The condition of women in Mewat is very pathetic. They are backward in terms of all development indicators be it health, schooling, nutrition or sanitation.They are subject to double subjugation first for being women and second for being meo muslim women . Instant intervention is needed for facilitating their true development and empowermen. Mewat Sehyoge Foundation is committed towards their development with dignity.
Mewat Sehyoge Foundation’s initiated Rural Women’s Development and Empowerment Project with the primary objective of working towards women’s economic and social empowerment through the formation of self-help groups. Within the framework of Gender and Development (GAD), women’s development and participation has to fulfil both practical and strategic gender needs in order for them to gain, share and exercise power. In women’s development, the economic cannot be understood apart from the social and the political. Transformative or genuine participation for women involves a process of partnership where one or more forms of power are attained through social capital and the participants are able to surmount structural barriers. Genuine participation can be achieved only through the processes of partnership and control, that is, through the building of equitable relationships among the primary beneficiaries themselves and between the primary beneficiaries and external agents. The incentives to participate and the pattern of participation are influenced by the material expectations and the social reality of women
The 2010 IFAD evaluation mission observed that the project could not have been a success without the involvement of the NGOs. Some 30 NGOs were contracted for a role in implementation and MEWAT SEHYOGE FOUNDATION. They were carefully selected on the basis of an NGO grading system that had been developed by the Haryana for the Development of Women. About half of initial NGO applicants were excluded. Those that were included were still fairly varied. Some had focused exclusively on the needs of poor women, while others had not given priority to poverty targeting. Again, some were well known, experienced and established NGOs, while others were much newer and weaker. The evaluation linked the effective or weak situation of the women’s groups directly to NGO performance, commitment and capacity.
NGOs played the central role in implementation of the project in all five districts, particularly in:
- identifying women beneficiaries;
- forming and supervising women’s self-help groups (SHGs);
- establishing credit linkages for women group members; and
- training animators to work to with the women’s groups.
The evaluation of the project stressed some lessons learned in working with NGOs.
- The catalytic or support role of the NGO has to be clearly defined and understood. The study found that over half the NGOs were making the decisions for the group, instead of holding back and letting the women in the group make their own decisions. This is sometimes hard for enthusiastic NGO field workers to do, but is important from the point of view of women’s empowerment.
- The remuneration basis of NGOs is very important. Originally, the remuneration of the NGOs was based on the number of women applying for bank loans in the groups the NGOs had helped set up. But, as the evaluation noted, where NGOs were underfunded themselves, and NGO staff therefore heavily reliant for their salaries on income from the project, this had adverse effects.MEWAT SEHYOGE FOUNDATION is facing the same problem. Such NGOs became too anxious to set up new groups and encouraged women to apply for credit before group cohesion had been fully established. In recognition of this problem, the basis of the NGO remuneration was changed so that it included group formation and sensitization and helping groups become sustainable. This allowed a more balanced type of support.
- NGO support is most important at the early stages of group formation, and should gradually be phased out. Unlike many other projects, theHaryana Women’s Development Projectplaced considerable emphasis on the sustainability of groups. This meant also that NGOs had to avoid developing “NGO dependency” and gradually had to give the women the skills and courage to take over responsibilities. Planning an “exit strategy”, therefore, becomes a key part of NGO support.
- NGOs sometimes also need training. Even in a country such as India, where there are so many excellent and experienced NGOs, the weaker ones may still need training in order to be effective partners in implementation.
Mewat Sehyoge Foundation is regarded as the committed organization not only by its donors but also by its beneficiaries. As regard the training of the concerned staff we would like to avail the facility in all 6 blocs of district MEWAT.