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Mainstreaming Gender, Engendering Development: Reflections on a Case Study

Mainstreaming gender and engendering development has now become a part of feminist and development discourse. This paper is a case study of the mv Foundation, which has implemented its programme of "Empowering Women through Collective Action" in the Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh. It shows how this foundation had consciously and concretely incorporated aspects that have the potential to mainstream gender as well as engender development. It also describes how the foundation identified the most marginalised among the rural population, apprised them of the existing rural and land-based programmes of the government and acted as a catalyst to source these programmes.

REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESEconomic & Political Weekly EPW april 26, 200877Mainstreaming Gender, Engendering Development: Reflections on a Case StudyPadmini Swaminathan, J JeyaranjanMainstreaming gender and engendering developmenthas now become a part of feminist and development discourse. This paper is a case study of the MV Foundation, which has implemented its programme of “Empowering Women through Collective Action” inthe Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh. It shows how this foundation had consciously and concretely incorporated aspects that have the potential to mainstream gender as well as engender development. It also describes how the foundation identified the most marginalised among the rural population, apprised them of the existing rural and land-based programmes of the government and acted as a catalyst to source these programmes. We are grateful to HIVOS and to MV Foundation for enabling us to use the information collected as part of the evaluation exercise and which forms the basis for the above paper. In particular, we would like to thank Jamuna Ramakrishnan, HIVOS, and Shanta Sinha, MV Foundation, for readily agreeing to our request for use of information. The study and visits to the different villages of Ranga Reddy district, Andhra Pradesh, would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of Esther Subhashini and her extremely committed team who spared no efforts in not only providing all logistical support, but also in answering our endless doubts and queries. Maithreyi Krishnaraj’s comments on an earlier draft are gratefully acknowledged even if part of it cannot be addressed in this paper since it requires further research. The usual disclaimers apply. Padmini Swaminathan (padminis@mids.ac.in) is with the Madras Institute of Development Studies and J Jeyaranjan is with the Institute for Development Alternatives, both in Chennai.What does a feminist reading of gender mainstreaming1 of public policy aimed at “development” connote in theory and practice? By the same token what would constitute “engendered development” from a feminist perspective?We begin by centre-staging the feminist notion of gender mainstreaming provided by Emanuela Lombardo and Petra Meier (2006), according to whom, at least five shifts in the policy-making process must be found to be able to say that a feminist reading of gender mainstreaming has been put into practice. These include: a shift towards a broader concept of gender equal-ity that necessarily implies changes also in men’s lifestyles; evi-dence of incorporation of a gender perspective into the main-stream political agenda; an equal political representation of wo/men as a way to ensure that women will, at least numerically, be part of the mainstream; shift in the institutional and organisa-tional cultures of political decision-making; and a shift that re-quires both “displacement” and “empowerment” for mainstream-ing to be a transformative feminist concept. The notion of development deployed in this paper emphasises, among other things, the aspect of structural transformation in the organisation of society and the economy, and that which politically addresses questions leading to alterations in the relationships of dominance and subordination. Using a concrete case study, this paper explores the manner in which a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has through its programme aimed at “Empowering Women through Collective Action” operationalised to a substantive extent the notion of gender mainstreaming explicated above, by combining eco-nomic transformation with social emancipation. This case studyalso highlights the processes that are required and those that need to be put in place to expand the substantive freedoms of people [Sen 1999] both as the “principal means” and as the “primary end” of development. The reason for grounding the dis-cussion on mainstreaming gender and engendering development with a case study is, at one level, to get away from banal generali-ties; at a more substantive level, the case study has implications for macroeconomic policies aimed at development in a way that self-help group (SHG) and other women-oriented programmes do not have. What is also significant to note is that, apart from consciously intervening in developmental activities with a avowedly gender focus, the initial interventional thrusts pro-vided by thisNGO have snowballed into a set of related but interlinked activities such that the process of development has visibly deepened.
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESapril 26, 2008 EPW Economic & Political Weekly781 The Case StudyThe case study alluded to above is a programme of the MV Foun-dation (henceforth MVF), namely, Empowering Women through Collective Action and Environment Programme, operational in the Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh, a rural hinterland, whose economy is inextricably linked with the expanding urban economy of Hyderabad.2 Like many rural hinterlands, Ranga Reddy district provides the much needed unskilled labour force for the city, among other things. Most of these workers are small peasants and are generally from the lower caste and class. The land that they owned in the hinterland was uncultivable and they had no resources either in kind or money to convert this land into productive assets and/or use the land productively. Most of their land was “assigned” lands. Assigned lands are the redistributed surplus lands to the landless by the state under some land reforms programme. Under these circumstances, when Hyderabad city provided some regular employment, most of the peasants either migrated or began commuting daily to the city. The living conditions in the city were deplorable but in a situation where they had no productive employment in their villages, the peas-ants chose to work in the urban economy. They were discrimi-nated in the urban labour market as well. They managed to fetch only low paid and irregular employment when compared to other migrant workers. MVF entered the arena (towards the end of the 1990s begin-ning of 2000) at a time when the situation had worsened consid-erably.MVF set out to regenerate the environment and livelihoods of these