Creating Grassroots Change through Women
The Way Forward
Women in Bundelkhand have taken up the torch to protect their communities from thirst and poverty caused by drought and have stepped into leadership roles, directing the path of their villages’ development.
AI will implement its innovative Social Capital Credits (SoCCs) methodology to support these women leaders in rural villages. The project begins with a SoCCratic Dialogue in which the women of a community comes together to decide how to solve problems that they all face and come up with a SoCCs Earning and Redeeming Menu. Women earn SoCCs for doing acts of social good, including attending sustainable farming workshops, planting trees, participating in village water management decisions and contributing labor to joint water harvesting projects. Individuals can redeem SoCCs for fuel efficient stoves and whole communities can redeem SoCCs for assistance with building check dams and recharging community wells, which will provide clean drinking water and irrigation for entire villages.
Fuel-efficient stoves will reduce the amount of smoke that women and children inhale as they labor to provide food for their families, smoke which often causes potentially fatal respiratory infections. Planting trees will provide a continuous source of nutrition for villages who do not have enough to eat. Sustainable farming workshops will improve farmers’ ability to cope with climate change and the effects of drought. AI and Parmarth will assist in the construction of check dams and well recharges, but local women are taking hold of the power of pani panchayats, or local water councils, which govern a village’s decisions regarding its precious water resources.
Asia Initiatives is working in conjunction with Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan (Parmarth), a local organization based in India dedicated to bring qualitative improvement and changes in lives of the vulnerable and deprived. In particular, Parmarth plans to uplift the women of India by engaging them on public participation, campaigning and policy advocacy. By building women’s knowledge and strengthening their capabilities, Parmarth believes that women can change their community and their world.
The organization has been primarily working in drought-hit zone of Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Water sector intervention is one of the core themes of Parmarth. The objectives of these projects were centered on reducing the vulnerability of marginalized communities through the promotion of sustainable means of livelihood. By promoting measures related to conservation and management and revival of traditional water structures with the support of community members, Parmarth hopes to create a better environment for all of the residents of Bundelkhand. Parmarth has been our partner for one year and they have been doing fantastic work with the residents of Bundelkhand.