RCE Srinagar Celebrates International Women’s Day 2018

Photo credits: CEE Himalaya

RCE Srinagar celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8th March, 2018 across two separate events.

The first, with support from CEE Himalaya, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Kathmandu, Nepal, Give2Asia, and in collaboration with Gram Sabha Rithaura and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), marked the day with celebrations in Rithaura village, Jarwal Block, Bahraich District, Uttar Pradesh.

More than 200 people participated in the event, including active participation of the Gram Sabha (local Panchayati Raj Institution), women, men and children.

Rithaura village has a population of more than 2,500 including 400 households. The Bahraich district is a category "A" district, classified as having socio-economic and basic amenities below the national average in India. Every year there is a large loss of lives and property in the district, due to human settlements and agricultural lands in the region being engulfed by flood waters, with erosion, contamination, insanitation, and water-borne diseases experienced by the community.

Males are forced to migrate for employment, leaving behind women, children and the elderly. Opportunities in the village are sparse, and the only school in the village, a primary school, is situated across a busy highway, considered too dangerous for students to cross, leading to low attendance rates.

Other concerns raised by the villages centre around the sanitation and hygiene conditions in the village. Out of 400 households, less than 50% of households have toilets, whilst the quality of drinking water is poor, leading to many in the village developing kidney stones.

During the IWD celebration, various issues related to DRR preparedness, improving WASH and skill development were addressed and discussed, including the preparation of a road map and future action plan to be taken up by RCE Srinagar and CEE in the area. Risk mapping was conducted, with safe areas identified in the event of a disaster. Women and children were educated on the benefits of keeping sanitation and hygiene in the community, including training in toilet usage and the importance of handwashing at critical times.

Women were also given information on the available resources in their village, with RCE Srinagar educating them on social, environmental issues and ESD (Education for Sustainable Development). Skill development activities were run, including one on handcrafts conducted by CEE Himalaya, with participants expressing enthusiasm for similar events to be held in the future. Fishery, poultry, mushroom culture, and bee keeping were identified as future topics for skills development.

The second event run by RCE Srinagar was a workshop for pre-service trainee teachers for elementary education on DRR preparedness, held on 13th March, 2018 at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, India. More than 500 students participated in the workshop including faculty members and office staff. As per the admission policy of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, 50% of trainee teachers are female, ensuring gender equality in this area.

The programme focused on the preparation of School Disaster Management Plans (SDMPs), including the process and procedure of creating a plan. Participants were very positive about the training received and requested further training to be conducted for other women in their villages.

The team at CEE Himalaya and RCE Srinagar, including Dr. Abdhesh Kumar Gangwar, Dr. Apurva Rai, and Mr. Ram Avadh facilitated the various events and gathered feedback to aid in the assessment and development for further programmes in the future.