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Proud moment as our Helpdesk & Single Window Forum members received certificate of appreciation from the Women and Child Development Department at the Khishori Mela. CFAR was recognized as the best NGO partner for empowering urban poor communities with health & nutrition services. On the occasion of the 14th National Voters' Day, the District Collector of Ajmer, in collaboration with the District Election Office Ajmer, felicitated CFAR. CFAR received recognition in the "Best NGO" category for its commendable efforts in motivating and facilitating diverse community groups to register themselves as voters of the nation.


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Ajmer District Collector Felicitated CFAR on National Voters’ Day

January 25, 2024 – Ajmer

On the occasion of the 14th National Voters’ Day, the District Collector of Ajmer, in collaboration with the District Election Office Ajmer, felicitated CFAR and Mx. Saloni, a transgender representative.

CFAR received recognition in the “Best NGO” category for its commendable efforts in motivating and facilitating diverse community groups to register themselves as voters of the nation. The organization has been  awarded for supporting marginalized groups—over 94 transgender individuals, persons with disabilities, and elderly persons—during the Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) process. Additionally, CFAR’s impactful work in SVEEP activities in 2023 has been acknowledged by the department.

Mx. Saloni was honored for the stellar role she played in motivating transgender individuals to participate in voting and SVEEP activities.

Other dignitaries present at the event included the Divisional Commissioner, Inspector General of Police (IGP Ajmer), Additional Magistrate, and Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Ajmer.

Celebrations to mark the World Toilet Day begin in Bhubaneswar

Launch of Campaign by Dy Mayor: 14 Nov

The banner “Salute the Champions in the Community and WASH system that shaped Inclusive and Climate- Resilient Sanitation, Bhubaneswar” – captured the significance of the event held on Nov 14 at Cluster 6, Ward no 22, Bhubaneswar.

Launching the campaign for the World Toilet Day that falls on Nov 19, Manjulata Kanhara, Deputy Mayor, urged those who do not have access to household toilets to “get in touch with the Sanitary Inspector and apply for the same.” She appreciated the community outreach by Transgender SHGs that are engaged in sanitation work.

The event became a forum for diverse stakeholders in the WASH system to share their experiences and views. Noting that the event coincided with Children’s Day, Khulana Sethi, AWW Supervisor urged families to make children conscious of the use of toilets. Gagan, SDA member, stated that there is a growing involvement of women who promote toilets within their home and community. Rahas Bihari Saha, Sanitary Inspector reinforced the message “Stop Open Defecation”. He also spoke of the importance of waste segregation. Meghna Sahoo, Third Gender Welfare Trust (TWT) talked about the long-standing need for Transgender Toilet, stating that she has raised this issue with the Deputy Mayor.

“Be the Change you want to see in the World”, the inspirational words of Mahatma Gandhi were prominent at the rally that was then carried out to spread the message of inclusive and climate-resilient WASH.

Deputy Mayor, Bhubaneswar kicks off campaign to mark the upcoming World Toilet Day, 19 November

“Those who do not have access to household toilets can get in touch with the Sanitary Inspector to apply for the same. SHG members are proactively reaching out to the community to empty the pits on time. This message should be shared with all others who are not present here in the meeting”, encouraging words by Manjulata Kanhara, Deputy Mayor, Bhubaneshwar in Cluster 6, Ward no 22 as she launched the campaign ahead of the World Toilet Day that falls on 19 November.

The launch saw wide participation – Partners, Ward Officials, Slum Development Association, Swaccha Sathi, Jal Sathi, representatives of sanitary workers and frontline workers. A number of voices raised important issues that intersect with safe toilets. Sudarshan Chottoray Climate Change Expert urged people to use toilets designed for climate related risks. Meghna Sahoo, TWT raised the need for community toilets for transgenders. Periodic de-sludging of pits and tanks with all safety provisions – was stressed upon. And a simple appeal by Rahas Bihari Saha, Sanitary Inspector to stop polluting the environment – Stop Open Defecation.

Protect from Mosquitoes to Prevent Disease: a well-received performance at IITF, Delhi

Visitors at Hall No 4, Pragati Maidan at the opening of the India International Trade Fair, Delhi watched with interest a performance based on disease-spreading mosquitoes and the ways of prevention and treatment. “Machar se Bachein, Rogon se Bachein’ performed under the aegis of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme. had actors enacting scenes that showed patients struggling with different diseases — filariasis, malaria, dengue, chikangunia, Japanese fever and kala-azar. Each segment ended with an effective message by the medical doctor in the show on protection from mosquitoes. ‘Bittu Mosquito’- the charming Mascot flitted around – spreading the same message. Speaking randomly to people in the audience showed that the message had gone down well.



Empower women to combat violence

Lalita Panicker, HT

Gram sakhis and women’s forums in Kishangarh, Ajmer are promoting helpline numbers to deal with violence against women, covering 33 villages in the district.

