Sewa International’s endeavors in Uttarakhand began precisely with the objective of rehabilitation of these village folk and the local population of the mountains. The vision and objective of our program there, is rehabilitation of the local population after the tragedy that stuck Uttarakhand in 2013. The objective being to provide them sustainable means of livelihood leading to socio-economic prosperity.
The cradle of our rehabilitation program in Uttarakhand is Sewa Kaushal Vikas Kendra (SKVK), which is further split into 6 specialised constituents dealing with different aspects of the rehabilitation. Following are the 6 verticals under which the SKVK project functions in Uttarakhand.
The article aims at giving a view of the day to day activities of the SHG and the process followed to mobilise villagers and form more SHGs, how strengthening SHGs would help us with our larger objective of forming a Farmer Producer Organisation in the coming future.
SHG FORMATION PROCESS
The SHG formation process is a series of numerous meetings and research regarding the demography and socio economic condition of the area in question and involves a series of steps.
MEETINGS AND MOBILIZATION
Next follows a series of meetings over a span of weeks in which following pointers are discussed with the men and women of the village.
WORKING AND OPERATIONS
Apart from the monthly meetings at the end, the daily ongoing activities by the members include the following
MONTHLY MEETING PROCESS FOR SHGs
The end of the month is usually a hustle bustle. With all the SHG incharges coming over from different clusters and gathering in the Simli office the place comes to life. For me, it was a palette of painted colours in the office walls. With almost 30-40 women dressed in their traditional attires, moving around carrying a bag, their office documents, addressing the rest of the team, the sight in itself is empowering. You see that’s what women can do to anything they lay their hands upon. Turn it colourful, make it creative, break the rut and monotony, infuse humour into an otherwise boring process. If only, they are given the opportunity, the confidence to learn , to experiment and to achieve. If they are not tied to tradition, bound by expectations and limited by norms we can create more self driven women leaders and entrepreneurs.
SHG Trainings And Orientations
My first contact with the members of SKVK was the 2 day leadership training program of the Sewa Mahila Jyoti group that I witnessed. Far beyond the the hue and cry of strong, independent women, the raging debates of women empowerment , were these women. In the entirety of their lives they would have lived in and around the same village, surrounded by the high rise Himalayas, with their lives running in circles around their families and fields. With the SKVK project, while they came together, interacted for the first time , not in the gossip groups but sitting in a well furnished room , on chairs and tables, with boards and computers and projectors, it’s a new world indeed. Seeing them come up, shedding away the shyness, the hesitant voices was an interesting experience in itself. The training session encompassed a holistic learning model. The focus remains on developing the core competencies of the women namely communication skills to make them efficient motivators, equipping them with the knowledge of the subject technical knowhow and resourcefulness.
From musical chairs to ball passing games, the training is as innovative, as engaging as it can get. For a moment it seemed surreal. And why won’t it?
In a society where somehow awkwardly, young women start confining themselves indoors after adulthood, these activities bring them face to face with the child inside them, invoking in them a sense of confidence and self-expression. The activities are aimed at inculcating values such as leadership skills, performing in a team, communication skills and interpersonal skills.
Any social sector organization’s success ultimately lies to what extent it is able to make the beneficiaries independent of the organization and also self-sustainable. With the work being done in Uttarakhand we are hopeful and positive that from every family and from every woman will emerge a leader capable enough to hold the reigns of not just their family, but also the community as a large. We also believe that economic prosperity shall go a long way in uplifting the other standards of human development such as health, education and eventually culture. We would be happy to receive as many suggestions, inputs, and insights from our readers, donors, stakeholders, and citizens, in general, hoping that you would share with us the best practices that can help us build a better society together.
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