Jaipur: The Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) honoured women and transgender persons in Jaipur and Ajmer on March 09 for their roles as ‘Community Champions’ on International Women’s Day. Women’s leadership and empowerment were discussed today as part of this year’s theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
At an event in Jaipur, among the community champions who were felicitated included Pushpa Mai, transgender leaders, and Sonia, a staff member of CFAR who has shown exemplary courage as a single mother. In a statement, Rakhee Badhwar from CFAR Jaipur said, “We once again celebrated women’s struggles, resilience and achievements. A lot needs to be done before the poorest and the most marginalised are able to make significant progress in their lives.”
CFAR, working in 69 urban settlements of Jaipur on WASH inclusion with the support of the Water for Women fund of the Australian government, is collaborating with the National Urban Livelihood Mission, Jaipur Heritage and Jaipur Greater Municipal Corporation. The joint event was conducted as part of the week-long campaign on gender equality, recognizing the commitments and determination of the community and stakeholders in achieving a gender-inclusive future.
The success stories of the community champions including transgender, persons with disabilities, women and girls, in strengthening menstrual hygiene and health management and men who have involved themselves in redefining gender norms and contributed to the progress in achieving gender equality were shared.
Over 120 participants, representing 24 settlements belonging to 19 wards in Jaipur, gathered on the occasion. During the event, women, persons with disabilities, girl champions and CSOs have been felicitated for their efforts and collective commitment to gender equality when it comes to dignity, safety and access to all services which enhance the quality of life such as safe and sustainable WASH services, nutrition, healthcare and livelihood, among others.
“This event also strongly reiterated the importance of focusing much on gender equality and inclusive society,” said Badhwar. The felicitation was done by the key officers of Jaipur Heritage and Greater Jaipur Municipal Corporations – National Urban Livelihood Mission.
Around 17 Self-Help Groups with over 170 women belonging to various settlements in Jaipur were trained by the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) on livelihood under sanitation to produce products including low-cost sanitary napkins, masks, floor cleaners, herbal agarbathi, washing soaps and liquid handwash. A four-page flyer depicting the various products prepared by the SHGs was released during the event.
This event helped in showcasing the role played by the community platforms in partnership with the government departments during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were able to reach and support the vulnerable population to access sanitation through a film that was shown during the event.
Anita Mittal, Deputy Commissioner, NULM said, “Any effort that involves women is very effective, it helped in creating a cleaner, healthier, safe and sustainable change. NULM is committed to enhancing livelihoods, especially among persons with disabilities, women and transgender. The knowledge provided to women in the family would not only benefit her but also to the entire family, and NULM will continue to work in partnership with these vulnerable groups to make a difference together.”
Banwari Lal Atal District Program Officer, NULM, said “Congratulations to women! NULM is proud to be part in strengthening the livelihood of the urban poor through SHGs. The SHGs did remarkable work, especially during the pandemic, which proved women are no less than anybody else. Today is just a small recognition of their innumerable efforts to support the urban poor.”
Dinesh, State ASHA coordinator, said, “The National Health Mission is committed to reaching women and children in the urban slums through ASHAs, and we are able to focus and strengthen our programme on women and child health. We are committed to strengthening it through a gender-sensitive perspective, and we require women volunteers to carry it forward. CFAR has managed to create such platforms and we are committed to work in partnership with them to reach the larger population.”
Akhila Sivadas, Executive Director of CFAR said, that women had been central in coping with the pandemic and contributing to the process of building both an integrated response and a pathway for recovery. “This includes everything that the community, particularly the sanitation and frontline workers and marginalized groups such as transgender and persons with a disability, have done to minimise the spread of COVID-19, primarily through safe and effective hand-washing practices, and improving sanitation for all and dignity of the community.”
Sivadas said, “This year’s theme recognizes the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more gender-equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.”
“There are more community representatives who have emerged as “Community Champions” in all the key areas whether it is strengthening sanitation, addressing violence against women, bridging the gaps in accessing social, WASH and legal entitlements, and addressing boldly addressing gender biases in every walk of life,” said Badhwar.