EquiDiversity Foundation

EquiDiversity Foundation

  • Main office: Kolkata, West Bengal
  • Partner since: 2021
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Action Village India began working with EquiDiversity in 2021.  Equidiversity Foundation has been active in India since 2016 and is committed to creating an environment that promotes gender equality through political, social and financial empowerment with active informed participation of individuals, the community and the state.  Equidiversity Foundation envisions a society where there is gender equality, co-sharing of power, and freedom from gender-based violence.

EquiDiversity Foundation is Helping & Succeeding

EquiDiversity’s Strengthening Women’s Leadership and Participation in Rural Local Governance Project promotes autonomy, leadership and economic self-reliance in rural self-governance. It  strengthens women’s self-belief and increases their credibility with voters and political peers by working with stakeholders in the community. Empowerment to lead for elected women representatives comes from supporting them as they learn the skills of promoting a gender responsive budget, building public consensus, monitoring services and being accountable. Their work is research and fact based and the benefits are documented, measurable and proven.

“She wants answers, she wants to ask questions”

Anindita Majumdar, Managing Trustee of EquiDiversity, tells the story of a woman who decided to take part in her local politics, EquiDiversity and the local Panchayat:

“I’ll just share a case study of this woman in one remote village. Let’s say her name is Amira. So Amira is a woman who actually hails from a very economically marginalised family and she belongs to the minority community. She decides to fight for election for the first time.

And so what is her background? Amira was married off at the age of 16. She has three daughters, including one differently abled daughter. She goes against her family’s wishes and decides to nominate herself for the Panchayat member. She wins and is ostracised by her family but with a twinkle in her eyes Amira goes to the Panchayat office because she believes that she can bring changes to the lives of women with differently abled children – because now she has that power.

What she witnesses is a rude shock. She realises that decision making in the Panchayat is completely controlled by men and she’s not even expected to turn up to the Panchayat meetings. The meetings take place and the attendance register goes to her house where she just has to put her signature on it. But Amira being Amira, she’s not satisfied. She wants answers, she wants to ask questions. But she doesn’t have the confidence to ask the right questions because she knows that being a woman if she opens her mouth shall be deemed to be dumb.

And so what EquityDiversity does is it works with these women with training in what is their role, gender sensitisation, the Panchayat system, how they can identify funds and bring about changes in the policies. This is at one level. But we also realise that working with women is not enough. We have to work with the male leadership because unless they are able to change their mindset and create a space where there is a discussion and openness, where they’re ready to share leadership roles, then nothing will change. We also focus on taking them through this journey of understanding of how gender has also sort of shaped them and (recognise that they can also) lack in confidence and information. We try to bridge the gap and bring the groups together and work with them so that they find their voice.”

EquiDiversity Foundation

EquiDiversity focuses on:

  • Mobilization of community women, elected women representatives, young people, to work on development and gender issues
  • Awareness Generation at the community, individual and state levels around governance, gender equality, individual rights and entitlements, addressing gender-based violence-discrimination
  • Awareness Generation through social media to mobilize public opinion and enhance visibility of the issues
  • Advocacy at the state and community levels
  • Capacity development and handholding at the individual, community and state levels for active participation in political processes, gender-responsive budgeting, community development, fighting gender injustices and inequalities, social awareness and develop life, livelihoods and leadership skills
  • Livelihood based Activities
  • Networking with the community, state departments and programmes & like-minded organizations
  • Organization Support Activities to strengthen community-based organizations like Women’s Rights Promotion Committees, Adult Literacy Centres and Theatre Groups
  • Community Fellowship Programmes
  • Documentation, Publication of IEC materials and Newsletters and conducting Research
  • Organizational development
  • Fundraising and mobilization.

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