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The Mahila Samakhya programme, launched in 1988, is the direct out come of the commitment to affirmative action in support of women’s education mandated by the National Policy on Education
(1986) and the subsequent Program of Action (1992). The National Policy on Education - a landmark in the field of policy on women’s education in India which stated that: “The Empowerment of Women is possibly the most critical pre condition for the participation of girls and women in the educational process
”. As a result of this the programme is designed for the education and empowerment of women in rural areas, particularly of women from socially and economically marginalized groups.
Currently the program is operational in 10 states in India.
||The principles of the Mahila Samakhya programme are to:
MS programme till date has been able to facilitate creation of an enabling environment for sangham women to bring their issues to centre stage. The processes have given insights, learnings and lot of experience to all the concerned. Though empowerment cannot be measured quantitatively, the qualitative indicators that emerged have contributed for recognition of MS strategies as viable and replicable.
||The programme focuses on :
The fundamental strategy of the Mahila Samakhya programme is to mobilise women into village level collectives called ‘Sanghams’. These sanghams form the nodal point for all discussion, planning, implementation and evaluation.
Since the launching of APMSS in 1993, the macro environment has undergone substantial change. The concept of groups has gathered momentum as a result of the SHG movement encouraged by the government. Almost all villages have a number of groups where women have come together for the purpose of thrift and savings.
At the time of expanding the programme to the districts of Nalgonda and Warangal, it was felt that shift in mobilisation strategy is necessary given the above situation. The new strategy would involve working with the existing groups, bringing them together on a common platform so as to enable them to take up the issue of their empowerment in a holistic manner.
In the subsequent phases of programme expansion, the presence of large number of SHGs in the villages led to the new strategy of working with existing groups and facilitating formation of waada wise sanghams. Focus is on bringing all women who are not part of any SHG into the Sangham fold. Further,
a village level core group is evolved with representation from all waada Sanghams for specific inputs and creation of pressure group at village level to influence change.