Women Empowerment Program 2015 -16

Since inception, women’s issue has been a core focus of NERSWN. Initially, village community mobilization began by working with women-folk from the foothills of Bhutan. In a voyage that has surpassed a decade, women’s programs in the organization have traveled quite a distance. Carrying forward from the previous year, the following activities are some of the notable endeavors that were carried out this year:

Women Street Vendors’ Support Initiative: One of the oldest initiatives in the organization, mobilization of women street vendors has been continued, by capacity-building, strengthening of collectives and facilitation for claiming rights and entitlement. These women now have an understanding of gender dynamics in society and seek equality and justice in all spheres. The result has been the formation of 2 strong women vendor organizations- Kokrajhar Aijw Falangi Afad (Kokrajhar Business Women Association) and Gossaigaon Aijw Falangi Afad (Gossaigaon Business Women Association). Both these organizations now are visible in all the processes of both the towns.

Kokrajhar Aijw Falangi Afaad (KAFA): Formed in 2010, KAFA has made quite a departure in promoting the interests of women vendors. Being more than just a collective for convenience, the women involved have stood by each other in sorrow and in happiness. Though their demand from the government for an all-women market at the heart of Kokrajhar city is yet to be fulfilled, the year 2015 saw a remarkable step forward with the allotment of a plot of land by the Kokrajhar Municipal Board for a market place. This is a quantum jump over the previous roadside space which had created mutual inconvenience for both commuters and street vendors. This year KAFA has celebrated its 8th Foundation Day with great fanfare, has sat for 4 General Body Meetings and 6 Executive Meetings and their demand for a reduced tax rate for street vendors, basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities at workplace, and an all-women market have been taken up by the Municipal Board and the BTC government.

Gossaigaon Aijw Falangi Afaad (GAFA): Formed in 2008, GAFA too, consisting of women vendors in Gossaigaon, celebrated its 8th Foundation Day this year, and has collectively been dealing with day-today issues faced by its members.

Women’s Bank: Both KAFA and GAFA started financial bank to provide internal lending facilities to its members. Both the associations have INR 200,000/ each to lend small amount of money to the needy members at the interest rates of just 2%. In 2015-16 total of 70 people have received small loan.

Women’s Cycle Bank: Both GAFA and KAFA also has one Women’s Cycle Bank each. Both the association started the cycle bank with an amount of just INR 10,000/-. Till date two associations together has given 35 cycle loan in last four years.

Women Self Help Group: Until 2015, NERSWN has formed and promoted 37 women self help groups. These groups are collectivised into 3 different SHG Federations. All these fede rations have been linked with National Rural Livelihood Mission and Banks. Besides, the revolving fund and the credit linkages for internal lending to meet the small financial needs in the family, the Women SHG Federations are taking up several meaningful transformative initiatives in the villages such as preventing child marriage, ensuring education for out of school children, tackling trafficking in women and children, reducing alcoholism and so on. NERSWN team is really overjoyed with the progress made so far in this journey.

Aijw Falangi Bantha 2016 (Women Entrepreneur Award 2016): This Award was instituted by NERSWN in 2010, with a goal to give recognition to the remarkable contribution made by women entrepreneurs in the region, for economic and social upliftment. The Award is presented to individuals who despite difficult circumstances, manage to excel in a selfinitiated enterprise. The 5th edition of Aijw Falangi Bantha 2016 has been conferred upon Ms. Demola Mushahary on the occasion International Women’s Day celebration.

Weaving Unit for Women in Distress: With the help of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, UK, a weaving unit named Swrkhi Weaving is successfully up and running. An RCC weaving unit and 19 looms have been installed. Presently, 21 women who have faced traumatic experiences have been trained and employed as weavers. Each woman earns Rs. 160 to Rs. 200 per day. Until now, this program has been functioning in collaboration with The Action North-East Trust. Moreover, efforts are currently underway to make it an independent unit by setting up a craft store in Kokrajhar town.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp