Mahila Samakhya Karnataka
Care work areas

Determine your own destiny
Mahila Samakhya has divided its programmes into 6 different areas through which it aims to empower women and young girls (kishoris).
  • Education:
    • of women: spreading literacy among sangha women
    • of kishoris: educating the girl child.
  • Legal literacy:
    • educating women about their rights and how to exercise them; and training women in the methods to seek redressal against injustice.
  • Health education:
    • teaching women about good health practices, personal hygiene, reproductive rights, safe motherhood and child health as well as environmental cleanliness.
  • Economic independence: x
    • teaching women how to generate and manage financial resources.
  • Sangha self-reliance:
    • strengthening the sangha, because the collective power of women has a greater voice.
  • Political awareness:
    • educating women to participate in the political process.

Mahila Samakhya has drawn up specific programmes to serve these six areas. The needs of each region/district are determined by the maha sangha, which then decides on the interventions to be made. The programmes are then implemented through the sanghas and maha sanghas.

Every woman has the right to education. Motivating women to educate themselves and their family members also raises the education level of the community. To increase education among women, Mahila Samakhya has adopted a two pronged strategy:

  • Literacy for sangha women.
  • The Kishori programme-educate kishoris through formal and non-formal education.

Sakshara Samakhya Karyakarma (Literacy programme for women)

This programme targets sangha women in the age group of 18-35 years. They are taught the 3 Rs vocational skills and life skills. They are also taught about health, nutrition, personal and environmental hygiene and basic legal literacy.

The Kishori Programme for girls

The Kishori Programme strives to create a new generation of strong, aware and self reliant women. The target is the ‘Kishori’ – the adolescent girl between 11-18 years of age. The strategy is to bring girls back into mainstream education and enhance their life skills.

The school re-enrolment programme aims to bring girls back into mainstream education and facilitates retention in schools. It particularly targets out-of-school girls who belong to the disadvantaged communities.

In the school enrolment programme, 11,462 women from 703 villages of 12 taluks have participated. This has resulted in 2,930 new enrolments and 2,591 re-enrolments of school dropouts.

Mahila Shikshana Kendra

The Mahila Shikshana Kendras have been started with the aim of providing education to backward, underprivileged and rural girls of Bijapur, Chamrajnagar, Koppal and Mysore In the current year, 122 girls have been enrolled in the centres, 96 of them have appeared for the SSLC exams and 65 have passed in this exam.

National Programme of Education for Girls at Elementary Level

National Programme of Education for Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL) is the programme of the Government of India to provide primary level schooling for girl children. This programme has been implemented by MSK in 108 model cluster schools across 21 educationally backward blocks in 7 districts of the state.

The programme begins by adopting one school in a cluster of villages as the Model School. All facilities are provided to this school, including an enriched curriculum, innovative teaching aids, specially trained teachers, additional classrooms, etc. A school enrolment drive is undertaken using door-to-door contact programmes as well as mass education campaigns. An important aspect of this programme is the training of teachers. Apart from constantly upgrading teachers’ skills, gender equality is emphasized. Teachers are selected for appreciation awards for promoting gender equality and encouraging girl children. This helps to motivate and enthuse other teachers.
A total of 2799 drop-out girls in the age group of 6-14 were identified and 1718 were enrolled in model schools and 1589 children returned to mainstream schools.

Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya

The KGBV schools serve girls in remote areas who do not have access to schooling and have been unable to go to school for various reasons. The school provides an enriched environment for all-round development of the girls. Curriculum and teaching methodology are all geared towards fostering an interest in education. Emphasis is also placed on sports and cultural activities. Several Vidyalayas teach yoga and karate while others provide coaching in athletics and hockey. Educational trips to public utilities and historical places take place regularly. Many of the schools offer vocational training.

2816 children were enrolled in KGBV schools. 1,970 students were given training in various vocational skills like tailoring, painiting, computer etc., 878 students participated in sports activities, 600 students participated in the competitive examinations, 993 participated in cultural activities and 646 students passed the 8th standard examination.

