barmer, Rajasthan. In this programme, women from the region come together, organise themselves into groups and build learnings in the context of health and creation of wealth.
SACH conducts trainings and builds the capacities of Women Animators (around 30 volunteers) and Learning Centre Teachers in select villages in Barmer. These activities are tools of learning and will help the women of the region to build confidence and mitigate the fear that they feel towards exploitative systems. These activities also enable them to have a say in relevant matters concerning themselves, their families and their community.
With the support of the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, SACH has been able to develop learning materials and implement community health interventions focusing on immunisation, antenatal and postnatal care, water and sanitation, prevention of vector borne diseases and income generation programme for the community.
SACH was formally founded in 2010 by a team of practitioners who have been working in the field of community development for decades. The organisation works with deprived communities and focuses on women’s development in the rural areas of the Barmer and Jalore districts of Rajasthan on issues related to education, health and livelihoods. Their efforts have been focused towards the integration of women into the development process through participatory interventions in health, creation of wealth and primary education.