New Delhi, 20 April 2021: As part of the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav launched by the Prime Minister of India, the Ministry of Rural Development’s DeendayalAntyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) and the Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE) at LEAD, jointly launched Gender Samvaad on 16 April 2021.

Gender Samvaad, is a unique, joint attempt between DAY-NRLM and IWWAGE to establish a shared platform to generate awareness on NRLM’s gender interventions across the country, with a focus on hearing voices from the states and of SHG members. The virtual launch event brought together over 1,400 participants, including senior MoRD and state government officials, practitioners, gender experts, academia, civil society actors, and members of self-help groups.

At the launch event, Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, remarked, “In 2022, India would be celebrating its 75th year of independence. To celebrate this milestone, thegovernment has organized an Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav. The celebration calls for merging the bestof traditions with an Atmanirbhar Bharat.The self-help group movement is one such tradition.”

At the event a short film was launched by the Joint Secretary, NRLM, Smt. Nita Kejrewal, who highlighted the extensive efforts undertaken by DAY-NRLM in empowering women and creating model institutions to address women’s issues in rural areas. The film showcases DAY- NRLM’s gender strategy and the various pilot interventions underway to set up institutional platforms for rural women to access justice, information and entitlements. According to Smt. Alka Upadhyaya, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, “DAY-NRLM has empowered women both economically and socially. Strong social protection systems can reduce the vulnerabilities and the multidimensional nature of poverty that affect women and men differently. DAY-NRLM aims to address gender inequality by strengthening women’s institutions.”

“Gender Samvaad, a bi-monthly webinar, will provide states with opportunities to exchange knowledge on how to improve women’s agency, share international experiences of successful gender interventions, unpack implementation barriers in gender mainstreaming, as well as create a ‘gender knowledge repository’ with resources to design and implement gender interventions across the country.”, said Smt. Soumya Kapoor Mehta, Head, IWWAGE at LEAD.

A compendium of case studies, documenting good practices and stories of resilience and change among SHG women shared by various State Rural Livelihoods Missions, was launched at the event by the Secretary, Rural Development. These resources are now available on the Gender Samvaad webpage, an open knowledge repository,hosted by IWWAGE.Community resource persons, who are women SHG members from various states also shared their experiences of overcoming several barriers to improve their lives and livelihoods and deal with gender related issues in their areas. A panel discussion was also organised that included leading gender and livelihoods experts to emphasise the importance of improving women’s livelihoods, their agency, and their understanding of their rights and entitlements.