Non formal Education

A number of projects have been initiated for educating the Kishori and empowering her as she grows up. Kishori groups are formed through which these programmes are implemented. Vocational training also forms a major component of the Kishori programme. They have been trained in activities such as the making candles, soap, greeting cards, soft toys, and tailoring. Training is planned depending upon the needs of the village.
Gender awareness programmes are conducted in schools for both boys and girls. Even teachers who resisted the idea initially, have become willing participants. The training has helped children recognize the gender inequality prevalent in society and have attempted to change it.
This year, in 360 villages of 12 districts, 360 Kishori groups have been formed in addition to the existing groups with 12,947 Kishori members. MSK is now working with 47,031 Kishoris of 1728 groups.

Bala Sangha

The Bala Sangha is complementary to the Kishori programme. It aims to create gender equality at the age when attitudes are being formed. `Kishoras’, or boys in the age group of 10-18 years are targeted. It is hoped that an informed boy will grow up into an enlightened man, who in turn will affect change in society. This will create a generation of men who are sensitive to women’s issues and supportive of women’s equality.
This year there are 554 groups with 13655 kishoras.

Gender education for boys

To bring a change in society, it is important to make adolescent boys aware of gender equality and child rights. Boys are informed on issues like gender equality, health, education and law. There has been an active involvement and participation of boys in addressing child rights and gender issues. In the current year, MSK has reached 13,655 boys of 10 districts.

Legal Literacy

Mahila Samakhya aims to educate women on their rights, give legal information and develop skills with which they can fight injustice and resolve disputes through a non-formal mechanism.
This is done through awareness camps on the legal rights of women with regard to marriage, property, maintenance, violence and other related issues. Training camps are held on legal procedures and avenues for redressal. An important activity of Mahila Samakhya is the fight against oppressive social customs through campaigns, street plays, jathas and rallies against practices such as child marriage, the devadasi system, dowry and alcoholism.
A non-formal dispute resolution mechanism (NDRM) has been set up by Mahila Samakhya Karnataka to help women in distress. It comprises a network of organisations that provides speedy, accessible and affordable legal services to poor rural women.

Legal committee meetings

Legal Committee meetings are used as a platform to share and gain information on the issues and the solutions available.  These meetings are useful in resolving problems faced by women as well as providing legal information on the reported cases.  At the cluster level, 389 committee meetings were held in 12 districts where 11,262 women participated to discuss and find solutions.

Nari Adalat Meetings

This is a platform for women, by women who are in distress and need assistance to resolve their problems and fight for their rights.  MSK is working with Nari Adalats with 780 women in 9 districts.  Women with leadership skills and an interest in legal matters are selected and trained in laws pertaining to women like marriage laws, divorce, alimony, dowry, property rights, child marriage, unfair social practices and women’s rights.  During this year 1323 cases have been resolved. 

Para-legal training to the Sangha women

Sangha women have been given para-legal training at the village level in 21 villages in two districts.735 women participated and issues like domestic violence, Police and I, legal system, filing an FIR, child marriage, child labour, marriage registration, divorce and women’s rights were discussed.  Other activities include Special legal information/awareness camps, a legal series booklet to better inform women on legal issues, campaign against child marriage and anti-liquor campaign.

Health

Mahila Samakhya aims to educate women to demand their right to good health and the facilities to maintain it. It also aims to promote the 3A’s:

  • Awareness of the health rights of women and girl children.
  • Access to public health services.
  • Accountability of health service providers, the family and community.

Samakhya’s health activities fall into 2 broad categories:

  • Focus on the health rights of women and girl children, including women’s reproductive rights,

safe motherhood programmes which focus on pre and post-natal health, immunisation, good nutrition and kitchen gardens as well as HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and protection.

  • Promote environmental cleanliness and hygiene through programmes for village sanitation, school health and sanitation, cleaning of water sources and planting trees.

Samuhika Simantham programme

The Samuhika Simantham programme aims to instil a sense of accountability and responsibility in the family and the community towards pregnant women. The training also stressed on the importance of nutrition, breast milk and care of the newborn,    
pregnant women and care of the women in the postnatal period.  10742 women and 4556 pregnant women from eight districts participated in the Samuhika Simantham programme.