Violence against women thrives where a combination of factors ranging from isolation, shame and patriarchy combine to ensure a culture of silence. Change can be effected when women come together to put up a joint front. A perfect example is the coming together of gram sakhis and women’s forums in Kishangarh, Ajmer, promoting helpline numbers to deal with violence. These agents of social change are undaunted by the patriarchal environment they live in, now covering 33 villages in the district.

In a remarkable effort, they have formed survivor support groups, trained themselves to be paralegal volunteers, and are tirelessly working to raise awareness about violence against women. Each gram sakhi is responsible for one gram panchayat with a know-how of legally and socially addressing the issue of violence, empowering those who have suffered and holding the perpetrators accountable.

Saraswati, a gram sakhi from Roopangarh, is also a suraksha sakhi (protection buddy), designated by the Roopangarh police station. She says, “I was able to gain knowledge on laws and redressal mechanisms, which gave me the confidence and motivation to spread awareness in my village. Now, I am sharing information on helplines and providing self-defence training to school-going girls.”

These women feel that despite comprehensive laws to protect women, many still face violence. One reason is the lack of knowledge of the available redressal mechanisms. “We have launched an intensified door-to-door awareness campaign to inform women about the helpline for violence against women. This helpline serves as a crucial resource for women who may be experiencing violence or abuse. By spreading the word about this valuable tool, we hope to empower women,’’ says Sakina, member of the women’s forum and a survivor of violence from Chundari village. “We were unaware of any mechanisms to lodge a complaint or reach out at the time of need or in trouble, and if we are told verbally, we forget the numbers. But now that they are pasted on the walls of our houses, it is easy to remember,” says Lali Rao, a Scheduled Caste woman from Roopangarh.

To its credit, the government has established various resource centres to provide justice to women, such as the district legal services authority, one-stop sakhi centres, women’s safety centres, and the state women’s commission. However, these can only be effective if the women are aware and have access to appropriate mechanisms.

Are the women worried about a backlash? Not at all, is their resounding answer. The women’s group was set up to create a narrative around preventing violence against women. This group has taken up the responsibility to educate every woman in the village about the legal framework and helplines established by the government. They are diligently going door-to-door and putting up posters outside each house that contain vital information regarding all available services, including helpline numbers that can be utilised in the event of any violence against women. This group hopes to empower women to seek support through the helplines in case of violence against them or their female peers. It’s a commendable effort to create a safer and more informed community.

The campaign, which has been jointly mounted by the district legal services authority, department of women and child development, one-stop crisis centres, gram panchayat, and suraksha sakhi groups with support from the Centre for Advocacy and Research in Kishangarh, has reached 3,210 households. If this becomes a movement, as it should, the message will go out that there really is strength in numbers and in creating wider ownership both within the government as well as in civil society.

Gram Sakhis and Women’s Forums Disseminating and Promoting Helpline Numbers to Deal with Violence, Block Kishangarh, Ajmer

Saraswati a Gram Sakhi of Roopnagarh, has been designated by the Roopangarh Police Station as a Suraksha Sakhi (Protection Buddy).  This is under an initiative by the Rajasthan Police to form Suraksha Sakhi Groups (Protection Buddy Groups) in every police station across the state to support the safety and security of girls and women.

On her new role, Saraswati says, “I gained knowledge on laws and redressal mechanisms. My confidence grew and I was motivated to raise awareness of the people in my village.”

Indeed, Saraswati has been doing just that. Her efforts are paying off.  The village community is now aware of the helplines they can access in times of need, of distress including 1090, 1098, 100, and 181. Saraswati adds, “As a Suraksha Sakhi, I also collaborate with the police to impart training on self-defence to school-going girls.”

Saraswati is part of a wide network of Gram Sakhis or Village Buddy – who are local village women motivated to become a social change agent in their area.  Gram Sakhis, cover 33 villages falling within 10-gram panchayats in Kishangarh block, Ajmer district. They work closely with frontline workers, paralegal volunteers at the village level and collaborate with other networks such as Women’s Forums and Survivor Support Groups for raising awareness on Violence Against Women (VAW).

Despite the existence of lawsand implantation authorities to protect women against crimes, women continue to face violence.  The primary reason is the lack of knowledge on redressal mechanisms available to them. They simply do not know where and how to report incidents of violence. Eight Gram Sakhis, each responsible for one Gram Panchayat along with 93 members of Women’s Forums have taken up this challenge head-on. Their objective is to educate and inform women about VAW including the redressal mechanisms in place.

The effect of the work of Gram Sakhis is becoming increasingly evident.  They have been able to share their own increased understanding and knowledge on how to address VAW with the village community.  This covers both the legal and social aspects of VAW. Further, those who have faced violence have been empowered to speak out, to call out perpetrators, to hold them accountable

“We have launched an intensified door-to-door awareness campaign on the helpline for VAW. This serves as a crucial resource for women who may be facing violence or abuse. Our objective is to spread the word about this valuable tool that can empower women and provide them the required support for their safety and security,’’ says Sakina, Member, Women’s Forum, village Chundari, Patan Gram Panchayat.

