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Final Report

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Report from the 2009 Women\'s Leadership Conference in Jodhpur, India

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Final Report

  1. 1. 2009 Women’s Leadership Conference April 24 th , 2009 Report and Summary of Events Authored by Savannah Westgarde & Jason Caya
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Why a Conference for Women Leaders? </li></ul><ul><li>Our Vision for the Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Steps in Making This Conference a Reality </li></ul><ul><li>At the Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Inspirational Speaker Profiles </li></ul><ul><li>Overall Results </li></ul><ul><li>Concluding Remarks </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>A special note of thanks to all the people who made this conference possible. First and foremost we would like to thank Veena Koshi for all of her dedicated efforts to making the 2009 Women’s Leadership Conference a success. Veena’s tireless work ethic and positive attitude will stand as an inspiration to us. In addition we would also like to thank all the members of Pustikar Samiti Bank, Govind Singh Rathore and the Sambhali Trust, Garret Wong, Smita Sawant and the FSD team, Chandrakant Sharma, all of our guest speakers, and lastly, our friends and family who have supported us and believed in us throughout this experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Diane Mariechild </li></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction <ul><li>perusing a career in development. She is now looking forward to planning more leadership and empowerment initiatives and raising awareness on women’s issues in Rajasthan. </li></ul><ul><li>Jason graduated from the University of Michigan in 2006 with a Bachelors </li></ul>Savannah Westgarde and Jason Caya co-created and co-hosted the 2009 Women’s Leadership Conference. Savannah Westgarde graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada in 2008. Since that point she has been in Business Administration. Since graduation, he has been working in the United States. First, at a consulting firm that specialized in growth strategies for Fortune 1000 companies. Then, in the nonprofit sector soliciting donations through grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual contributions. Jason came to India to gain experience in international development.
  6. 6. Introduction <ul><li>Through the Foundation for Sustainable Development, the 2009 Women’s Leadership Conference became possible. The foundation follows a grassroots development approach that matches interns with local NGO’s (non-government organizations). The Foundation for Sustainable Development partners with more than 200 organizations throughout Africa and Asia. They implement a community based approach that works to build networks and address local issues. The Jodhpur site team was established in 2008. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Introduction The city of Jodhpur is located amongst the Thar Desert within the state of Rajasthan in western India. Jodhpur is home to approximately 850,000 inhabitants, with 53% of the population comprised of males and 47% of the population comprised of females. While Jodhpur has a vibrant cultural heritage and has become a tourist attraction for many, it is still suffering the effects of poverty, illiteracy, and division. Many development organizations are focused on Jodhpur and its districts, and they are making strides in alleviating poverty. However, Jodhpur is still in need of assistance and there is much work to be done on the fronts of women’s empowerment and women’s rights.
  8. 8. Why a Conference for Women Leaders? <ul><li>Many organizations refuse to form partnerships with other local NGO’s. A domination of a spatial area and control over groups of women prevails. This leads to fragmentation within the development community and produces a closed and narrow approach to development. </li></ul>Local organizations are attempting to battle social norms, climate constraints, and caste divisions, but thus far, their efforts have not been enough. Within Rajasthan, on a daily basis, women are faced with injustices that are incomprehensible.
  9. 9. Why a Conference for Women Leaders? Implementing an Open Approach to Development Recognize the area of specialty for each NGO (e.g. water harvesting, anemia awareness, or HIV awareness). Form a partnership and an agreement to have a mutually benefited relationship Share ideas amongst organizations. Work together to provide enhanced services. Make connections with other local NGOs that share similar development goals.