marginalised peasants in the hope that if it could demon-strate that the land at the disposal of the peasants, however de-graded, could be converted into a dependable livelihood source, and if in addition, it could establish the viability of land-based activities, including agriculture, the distress migration of the peasants to the city in search of some source of livelihood could be arrested. To achieve this objective, MVF devised a unique strat-egy. It firmly believed that the state had, over a period, conceived, announced, but half-heartedly implemented several land and rural-based programmes that could be profitably sourced; more importantly,MVF also realised that most of these programmes were backed by sufficient budgetary allocations.MVF leveraged such programmes to achieve its objective. Towards this,itworked with the targeted marginalised communities on the one hand, and the state bureaucracy on the other. Moreover, this study demonstrates that the state has well- conceived programmes and for which adequate resources are be-ingdedicated. A more crucial aspect of the model that we will elabo-rate concretely as we go along is that a catalyst is needed to create the much needed synergy and sequential interlinkage between conception, resource dedication and implementation of the pro-grammes on the ground. MVF has played this crucial catalytic role. 1.1 InstitutionalLinkagesThe core competence ofMVF is the strategic alliance that it estab-lishes constantly with key actors. On one side is the state. The state is referred here in a very broad sense. The state with its de-velopmental and social sector agenda has periodically announced several programmes that directly impinge on the lives and the livelihoods of the people. More importantly, the state allocates financial resources, lays out specific guidelines to be followed, develops appropriate technology in its own funded research fa-cilities, comes out with designs that it feels would suit the vary-ing natural environs of this vast country, among other things. However, it is quite well understood by now that only a fraction of the intended benefits have reached the people for whom the programmes have been conceived and for which programmes enormous scarce resources are being earmarked year after year. The problem is not just in the realm of implementation. MVF has correctly diagnosed the problem as one that of neces-sity requires multiple and simultaneous action on several fronts to actualise the benefits of the programmes. Where MVF stands out is that it has ventured to work along with the state and through this collaboration make the state accountable to the people for whom the latter has designed the programmes. In contrast, manyNGOs intervene by mobilising resources from vari-ous sources and in the process project themselves as substitute for the state. Can any organisation substitute for the state? The phi-losophy of working through the state or rather make the state programmes work has been the guiding principle for MVF not only in this relatively little known programme of “Empowering Women through Collective Action”, but also in the universally well known programme of education and child labour. Table 1 summarises the links that MVF has established with various government departments for leveraging the several land-based programmes instituted by the state of Andhra Pradesh.Table 1: Activity-wise Convergence with Government Departments by MV FoundationS No Activity Name of the Department1 Watershed District Water Management Agency (DWMA), NABARD,APARD2 National food for work (NFFW) 3 Wastelanddevelopment 4 Rural infrastructure development DWMA and NABARD programme(RIDF) 5 Comprehensive land development DWMA and Andhra Pradesh Academy of Rural programme (CLDP) Development (APARD)6 Drip irrigation system AP micro irrigation project groundwater department7 Land development SC Corporation, mandal parishad, zilla parishad8 Horticulture 9 Milch cattle AP Development Cooperation10 Lift irrigation SC Corporation, APSICDS, DWMA11 Nursery raising – seeds Forest department and DWMA, Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA)12 Environment education District educational office, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan13 Fodder cultivation and seeds Animal husbandry department, National Research Centre Sorghum (NRCS), National Seed Corporation, Regional Station for Production and Demonstration 14 Forestconservation Forest department, local institutions15 Livelihoodandwomenempowerment Indira Kranthi Programme, integrated child development services (ICDS), central cooperative bank, BC Corporation and ST Corporation,nationalised banks16 Health Primary health centre, government doctors – referralservices17 Cooperative societies District cooperate office, Central cooperative bank, Hyderabad18 Organic farming Mandal agricultural and horticulture officers19 Renewable energy Khadi board, non-conventional energy development corporation (Nedcap), rain shadow departmentSource: MV Foundation Records.
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESEconomic & Political Weekly EPW april 26, 2008792 Beneficiary Composition and Participation The beneficiaries ofMVF programmes are clearly differentiated on the basis of caste and gender. While dalits and tribals in gen-eral, and women among them in particular, are the main focus, in some areas, other backward classes (OBCs) are also included as many of the programmes are implemented for a group as a whole; hardly any programme is individual based. MVF facilitates and ensures full and continuous participation by beneficiaries in all of its programmes. For instance, under the wasteland development programme, the state earmarks a fixed sum but often such sums are grossly inadequate to complete the task. Under such circumstances, the beneficiaries are required to put in considerable resources in terms of both time and money to complete the work and realise the benefits. MVF as a policy does not mobilise money from any other source to supplement state funding, and hence, the beneficiaries have to put in their own resources. However, and as a consequence of this strategy, beneficiaries own the programme. Further, the continued functioning and viability of a programme depends not just in being able to access funds from the government for that particular programme, but in being able to source other related programmes involving different depart-ments of the government. Sourcing resources and technical help from several departments of the government in itself is a huge task apart from being time-consuming. Beyond initial facilitation byMVF, beneficiaries are themselves required to follow up with the various government departments to access related pro-grammes to bring about the much-needed synergy that the simul-taneous functioning of these programmes create. For example, the ability of beneficiaries to procure heads of cattle distributed under a particular programme is directly linked to their ability to procure fodder, which, in turn, needs land as well as initial tech-nical inputs