Sakina herself is a survivor of violence. Along with members of the group, Sakina is determined to reach each of the 153 households in Chundari. The group has already covered 70 per cent of the households.

All this is shaping sensibilities on the ground.  A deeper understanding and awareness of not only the issue but how to protect oneself –is taking root.  “We were not aware of any mechanisms to complain or reach out to when we needed or were in trouble.  Even though the helpline numbers had been shared with us verbally, we would forget. But now these have been pasted in our houses. We see them and find it easy to remember. We can access this and also help others when they face violence.  This has been very helpful to us indeed” says Lai Rao, SC women, Roopangarh Gram Panchayat.

The government has stepped in to offer support both at the level of governance as well as provision of legal services. The establishment of the District Legal Services Authority, One Stop Sakhi Center, Women’s Safety Center, and the State Women’s Commission –all point to the intent and engagement at the governmental level.

However, these can only be effective if the women are made aware of these facilities and have access to mechanisms. On the ground, this effort has gained momentum. At the village level, a group of women and adolescent girls began to discuss these issues in order to create a narrative around VAW and its prevention.

This group has taken up the responsibility to educate every woman in the village about the legal framework and helplines established by the government. They are putting in enormous effort, going diligently door-to-door. Outside each house, posters giving crucial information on all available services including helplines are pasted.

Their outreach is wide, their dedication commendable.  The group is driven by the desire to empower women to seek help for themselves as well as others who are facing violence. Their hope is that all this would help create a safer and more informed community.

Indeed, theirs has been an inspired effort.  It speaks of their commitment towards creating a safer environment for all.

The door-to-door campaign began a month ago. The campaign began with priority households with survivors of violence, school going girls, single women, elderly women and Dalit women.

3210 households in 10 Gram Panchayats namely Sursura, Roopangarh, Harmara, Khaotli, Barna, Kadha Bandersindri, Nalu, Salemabad and Patan –have been covered till date.

The women’s group is being supported by the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR). CFAR is implementing the project ‘Building a Coordinated Response to prevent and reduce Gender based Violence (GBV) in Kishangarh block, district Ajmer, Rajasthan supported by India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) and Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) .

Collective Effort Needed To Build Equal & Gender Responsive Wash: Dr Seetharam

Bhubaneswar(27/05/2022): For localizing SDG 6, the Network enabled 20 WASH CSOs from eight states to learn from the community, CFAR and urban local body, Bhubaneswar and their collective effort to build equal and gender responsive WASH and the learning was rich, said Dr Seetharam, Member of Steering Committee, FANSA Network at a Learning-Sharing event on Localising SDG -6: Placing Community at the centre of WASH Response was hosted by Centre for Advocacy and Research, MARI and Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) in Bhubaneswar. Reflecting on the field visit in ward 21, Dr Seetharam highlighted on the “need to ensure transparency and accountability so that synergies can be built between theory and praxis.” The event brought together multi-stakeholders and WASH practitioners from 20 CSOs from across eight states, who are part of FANSA Network to deliberate on model practices in community engagement being implemented across 67 wards in Bhubaneswar by CFAR. In her keynote address Sulochana Das, Mayor, Bhubaneswar highlighted the efforts of the State government and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation to make Bhubaneswar an inclusive and livable city for all citizens including marginal communities.
“As part of Jaga Mission 200 slums have been upgraded as Biju Adarsh Colonies.

Monitoring of Faecal Sludge Management Services in Informal Urban Settlements in Odisha, India


Giving numerical value to demand, supply and existing challenges in providing safe emptying of pits persuade the urban local body and other stakeholders to take measures for expediting the safe empty of pits

Community engagement and participatory monitoring results in securing safe sanitation and ensure service inclusion of last-mile population.

Tracking slum-wise demandwithin a Wardreduced the waiting time of desludging of pits and instilled a sense of dignity in the women headed households

Sukumari Rout- Turning adversity into opportunity

The story of Sukumari Rout, an elderly artist with disability traces her day to day predicaments as an elderly disabled woman, who faces multiple barriers of gender, age, weak financial situation and is forced to compromise her sense of personhood at various levels. Undoubtedlythe support fromWater for Women Project team and the key stakeholders has enabledher to both cope and come out of the worst. There are many like Sukumariwho are struggling everyday to deal with multiple problemsand need the unflinching support of government, private sector agencies and communities to livea life ofdignity.

Gopi Devi – I can lead a life of dignity

The story of Gopi Devi etches out clearly the challenges that disabled personsface.In this case a disabled person is a woman, who experienced four-fold barriers of gender, disability, poverty,and last but not the least low educational attainment and skill. In the context of the pandemic, these challenges became even more life threatening. However,it is at this stage that the Water for Women Project played a very important role. Not only did Gopi get the unflinching support of the Community Management Committee (CMC) and the project team but also a platform to speak up and reach out to and sensitise many key stakeholders and leverage the much-needed opportunity to ensure that the WASH system commits itself to disability inclusion in ways that has never happened before. It is in this context that this case study based on Gopi’s testimony assumes significance.

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