  10. 10. <ul><li>The Women in Jodhpur and in Rajasthan, regardless of caste, religion, community, or village, are combating the same issues. These include: </li></ul>Why a Conference for Women Leaders? <ul><li>Water scarcity </li></ul><ul><li>Malnutrition and undernourishment </li></ul><ul><li>Low access to medical care </li></ul><ul><li>Illiteracy and lack of basic education </li></ul><ul><li>Disease and illness </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic violence </li></ul><ul><li>Rape and public humiliation </li></ul><ul><li>Forced pregnancy </li></ul><ul><li>Female infanticide and violence against the girl child </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Vision Behind the Conference <ul><li>Assumptions: </li></ul><ul><li>Bringing together women leaders from local organizations will help to reinforce many development initiatives. </li></ul><ul><li>By open discussions, sharing of stories and experiences, women will be able to recognize that they are all facing the same challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>If in attendance, local NGO representatives will have an opportunity to network and to share ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Women will be able to form connections and possibly create support networks to help each other. </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Vision Behind the Conference <ul><li>Assumptions (continued): </li></ul><ul><li>By attending capacity building workshops during the conference and by receiving information packages women will be able to take what they have learned and share it with others in their self help groups and their communities. </li></ul><ul><li>By sharing, women will gain self confidence and a sense of pride. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Steps in Making this Conference a Reality <ul><li>Contacted local NGO’s to discuss our idea and received valuable advice. </li></ul><ul><li>Convinced the NGO’s that sending their women leaders would only be a benefit to their organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>Sought out possible contributors and requested donations for our information packages. </li></ul><ul><li>Met with various community members and discussed important topics that should be addressed at the conference. </li></ul><ul><li>Met with guest speakers and convinced them that this event was one in which their expertise was needed. </li></ul>Making the 2009 Women’s Leadership Conference a reality was one of the largest challenges we faced during our time in India.
  14. 14. Steps in Making this Conference a Reality <ul><li>Finding a venue that suited the mission of our conference was a challenge. The conference was held in the Gandhi Ashram. This venue perfectly suited the conference as it was held in the spirit of human service and dedication. </li></ul><ul><li>Providing meals to all of the participants and conference attendants proved to be easily arranged and we were able to purchase lunch from Pokar Sweets. They graciously provided eighty nutritious boxed meals for a reasonable price. </li></ul>Apart from the social and human aspect of planning our conference, we also had to ensure that the technical side of our conference was in place.
  15. 15. At the Conference <ul><li>Sambhali Trust </li></ul><ul><li>Jodhpur HIV People’s Positive Network </li></ul><ul><li>Pustikar Samiti Bank </li></ul><ul><li>MLPC </li></ul><ul><li>Veerni Rajdahni </li></ul><ul><li>Sambhal </li></ul>Local Organisations Represented by Attendance
  16. 16. At the Conference <ul><li>Yoga session hosted by the Art of Living Association </li></ul><ul><li>Welcome speech </li></ul><ul><li>Break for tea </li></ul><ul><li>Card exchange activity </li></ul><ul><li>Commencement of the four workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Lunch and time for women to share with each other </li></ul>Making the women participants feel like they were in a comfortable and safe environment was our first priority. Structure of the Conference
  17. 17. At the Conference The Four Workshops <ul><li>Health </li></ul><ul><li>Hosted by Ms. Veena Koshi </li></ul><ul><li>Anemia awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Eating a balance diet </li></ul><ul><li>Tuberculosis </li></ul><ul><li>Menstruation concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Question and answer period </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Banking </li></ul><ul><li>Hosted by Mrs. Anjoo Hersh </li></ul><ul><li>Simple account tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Savings accounts </li></ul><ul><li>The value of saving money </li></ul><ul><li>Question and answer period </li></ul>
  18. 18. At the Conference The Four Workshops (Continued) <ul><li>Microfinance </li></ul><ul><li>Hosted by Mr. M.K. Goyal </li></ul><ul><li>Definition of self-help group </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits of joining a self-help group </li></ul><ul><li>The rights of a self-help group </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion on micro-enterprises </li></ul><ul><li>Question and answer period </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Hosted by Dr. Rama Arora </li></ul><ul><li>Basic human rights </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic violence </li></ul><ul><li>Women land ownerships rights </li></ul><ul><li>How to seek legal assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Question and answer period </li></ul>
  19. 19. At the Conference Two Activities that Made a Difference It was important to have an activity at the beginning of the conference that would help the participants feel calm and welcome. The local Art of Living branch in Jodhpur agreed to conduct an informal yoga session at the beginning of the conference. Through playing two games, the participants were left smiling and at ease with each other. The activity helped to clear their minds and leave them ready for a day of learning. Yoga
  20. 20. At the Conference Two Activities that Made a Difference Card Exchange Ten blank business cards were given to each woman at the beginning of the conference. It was requested that each card be filled out with their name and mobile number. By the end of the conference, all the women were asked to give away their ten cards to different women as well as take ten cards from different women. This activity facilitated conversation between the women and formed the beginning of support networks and connections.
