2018 ILC Awards: The Golden Opportunity for a Global Recognition

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The ILC 2018 Awards are here! ILC members are doing amazing work and are leading the fight for a more just and equitable world. In celebration and recognition of this, ILC is calling for submissions to the 2018 ILC Award! The award will go to an ILC member that has contributed to securing the land rights of women and men living in conditions of poverty.

If your organisation is working for securing the rights of women, this would be the moment to celebrate the cause of gender justice at a global forum.

To know more click on the link below:

http://www.landcoalition.org/en/regions/global/news/learn-share-and-be-inspired-ilc-calls-submissions-2018-ilc-award

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Grass-root Leadership Training: 18th to 20th August 2017, Jamshedpur (India)

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A Leadership Training was organised between 18th to 20th August 2017 at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, India. About 40 participants took part in the training. The training was held as a part of CBI-4 initiative of International Land Coalition.

The participants mainly comprised of grass-root leaders working in interior rural, indigenous areas. Coming from 3 different states and representing 10 rural areas, the participants took active part in the learning process, as well as shared experiences of practical challenges from field areas.

Being conducted in three different languages, the training focussed on three aspects:

1) Basic ideas on leadership and applicative leadership 2) Land laws governing women’s rights 3) Responses as leaders to women’s land rights.

All the trainees representing areas of indigenous-majority population, the focus was given on customary land laws and the gender-sensitiveness among different tribal communities and customs.

Apart from plenary discussions, the training included group discussions, group presentation, as well as creative exercises like poster development, activism songs and street theatre. These creative avenues gave an excellent learning to the participants on how to develop awareness and motivation at the field level.

A highlight of the training was explaining the presentations from different countries on their efforts to promote women’s land rights – Nepal, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

The  resource persons of the training included Saswati Roy (Secretary of Swadhina), Supriti Murmu (Tribal Land Rights Leader), Sukurmoni Hembram (Panchayat Head), Diptendu Mukherji (Consultant Trainer-Netwroking Alliance for Voluntary Actions), Nirmala Sahu (Women SHG Leader, Orissa). Guest Facilitators included Director of Jan Vikas Kendra (Jamshedpur) and Director of Jesuit Social Service Centre ( Andamans).

Four women village leaders, who had received leadership training earlier in Kolkata, were invited to this training to be group moderators and group resource supports. This was a very good scope for them to utilise their training to practice as leaders and they fulfilled their role with excellence.

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The sprawling campus of Vikas Bharati Training Centre offered not only an excellent training venue but the accompanying organic farming demonstration areas too gave the participants a lovely scope of field exposure.

(Reported by: Smriti Sarkar)

 

 

Grass-root Leadership Training on Women’s Land Rights: 21-23 July 2017

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Goodbyes and more: As the final four participants pressed their faces against the window rails of the train to say their goodbyes, it was a moment amalgamated with a whole lot of emotions.  For the last three days we had all bonded together – over discussions, over tea, through sharing of a room. Having 58 participants, covering 9 states of India and 4 countries together wasn’t an easy task to handle but at the end of the three day event we were like one big family. As our fingers clutched each other for the final good-byes there was this one common line which we all expressed – phir milenge – will meet again. Because we knew that this was just the beginning of a long camaraderie towards a common goal – ensuring land rights for women!

 

 

When Experience meets Youth: The Leadership Training Programme for Grass-root Women was unique in more ways than one. One of the prime features of the training was the variety of participants. On one hand there was Sukurmoni Hembram – a popular tribal Panchayat Head from Jharkhand, Panchayat Pradhan Ratnammma from Andhra Pradesh, veteran land activists like Sherbahadur and Ghanshyam Bhai ; on the other hand there was young tribal girl like Panjan Murmu from Orissa, vibrant Mamoni Das from Bihar, Dhara – a young activist from Gujarat who works for the Maldhari community. This gave a wonderful scope of mixing experience with learning.  While on one hand the ones who were just getting into the foray of land rights issues for women were provided the scope of learning, those who had been working for the issue for a long time were encouraged to reap in the rich benefit of their direct, field-level experiences.

