Capacity building for women PRI leaders (India)

Ajupi Baruah

India has the highest number of women leaders in the world; however representation has not been synonymous with participation.

Women are perceived as incapable of carrying out their responsibilities in the male dominated political sphere. To address this, in 2001 the Hunger Project, designed a comprehensive capacity building programme called Panchayat Raj Campaign

The organizers aimed for a bottom-up approach in order to facilitate development. They organised participatory workshops that worked with civil society organisations, government bodies and the media to inform women of their rights and responsibilities as leaders. The programmes ran annually throughout the entire 5 year term; each year focusing on a new skill.

The campaign is currently running in nine states and training more than 78,000 representatives. The initiative has facilitated the formation of successful women leaders’ federations. These platforms give women a collective voice allowing their views to be heard on a bureaucratic and policy level.

Due to the scale of this project this capacity building model could be replicated in other states trying to ensure gender justice and decentralised democracy.

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Civil society
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Decentralisation and local government
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Education and training
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