The discourses on women and development (WAD) to gender and development(GAD) clearly indicates the need for women to become not merely receivers or targets of welfare policies, but also agents of change as they are also critical actors of development. The reality women face is not fully reflected in the economic models of development because growth in material terms can take place without diminishing inequalities and inequities. The need is to empower the women with awareness, confidence and self-assurance to involve actively in public life and governance. This is essential for eradicating poverty and gender inequality. We realised this and actively pursued to mainstream gender in Local Government (LG) institutions in Kerala.
Engendering Governance domain works with women elected representatives, communities, Local Governments (LGs) and other agencies to empower women through strengthened local governance.
With 50 per cent reservation for women at the local government level, Sakhi realised the need to intervene, to mould, equip and sensitise elected women to be gender sensitive and responsive. The focus is to ensure better leadership for better service delivery, good governance practices, gender-sensitive approaches and people’s participation in planning for development.
Sakhi attempted at networking elected women and also developed methodologies to undertake the study of the status of women in local governments. We did this through assisting several local governments to undertake the study and use this in gender sensitive planning.
Sakhi also undertook to develop a manual, handbook and reading material on gender Planning, budgeting and auditing and trained 140 officials to utilise this materials.
Sakhi works to strengthen the formation and functioning of vigilance cells (Jagaratha Samithi) and Gender Resource Centres (GRC) at the panchayat level to address violence against women and engender the planning process.
Besides this, all other programmes of Sakhi like leadership training, post flood reconstruction, life skill education programmes etc were conducted in collaboration with local governments.