Environment Conservation Programme
The sanghas participated in the Hasiru Usiru Programme (Environment Conservation) which aims to create awareness about the importance of making the villages green by planting trees and taking steps to conserve the environment. About 65 women, 75 men and 150 children took part in this initiative.  45 women have so far received training in environment conservation and are working with the community.


Health awareness camps
The objective of the health awareness camp is to create awareness about personal hygiene and provide information about community health.  Health camps were organised in eight districts with 14,999 women participating in it. A total of 418 women from 10 districts have learnt in detail about the issues. 

Kitchen garden
Since there is a lack of sewage system in villages, 1278 women from eight districts constructed soak pits outside their kitchens. Water from the kitchen and bathroom is diverted to this pit and is used to grow medicinal plants, vegetables and fruits for daily consumption of the family, thus improving the nutrition value in their diet.  1086 women from 10 districts have developed kitchen gardens.

ASHA workers

The ASHA programme was started with the aim of bringing the services of the Health Department closer to the people. Many women from the sanghas have become part of this programme and are providing health services to the community. As of now, 373 women have become ASHA workers from 364 villages from 11 districts.

Economic Independence

Mahila Samakhya strives to make women financially independent, to generate and take control of resources.  It trains women in financial discipline – to use money more productively.

Committee meetings
Committe meetings were held to discuss  facilities available with the different departments, building network with departments, becoming self employed by taking up different economic activities and success stories of other women who have achieved economic independence.

Overall, 388 meetings have been held at 12 districts and 10983 women have benefitted from the meetings.

Revolving fund

The Taluk Panchayat has instituted Rs.10,000 in a revolving fund for sanghas which are stable and actively involved in income generation.  This amount is added to the savings of the sanghas and is used for giving loans to women.   Members of the sangha can avail this by participating in the meetings and putting in an application for their requirement.   In the current year, 4159 women from 282 sanghas have availed a total loan of Rs 40,60,000.

Network with financial structures

The Taluk Panchayats under the Swarna Jayanthi Village Swaraj Rozgar Yojane  provide a subsidy of Rs.1,25,000 to women sanghas which are below poverty line. The main aim of this project is to encourage self-reliance and economic activity amongst the women sanghas.  Only sanghas that have paid back the core fund and are economically robust are eligible for this project. Many sanghas have benefited from this project. 

In the current year, 3718 women from 173 sanghas have availed a total subsidy of Rs.2,70,20,096 from the SJSY project. The various activities undertaken are livestock rearing, horticulture, bangle business, cloth business, papad, soap and phenyl manufacturing, preparation of snacks and sale of seeds.

Linkages with Banks 

The association with the banks has led to an increased awareness and economic activity of the sanghas.  With the information available with the sanghas regarding the bank schemes, women have acquired the necessary documentation and approached banks for loans. In the current year, 9725 women from 706 sanghas have availed a total loan of Rs. 6,02,60,371.

Documentation training

To produce a document on the activities of the sanghas, the most important step is to record all the information in a systematic manner.  Therefore a cluster level documentation training programme was held for sangha women who are literate and for women who could take up the activity voluntarily.  On the whole, 934 women from 628 sanghas and 529 villages participated in this training programme.  The training covered the following areas:

  • Systematic documentation at the sangha level.
  • Maintaining weekly meeting minutes book.
  • Writing savings book, loan accounts and cash registers.
  • How to write applications.
Sangha Self-Reliance

Mahila Samakhya constantly endeavours to give a greater voice to the collective power of women. Self reliance is the key to growth - ie, expansion, sustainability and continuity of the programme. Since programmes are determined and carried forward by the women themselves, their knowledge and skills need to be augmented continuously.

One village – One sangha

It has provided a platform for women to take part in women related issues.

This is a new strategy to reach more people in the village. The process has been implemented in all the districts. 60,509 women from 12 districts have obtained the information regarding this programme.


Self-reliance committee meetings

To create awareness on the concept of self-reliance among the members, the self-reliance committee has conducted regular meetings. . During this reporting year, 10,745 women from 331 villages from 12 districts participated in the self-reliance committee meetings.

