Mahila Samakhya (MS)
Department of Education, Ministry of HRD, Government of India, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi 110 001
Shalini Prasad, Project Director
A pilot programme of the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resources, Government of India. Born out of the emphasis given in the new education policy of 1986 to create education programmes that help in bringing about women's equality. Mahila means women and Samakhya is a combination of two words sama meaning equal and akhya meaning to be valued or weighed. Launched in Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in 1989 with Dutch assistance. The project was extended to Andhra Pradesh at the end of 1992. By 1996 the project was being implemented in 2,574 villages of 16 districts in the four States.
To create an environment for women to learn at their own pace, set their own priorities and seek knowledge and information to make informed choices.
States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh (AP), Kerala Karnataka, Assam and Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Builds village-level collectives or sanghas, which allow women to engage in various activities and make decisions independently. A group of two or more women, called sahayoginis (facilitator), trained to work as catalysts, facilitates the formation of the sangha. The sangha focuses on programmes in literacy for adult women, adolescents through NFE and creche centres. Village Education Committee monitors anganwadis, enrolment of school dropouts, discussions with teachers and parents, checks out sanitation and drinking water facilities in schools.
Mahila Sikshana Kendras are residential courses aimed at developing a pool of trained and literate women/ girls at the village level and imparts life skills to enable learners to join the mainstream education system. ECCE Centres in Gujarat, Bal Mitra Kendras for girls in AP and Bihar, Udan Khatolas in UP provide a creative learning opportunity. Kishori Sanghas for young women - kishoris (members) help with sangha documentation, correspondence etc.
The mahila sanghas help to effectively access, harness and utilise resources available at village, block and district levels, specially government sponsored programmes; helps develop leadership qualities among women to establish cadre of village-level organisers and activists - in UP and Gujarat sakhis and sahayoginis have received intense training in laws relating to women and have started Nari Adalats/ Mahila Panch.
Training is done at several levels; to develop a gender perspective, critical faculty to respond flexibly to sangha needs, enhance specific skills like communication and process documentation. It is also done to provide the sangha with understanding in sectors like health, resource management, legal literacy, appropriate technology and non-traditional skills among many others. Sangha takes up health-related activities like cleaning community facilities and drinking water sources, sensitising community on health issues, motivating families to practise family planning. Provides training on legal literacy and helps the sangha act as a forum for social and gender justice. Sanghas help women to start income generation activities by providing loans and have access to various savings schemes.
Newspapers and broad sheets -these are priced publications in some districts of UP and Assam; gender training manuals, governance manuals, newsletters in various languages.
To enable sanghas to play an independent and empowered role without depending on Mahila Samakhya personnel. To build lateral solidarity among sanghas and to form federations at block and district levels.
Bilateral grants from Royal Netherlands Embassy to Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and from there to various states.
No. 68 1st Cross, II main, HAL III rd Stage, JB Nagar,
Bangalore 560 075
Tel: 080-5277471, 5262988
Plot Number 39, Arvind Colony. Domalguda Hyderabad 500 029
Contact: Nandini Prasad
2nd Basisthapur Bylane, Beltola Road Nr Dispur Tel Exchange, Guwahati Tel: 0361-262025
Contact: Indira Mazoomdar
Bihar Shiksha Paritonja Parishad
Beltron Bhawan, Shastri Nagar, Patna
Tel: 0612-285793, 238369
Contact: Sr Sabeena
SPD Hostel, Govt Polytechnic Campus, Ambawadi, Ahmedabad 380 015
Contact: Manda L Rishi
TC No 15/2037, Women's College Lane, Vazhuthakadu
Thiruvananthapuram 695 014
Tel: 0471-325628, 325616
Contact: Mini Sukumar
3/8-9 Patrakarpuram, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow
Tel: 0522-391394, 397062
Contact: Manju Agarwal
D-9 Madina Colony, Shivaji Nagar, Bhopal