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Forum for Advancing Women's Agenda: Empowering Women, Driving Change

Concept Note


Forum for Advancing Women’s Agenda (FAWA)


Preface


Advancing Women’s Agenda is a collective impact forum, an initiative by Vatsalya in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, whereby we extend our vision for creating a healthy, equitable society for women. The society we dream to create is one where every woman irrespective of their societal position could create a meaningful life, while feeling safe secure and valued. To fulfill that dream, empowering women and girls across all sections of the society by creating awareness is of utmost importance. This initiative will connect CSOs, community individuals, various CBOs, advocates, media and academia via digital medium as of now to come together and pursue issues concerning women and girls. The forum will look at history of development of women’s agenda but the prime focus will be on the impediments to development and empowerment of women and how can we mitigate those. The forum will work as an umbrella encompassing issues related to women to create a wide range of cognizance on matters such as, Sexual Harassment faced by women at work place, awareness about their reproductive rights, Gender Based Violence, representation of women at the economic front and governance, encompassing education, health, livelihood and WASH issues.
Keywords: Empowerment; Awareness; Role of Information and Communication Technology; Rights of Girl Child; Feminist Perspective; Intersectional

 


Introduction

 


Vatsalya was established as a resource centre in the year 1995; it came into existence to rise against the misuse of technology for pre-conception and pre-natal screening with an aim to eliminate girl child. The law on Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique came into being in the year 1994 but the implementation of the law was the toughest task. Over time we realised that fight against this entrenched evil in the society needs to be fought at various fronts, which is when Vatsalya started taking up projects on empowering women in order to enhance the value of a girl child, at the same time to make society understand that women are humans and an equal. We took up projects related to education of girl child, enhancing their legal and financial literacy, making them aware about government schemes, linking them to their social entitlements and informing them about Water Sanitation and Hygiene with major focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management.


Problem Statement

 

After working for 25 years on several projects with a vision to create a gender equal society whereby women and children feel safe to achieve their fullest potential, year 2020 caused us a major setback, with the impending doom of Covid-19, this pandemic has widened the gender and economic inequalities. As per a report by UN Women and UNDP, by 2021 around 435 million women and girls will be living on less than $1.90 a day — including 47 million pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19.  The impacts are not just economic. The shift of funds to pandemic response is hampering women’s access to sexual and reproductive health. Violence against women reports have increased around the world, as widespread stay-at- home orders force women to shelter in place with their abusers, often with tragic consequences. More people at home also mean that the burden of unpaid care and domestic work has increased for women and girls, literally driving some to the breaking point.
Along with it, new amendment of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 led to our organisation losing few of our prestigious donors, which did reverse our gains but we as a team have always believed in service for a greater good thus, even in times of such a crisis we decided to commence a new collective of people, which will solely address women’s issues and work towards pursuing and advancing various women’s agendas.
Vatsalya has envisioned of curating this as a collaborative effort of like-minded people and organisations and developing it as a forum of women for the state of Uttar Pradesh.


Objectives


1.    To collaborate with CSOs, media, community individuals, various CBOs, advocates, and academia, for a collaborative to further women’s issues, to support, advocate and influence policy.
2.    To develop a better understanding of forum members on these issues, while connecting with women across different sections of the society.
3.    To explore possibilities for future and curate programs for on ground implementation.
Dissemination of appropriate information and communication has proven to be crucial in order to empower an individual so, that they are able to make informed choices. Our organisation is planning to take its first step under this initiative in this direction itself. Increased digitalization in the times of Covid will act as a bonus to create a wider reach while creating better strategic generating inter-agency collaborations.

 

 

Activities Performed

  • Establishment of a non formal network 
  • Formation of Steering committee 
  • Meeting of Steering committee on quarterly basis
  • State level consultation with members of network 
  • Sensitization sessions with network members
  • Celebration of National Girl child day 
  • Life skill session with Adolescent Girls 
  • Poster & quiz competition with school girls 
  • Upgradation of science lab & Library 
  • Seminar on importance of Girls education 

Benefitted Population

Members-9 Region -5 District Covered -15
Formation of Steering committee 
34 Individuals From 16 District


Establishment of a non formal network 


District -15 Block- 17 Gram panchayat -170 3 Slum 2 Ward
Celebration of National Girl child day
Benefitted population
Members-9 Region -5 District Covered -15


Formation of Steering committee 


Meeting of Steering committee
Workshops-2 Participants- 59
State level consultation with members of network 
 

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