Network Meetings with officials

Its objective was to empower women to be self-dependent in the sanghas. This programme has been conducted in 10 taluks of Belgaum, Gadag, Koppal and Bijapur districts, where 4645 women of 221 villages participated.

Grama Spandana

This was organized to build a rapport with different officials of various departments and access the available facilities for the developmental work of the village. The Grama Spandana programmes were held in 79 villages where 3481 women, 802 men, 39 boys and 146 adolescent girls participated.  

Gender education for men

Men too should be made aware and sensitised about gender issues. Women took the responsibility of organizing gender awareness programmes for men. During this reporting year, 30407 men and 7116 boys from 673 villages participated in these programmes.


Women as Village Resource Persons (VRPs)

MSK provided training to the identified women in the sanghas/village to develop them as resource persons. Training on the roles and responsibilities of VRPs were organized in Chamarajnagar, Koppal, Raichur and Mysore districts. 189 VRPs from 153 villages participated in these trainings.


The Sangha Mane (Sangha hut)

This place served as an information centre, literacy centre, Ganji kendra, temporary home for destitute people as well as a temporary Anganwadi centre.   MSkn gives initial financial aid for women.  The whole process was to empower women in mobilizing additional resources. At present, there are 461 Sangha Mane in nine districts which are being used efficiently.

Political awareness and participation

Mahila Samakhya aims to encourage women to take a greater role in the political process through the panchayat, gram sabhas and ward sabhas.

By such participation, women are able to initiate and engender development work in the village.  The strategy revolves around:

  • Training women through awareness camps and meetings on the functioning of the panchayat, gram sabhas and ward sabhas - their structure, roles and responsibility. It also includes teaching them about the various facilities and programmes and how they can be accessed.
  • Networking with district officials in various government bodies.
  • Discussing and selecting programmes for the village, then mobilising village women to implement them.

Committee Meetings

Conducted every quarter at the cluster level, the Committee meetings discuss issues related to development, progress and facilities such as bank loans under the Panchayat Raj structure.  The scope of sanghas to act as pressure groups to avail the facilities under NREGA and banks is shared and discussion on grama sabhas/ ward sabhas, social justice committees, etc. is done.  During this year, 391 committee meetings were held where 11037 women participated.

Panchayat visits

Women are contacting the Taluk and District Panchayats to demand for the work that is neglected by the Gram Panchayats.   During the present year 33,688 women from 2389 villages have visited the Gram Panchayats.  12180 women from 1394 villages have visited the Taluk Panchayats and 4304 women from 483 villages have participated in the District Panchayat discussions.  Based on their needs, they have also met with legislators and availed of necessary facilities.

Women’s participation in village and ward meetings

In several villages, women along with the community have participated in Panchayat, village and ward meetings where they have played an important role by identifying the deserving beneficiaries.   In the current year, 36,429 women from 1121 villages of 12 districts have participated in these meetings.

Achievements of Elected Women Representatives

During the current year, 836 women representatives from 12 districts have done significant work. In some instances, they have taken ownership of the problems and resolved them. They have worked keeping the priorities like basic facilities in mind as well as the larger good of the sangha and the community.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

The Government introduced the NREGA scheme to provide employment for a minimum of 100 days to a person in rural areas. The objective of the scheme is to improve the economic condition of the families below poverty line by providing regular employment and to control employment related migration.  17,328 women from 921 villages of 10 districts have benefited from this scheme.

Flood relief

249 villages in five districts of North Karnataka where MSK works were very severely affected by the floods in September 2009.  People lost their homes, had no clothes and food to eat.   Due to the floods crops were damaged, roads destroyed, power supply disrupted, and arable land washed away.  In some places, the sanghas lost some of their members.

In this situation, the MSK team, E.C. Members and Sangha  women worked untiringly from September to November to provide relief to the affected families.  The district staff of MSK held meetings to ensure that the basic needs of the affected families were met.  They made a list of essentials required and gave these to the families.  They also visited the concerned departments and procured supplies for the affected families in the form of  medicine, food and other essentials.  Where gruel kitchens were not started, the sangha women put pressure to start gruel kitchens without delay.

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