Activities

ACTIVITIES

GMO believes that people’s organizations or Community-based organizations should conduct Rights-based Advocacy for protecting and strengthening the livelihoods of the poor, by making the people aware of their right to livelihoods and by enabling them to demand and secure good governance and improved service delivery.

GMO believes that people’s organizations or Community-based organizations should conduct Rights-based Advocacy for protecting and strengthening the livelihoods of the poor, by making the people aware of their right to livelihoods and by enabling them to demand and secure good governance and improved service delivery.

GMO has formed a 20-member dedicated team to carry out the tasks in this sector at three levels – Federation, Cluster and SHG.

Rights-based Advocacy

Objectives

  • Addressing the fundamental problems affecting women, by conducting advocacy and campaigns for impacting on governing structures and public policy for better governance and improved service delivery
  • Pressuring Grama Panchayats for improving services and bringing in transparency in their functioning
  • Visiting government offices to collect information about government programmes and schemes for poverty alleviation and development, for dissemination among members
  • Organising meetings and conferences with the participation of government officers, with the objective of drawing attention of the officers and the media to the problems of the rural poor, particularly women

Strategies

GMO adopted the following strategies for its rights-based advocacy of issues:

  • Preparing, printing and distribution of handbills focusing on atrocities on women and the dowry practice
  • Preparing, printing and distribution of posters demanding the regular convening of Grama Sabhas
  • Active interaction with the media
  • Sustained capacity building for the team members
  • Collecting and disseminating information
  • Encouraging SHGs to send letters to the authorities on particular issues
  • Visits to government offices
  • Theme camps (Conferences to discuss specific themes)
  • Visit of the Advocacy team to the Karnataka Legislature Assembly session
  • Greater devolution of responsibility to Cluster federations

Campaigns

In order to carry out the tasks of Right-Based Advocacy, GMO set up a 20-member implementation team including the president, Secretary and Governing Board members of GMO as well as the representatives of Clusters. GMO’s advocacy efforts were ongoing before the team was set up, and the setting up of the team only formalized the ongoing efforts. The team met in November 2002 and had lengthy discussions on the tasks under the project. The members underwent training in advocacy techniques specifically for the tasks under the project.

The focal points of the team were five:

  • Functioning of PRIs
  • Public Distribution System – Government-subsidised food grain distribution for the poor
  • Public Health Care (Government-run health centres
  • Anganawadis (Government-run child day care centers)
  • Monitoring of functioning of Schools

The approach of GMO was to elicit information from all stake-holders including the people, government line departments and agencies, identify the problems from the people’s perspective and pressure the government to take appropriate remedial measures.

Networking

Image

Grameena Mahila Okkuta believes that to achieve true empowerment of poor women and for them to become equal partners in development efforts, women need to organize, unite and articulate their concerns.

Since its informal birth in 1994, GMO has been trying to organize rural women into organizations that can give them voice and articulate their aspirations. That work has resulted in the forming of 320 Self Help Groups and the federation.

But GMO was constantly aware that most of the problems faced by rural women had their origin in public policy and that individual organizations of rural women’s organizations would not be able to impact on policy in favour. What was needed was networks of rural women’s organizations.

LIVELIHOODS: of women Overwhelming number of members of GMO is from the poor households hence its main aim is poverty alleviation and empowerment of women through livelihoods. GMO’s activities in this area include: Conducting advocacy in favour of manual labour against mechanical approach to public works in rural areas. Facilitating women to avail government schemes for land purchase and livestock .Encouraging groups to approach livelihoods as a fundamental right. Facilitating savings and credit activity by SHGs. Facilitating bank-SHG linkage for group and individual IG loans. Facilitating trainings for women on livelihoods and income generation activities. Encouraging group-based small enterprises/Medium Enterprises.Conducting advocacy for increasing employment for women

AGRICULTURE: Agriculture is the main source of livelihood of poor families in the GMO operational area. Kolar district has no industries although it is a neighboring district of Bangalore and thus livelihoods are predominantly agriculture-based. Besides attempting to make women owners of land, GMO during the year also facilitated linkages for women farmers with the different government line departments including Agriculture, Horticulture, Veterinary, Revenue etc. and organised various trainings.

