India is a prominent global voice that has made significant progress on human development over the past 60 years, but the benefits of a growing economy are not shared equally: the country is still home to one-third of the world’s poor.
Discrimination based on sex, female infanticide and gender-selective abortion are also part of everyday life. This shows a systematic devaluation of women and girls in society. Moreover, due to the caste system, a strong patriarchal control over political and social processes is widespread.
According to the 73rd state constitutional amendment of 1992, one third of India's municipal council mandates are reserved for women. In some Indian states, the 50% quota even applies. This is a revolutionary step with enormous implications. For the first time, women, at least in principle, have the mandate and the political influence to work with the villagers on their concerns and to mobilize state resources for this purpose. However, the implementation of this law in practice is a major challenge. Deeply rooted, patriarchal and feudal structures often stand in the way.
Thanks to your support in our empowerment program we have already achieved a lot in India!
In 2017, 1050 women from the THP programme in Rajasthan, supported by THP Switzerland with CHF 21,000, are in their third year of office. With the support of THP India, the local councillors identify and address weaknesses in their leadership activities and other needs of the community. Local councillors are thus empowered to improve access to and use of basic services. The following basic services were the focus in Rajasthan in 2017:
In addition, various meetings between local councillors and members of parliament took place in 2017. These meetings enable the local councillors to share their experiences and persuade the local councillors to meet their region-specific challenges. In the year under review the local councillors were confronted with the following challenges, the solution of which requires the support of the members of parliament:
In 2018 the local councillors in Rajasthan will analyse the impact of their activities, reflect on their education and document their experiences. Active solidarity groups will lobby in their states to create a conducive environment for future local councillors.
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"In the local VCA (Vision-Commitment-Action)-Workshops of THP, the majority of participants are women and they become empowered to lead their lifes independently, to take action and to influence their communities as self-responsible members. As such, they jointly find their own ways out of chronic hunger and external material dependence. THP joins this process locally, where the people are at home."
Therese Gerber-Fürst, Management Consultant, has been supporting THP for more than 10 years