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Knowing each other: The introductory session itself was a learning process. The candidates were divided into ‘friend circles’ of three each. They were then asked to interact with each other over a cup of tea. The ‘new friends’ then introduced each other to the rest.  With participants coming from different backgrounds, speaking different languages things seemed like a hurdle in the beginning. But gradually they warmed up to each other – attempting to understand each other’s body language, way of expression they soon understood each other beyond the barriers. As a result, Hirawati from Uttarpradesh could fluently introduce her friends Rathnamma from Andhra Pradesh and Tapasi from Jharkhand without knowing a word of Telugu or Bengali!

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Understanding Leadership :  Having participants from two different strata, the training focussed on two major aspects of Leadership – 1) Understanding the basics of Leadership and 2) Finding the Challenges of Leadership. The participants were divided into four groups. Three language based groups under the leadership of a Group Resource Person focussed on understanding the basics of leadership – qualities aspired in a leader, functions of a leader etc. The fourth group – comprising of veteran grass-root leaders focussed on discussing about the challenges of leadership as they experience in their own areas. They then shared their concerns with the other participants – making them aware of the challenges they might face as grass-root leaders.

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Explaining the challenges of leadesrship, veteran grass-root activist Deepamala said, “ If we, as women, become grass-root leaders, the easiest way the society uses to suppress our voices is to raise finger at our character. It does not come as a surprise that every woman leader is branded as a ‘notorious and spoilt’ woman”. Adding to this, another activist Dheeraj Kumar said that more often than not, the society at large always questions the intention of a grass-root leader. “How much money do you get to do this work is the common question we are asked”, he explained.

Having  learnt about the different qualities of a leader, Nirmala from Orissa best summed it up during group discussion, “All of us are not born leaders. But many of us have the potential in us to be good leaders. Somewhere, somehow the spark is in us. Capacity building programmes give us the scope to hone our skills and become able leaders.

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Dealing with Land Issues:  One of the crucial aspects of the training was understanding the basic nuances of land rights. Four major land issues were dealt with during the training: effective leadership effecting women’s  land rights, forest rights and it’s impact on women, land of commons as a process of collective empowerment of women, the loopholes in land laws affecting women’s empowerment process.

Having organised grass-root meets for women on land rights for the first time, Seema from Bihar, shared the fact that most women she interacted were clueless about equal land rights for women and even if they were aware, they were plagued with the social stigma of married women never claiming a right to their father’s property!

Providing feedback on Forest Rights Act, Ghanshyam from Madhya Pradesh, said that Forest Rights Act was supposed to be the simplest of laws, providing support to the forest-dependant indigenous communities. But he rued the fact that this was one of the most abused and misused laws.

 

 

Tapasi from Jharkhand shared a strong story of women’s collective strength in her group while discussing on Land of Commons. The local women’s committee to which Tapasi belongs, had leased out the piece of Common Land that was provided to their women’s committee. The ones who had taken the land on lease, began to misuse the rocky piece of land by setting up a stone quarry in the area. The group soon realized their mistake. Being always covered with a layer of stone dust, their health suffered, their land productivity declined.  They felt that it was enough! The women, being led by Tapasi, then collectively went to the owner of the quarry and withdrew the lease agreement – forcing the outsiders to shut shop and leave their village!

Highlighting the problem with land rights issues among the indigenous community, veteran activist Supriti, explained how within their own group women were hesitant to change the customary land laws which did not guarantee any land rights to the women belonging to the indigenous community.  Shobana from Uttar Pradesh added more this by explaining that it is not that the women do not want rights but they are conditioned and brought up in a way that they are ready to give up their rights and their expectations from land.

Speaking on the loopholes, the group felt that one of the biggest loopholes in Indian laws favouring women was that the land rights were perceived in terms of a woman’s marital status – as someone’s wife, as someone’s daughter or as someone’s sister. It is time to visualise a woman as a singular entity and ensure laws to protect her rights as an individual.

Inspiring Movements- Inspiring Change:  One of the major highlights of the training was the inspiring presentation from across the region. This gave an excellent opportunity of knowledge exchange.

