Mr. Abhijit Pawar, Founder & Chairman,
Delivering Change Fundation &
Managing Director, Sakal Media Group
In the last three-and-a-half years, women have efficiently addressed numerous problems in various sectors like water, health, employment and others. Now, we are all set to initiate a Leadership Development Programme designed for them. Elections will be held under the Tanishka Forum. This initiative will boost the strength of women. This is a unique platform to enhance the capabilities of women.
Tanishka Forum was launched three-and-a-half years ago to uphold the dignity of women and through Tanishka, we have managed to uphold it. The women who gathered under this platform have accomplished numerous works across the State and even continue to do so. From Umarga to Gadhinglaj and Jirad near Alibaug to Sakoli in Bhandara, Tanishka has played a very important role in bringing about social change.
It was noticed that the desire and enthusiasm to bring about change in the society is equal in all the Tanishka’s across the State. Tanishka, which has reached nearly one lakh women from the state has also enabled 15,000 success stories, impacting positively nearly 60 lakh women.
The women came together to resolve the issues and insecurities faced by them. Women started speaking and acting on the three main insecurities faced bythem; physical, emotional and social.
They were not alone in their endeavours. They had the Tanishka group and members to stand by them. They also garnered support from government officials, police, municipal councils, municipal corporations, self-help groups and banks. Moreover, they were able to garner public participation in numerous works. This is the most important aspect of works undertaken by Tanishka. Tanishka has taken the lead in reaching out to the public on numerous schemes launched by the government. They are playing the role of messengers/ ambassadors of peace, cleanliness and water.
The brand ambassador of Swachh Maharashtra is a Tanishka, Sangeeta Avhade. Numerous Tanishkas’ are leading the ‘Aamcha Gaon, Aamcha Vikas’ and other such schemes at their villages.
The miracle of public participation
The initiatives undertaken by Tansihka are of various forms, but their scope is large. There are thousands of examples to show that the greater public has been benefiting from the works undertaken by the Tanishka Forum. Some of these initiatives are worth taking cognizance of.
The Tanishka women have the support of the reporters of Sakal Media Group in their endeavours. They have the support of Sakal, Saam and publications on an independent website. They have the benefit of a call centre for communication. They have literacy programmes. Several large organisations and experts have extended support to Tanishka Forum due to their bond with Sakal.
Yashwantrao Chavan Open University has adopted 10 villages in the State. The transformation of these villages has begun with the help of Tanishka. Upon recommendation from Tanishka women and other platforms, Sakal Relief Fund could generate a storage capacity of 533 crore litres by conducting de-silting in 296 villages in the State. This not only reduced water crises in the villages, but also gave boost to public participation. Thousands of villagers came together in various villages to aide the relief fund with Rs 4 crore 60 lakh. The value of public contribution, contribution in terms of fuel and voluntary contribution is nearly Rs 50 crore. The agriculture in these villages in flourishing due to the catchment areas that were developed. The change in economy will be visible. The Tanishka women laid roads of one to three kilometres at three locations by using murum alongside the de-silting work. These have become the road to development for those villages. Pendgaon in Jalgaon district discontinued the tanker service they had been availing since the last 32 years.
Tanishka women have also been successful in mitigating several issues between villagers in various villages. For example, the women were successful in mitigating a road related issue that had been haunting the Kawalwadi village in the Solapur district for 66 years. The district administration paid attention to the village and sanctioned Rs eight lakh for the construction of the road. The village also got solar lamps. The issue of ‘Patrasta’ which had been lingering for 25 years at Chinchodi Village was solved due to the intervention from Tanishka women, which benefited 500 villagers. In Shripatraiwadi, the Tanishka women presented the water budget and water and progress are moving hand-in-hand due to Tanishka’s lead. Tanishka women have been active participants of the State government’s Jalyukt Shivar programme.
Lease to Life… Health Consciousness!
The health camps organised for Tanishka women have been eye openers pertaining to women’s’ health in the State. Nearly 50,000 women from across the State benefited from these health camps, which brought to light the low haemoglobin levels among the women from Maharashtra.
Under the guidance of medical experts and doctors, innovative initiatives were introduced. Free check up camps saved the lives of over 50 women from cancer. The families of over 10,000 Tanishka women benefited from the cataract check ups organised in Khandesh. Salty water consumed by the villagers of Shindkheda and Borhadi in Dhule district and Pachora and Bhadgaon in Jalgaon district was found to affect the vision and lead to various stomach ailments. The State health machinery in this region had been unable to diagnose these abnormal medical conditions prevailing in the region. Tanishka women become more health conscious and also developed sisterhood. If any woman was detected with cancer, the other Tanishka members were there to provide moral support. They also took to social media to provide timely help in terms of blood or money to the needy persons.
Discovery of new ways of life
Tanishka women have now and again demanded for new employment opportunities in the urban and rural sectors of the State. Various training programmes with the support of bank officials, NABARD, AATMA and others paved way for initiation of various projects which enabled 5,000 Tanishka women to be independent. The number of Tanishka women involved in Animal Husbandry are on the rise.
Quilts manufactured in Dhule and Jalgaon have reached the international market. Home-made products named after a small village in Vidarbha has now become a well-known brand. Daryapur Pickles, Kodamendhi Rice, Aarni Paper, Cloth Bags, Hingana Chocolate, Nagpur-based Nandanvan Faral, Nagar’s Banana Powder and spicy Nachani Papad are among the several handmade products launched by Tanishka women.
