This was one of the first program started by us in 1995. The Women of the Self help Groups then were all uneducated and required a lot of support to organise themselves. They lacked the tools needed to participate in societal development.
The need for skill development to build a better future for all arose from releasing that Social Empowerment cannot be achieved through charity or service, but via co-development with villagers to cultivate the knowledge and confidence.
What is Capacity Building?
A set of initiatives aimed to expand social awareness and develop the skills needed for individuals to work collectively in society and to enhance local leadership in the communities, by training the local elected leaders.
What are the Objectives?
Create awareness and engage participants in discussions on a wide range of issues
such as gender and caste equality, human rights, environmental degradation and global warming
Cultivate strong leadership qualities, skills for social analysis and
communication, and team building.
Expose participants to interactions with people and places of interest beyond
their immediate communities and identify divisive barriers.
Raise awareness of various governmental and other schemes and their
utilization by beneficiaries.
How does it Work?
In partnership with fellow NGOs and government offices, we invite resource people to educate and train the community and the staff on various important topics such as water
and waste management, disaster management, menstrual health, gender issues, healthy
food habits or medicinal plants.
We focus on training to enhance the capabilities of the federation so that its leaders can take on more responsibilities in managing the programs for women. In addition, We provide trainings and workshops to to our staff, to keep abreast with the changing trends in the field of development.
Last year, we conducted 4 trainings for 12 staff members in Waste management, Industrial waste management, Recycling and disposal of waste and Monitoring of waste materials.
Training for Animators and Representatives
This year, 8 meetings were held with a total of 720 participants. They versed on various topics like problem solving, issues in the clubs, and community development activities.
Workshops Workshops are conducted for special topics like gender sensitisation, social analysis, leadership, health and hygiene and implementation of government schemes.
From AVAG seminars I have learnt to treat my daughter and daughter-in law equally. We speak about relationships and understanding.
Exposure trips are designed keeping in mind the needs of the groups. Being exposed to different activities and new places is important for the groups to feel inspired to build a better future for themselves.
These trips also introduce them to other groups of people who live in similar conditions and face similar issues. This helps to develop a more holistic view of the Bio-region which in turn leads to improved problem solving.
We took people on various trips to Auroville Botanical Garden to learn about vermicompost, herbal gardening and global warming. Auroville Botanical Garden worked with AVAG staff members to teach them how to plant kitchen gardens. We took this information and generously donated seed packets to more than 200 SHG members who planted home gardens this year. Village members were impressed with the results and saw many vegetable types for the first time.
Women of five SHGs visited Handicrafts Exhibition organized by the Corporation for the Development of Women in Chennai. Here the women were exposed to and inspired by art crafted by local women from around the state.
We arranged a trip to Mahapalipuram for the elected leaders, the Panchayat, and the leaders of the federations of women and men to visit a successfully run solid waste management unit and in future this activity will be implemented in selected village panchayats
Women who work with us have received little formal education and are often unaware of the scale of issues in society and options available to them for help.
Seminars are used to educate group members about the importance of savings, maintaining records and verifying financial statements. At the same time, group members are made aware of different sources to formal credit that are available to them such as direct bank loans and internal lending. Sessions on loan application procedures are conducted. Ethical and democratic processes within groups for sanctioning loans are also discussed and encouraged.
For the success of government schemes which are aimed at improving rural life in India, it is imperative for the rural population to be well-versed with these schemes. We use its wide network to spread awareness about these schemes and helps group members to take advantage of these services; such as welfare schemes, SEDAB scheme (aimed at sustainable enterprise development), welfare schemes for women and life insurance schemes.
To bring a positive shift in thinking, attitude and action by providing access to the right information and m group members well informed.
Seminars on health include the indigenous as well as topics of modern medicine. Group members are educated about the value of traditional, local food and medicinal herbs in maintaining health as well as the knowledge of yoga. On the other hand, modern medical epidemics like diabetes are also discussed. Special attention is given to women’s health issues and menstrual hygiene management which is traditionally considered a taboo to discuss openly. Information on alcohol de-addiction services is made available.
Village Development: Seminars on different ideas for village work camps and micro projects are conducted.
Environment: Sensitivity to environmental degradation and eco-sensitive practices is a recurring theme in AVAG seminars. Group members are educated about water and waste management. They are also taught how to grow their own food in kitchen gardens to bring food security while establishing a deeper connection with nature.
Gender: Questioning the patriarchal system and eradicating gender-based discriminations is one of the goals of AVAG. Group members are educated about the social responsibility to stop violence against women.
Meeting regularly helps groups to foster a sense of community. The members get to know each other personally and form deep bonds that are more resilient than financial ties can be.
SHG Level Meetings
These are conducted fortnightly and all members of the group are required to attend. During these meetings, the group discusses their internal loan affairs and audits. Regular meetings help to maintain transparency. Members also share personal issues if they are facing any and seek support from fellow members.
Federation General Body Meetings
These meetings are attended by one member from each club in federation. In them, several discussions are conducted by AVAG development workers regarding prevalent social issues and an effort is made to bring a positive shift in the mentality of the women. They are encouraged to debate and problem solve, therefore improving their critical observations of the way society functions and the future of their community.