 

 

A moving documentary on the land rights movement in Nepal and an excellent follow-up presentation on women’s land movements in Nepal by Kalpana Karki from CSRC moved the participants immensely. Watching women march with flags, staying together, negotiating with government officers gave the participants the much needed boost. A very vibrant Kalpana egged on the participants to shout out the slogan of : Andolan me Mahila; Zamin chahiye pehla (Women in Movement take a vow  , We want our Land Rights Now!). She also took the special effort to make her presentation in the local language of Hindi!

Rowshan Jahan Moni, from ALRD –Bangladesh, gave a wonderful presentation on the Khas Land movement in Bangladesh.  Having the same land situations in India, the participants could relate to the land movement in Bangladesh – especially related to the common land called khas zamin. Having had a long standing experience in the land rights movement in Bangladesh, Moni gave a vivid description on how often the khas land which is supposed to be a support system for the landless ends up in wrong hands. To connect better with the participants, she too took special initiative to explain her points in the local language of Hindi.

Chea Sokleang from Star Kampuchea-Cambodia gave a wonderful insight into the situation young women are in , in their country. She also explained how Star Kampuchea was using the power of women to lead their talks and negotiations with the government. The Gender  based social study within their communities, in the lines of Gender Audit  or Social Audit  was especially a very interesting aspect for the participants. Despite her young age she showed her total involvement in the cause by providing a very in-depth analysis of women’s rights situation in their country.

The question-answer session that followed the guest presentations was witness to the fact that the presentations had deeply touched the participants.

Learning through Group Activities:  One of the best, yet subtle way of learning is through Group Activities.  The participants were divided into four teams – Trees. Birds, Land, Sky. It began with preparing group songs using the name of the group as the central theme. In many rural circumstances, social songs are a proven way to initiate movements or to build awareness. The group songs presented was a proof of immense the talent possessed by the participants.

 

 

The next task was equally interesting. The groups were asked to develop a poster each, comprising of different catchy slogans and phrases related to women’s land rights. The myriad slogans and phrases coined spoke of the immense involvement of the participants in the issue of women’s land rights. One among the many which stood out was: “Aadhi duniya Naari hai, Zamin ke adhikaari hai”-

“We comprise half Earth’s might, Owning Land is our Right”

Added to this there were fun events like making a chained garland using coloured paper streamers. As the participants enthusiastically decorated the meeting hall with colourful chains, they were made to understand that every community comprises of varied ideologies, opinions, ideas – just like the varied colour streamers. A good leader is one who is able to tactfully put together all the varied ideas and opinions and channelize into a singular objective of brining a positive change.

Enriched ideas through Women’s Land Rights Toolkit: One of the important sessions was a detailed discussion on Women’s Land Rights Toolkit – developed by ILC. The Toolkit which was available in English was translated into Hindi for better understanding. The discussion on tools to ensure women’s land rights gave the participants a wonderful opportunity of understanding the different applicative procedures by different organisations all over the world to ensure women’s land rights.

Learning about the tool of Earth Festivals, Kavitha from Andhra Pradesh exclaimed, “This is a good process of using local culture to spread message on women’s land rights.”

 

 

Sharing a piece of culture:  Cultural expressions were an integral part of the training. Amidst cheers and clapping, songs were sung in varied languages. Never mind the language, Shobhana, Nirmala, Rina, Lata cheered on as Karmi Kisku sang her Santhali Song. Similarly Nirmala’s Oriya song was well appreciated by all. But the real fun was when the group of indigenous women present showed their moves to a tribal song. The camaraderie and the situation was so positively infectious that one by one the others joined them too. As soon as the music died down, Bhavna from Gujarat suggested they try out the steps to the Gujarati beats of Garba. So, the group then matched their steps to the beats of Garba. Never having danced to the tunes of Garba, each one attempted her own way – adding to the spirit of oneness.

 

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Those moments reflected the exact spirit of the training – an attempt to unify the diversities and channelizing the spirit of collective effort towards one common goal – ensuring equal rights for women!

