AS WE LOOK AHEAD INTO THE NEXT CENTURY, LEADERS WILL BE THOSE WHO EMPOWER OTHERS

I, K.H. Jagdeesh aged 37 years hail from a rural background and belong to an agricultural family of Shimoga District. I have done my post graduation in Social Work and since 2002 I am working as a Coordinator for Women Empowerment Programme in Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society (SMSSS), Shimoga.

This being my first employment, I was not much practically aware of the field realities, what is social development, subject knowledge, aptitude, skill and hence could not reach out to the people as I did not possess good communication skills. During these intervening years, I was provided trainings within the organization, at Karnataka Regional Organization for Social Service (KROSS), Bangalore and as well as from external sources which has helped me to acquire required knowledge, skills, leadership and aptitude to perform effectively.

When I joined the organization there were only 90 self help groups (SHGs) but now after the trainings I was able to motivate the field staff and also enlighten the people of their rights which they could get through organizing themselves and this has led to the increase of SHGs from 90 to 262 SHGs covering 3893 women.

As a result of these trainings, I was able to educate the SHG members on their rights and how to carry on their just demands through a Rights Based Approach. In particular, I started motivating the women to contest for Panchayat elections. Regular trainings were provided to women on Panchayatraj Institution and the roles and responsibilities of elected members. 160 women were finally selected who contested in the Panchayat elections and 57 women were elected. A series of trainings were given to these elected representatives which helped them to discharge their duty effectively and were able to provide the basic necessities in their wards. The excluded groups like women, dalits, tribals and other backward communities are actively taking part in the local self governances meetings (gram sabhas, wards sabhas & jamabandi, raise the issues affecting them and are able to obtain their legitimate rights from the local bodies / various government departments.

Due to the training given by me to SHG women and their federations on Right to Information Act (RTI), 1286 women have filed RTI applications to various government departments and not only got replies but the concerned departments have streamlined the procedure so that there is no difficulty in getting their legitimate rights.

My post graduate batch mates are earning much more than me but I am very much satisfied as I have been able to reach out to hundreds of villages whose population has now been enlightened about their rights and are able to lead a dignified life and their gratitude means more to me than money and the joy of service is tremendous.

The trainings have been a stepping stone to success in my life as I am now recognized by my organization as a good trainer besides I have built self confidence in myself and the society too looks to me with respect. I am grateful to my organization SMSSS for the trainings imparted and especially to KROSS for the opportunity I got to attend the number of workshops conducted in which I could interact with a lot of other NGOs and experts in different fields.

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