Rural women are constantly exposed to social and political action, which exploits them and places them at a disadvantageous position, in comparison with men. The Rural Women’s Empowerment Project-I (RWEP-I) was conceived to involve women in the decision-making process of their respective village. This programme was a step towards empowering women in different ways to resist all such acts, which lead to their exploitation.
The centre successfully implemented this project in five blocks of Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan. The focus was on health, legal rights, social justice, Panchayati Raj (Village-level local governance) and the basic needs of women.
As a part of the RWEP-I, an integrated and intensive development project, called Village Upliftment Programme, was also executed in six villages of Chittorgarh block. Most of the project areas were backward and underdeveloped. The project was implemented with the following objectives:
- Improve civic services, through constant public pressure; and
- Make village women aware, active and enthusiastic, so that they can initiate action not only in their villages, but encourage similar activities in other villages as well.
People were made aware of their rights and women self-help groups were formed in over thirty villages. The self-help groups are being run by grass-roots networkers, trained by the centre, and the aim is to identify the needy women and make them economically self-sufficient, to some extent. Through the project, the capacity of women has been built to encourage them to participate in the decision-making processes. Some members of SHG groups are now elected representatives at the Gram Panchayats. The project was funded by EZE, Germany.