244417 Women leaders in local governance: Results of a community based participatory intervention in rural Rajasthan, India

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Meher Rehman, Ms , Gender Consultant, New Delhi - 110025, India
Background: Benefits expected from the 33% reservation following the 73rd Amendment Act, 1992, cannot be achieved without capacity building of rural women. The Good Governance Project in partnership with two grassroots organizations in Rajasthan implemented a project to enhance knowledge and skills of rural women to improve responsible participation in local governance. Aim: To build the capacity and develop leadership of rural women to actively participate in governance for the inclusion of their agendas. Method: One hundred women from self-help groups (SHGs) were selected randomly to participate in a 10 module training covering themes including leadership, motivation, decision-making, micro planning, collectivization and management for governance. Additionally skill building exercises included structured interactions with role models, observations of village council meetings, hands on exercises in proposal development and advocacy. Evaluation of women's empowerment at 3 months post-training was conducted through direct observational methods and structured interviews. Results: Findings revealed election of four women Panchayat members and increased participation of other trained women in Village Council meetings. Trained women also submitted proposals for initiating Government sponsored welfare schemes on community needs in areas of health, sanitation, water conservation, education. Increased monitoring of health systems and services in the village were also undertaken by these women. SHG performance was enhanced with improved understanding of collective leadership and action. Conclusion: A focused participatory intervention that builds knowledge and skills can lead to increased participation and leadership for women in local governance and contribute significantly to community development.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate how increased participation and leadership of women in local governance contributes to community development. 2. Identify key areas of capacity building leading to increased participation of rural women in local governance.

Keywords: Community Development, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been closely involved in working on issues of gender, health and governance and have insights and learning to share.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.