in terms of the kind of fodder that can be profitably grown on degraded land. Such interlinked factors need inputs of all kinds – technical, monetary, personnel and physical. Above all, the most crucial input that it requires is coordinated effort on a sustained basis so that the beneficiaries do not lose the initial momentum because of delays in any one link or effort. MVF ensures that its intervention helps in facilitating the creation of synergy between programmes, in enabling the beneficiaries to make their presence at the various government departments, in overseeing the operationalisation of these efforts on the ground and in ensuring that at all times beneficiaries adhere to the basic principles that made them a beneficiary in the first place. Even ifMVF’s programme intervention is largely biased in favour of the marginalised, ultimately who benefits or gets defined as a beneficiary depends to a large extent on the nature and type of the programme. While some programmes can be clearly targeted, other programmes are not amenable for such targeting. For instance, the wasteland development programme clearly targets the dalits and adivasi landholders towards land improvement so as to ensure a stable and sustainable livelihood for them. In contrast, the watershed development programme cannot be as clearly targeted, since, in this case, it is the common property resource of the social system that is accessed. And therefore, the benefits of such an improvement cannot be confined to the intended beneficiaries alone. In fact, the benefit to non-in-tended beneficiaries because of the watershed development could be much larger as compared to the intended beneficiaries. A se-ries of check dams are constructed in a village and the rain water is stored. This, in turn, results in rise of the groundwater table ofthe village. Anybody who has a tube well can benefit from this rise in groundwater level. Given our social structure, one can easily expect the better-endowed farmers to benefit disproportionately be-cause of possessing more number of tube wells as well as landfor cultivation when compared to the peasants at the margin. Butwher-ever possible,MVF has clearly targeted its beneficiaries.3 Select Activity AnalysisIn 2006,MVF was functioning in 88 villages spread over eight mandals. In Yacharam, Manchal and Ibrahimpatna mandals, MVF is involved in 13 different activities, whereas in other mandals, the activities are of low intensity. We have given briefly the processes, impacts and challenges of a few of the several interlinked activities making up the overall programme of Women Empowerment through Collective Action. It should be recalled that at the time whenMVF entered the scene, most men of the marginalised households were forced to seek jobs in cities because of their inability to make a living in their villages from agriculture. Hence,MVF not only had to work with women of these households but also had the onerous responsi-bility of demonstrating the conditions under which agriculture and other land-based activities could be rendered viable and dependable as sources of livelihood so that the men who had migrated in search of jobs could return to work on land. 3.1 Fallow Land Development Programme Demarcating the boundaries of assigned lands, identifying the actual beneficiaries of assigned lands and thereafter initiating the process of using these lands for productive use was a Herculean but an absolutely necessary task.MVF undertook this task, so that its mission of sourcing government schemes for land development could be realised. In villages, where women’s groups were already present,MVF initiated a dialogue among the mem-bers on the possibility of cultivation of fallow/assigned lands. In villages where there were no such groups, a comprehensive sur-vey of fallow lands in terms of extent and ownership was under-taken. Gram sabha meetings were convened and the potential for cultivation was discussed. Participatory rural assessment (PRA) exercises were conducted to fine-tune the programme further. Criteria to prioritise the beneficiaries were evolved by women collectively. Preference was given to (a) land owned by single women, (b) women with small landholdings, (c) those facing a risk of migration, and/or (d) those whose lands were at a distance from the village. Such women were contacted on a regular basis and brought together as a group. They were trained in collective action and also on fallow land development. Clear lands without controversies were taken up for immediate cultivation. In cases, where there were conflicts regarding title of land, the attempt was to resolve the matter first at the village level; unresolved conflicts were taken up with the district collector. Sharing of responsibility of work on these lands through voluntary labour
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESapril 26, 2008 EPW Economic & Political Weekly80contribution was decided and a roster was prepared for this purpose. Further, the women’s groups were linked to various government schemes such as District Water Management Agency (DWMA),SC Corporation, etc. Thrift and credit activities or com-munity management funds were initiated among these groups. Table 2 gives details of the extent of fallow land brought under cultivation, the number of villages and households covered and the different departments that needed to be approached for operationalising this programme. The fallow land development programme triggered a whole range of activities. Depending on conditions of soil, availability of water, expertise and information made available to benefici-aries on the different possibilities for utilisation of land, the activities of fodder cultivation, setting up of fruit orchards, tasks related to natural resource management, and activities connected with use of crop waste for generation of bio-fuel, etc, became possible. The systematic manner in which information was made available to women along with training and field level demon-stration, enabled them to choose the kind of activity that they were comfortable with rather than have any particular activity thrust on them. For example, as part of the fallow land development programme,MVF introduced fodder cultivation covering an area of 457.5 acres. The fodder development programme has benefited 1,748 women and all of them have been trained in fodder cultivation.MVF has worked in close collaboration with the Central Fodder Station, Hyderabad, to impart professional training to women in the several aspects of fodder economy. Initially, a pilot project was launched in two villages in the year 2004. Suitable fodder varieties were introduced in these two villages. The successful demonstration of fodder cultivation in these two villages enabled its spread to other villages. We discuss at some length the activities related to cultivation of orchards, management of forest resources, and experiments initiated using renewable energy sources to highlight, among other things, the fact that even as the entry points for intervention byMVF in the