The number of women involved in exhibiting products for marketing and sales is also rising steadily. About 40 to 50 Tanishka women have been earning nearly Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 from the bi-monthly Haat Bazaar organised in Nashik. The snacks centre run at Seawoods in Navi Mumbai has improved their economic status in the last three years.
Over 400 women from Beed, Jalgaon and Kolhapur are now empowered due to the vocational training in sewing. Medha in Satara district now manufactures eco-friendly sanitary napkins. Thirty Tanishka’s from Panwadi in Pune district have started eco-tourism.
Tanishka women have planted over four lakh trees in the State in the last three years. Oilseed bearing plants like Laxmi were propagated by these women. On the occasion of Vatapoornima, numerous innovative programmes have been organised by these women. One of them was planting saplings from a large banyan tree from Mhasave in Satara district at various places in the State. Nashik district’s Birole has become famous as the Tanishka members who were the Sarpanch and Dy Sarpanch in the village stopped sand mining in the area, thus improving the water levels in the river. This resulted in improved cultivation and thus a better village economy.
Agriculture became profitable
Often, the efforts of women involved in farming are not noticed. However, Tanishka women from Bhose, Karkamb and Bardi villages in Solapur district, earned almost Rs 50,000 from chilly exports changing the picture of women farmers. This paved way for more women to take up farming, who earned huge sums by cultivating fruits, sugarcane and others. Tanishka women from Boramani village in Solapur district cultivated organic vegetables that were sold in Mumbai markets. These efforts were recognized by Lok Mangal Bank, which supported 100 women with Rs 10,000 each. 40 Tanishka’s from Takali Sikandar in Solapur opened a dairy in order to change the economics of the village. 700 farmers were brought under one roof by Tanishka women in Jalgaon and Beed to compile a soil health report in the area. They also warned the
farmers about the ill-effects of excessive use of pesticides. Group farming was introduced in Satara and Ratnagiri under the leadership of Tanishka’s. With such decisions, Tanishka women have earned themselves a better economic status.
Expressing empathy and sensitivity
For two years, Tanishka women from Kandari Village in Jalgaon have been relentlessly working towards building homes for 400 families from the Scheduled Castes. They have provided a place of residence to
nearly 2,500 people through this initiative. Nearly 325 homes in Khadkeseem in Jalgaon and Matori in Beed district have now been registered on the name of women. There is also a help centre run by the Tanishka women in Pachora in Jalgaon, which has saved 52 families from falling apart. Tanishka women have succeeded in stopping six child marriages in Pune and Jalgaon.
Three Tanishka women had to sell their ‘mangalsutra’ in order to make their villages free of open defecation. Over 800 personal toilets were erected in Boramani, Kekatumra and Takali Sikander villages under the leadership of Tanishka women. Not only did this solve the health issues faced in these villages but also gave a push to women security.
Tanishka women have also been effective in brining in alcohol prohibition in Dabhadi in Yavatmal and Tung in Sangli district, Vasantnagar Tanda in Beed district, Chinchodi in Nashik and seven to eight such villages. They were also instrumental in reducing the number of accidents by installing reflectors along the road leading to sugar factories in Solapur district.
There are several examples where issues related to water, road, ration and others have been solved by these women. It is also now a tradition in multiple villages to welcome the birth of a girl child.
The need for leadership development
Due to the success of various initiatives undertaken though the platform of Tanishka, one is noticing the growing curiosity at national as well as at International levels. People are becoming more curious to know about these initiatives. Considering this encouraging feedback, we have decided to launch a year long programme aimed at leadership and skills development for women who are associated with the platform of Tanishka.
Under this new programme, we are planning to hold elections in the months of October and November. The contestant who receives maximum votes and numbers will get a chance to represent the at taluka level.
The contestants who will receive the votes of second and third number will also get a chance to become member of various committees. This election procedure is completely different than the procedure in which elections are held today. These elections will be devoid of strategic moves, rivalries among the contestants, claims-counter claims made against each other. More importantly, we expect that these elections and the action plan which will be laid out soon will strongly reflect the viewpoint of women. One notices that even after implementation 50 per cent reservations to women in local self-governments, we rarely see that their expectations and opinions are adequately reflected in the overall decision making processes.
The voters who will get a chance to elect representatives will be Tanishka members only or the members associated with Self-help Groups, Rotary, Lions’ Club. The working women as well as home makers will participate in elections which will be held in three stages. If a woman is empowered, her family will change, and once her family changes the society will be empowered.
This novel initiative will definitely give a boost toward the development of democratic principals in the society. Under this programme, regular training workshops will be held for elected representatives. In each district, Advisory committees having all women experts will be formed. These committees will provide guidance to women on several social issues. A shadow cabinet or Ministry will be formed through elected representatives. The members of this cabinet will get a chance to understand the working of various department. These members will work as liaison between government officials and common women. The action plan will be made to resolve set tasks with the help of public participation or by raising these issues to the government. Through this initiative various pressure groups will be created at various levels right from Grampanchayat to Mantralaya. Tanishka members regardless of their profession, will be surely benefited through the nature of working of this programme. I am sure that on the same line in which our earlier initiatives under Tanishka platform have served as a significant platform for several members to showcase their talent, this new initiative and the following action plans will definitely help in shaping a new model for social development. I appeal to women in Maharashtra to participate in Tanishka platform.
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