LAND OWNERSHIP FOR WOMEN: About 96% of members of GMO do not own land in their name. Securing ownership of land/property/productive assets is a major objective of GMO both as a source of livelihood and also of social security for its members. In line with the objective, GMO with support from Ford Foundation launched a programme to encourage women to purchase land, by meeting the registration costs of such transaction. During the three-year programme that ended in January 2009, 175 women were to be supported for owning land.

GRASSROOT ORAGANIZATIONS: GMO believes that strong and sustainable SHGs are key to empowerment and therefore to development. GMO’s activity with regard to grassroots organisations are as follows: Promoting and stabilising SHGs , Training and exposure visits for SHG members , Building sustainable SHG movement through cluster approach , Organising institutional links for SHGs , Maintain a centralised data bank on SHGs (MIS)

SOCIAL ISSUES: including girl child education, early marriages, VAW the group’s selected 805 girl children from poor families for education support from GMO. The education of girl children is a major objective of GMO and a primary concern of its members. GMO has made an allocation in its budget for supporting girl children in need of such support.

BASIC NEEDS: Housing, drinking water, roads etc. Armed with information about child rights, members in many SHGs were engaged in closely monitoring the functioning of anganawadis, including the quality of food provided to the children, and the attendance of the anganawadi staff.

ALCOHOLISM: A major concern of SHGs is alcoholism in villages. The SHGs have been conducting local campaigns to check alcoholism, particularly against unlicensed arrack shops.

TANK REHABILITATION: Related issues Members of SHGs took initiatives to reclaim community assets such as tanks, and have sent applications to the World Bank-sponsored tank revival programme – JSYS. They also took up issues such as encroachment on tank beds.

HEALTH CONCERNS: Apart from their regular activities such as savings and credit, SHGs also give priority to the physical health of their members. They discuss individual members’ problems, and in instances of serious ailments, and if the member requires assistance, the case is recommended to GMO for financial assistance and Grameena Mahila Okkuta Society for rural Development guidance. SHGs have also given loans to individual members for meeting the cost of health care.

MICRO ENTERPRISE: Agriculture, horticulture and dairying are the main sources of livelihoods for the people in GMO project area. One of GMO priorities is to raise the economic status of rural women by enabling them to start micro enterprises. In this direction, the GMO organized many trainings, One such training was about MED and Development. Following the training, in two clusters 20 groups were selected for a pilot project for making leaf plates and making bags or ropes out of sisal fibre, processing of tamarind and preparing snacks.

GOOD GOVERNANCE: A major focus area of GMO’s efforts is to improve the work ethic and work culture in Grama Panchayats in the GMO operational area. This involves advocacy and lobbying to ensure regular Grama Sabha meetings in villages. Grama Sabhas are critical for functioning of grassroots democracy, transparency, and accountability. Grama Sabha meetings discuss issues and problems, identify needs, assess implementation of programmes and evaluate the performance of both the panchayat members and the panchayat itself. Since all the population of the village participates in the Grama Sabhas with equal rights, it is an institution that provides women equal rights and says in the affairs of the village and is thus very important for women’s empowerment. The Constitution amendments recognize the primacy of Grama Sabhas as the grassroots democratic institutions that are crucial for the success of the PRI system. The second focus of GMO effort is the participation of women in the PRI functioning and processes. During the period under review the thrust was to increase the active participation. Although many GPs have begun to conduct Grama Sabha and Ward Sabha meetings after the GMO campaign began, the periodicity, and quality of meetings in terms of gender sensitivity, issues raised and adhesion to norms is still not up to satisfaction. Gender Participation in GPs During the period under review, women members took up the following issues in GP meetings: • Basic Needs 1. Drinking water 2. Housing 3. Power supply 4. Sanitation 5. Common Property Resources 6. School kitchens 7. Community center