Millennium Post

Sensitisation project in Raj to help end proxy rule by husbands of sarpanches

Towards this end, a training programme of woman sarpanches to make them break the patriarchal shackles is planned by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The five-day programme titled ‘capacity building for elected women representatives’ includes a comprehensive schedule and would be rolled out this month-end in Rajasthan. Thereafter it would be launched at the national level. The programme kicks off with a ‘Vision Exercise’.  “This essentially means the objectives and the vision of the programme will be explained to the participants. After this, starting from the second day every morning session will be focused on ‘Ice Breakers’. When you conduct a training programme for people who don’t know each other then the first thing which is to be done is a familiarization process to increase group cohesion. This is called the ice-breaking exercise,” explained a senior official from the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The official said that the trainers for this programme are drawn from across the board that include- the National Commission for Women, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and National Institute of Rural Development.

Explaining the need for such a course, the official said, “As first step towards political empowerment of women at the ground level, it’s important that they attain freedom from the men in the family.  As we know in many cases ‘sarpanch pati’ (husband of a village head) is the one running the administration in place of the elected women representatives. The only way to break this is through training.” 

“Secondly, the focus will be on training in basic infrastructure issue which includes knowledge on essential details like how the ponds, drains, small naalis, toilets and other areas in the village to be cleaned. Specifics on these crucial aspects and also small engineering details on how these tasks are to be implemented. Most importantly these women will be made aware of important government development schemes, so they can adequately utilize finances. They will also be briefed on the crucial issue of women safety and also apprised on the laws which govern the village. An idea of the rural infrastructure setup will also be given to them,” added the official.

Once the WCD Ministry is assured on the efficacy of the programme, it would be handed over to Ministry of Panchayati Raj for implementation.
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