  21. 21. Inspirational Speaker Profiles <ul><li>Palvi is 30 years of age and is a native resident of Jodhpur. She is married and was a house wife for many years. Palvi’s life changed after meeting Anjoo from the Pustikar Samiti Bank. Palvi used to be reliant on her husband, and often feared asking for money for purchases. </li></ul><ul><li>Anjoo educated Palvi on the importance of women unity and taught her about self help groups and creating savings. Palvi became a leader among the women in her community and formed 10 self help groups each with 10 to 13 women members. </li></ul>Palvi Verma “ I have an ATM card now, I can eat anything I want, I can even go out for pizza! People in my community respect me. My husband even respects me more.”
  22. 22. Inspirational Speaker Profiles Monica Jod Monica is a cheerful and well spoken 17 year old. With the help of Sambhali Trust founder, Govind Singh Rathore, Monica was brought from a life of extreme poverty and powerlessness into a life of education and capacity building at the Trust. Monica blossomed within Sambhali and is now attending school and leading other women within the trust. Monica hopes to pursue her education, better her English speaking abilities, and avoid getting married for a long time. “ Talking [to these women] made my heart glad. Thank you, my heart is so happy now. Please have more conferences.”
  23. 23. Overall Results The results are taken from interviews conducted three days after the conference. Five individuals in attendance were contacted. It is impossible to really understand or quantify the results from the conference, but the most outstanding result to report is that most participants and people in attendance are requesting that another conference be held.
  24. 24. <ul><li>Two women from JNP+ have held a workshop with 50 other women educating them on things they have learned from the conference. These 50 women have asked to attend future conferences. </li></ul><ul><li>Three groups have contacted each other and requested that they be able to visit each other’s organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>One group has requested assistance from another on developing their micro-enterprise and marketing techniques for the handicrafts that their self-help groups make. </li></ul><ul><li>One women has contacted another for friendship purposes. </li></ul>Overall Results
  25. 25. <ul><li>All participants interviewed said they would attend another conference. </li></ul><ul><li>Some participants have requested that the conference run for a longer period of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Many participants wished that other women from their self-help groups and communities could attend. </li></ul><ul><li>Participants liked the station concept the most, they also reported enjoying asking questions and speaking about many different topics. </li></ul>Overall Results
  26. 26. Overall Results <ul><li>A station on income generation and the basic functioning of business would be useful </li></ul><ul><li>More speaking about how to be independent from parental constraints and overriding organizations </li></ul><ul><li>More stories from inspirational speakers </li></ul><ul><li>More women in attendance </li></ul><ul><li>An area to showcase each group’s handicrafts </li></ul><ul><li>A longer program </li></ul><ul><li>A conference such as this one on a regular basis </li></ul>Participant responses when asked, “ What could be made better for the next conference?”
  27. 27. Suggestions for Future Conferences As change can only come with a one hundred percent effort by all those involved, change can only come to Jodhpur and to Rajasthan by a one hundred percent effort from the population. Although women are the most disenfranchised sector of the population, it is not enough to only work with them. We must also have conferences for men on the same pressing issues. Change will only come once we have educated the male population in Rajasthan to believe that women are humans deserving of value and respect.
  28. 28. Suggestions for Future Conferences <ul><li>A slightly longer program with another station could easily be incorporated into the conference. </li></ul><ul><li>Reaching out to more women and to more groups would be valuable as the structure of the conference allows for the organization of a large amount of people. </li></ul><ul><li>More IEC (information, education, communication) material in the take home packages would have been desirable. Ideally, the packages would contain more posters and easy to understand material for the women’s community centers. </li></ul><ul><li>At least one more inspirational speaker could be included in a longer program as this activity seemed to bring unity among the women. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Concluding Remarks Creating and hosting the 2009 Women’s Leadership Conference in Jodhpur was one of the most worthwhile and enriching experiences we have undertaken. We felt extreme gratitude to be in the presence of so many inspirational women leaders. Thank you to everyone who shared this special day with us. – Savannah and Jason
  30. 30. <ul><li>Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.“ </li></ul><ul><li>— Margaret Mead </li></ul>Concluding Remarks

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