Thursday, 29 May 2014

Using Social Media Online Platforms to Facilitate a Discourse on Youth Perspectives on Development

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The Gender Community of UN Solution Exchange, the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD), Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu and Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs, New Delhi are pleased to announce their joint initiative of Using Social Media Online Platforms –Blogs; Face Book; You Tube; Twitters – to facilitate a Discourse on Youth Perspectives on Development

This is the first time that the Gender Community, RGNIYD and the Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs India will use multiple social media platforms to engage online - in a month-long discussion/debate – with the Youth of this country.

It is not enough to say that the Youth is tomorrow’s leaders. We cannot overlook the fact that half of the world’s population is under the age of 25. In order to understand the role of youth in the society, a deeper understanding of “youth” needs to be encouraged in public policy. This implies that the discourse needs to be broadened to promote the tremendous capacity of youth to champion the cause of justice, promote unity among disparate groups, provide stewardship for the environment and direct their energy in service to others – rather than the narrow portrayal of youth as a time of rebellion, frivolity and inability to shoulder meaningful responsibility. 

The voices of the youth needs to be heard; their ideas encouraged; and their energy channeled to augment country’s development framework and progress. With a new government in place, India is at a political threshold. This is an opportune time to bring to fore and create an informed (and sustained) discourse on Youth Perspectives on Development.

The online discussion on Youth Perspectives on Development will remain open on various social media platforms until 31 August 2014. You can leave your comments; upload your videos responding to all or any of the three key areas on which we are facilitating a discourse viz. Youth and Employment; Youth and Governance; Youth and Gender Based Violence Prevention.

Outcome of this Initiative
The outcome of this discussion will feed into preparing three briefing notes on the aforesaid three areas; the briefing notes will be followed by a consultative process - that will directly feed into policy advocacy (led by RGNIYD) and provide tangible inputs to our policy makers (facilitated by Gender Community along with RGNIYD and Baha’i Office of Public Affairs).

Respond/Share Your Views on: Three core areas on which we are inviting responses/comments are as follows:

I. Youth and Employment
  • How far formal academic and training institutions are successful in preparing young people for decent jobs? What can be done to address any existing lacunae?
  • What are the ways to strengthen the non-formal education to prepare young people who are out of education system?
  • Given the current situation of labour market, is it feasible to propose an employment policy for young people? If yes, what ‘key issues and solutions’ the policy must focus?
II. Involving Youth in Gender based Violence Prevention
  • Suggest specific strategies/measures by which Youth can be involved in preventing gender based violence in their communities.
  • Share examples that highlight the positive contributions of youth to their neighborhoods in terms of addressing violence.
  • How can we make public places safe and women friendly with support from the youth?
III. Youth and Governance
  • How can we create an enabling environment for youth in our approaches to governance at all levels? In other words, how do we create an environment that values and welcomes the deep participation of youth at all levels? 
  • What are the ways to encourage youth to develop their latent capacities to contribute – beyond the narrow focus of economic wealth -- to the well being of the nation? 
  • At the core of discourses on governance are the concepts of power and authority.  As a youth, share your perspective on how to re-imagine power as a concept that includes a spiritual and moral dimension valuing the principles of equity, equality and justice. 

Know More About

Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD)
Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs 

Gender Community, UN Solution Exchange  (PDF; Size: 959KB)

For Visitors on this Blog

The National Youth Policy 2014 (PDF Size: 1.65MB) has defined the youth as comprising the age group of 15-29. Visitors are free to promote the discussion on any online/relevant site. Please keep us informed so that we can follow the site; we shall collect and collate all relevant responses/comments that appear on any site.

Kindly share this Blog with your network partners as well as your contacts in Schools/Colleges/Universities/Technical Institutions, etc; besides also sharing it through your face book/twitter accounts. Please do remember to let us know - if given your effort, this discussion features on any social media platform. We will be following the discussion on every online site, wherever it appears; once the discussion closes, we shall give due acknowledgement to all the sources.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Gender Community Annual Report 2013

Dear Members,

I am pleased to share with you the Gender Community’s Annual Report 2013. This is our third consecutive Annual Report. Members can access the report at (PDF; Size: 959KB).  If you can, please share the report within your networks; it may inspire and encourage many others to make use of the knowledge based services of the Gender Community.

As a Resource Person and Moderator of the Community since last five and a half years, I am highly appreciative of our now nearly 5000 members i.e. development practitioners spread across India and abroad, for their affirmative actions, initiatives, and active participation in the multifarious knowledge based activities of the Community. It has enabled the Community to reach far and wide; and promote knowledge management. Also, I remain - thankful to UNICEF and UNWOMEN  - the facilitating agencies of the Gender Community, for their support and encouragement. It has allowed us to innovate and be effective in promoting knowledge management among development practitioners, primarily in India (also in South Asia). As in 2012 - in 2013, the Gender Community did its own resource mobilization to promote its knowledge based activities. In this regard, the Community extends special gratitude to various United Nations (UN) agencies and non-UN organizations including the government departments/agencies as well as national and international donors and NGOs for their timely support, encouragement and appreciation of the activities and services offered by us.

