India is a prominent global voice that has made significant progress on human development over the past 60 years, but the benefits of a growing economy are not shared equally – the country is still home to one third of the world’d poor.
In addition to widespread poverty, gender discrimination is a pervasive issue and the ratio of girl children to boy children is decreasing steadily.
To combat the issue of gender discrimination the Indian government passed legislation that amended the Constitution in 1992 and mandated that one-third of all seats in panchayats (local village councils) be reserved for women, bringing more than 1 million women in to elected office. The issue with this legislation is that in many rural areas women are not educated and lack basic literacy skills – let alone the knowledge of how to influence the social political workings of such a large – and often time corrupt – country.
The Hunger Project, in response to this opportunity, has built a model of assistance that focuses on working with these Elected Women to give them the necessary tools to operate effectively within the local government. The training follows the women throughout their term in office and brings women together in geographical clusters called Federations to continue to strengthen their voices and increase their impact.
To date more than 83,000 women have been trained by The Hunger Project in India and their partners. These women have gone on to do remarkable things in their villages including bringing fresh water supplies, electricity, healthcare, pensions and education to their villages.
Find out more about our work in India here.