 

 

(The training was a part of the Commitment Based Initiative of International Land Coalition. Organised by ILC partner Swadhina, the training took place at Kolkata, India from 21st to 23rd July 2017 and was attended by 58 participants )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACCOLADE FOR Ms.SHAZADA BEGUM: RECOGNITION FOR ACTIVISM ON FARMERS’ LAND RIGHTS

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Photo Source: AFA-E-Bulletin

Ms. Shazada Begum, President of Kendrio Krishak Moitree (KKM) and Vice President of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), has been been honored with the “RTV Alokito Nari 2017” (Enlightened Woman) award.

This is one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh that honors change makers like Shazada.

The private satellite TV channel RTV honored eight enlightened women marking International Women’s Day 2017.

The programme was held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre last March 9 and the title of the programme was “Joya Alokito Nari- 2017.”

In the eight categories, eight enlightened women received awards for their contribution and they are Professor Mahfuza Khanam (Education), Farida Parvin (Music), Shujata Azim (Acting, Film), Luna Samsuddin (IT), DIG Mili Biswas (Police), Shazada Begum (Agriculture), Jubera Rahman Lini(Sports) and Sawkat Naznin Khan (Youth).

“RTV Alokito Nari” award has been going on since 2013 and this is first time they listed agriculture as one of the categories.

(With report and photos from ActionAid Bangladesh)

COMMITMENT BASED INITIATIVE – EQUAL LAND RIGHTS FOR WOMEN- ASIA REGION

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As per the Ten Commitments taken up by International Land Coalition during ILC Global Land Forum in May 2015 at Dakar, Senegal, equal land rights for women have been set as one of the ten commitments the ILC and its members adhere to as a contribution to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a part of the follow-up, activities strengthening the issue of Women’s Land Rights have been taken up by ILC-Asia since end of December 2016. Accordingly organisations from 5 different Asian countries have set up a long term goal to take positive initiatives to ensure advocacy and awareness to initiate positive actions on behalf of the government and the local social systems in their respective situations to ensure a gradual situation of gender justice with regard to ownership, control and decision making on land and land based issues by women.

The focal organisation of the activities is Swadhina (India). Apart from this, each country has a regional Co-ordinating Organisation. Bangladesh is co-ordinated through ALRD, Nepal through CSRC, Cambodia through Star Kampuchia, Indonesia through RMI/SAINS.

(To know more on this, write to:swadhina_org@yahoo.com )

LAND REGISTRATION TO BE FREE OF COST FOR WOMEN IN JHARKHAND, INDIA

In a landmark move by the Government of Jharkhand state in India, the registration fee for land is going to be free for women. In a meeting held on 3rd of May 2017, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Sri Raghubar Das, took a decision to do away with registration charges for property registered in the name of women.

It has been an endorsement of long-standing desire of the organisations working for women’s land rights in the area.

Swadhina working in the area specifically in the area took no time to congratulate the governement on it’s move. In a letter to the Chief Minister, Swadhina enumerated the various reasons as to why the move would benefit women’s rights in the long run.

‘Sir, your decision is a strong endorsement of the struggle for Gender Justice. We are confident that it would have a long drawn effect on the lives of women:-

  • Encourage marginal women to have land and property in their name.
  • Endorse the position of women as farmers and help establish the fact that women are equally able farmers.
  • Provide protection to women on their rights over their land
  • Combat the system of dowry effectively
  • Curb the propensity to abandon wives
  • Improve mutual understanding and dependence

We take this opportunity to express our heartiest gratitude once again to your government. We urge other state governments to emulate this example. We also express our solidarity and would request other NGOs to provide solidarity and support in reaching awareness on this to the remotest corner of Jharkhand.’

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/personal-finance-news/no-registry-fee-on-property-in-womans-name-in-jharkhand/articleshow/58527967.cms

WOMEN’S VOICES HEARD

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That women can voice their grievances and intervene to put forward what is right has once again been proved by the women of a remote village in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Deoria is a small village in Udaipura district of the state. Dominated by the ‘musahar’ community,the village women have to combat poverty every day of their lives. The families being very poor have very property or land that they can call their own.

