Chetana Women’s group is one of the exemplary women’s groups of FEDO. The group that was formed in November, 2012 and has been actively participating in government led need identification meeting (for development intervention). The group has been successful in securing budget for Dalit women specific needs in the locality of the current fiscal year.
Although the group is only a month old, led by an active Dalit woman activist, Sumitra Sob, it has been able to secure funds for income generating activities from the Village Development Committee (VDC). Sob, apart from being the chairperson of the group is affiliated with various other local governance structures, such as school management committee, paralegal committee. Even before formation of the current women’s group, she had single handedly managed to obtain budget from the VDC office. The budget was used to conduct legal aid training for Dalit women; focusing on violence against women and untouchability. At present, this dynamic female is leading the women’s group in Malakheti and has been a role for entire members.
This 25 member group, with the direction of a leader such as Sob and with the help of FEDO conducted a meeting so as to identify the needs of Dalit women in the locality. This assessment was carried out before the VDC council. (VDC council is a meeting conducted by Government of Nepal every year in between Dec and Jan to identify the development needs of the locality). From the meeting, the group identified the major areas of interventions. These findings were shared in the VDC council meeting. As the need of Dalit community was pre-thought, the group could present it effectively and hence their proposal was prioritized in the VDC council. As a result of which, the proposal of the group has been accepted and an amount of NRs. One hundred 20 thousand, equivalent to 100 Euro was allocated for the group to conduct community awareness program focusing on Dalit community.
Similarly, with the help of FEDO, the group has prepared a proposal for the next fiscal year. The proposal is about income generation activities (tailoring) for Dalit women. As the women’s group has the dual role of community activism, and saving and credit, the group has proposed to make financial contribution from the savings they have made. Such proactive involvement has been appreciated by the VDC officials.