different villages varied, there were certain common non-negotiable ground rules that MVF insisted upon, and which were agreed to, by the beneficiary groups. We will return to this point in our conclusion.In sum, the fallow land development programme has visibly changed the landscape and lives of the erstwhile marginalised agricultural labourers, particularly women. Not only has land been brought under cultivation, but in some areas, cropping pattern has changed from high-risk commercial crops such as cotton and castor to food crops like local millets. The emphasis on collective action has built solidarity among the groups. Women have gained more control over decisions regarding cultivation, production and sale of the produce.3.2 Cultivation of Orchards The activity of growing fruits and orchards was introduced as a measure to enhance and supplement household income. Initially, exposure visits were conducted for five to six members from each of the 15 villages to the SC Corporation Farm and to the Deccan Development Society. Simultaneously, MVF staff was also given training in development of nurseries and in tech-niques such as pruning, grafting, pest control, pit treatment for plants and so on, which in turn enabled them to train village women. Trained in the above techniques the women’s groups in the villages held discussions on what varieties of orchards could be raised and the rationale for the same. The women’s groups were further supported in accessing government schemes. MVF staff was involved in discussions and consultations with the women’s groups to draw up plans for developing orchards specific to the type of soil and grade of land. Monitoring of activities was/is done through peer exchange and mutual sup-port on methods of cultivation. MVF staff constantly monitors the utilisation of techniques of mulching for moisture retention. More important,MVF along with the women’s groups monitors sharing of water on community basis and plans for utilisation of scarce water resources. Similar monitoring of pest infestation is made and immediate advice on control of such infestation is available. The impact of such investment in time and effort is that even poor women with scarce water resources have access to and gain confidence to grow orchards with such sharing and planning. The nature of challenges thatMVF and the beneficiaries had to overcome included: (1) Convincing the SC Corporation that in spite of scarce water resources it was possible to cultivate orchards and that women, as cultivators, were eligible for land-based schemes of the government.(2) Women expressed disappointment that the plants distributed by the government yielded a different species from what was stated and which was not in much demand in the market.(3) The time lag in sanction and distribution of saplings caused a mismatch leading to grounding of the programme.(4) Women had/have to make repeated visits to the departments concerned. There is no single window for the different opera-tions. While SC Corporation gives the loan amount, the district rural development agency (DRDA) issues the subsidy. This diver-gence is time-consuming.(5) Government’s insistence on using chemical fertilisers and pesticides has to be constantly contested since women have Table 2: Scope and Coverage of Fallow Land Development ProgrammeS No Year No of Extent of Land No of Crop Sourced Villages Brought under Households Cultivated Departments of Cultivation Government of AP (inAcres) 1 1998-99 15 2,384 1,268 Bajra, jowar, SC Corporation, minormillets,DPAP,DRDA vegetables,paddy 2 2000-03 7 6,788 3,542 Bajra, jowar, AFPRO, minormillets,SCCorporation, vegetables, paddy DPAP, RIDF-6. 3 2004-05 38 7,778 3,774 Bajra, jowar, FFWP, IWDP-III, minormillets,CLDP,DWMA vegetables,paddy Total 60 16,950 8,584 DPAP: Drought-prone Area Programme, AFPRO: Action forFood Production, RIDF: Rural Infrastructure Development Fund, FFWP: Food for Work Programme, IWDP:Integrated Watershed Development Programme.Source: MV Foundation Records.
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESEconomic & Political Weekly EPW april 26, 200881been trained and are convinced of the long-term benefits of organic manures.3.3 Natural Resource ManagementAs part of land development activities, MVF facilitated the estab-lishment of links between women beneficiary groups and government schemes meant for preservation of soil and water-shed management. The establishment of links effectively meant working with several departments of government since schemes under this programme were spread over almost five to six depart-ments. The cumulative amount thatMVF managed to mobilise for this programme from the different departments between 1999 and 2006 was Rs 420.99 lakh. The process of establishing linkage involved the following steps: (1)MVF met the relevant government officials, motivated them to visit the field and interact with the women’s groups. For example, under the forestry programme, representatives of various women’s groups were brought together on the site to discuss their vision of forest protection with officials. A plan of action emerged during the process of such interaction.(2) At sangham meetingsMVF staff shared information, village-wise, and trained women leaders on the comprehensive land development programme (CLDP) of government. Gram sabha meet-ings were/are also held on the CLDP programme. Simultaneously, an action plan was drawn up for 14 villages to cover 1,053 acres under the scheme. The proposal was processed and sanctioned. (3)MVF also joined the networks of NGOs at the state level to bring pressure on government policies on land development.(4) As required by the government, appropriate committees were formed for implementation of each of the schemes.(5)Campaigns, public meetings, exposure and exchange visits were conducted for solidarity and strengthening of the women’s groups.ForMVF, the task of monitoring the progress of the schemes was an important and serious affair; it insisted that records be maintained as required by the scheme at the village level includ-ing (a) cash book, (b) minutes, (c) muster roll, (d) assets books, (e) estimations. Further, periodical review meetings, trainings, visits by staff, peer exchange and exposure visits were all conducted. The impact of such intensive engagement ensured transparency and accountability on the part of local bodies and government and also efficient use of government funds, which, in turn, has resulted in demands from non-MVF villages for introducing simi-lar practices in their villages. The coordinated efforts of MVF, women’s groups and local bodies have enhanced the credibility of the MVF women’s groups in the villages, and helped them in accessing several other government schemes and programmes. Apart from the immediate benefit to the villages, households and women covered by the programme,MVF intervention has led to important policy changes. For example, beforeMVF entered the picture, only scheduled castes (SCs) were eligible for subsi-dies that went with utilisation of drip irrigation. MVF was