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Under such circumstances when a local contractor began digging pits for the purpose of making toilets in front of each house, the women put down their feet. It wasn’t a question of hygiene but a question of protecting the dignity of their land. The toilets being constructed in front of each house would mean the children wouldn’t have a place to play, the women wouldn’t have a space to themselves where they would cook.

Moreover, the people said that the contractor was engaged in corruption and mal practices.

SDF, which has a strong presence in the area, stood with the women of the area.  SDF’s coordinator in the area, Ms Sangeeta, explained that they were not against toilets but it is essential to understand that when people have no houses to live, there has to be a judicious use of the land available. They suggested that Community toilets could be built at the village Panchayat land and each family be handed over one toilet for personal use. That would be feasible and would make the village much clean than anticipated.

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With the support of SDF, the village women joined hand, wrote a memorandum, invited the attention of the media and compelled the officials to visit the village and probe their points. The officials were in agreement with the cause of the women, thus suspending the programme till a better planning was in place.  They promised to look into the issue seriously and take action accordingly.

SDF’s interventions in village Udaipura in district Deoria of Uttar Pradesh is already well documented by International Land Coalition under the best practices. This adds one more feather to the pride of the organisation as well as of the local women.

(Reported by: VidyaBhushan Rawat, SDF)

Capacity Building Course

APPLY NOW for the 22nd Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace (2017)

XXII South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on

Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace

19 August to 15 September 2017

TEWA Center, Kathmandu, Nepal

BACKGROUND

The South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace, also known as the Sangat Month Long Course, is designed to offer clarity on and a greater understanding of concepts related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights. The course was founded in 1984. Thus far, 21 editions have been held through which more than 685 women activists and gender trainers, women’s studies teachers, journalists, lawyers, police officers, media women, and others have improved their conceptual capacities and sharpened/developed feminist perspectives. Many of these women are now in senior positions in various organizations and institutions, and many are conducting similar gender workshops and women’s studies courses in their own countries. These courses have also led to effective networking amongst participants and their organizations.

The last 21 courses were designed for women from South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), however, participants from Ghana, Sudan, Turkey, Myanmar, Vietnam and Iran have also attended the course.

OBJECTIVES

The main objectives of the course are:

  • To create a pool of feminist activists committed to working on gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights for all.
  • To facilitate intensive dialogue and experience sharing amongst women development practitioners and trainers, human rights defenders, women’s studies teachers, media women, lawyers, etcetera.
  • To offer participants an opportunity to increase their understanding of and sensitivity to a range of issues related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights.
  • To share information about and build feminist perspectives on ongoing processes of liberalization, globalization, militarization, identity politics, conflict transformation and peace building.
  • To help participants increase their self-awareness and self-confidence, and enhance their analytical, communication, and training capacities.
  • To strengthen networking and co-operation for advocacy and action for gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights in South Asia and elsewhere.
  • To strengthen women’s perspectives and movements.

PARTICIPANTS

Course participants have included non-governmental organization professionals, researchers, teachers, women’s studies teachers, artists, government officials, journalists, lawyers, trade unions representatives, among others. Applicants to the Sangat Month Long Course are required to have:

  • A background in working on issues related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and/or human rights;
  • A minimum of three years of work experience; and
  • A good working knowledge of spoken and written English.

The course will accept a maximum of 40 participants. Please note that this course is only open to women.

For further details  :Click

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY : A CELEBRATION BY INTERNATIONAL LAND COALITION

29 climbers from 22 countries of Africa climb up Mount Kilimanjaro to shout out one demand: Land Rights for Women- NOW! A Toolkit specially designed for Women’s Land Rights! And these are just two examples of how members of ILC have been relentlessly battling for the issue of women’s land rights.

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Photo Source:www.landcoalition.org

On 8th March 2017, International Land Coalition chose to celebrate Women’s Day in a unique way – by honouring the tireless efforts of ILC Members who work relentlessly to ensure
that women have equal access to land through it’s website.  Here is a link to that web-page. Click on the link below and read on, to know and revel in the unique ways by which ILC members across the globe, fight on to ensure equal rights to women:

http://www.landcoalition.org/en/regions/global-including-europe/news/celebration-ilc-members-international-womens-day