One year ago, I received the Collective Impact Partnership fellowship to work on economic empowerment of women in Bhandara - a rural district in Maharashtra state. Today I am looking back and sharing with you the most significant impact that I have been able to create as a CIP fellow in the recent months.
In our area, there is a government scheme called Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) meaning Prime Minister's Skill Development Program. But we normally mention this as Kaushal Vikas. The program aims to develop the skills of all the rural people, especially youths and women by giving them industrial training, so that they can find jobs.
Before I became a CIP fellow, I used to personally train people in my community. But since receiving this fellowship, I started to work on Kaushal Vikas as well. In the beginning I used to find it very difficult and confusing. But when I wrote my vision as a CIP fellow (which is aligned with economic empowerment of women in my community), I slowly learnt how to combine my other training with the skill development training of Kaushal Vikas. This understanding was a big impact that CIP brought within me.
So what do I actually do as a CIP fellow and what work do I do which is related to kaushal vikas /skill development? Let me give you an example:
I did a thorough study to check the implementation of the Kaushal Vikas program in the villages of my district. What I saw is that several villages are implementing the program, but the fund for it has not reached them yet.
And then, there are many villages where the program itself has not reached and so these villages are left out. My work began by making these notes and finding these gaps was one of the impacts I have brought.
After that, I started to bring up this issue to the attention of the government agencies and the lawmakers from our area. In one of these efforts, I am not about to meet the Finance Commission ( a national government agency) and appeal to them to make the skill development program accessible to all the women in my community and my district, so that they can get the benefits of this program and have a better life.
My work is slow and very tedious because I have to read many documents, go out and meet people across villages, hold discussions, raise awareness and mobilize people, especially women to demand their right to economic empowerment. But I am making steady progress and the meeting with the Finance Commission might be a turning point for us all.