able to establish a case for why the subsidy needed to cover scheduled tribes (STs) also and which policy was eventually changed to include STs also. The fact thatMVF has been able to demonstrate concretely that when synergy is created between the different programmes of the government (aimed at land development) it is possible to work towards a secure source of livelihood for the hitherto marginalised and depressed sections of the village population, is now being used by the government of Andhra Pradesh to showcaseMVF villages and programmes as proof of success of its programmes, and thereby raise funds for the government from agencies such as the World Bank. The government freely draws upon MVF staff as well as women leaders of the villages as resource persons for training in these programmes in other areas of the state.Again, it is necessary to record the challenges thatMVF had to overcome and those that its staff and groups in the villages have to confront on a continuing basis. Among these are the following: (1) Initially, Ranga Reddy district was not on the government list for any land development programme as the district was simply brought under the semi-urban area list. Had it not been for the combined and persistent pressure of MVF and the women of the affected villages, none of the land-based development schemes of the government could have been sourced. (2) While MVF lays equal, if not more, emphasis on processes and outcomes, the government is concerned more with meeting targets in the shortest possible time with or without social transformation. MVF is therefore constantly under pressure to demonstrate the viability and sustainability of its particular method of intervention.(3) Each of the programmes requires the constitution of several committees that are a burden on the women’s groups.(4) The government allows payment of traveller’s allowance (TA)/daily allowance (DA) to women to attend meetings, and trainings, whereas, while MVF mobilises and motivates groups, as a principle, it does not dole out monetary incentives since it believes in people owning their programmes. It takes enormous time and effort to get this across to persons and households on the ground.(5) The government has no qualms in pressurising MVF staff to provide data and information on demand on the several pro-grammes in order to answer queries raised in the legislative assembly or by the planning department.3.4 GenderDiscrimination Despite the visible presence of women in the forefront of acti-vities related to land and natural resource management in general, and despite the knowledge that MVF was facilitating the operationalisation of the programme under its larger agenda of empowering women, different government depart-mentsdealingwith land-based development programmes have shown discrimination against women. Especially, this kind of discrimination is visible when they fix wages for the different tasks of a land-development programme. Once MVF has provided relevant information to women on official guidelines regarding payment of wages, women questioned the rationale of payment of unequal wages and made it an issue for discussion and resolution at their meetings with all concerned departments. Apart from ensuring that government departments pay equal wages, MVF ensures through the women’s sanghams that equal wages are the norm in all of its activities.
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESapril 26, 2008 EPW Economic & Political Weekly82Watershed committees facilitated byMVF not only monitor progress of work, but have also, through a collective process of consultation, come out with indicators that measure quantum of work. Fixation of pay is based on such measurement. The dis-bursement of wages is based on formal approval by watershed committees of the calculation arrived at, based on quantum of work. Similar procedure is now followed for programmes sourced by the groups from the various government departments. The processes set in motion byMVF to enable the groups on the ground to arrive at, among other things, commonly agreed pro-cedures to operationalise government schemes, have led to sig-nificant positive fallouts, most important among these being the proper utilisation of government funds. The visible outcomes from these schemes (summarised in Table 3) have led in turn to these villages becoming resource centres for government spon-sored exposure visits. While the institution of payment of equal wages is no mean achievement, the challenge for women is to continually demonstrate their ability and capacity to carry out all tasks hitherto solely performed by males, namely, construction of check dams, measurement works, etc. 4 Theme of Renewable Energy Availability of fuel and sources of energy for domestic and agricul-tural work is a major but scarcely addressed theme in the rural areas and among the marginalised sec-tions of the population. MVF set out to confront this issue head-on. To begin with,MVF staff was given an orientation on local sources of energy for agriculture as well as for domestic use, climate change and its possible link with recurrent drought.Thereafter, this informa-tion was imparted to women’s groups in the 35 villages that showed interest in exploring dif-ferent sources of energy. One aspect of the energy programme was the demonstration of the use of solar energy for lanterns, driers (that would facilitate drying, pounding and preservation of excess agricul-tural products thereby adding value), and street lights. Initially, 105 solar lanterns and three solar driers were procured by 16 women’s groups on credit. The women’s groups had to decide the logistics of operating the solar lanterns and driers which included the logistics of product manufacturing, sales, book-keeping and accounting, and, sharing of profits among the women who had come together to operate a drier and/or com-mercially hire out the solar lanterns. The number and intensity of use of solar driers and lanterns has increased with women gaining confidence in the technical and financial aspects of their use and operation. Besides, the process of solar drying has ensured hygienic preservation, reduc-tion of wastage of products due to non-availability of such facility earlier, and more important it has led to value addition to local products.The demand for these dried and powdered products from urban areas has also increased due to the credibility that they have earned as being unadulterated. The success of solar lanterns has a lot to do with availability of trained technicians (including among women) to maintain these facilities at the village itself. Households using these lanterns spoke of reduction in their electricity bills over time. However, the expensive spares are proving to be a drag since they lead to heavy recurring cost. Another aspect of the energy programme consisted in exploring the possibility of using biomass and biofuels for generation of elec-tricity. For this, women’s groups were given training on: the kind of plants that needed to be cultivated (such as jathropa and