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About Gender Samvaad:

With over 60 million women mobilised to be part of one of India’s largest livelihoods programme, the Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) holds great promise for advancing women’s socio-economic empowerment by organising them into self-help groups (SHGs) and federations of the rural poor. Not only are these platforms facili tating financial opportunities and livelihood support services for women, but they have also become an extended arm of governance to demand accountability from and build linkages with mainstream institutions. They also hold stories of hundreds and thousands of women – stories of hope, resilience, raising voice, getting redress, and many best practices on how institutions of poor women can help them ensure access to their rights and entitlements.

Gender Samvaad is a joint attempt between DAY NRLM and IWWAGE to create a common platform for generating greater awareness on NRLM’s interventions across the country and best practices, with a focus on hearing voices from the states and the field. Organized as a bi-monthly webinar, the Samvaad will provide states with opportunities to:

  • Understand best practices/initiatives that other states have been undertaking to improve women’s agency (e.g. facilitating women’s access to land rights, their engagement in farmer producer organizations (FPOs), best practices around FNHW, in establishing strong institutions for public service delivery, in protecting and providing redress to vulnerable groups within women (e.g. practices against witch hunting) etc.))
  • Understand gender interventions globally;
  • Engage with experts and other colleagues on suggestions regarding how to handle issues/implementation barriers;
  • Contribute to creation of a ‘gender repository’ with resource materials on best practices for gender interventions across the country/other countries; and
  • Build advocacy around the need to focus on gender issues across SRLMs and the NRLM.

In the current context of the pandemic, time is opportune to initiate such dialogues with a varied range of stakeholders to comprehend broader policies and more micro processes underlying such initiatives. In doing so, Gender Samvaad will cover stakeholders ranging from representatives of state rural livelihood missions (who would share their experiences) to NRLM’s senior officials, representatives from civil society, academia and multilateral institutions, and international experts implementing similar women’s empowerment programs around the world, who would offer their feedback and recommendations to the states.


Launch of Gender Samvaad, April 16, 2021

As part of the ongoing Amrut Mahotsav to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Indian Independence, Gender Samvaad was launched on April 16, 2021 with around 1400 participants including rural women, state representatives, CSOs and academia from across India. The event was attended by senior officials of the Ministry comprising Shri. Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development; Smt. Alka Upadhyaya, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development; and Joint Secretary, NRLM, Smt. Nita Kejrewal. Community resource persons, who are women SHG members from various states, were also invited to share their experience of overcoming several barriers to improve their lives and livelihoods. The theme for the inaugural session was "Gender Transformative Rural Livelihoods". 

 During the launch event, a compendium of case studies “Stories of Resilience and Hope” documenting good practices and stories of resilience and transformative changes among SHG women shared by various State Rural Livelihoods Missions, was launched at the event by the Secretary, Rural Development. The stories narrate systemic processes adopted to strengthen women’s groups in developing strong collectives as well as individual identities. A short film was launched by the Joint Secretary, NRLM, Smt. Nita Kejrewal, showcasing IWWAGE’s support for operationalising NRLM’s gender strategy and the various pilot interventions underway to set up institutional platforms for rural women to access justice, information, rights and entitlements. Three States- Andhra pradesh, Jharkhand and Kerala presented during the inaugural session which narrated collective struggles of women's access to livelihoods opportunities by  challenging the social norms and emerge as chamipons levraging the SHG platform. This was followed by a panel discussion that included leading gender and livelihoods experts to emphasise the importance of improving women’s livelihoods, their agency, and their understanding of their rights and entitlements. The panel comprised Dr. Lakshmi Lingam, Dean, School of Media and Cultural Studies, TISS; Ms. Sejal Dand, Director and Founder Member, ANANDI; and Dr. Renu Golwalkar, Global Director, Gender, Youth and Social Inclusion, Engender Health. The session was moderated by Soumya Kapoor Mehta, Head IWWAGE. Click here for the recording.  

From Aspiration to Empowerment: Impact of Women’s Collectives

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Gender Samvaad, Second Dialogue

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To ensure continuous engagement of the varied stakeholders in creating greater awareness on NRLM interventions at the cutting edge level the digital platform on Gender Samvaad has been proposed. The platform will be a dynamic conduit between range of stakeholders like Government, academia, gender specialists and civil society organisations to continuously react on the issues at the grass root level and elicit ways and means to address them. The questions below are collated from the “Chat” window on Gender Samvaad page, with response to varied queries ranging from livelihoods, access and control on resources, violence, early marriage, children retention in schools, financial inclusion etc. We look forward to your queries and will respond to it at the earliest.

Watch out this space for reply!