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Women Empowerment Program 2011-12

Last couple years have been a joyous journey of exploring and learning about gender and working with women. NERSWN being founded by a young group of men has travelled a long-distance road towards bringing gender equality in its approach and action.

Policy Formulation for Gender Equality: A draft gender policy has been formulated. At least 30 percent out of the total staff have to be women at any given time with desires to achieve. All staff has to undergo compulsory gender

training in the organization.

Women’s Cycle Bank: Kokrajhar being one of the most volatile and disturbed districts in the country it suffers from frequent strikes forcing women vendors to remain at home due to lack of transportation. Thereby affective their income that gives them square mills a day helps children’s education, supports households needs and other basic cost of running a family. Besides, women vendors make heavy expenditure on travel from their meagre income. Hence, Women Cycle Bank has been introduced to give cycle loan to the needy women. Till date total of 23 cycles loans have been given on priority basis. The repayment rate is 100%. These cycles have given a freedom to women vendors from long waiting hours of transport, reduce the travel cost to zero, escapes bandh as no one stops bi-cycles and sale vegetables at higher price during bandhs and so forth.

GAFA and KAFA running Micro-credits: Gossaigaon Aijw Falangi Afad (GAFA) runs a Micro Credit for their members. The needy women vendors can take loan from the GAFA and return it in their convenience at very low interest of 2 %.

Exposure for Women Vendors: This year 10 women vendors were taken for exposure visit at the Ima market, Imphal, and 20 women vendors were taken to Chirang to see different entrepreneurship models. These exposure visits have facilitated a better understanding about different ways of doing business and earning livelihood. The exposure team learned how people having similar interests and work can be collectivized and how the collectives can help promote the common interest of all.

Helping the dependents of women vendors: From November, 2011 the team has started working with women vendors’ dependents. The dependents were given training on driving, computer course and kitchen gardening with an objectives of giving skill based training to those who are dependent on their mother so that they can engage themselves in some productive work. Only drop out children are targeted for imparting such training. Till date, the team could not involve SSA for imparting education to drop out children.

Celebrating Aijw Falangi Afat (Business Women Association) Foundation Day: The members of Women Vendors’ Association celebrated 8th September as the foundation day of their association. This day came up as a platform for the women to share their experiences and working ahead for their rights. Intellectuals from the fields are invited on the day as guest where sharing of experiences and opportunity from different people took place for the economic

development.

Celebration of International Women’s day: The team had organized a one day District level Consultation Cum International Women’s Day programme as far planned on 12 March, 2012. Women from different villages were invited on the occasion i.e. from Bangaldoba, Jawarbil, Tipkai together with the women vendors of Kokrajhar and Gossaigaon. Personnel from various sections of the society were present viz The Deputy Chief of BTC, Women Federation, Renowned writer, social activists. On the day an award for best Women vendor was also given for the first time to Mrs. Somela Basumatary.

Support for empowering AFA (Aijw Falangi Afat): An advocacy meeting had been organized by the team facilitating AFA with the Town committee Chairman, local leaders, student union, and women federation with a sole purpose to sensitize the women vendors on different issues like market shed, drinking water and toilet facilities at the market area.

Conferring Aijw Balangi Bantha 2012 (Business Women Award): With a view to add more dignity and inspire the struggling women vendors NERSWN has instituted the Aijw Falangi Bantha. This award comprises Rs.5000.00 in cash, a Citation and Indi Sawl. This award is being conferred on International Women’s Day. This year the first recipient is Ms. Somela Basumatary a women vendor since more than a decade now.

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