ponga-mia) for the eventual production of biofuels; the technicalities of installation and the function-ing of oil-expellers that ex-tracted the oil from the seeds of these plants. The women were also sent on exposure visits to other places in Andhra Pradesh and to neighbouring Tamil Nadu where biofuel was being produced through such plantations and oil-expellers. It was also demon-strated to the women that trees from whose seeds bio-fuel could be extracted, could be intercropped along with vegetables, minor millets and other nurseries. Quite a few women in several villages opted for such cultivation. The government of Andhra Pradesh has recognised the beneficial impact of the kind of efforts taken towards new energy sources and has allo-cated resources for nurseries and bio-plantations. This rec-ognition and allocation has created a ripple effect such that farmers who were ini-tially not enthusiastic about the programme have now come forward to experiment with the same. These initiatives are as yet nascent and have already Table 3: Expected and Achieved Outcomes in Natural Resource Management Programme, MV Foundation(2004-08)Sl No Outputs and Outcomes Articulated for 2004-08 Achieved Outputs and Outcomes as on 20061 Involve 355 more women in 15 more villages Involved more than 1,000 women in 13 more and bring in 400 acres of land under the villages and brought more than 2,000 acres of natural resources management programme. land under natural resource management programme.2 Develop 16,147 acres of fallow land, through 17,417.5 acres of fallow land brought under the efforts of 900 women. cultivation with the involvement of more than 10,000women3 Create mandal-level grain banks. Mobilising community pressure on the government for setting up mandal level grain banks. Currently, motivating community to preserve grains on an individual basis in their houses.4 Increase soil quality and fertility by Increased soil quality and fertility by promoting promoting the use of organic manure in at the use of organic manure in 6,367 acres in total least 15-30 acres in each village. 15 villages.5 Conduct research on migration, using Research on migration, using comparative analysis comparative analysis and case studies. and case studies are to be conducted.6 Improve access to forest lands and forest Improved access to more than 9,000 hectares producein30villagesthroughtheactivitiesof of forest lands and forest produce by the women’scollectivesandVanaSamrakshana collective action of 5,282 women through 25 Samitis (forest protection committees. Vana Samrakshana Samitis.7 Collect data on biodiversity and engage in Biodiversityconservationactivitiesareinprogress biodiversity conservation activities in in 25 villages and data collection is in progress. 30villages. 8 Increase use of solar lanterns, dryers and Increased use of solar lanterns, driers and oil oil expellers. expellers. Eighty-five solar lanterns, three solar driers and one oil expeller are currently in use by 21 women groups. 9 Institutionalise interaction between Institutionalised interaction between women’s women’s groups and service providers groups and service providers working on working on renewable energy. It is expected renewable energy with the following seven that a marketing federation will emerge. institutions: NEDCAP, SEED, SWAM, Adramoda, Khadi Board, CLDP, EGS.10 Strengthen the involvement of local bodies Strengthened the involvement of local bodies in issues such as the status of health, and in issues such as the status of health, and access access to healthcare providing institutions. to healthcare providing institutions in five mandals. Surveys of the village health problems, issues and needs and health infrastructure have been collected by the staff in 43 villages of five mandals of Ranga Reddy district.SEED: Self-exploration, Education and Development.Source: MV Foundation Records.
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESEconomic & Political Weekly EPW april 26, 200883Table 4: Source of Funding for the Livelihood Programme of MV Foundation(2004-07) 2004-05S No Name of the Activity Type of Services for Which Financial Resources Were Provided by HIVOS to MVF Resources Mobilised by MVF from Sources Other Than HIVOS No of No of Meetings Campaigns Network Exposure and Salaries Training, Others Trainings Exposure Programme Salaries Programme Trainings Community Staff Meetings Exchange (in Rs) Campaign, Visits Works Meeting and Other (inLakhs) Expenses (in Rs) 1 Fallow land through food security (Vermicompost, seed preservation, IPM, gender) 12 60 24 2 6 4 --- (a) RIDF - CLDP 3 15 4 --- DWMA ----- (b) FFWP 4 38 4 2 4 DWMA --12.4 (c) NFFWP --------DWMA -----2 Watershed (a) IWDP 6 126 -2 6 --DWMA --15.00 0.40-(b) RIDF 4 6 3 --2 --DWMA --38.00 --4 Forestry 2 140 6 1 3 4 Forestdepartment-1 10.73 --5 Tree farming/nursery raising 4 48 3 17 5 Social forestry, HUDA 3.20--6 Env education 2 60 6 25 -8 CEC --0.25 --7 Energy security -45 12 --12 Winrock/ arrecomm49 2 3.5 --8 Health 8 22 10 12 ----HFF - Total 45 446 78 59 11 45 1803600.00 852330.65 49 3 83.08 0.4 2005-06S No Name of the Activity Resources Used from HIVOS from the Services of MVF Resources Mobilised from Other Sources for the Services of MVF No of No of Meetings Campaigns Network Exposure and Salaries Training, Others Trainings Exposure Programme Salaries Programme Trainings Community Staff Meetings Exchange (in Rs) Campaign, Visits Works Meeting and Other (inLakhs) Expenses (in Rs) 1 Fallow land through food security (Vermicompost, seed preservation, IPM, gender) 18 220 24 3 -8 --- (a) RIDF - CLDP 12 164 12 2 -6 --DWMA 2 -30 1.8 0.4(b) FFWP --------DWMA ----- (c) NFFWP 4 68 8 --6 DWMA 45.37 2 Watershed (a) IWDP 8 48 12 2 4 6 --DWMA --20.00 0.40 -(b) RIDF 2 8 4 --1 --DWMA --2.00 --4 Forestry 4 186 8 2 6 3 --Forestdepartment--11.00 --5 Tree farming/nursery raising 2 16 4 8 -3 Social forestry, --2.00 -- HUDA6 Env education 6 48 6 40 -- CEC --0.40 --7 Energy security 3 866 4 -3 --Winrock/2 3 4.00 arrecomm 8 Health 2 34 6 8 -2 HFF --- Total 61 878 90 69 10 38 1929281.00 936871.80 4 3 114.77 2.2 0.4 2006-07S No Name of the Activity Resources Used from HIVOS from the Services of MVF Resources Mobilised from Other Sources for the Services of MVF No of No of Meetings Campaigns Network Salaries Training, Others Trainings Exposure Programme Salaries Programme Trainings Community Staff Meetings Campaign, Meeting Visits Works and Other ( in Lakhs) Expenses (in Rs) 1 Fallow land through food security (Vermicompost, seed preservation, IPM, gender) 12 342 48 6 - ----- (a) RIDF - CLDP 9 186 12 3 ---DWMA --40 0.9 0.45(b) FFWP -------DWMA ----- (c) NFFWP 16 2 DWMA 6.00 2 Watershed (a) IWDP 6 48 12 3 4 --DWMA --16.37 0.4 (b) RIDF -6 1 ----DWMA --1.00 --4 Forestry 3 212 12 2 4 --Forestdepartment--11.2 --5 Tree farming/nursery raising 4 42 6 4 - Social forestry, HUDA --1.50 --6 Env education 4 24 6 42 ---CEC --0.80 --7 Energy security 2 19 12 1 - Winrock/arrecomm 4 -0.4 --8 Health 2 122 12 -2 HFF Total 58 1003 121 61 10 1588122.00 622104.00 4 0 77.27 1.3 0.45Source: MV Foundation Records.
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESapril 26, 2008 EPW Economic & Political Weekly84thrown up several challenges. Apart form the fact that they require constant upgrading of technical skills. The fact that the country as yet has a long way to go in terms of research and field experience with large-scale cultivation, production and use of biofuels, means that the village community has very little to fall back upon when and if it wants to upgrade its knowledge and/or technology.We have discussed only a few of the several activities that MVF has facilitated in the villages where it has intervened through its programme aimed at empowering women through collective ac-tion simply to highlight the process and conditions of interven-tion that underlie all MVF activities. These processes and condi-tions are at one level, making governments accountable to people by “delivering development” through the various schemes that have been and are periodically announced for welfare of the people and for improvement of sources of livelihood of the most marginalised. At another level,MVF believes in investing time and effort (but very little money) in mobilising stakeholders and working along with them rather than for them despite this pro-cess being time consuming and difficult only so that the stake-holders develop an abiding interest in the programme and sus-tain it once they are convinced of its beneficial impact on their lives and livelihood. 5 Perception of Stakeholders about MVFThe marginalised sections, women among them in particular, are the prime stakeholders of this programme of MVF. They have very high regard for the manner in which MVF has conducted the programme. Specifically, in areas where MVF has been working for quite some time, and which we had occasion to visit, we not only witnessed but also heard and conversed with women who had benefited from being part of the programme. They clearly articulated how initially they had reacted sceptically to MVF’s plan of action; it took them a while to realise that:(a)MVF was not after their land; on the contraryMVF wanted to reclaim assigned lands and hand it over to the rightful owners;(b)MVF’s priority was food security; MVF also targeted women rather than men since it realised that years of neglect of land and/or unavailability of work in agriculture had led to seasonal migration of men. Women’s opportunities to migrate being less than men, the demonstration of viability of working on land and creating opportunities for livelihood in the village itself could be better achieved through women;(c)MVF’s emphasis on making livelihoods sustainable and MVF’s willingness to struggle along with the villagers to make the gov-ernment and bureaucracy operationalise the various programmes earmarked for land development, etc, has contributed immensely to real empowerment of women and their households; (d) On being asked whether they still neededMVF support in their struggles,the women were able to express very clearly that, while they would now be able to manage a number of tasks on their own, including knocking at the doors of the government for their legitimate demands, they neededMVF support to tackle larger issues such as urban encroachment, environmental changes because of indiscriminate construction, pollution of groundwater, etc. The state is another stakeholder. Like the villagers, initially, the state also did not take MVF’s efforts seriously. But with time, the state has realised the usefulness of the work and the particular model that MVF has put in place. Not only does the state now acknowledge the efforts of MVF, but it also free rides on MVF’s achievements at times by showcasing the successful MVF cases of project implementation as its own work. What is conveniently hidden from the media gaze as well as from the knowledge of the politically powerful visitors is the fact that but for MVF, these successful programmes would have met the same fate that similaror the very same programmes have met in other parts of the country.6 Understanding ‘Effectiveness’ and ‘Change’ From Table 4 (p 83) one can discern an important feature of the manner in whichMVF has imparted “effectiveness” to gov-ernment programmes. One, the bulk or almost all of the money thatMVF has receivedfromHIVOS has been utilised for organi-sational purposes, namely, training of personnel, community meetings, campaigns, network meetings, exposure and ex-change visits, apart from salaries ofMVF personnel. Two, in our opinion, and from hindsight, we feel that this level and inten-sity of organisational investment made possible byHIVOS funds has enabled MVF to effectively source, combine activities and utilise funds earmarked by government under various schemes. The investment in personnel and the enormous capacity cre-ated on the ground by combining resources fromHIVOS and the government provides the elements for the emergence of a sustainable model of development that empowers the poor and the marginalised. In a different way, the effectiveness of this unique model can be clearly gauged by calculating the amount of resources thatcould be mobilised byMVF as a ratio of funds that it has receivedfromHIVOS. Table 5 gives an idea of this. We find that, on an average, for every rupee received fromHIVOS, MVF has been able to mobilise almost Rs 3.6. To understand “change” brought about through the programme, let us go over what MVF has attempted through its intervention. Most of MVF’s efforts, if not all, relate to land, and land-related activi-ties, like waste land development, watershed development to enhance land productivity and facilitate multiple cropping. Overall, the emphasis is on ensuring food security and thereaf-ter in enhancing the surplus that flows from land. This surplus is owned by the erstwhile agricultural labourers. By sourcing and operationalisng interlinked programmes, MVF has man-aged to achieve its overall objective of demonstrating the viability of agriculture and the sustainability of livelihoods based on land as the prime resource. The demonstrated poten-tial of the hitherto uncultivated land has attracted the attention of other marginalised landholders. The latter have been Table 5: Ratio of Other Sources of Funds to Resources from HIVOS Year Funds from Funds from Ratio of HIVOS State and Other OtherSourcesto Sources HIVOS (RsLakh) Funding2004-05 26.56 83.43 3.12005-06 28.66 117.0 4.12006-07 22.10 77.57 3.5Overall 77.32 278.05 3.6Source: MV Foundation Records.
REVIEW OF WOMEN’S STUDIESapril 26, 2008 EPW Economic & Political Weekly86activities beyond a period as well as the tremendous difficulties faced in marketing products produced from these activities. The unreasonable emphasis that many funding agencies place on achieving and making results visible in the shortest possible time prevents any sort of intervention that is aimed at invest-ing time and effort in mobilising the affected/marginalised community of people such that the very mode of intervention convinces the community of the long-term benefits and sustain-ability of the programme. The MVF has gone several steps further. It has not only mobilised and worked along with the most marginalised among the affected community, but it has, through this mobilisation, enabled the community to approach the governments in power and make the latter operationalise and release funds for the several land development programmes to which the community and area is entitled. The catalyst role played byMVF has not only facilitated the development of synergy among the different land-based programmes thereby strength-ening association among the community of beneficiaries and in enhancing the effectiveness of the programmes, but in also placing the most marginalised, women in particular, at the centre of all of its intervention. Significant ShiftA significant gender mainstreaming shift that has ensued is the incorporation of a gender perspective to the manner in which the mainstream economic agenda of land-based development pro-gramme was operationalised on the ground. As already men-tioned early on in the paper, the area that MVF chose to intervene was marked by considerable distress migration on the part of male members of a number of households. Hence to that extent, MVF had to perforce begin work with the women members of these households. Nevertheless, MVF and the women whom MVF had identified as beneficiaries of its programme had to explicitly deal with patriarchy and caste bias that began to unfold when women knocked on government doors to demand (of govern-ment institutions and bureaucracy) information regarding the different development programmes including rules that governed release of funds allocated to these programmes. Since many of these programmes were not the usual “women-only” “empower-ment” programmes, and since the unwritten rule of not recognis-ing women as farmers continues, the MVF and the women benefi-ciaries had to expend considerable time and effort in convincing bureaucracy of the right of women as citizens, and of the capab-ility and seriousness of women to source and make use of land-based programmes of the government.Another development, an important shift towards gender mainstreaming is not only that equal representation of women and the marginalised is ensured in all programmes, be it natural resource management, watershed development programme, etc,but considerable effort also goes into ensuring that members of these committees acquire the necessary gender expertise to be able to become conscious of the mechanisms that cause and reproduce gender equality. Thus for example,MVF beneficiaries were able to prevail over the forest department and their own menfolk in resisting monoculture in the forestry programme which would have otherwise curtailed the area or even destroyed the sources of minor forest produce items gathered by women inparticular and which contributes to household income and food security. The knowledge that extension of monoculture though financially beneficial in the short run plays havoc with the forest environment over time leading to entire villages/households dependent on forests for their livelihoods to be ad-versely affected, is well understood. InMVF villages, through a process of education, negotiation and struggle, the beneficiaries have managed to take along with them the forest department andofficialsin not only conserving green cover, but in produc-tively using forest resources to enhance their incomes. Further, women have been at the forefront of changes in watershed practices in forest areas and this has visibly resulted in the re-generation of water bodies within the forests as well as in the ad-joining villages and also in enhancing the quantum and regularity of supply of biomass to the village. We have not explored in any detail what shift has taken place within the households of the beneficiaries. However, the fact that anMVF beneficiary household has to adhere to certain non-negotiable norms, such as ensuring that all children are in school and not made to labour at the expense of schooling, that violence against women in any form is not tolerated, etc, com-bined with the emphasis byMVF on payment of equal wages has considerably enhanced the value and status of women and of girl children in all areas where MVF has a presence. These shifts have not come overnight, neither are they complete for us to certify that a social transformation from a gender pers-pective has already taken place. But, given the fact that MVF’s in-tervention consists largely in targeting people along with activities with almost nil transfer of money from MVF to its beneficiaries, and given that all interventions are premised on adherence to certain norms that informs the broad philosophy of the founda-tion, it would not be off the mark to state that the programme of women’s empowerment through collective action is not just aimed at gender mainstreaming but its actual operationalisation on the ground is visibly resulting in centre staging and addressing devel-opment programmes from a gender perspective. To that extent, by incorporating gender mainstreaming perspective into its interven-tion, MVF has, in our opinion, succeeded in at least engendering delivery of development services.Notes 1 Anne Marie Goetz (1998) prefers to use the term “institutionalising” rather than “mainstreaming” since, while both the terms connote the agenda of transformation, the former term has an added accent on bringing about institutional change. 2 At the request of HIVOS, the agency that funds this programme of MVF, the authors undertook an evaluation of the programme at the end of December 2006 – beginning of January 2007. This paper is based on the final report submitted by the authors to HIVOS in May 2007.ReferencesGoetz, Anne Marie (1998): ‘Mainstreaming Gender Equity to National Development Planning’ in Carol Miller and Shahra Razavi (eds),Missionaries and Mandarins: Feminist Engagement with Development Institu-tions, Intermediate Technology Publications in association with UNRISD, UK, pp 42-86.Lombardo, E and P Meier (2006): ‘Gender Main-streaming in the EU: Incorporating a Feminist Reading?’,European Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol 13 (2), pp 151-66.Sen, A (1999):Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

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