The Gender Community’s profile is fast changing. It is no longer restricted to ‘e-queries-consolidated reply’ mode of knowledge sharing or knowledge management. The Community’s work goes much beyond its online discussions/services. Our Annual Report 2013 is yet again a testimony to that.

The year - 2013 - was a special year for us. First, in April 2013, Ms. Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC), launched the Gender Community’s Blog with her welcome message. Second, the year saw the Community making use of various social mediums (Webinar/webcast, Facebook, You Tube, etc.) besides its regular e-platform to foster knowledge sharing, and provide an effective platform for practitioners to collaborate and share their innovations, knowledge-skills, and best practices. Third, the Community in collaboration with non-UN organizations like the PACS (Poorest Areas Civil Society) and CBM India Office initiated two projects on ‘Gender and NREGA’, and an Action Group on Persons with Disabilities respectively with assigned knowledge based deliverables. Finally, this year, a significant part of our online discussions were dedicated to policy discussions, with Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, Government of India, also hosting a discussion with our members on the National Land Reforms Policy from a gender perspective. The Minister’s acknowledgement to our work encouraged us tremendously.

I hope the year 2014 will be far more engaging, with us continuing to undertake knowledge management for development practitioners with full vigour and in the process, help facilitate in finding the right answer or solutions for even the most complex issues.

Any feedback that helps us to promote, strengthen and improve our Knowledge Management work and services is most welcome. You can address your mails to me at  or send to 

Peace and Solidarity
Malika Basu
Resource Person & Moderator
Gender Community

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Violence free villages, violence free country, rural women on the move...From Pam Rajput

Dear Members, 
9 Dec 2013: We had a successful first day in Sitapur. The inaugural session was webcasted live so I am hoping that many more people had an opportunity to get connected with us. It is my belief that unless we are connected at the grassroots, development process shall remain exclusive and not inclusive that we all envision.

Our coming to Sitapur is part of a learning process, that we have initiated and hope to replicate in many other districts in the country. By encouraging interaction among elected women representatives, whom we consider empowered enough (if that were not so, they would not have been able to take that first step to be out of their homes and get elected as people’s representatives), our task now is to enable the rural women further so that they are able to play their interventionist role more effectively in addressing various issues at the local level including violence against women.

The first day, besides the inaugural session, encouraged EWRs to get into smaller groups and discuss their perception of violence, what kind of cases of violence they receive, how do they address these cases, do they face any challenges, etc. The EWRs opened up after initial hesitation to discuss issues that impact even their day to day living.  On ‘violence against women’, there appeared to be a unanimity that it is difficult to communicate or go to Police with cases of violence. Why the system is often unapproachable, came up as a major concern.

Being one of the advisory members of the Gender Community, I am happy that the Community is using all its multi-media forums to make Sitapur event reach out to many others. We hope members will follow Sitapur closely and come up with their suggestions, experiences and share it with us. It will add to our work with EWRs.

As I said yesterday our vision is, Violence free villages, violence free country, rural women on the move…and we intend to be with them, and with their strength and commitment to carry forward rather accelerate the wave of change.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Dear Members,

Follow us on the following sites

9 December: Inaugural Session 11 AM Onwards

(to be confirmed shortly)


Gender Community Blog

Our Facebook

You Tube


The Gender Community has decided to report live and online from Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh.


In Sitapur, we are engaging with the Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) to capture their voices and concerns on issues of – particularly, Violence against Women (VAW).

The Gender Community is facilitating as a knowledge partner a two-day learning event, 9-10 December 2013, with EWRs in Sitapur District. The aim is to understand how EWRs address issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV), specifically violence against women and young girls; and whether they are empowered themselves to provide active local leadership in combating VAW/GBV.

This event organized by Women's Resource and Advocacy Centre (WRAC-Chandigarh), National Alliance of Women (NAWO-North) in collaboration with National Commission for Women (NCW) is supported by the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS)-DFID.

Dr. Pam Rajput, Chairperson-High Level Committee on the Status of Women, Government of India, and Ms. Shamina Shafiq, Member, National Commission for Women are leading and are actively involved in this event. Both held a press conference yesterday in Sitapur briefing the media about the purpose of engaging with the EWRS. They were joined by Ms. Sampat Pal, Founder-Gulabi Gang.

Engaging with EWRs through a learning process is expected to yield a critical mass of know-how and experiences, which can help to empower EWRs and mainstream the issue of VAW in local governance institutions more effectively.

The event promoting cross-learning and sharing among EWRs is also encouraging a dialogue between EWRs and other relevant stakeholders (including the Police); it also brings EWRs in a face to face conversation with survivors of violence.

We hope our members would FOLLOW US in SITAPUR through our LIVE WEB CAST; WEBINAR (To Be Confirmed) and our other multi-media forums. If you can, share this information with many others.

Any feedback that helps us to promote, strengthen and improve our Knowledge Management work and services is most welcome. You can address your mails to me at  or send to 

Peace and Solidarity
Malika Basu
Resource Person & Moderator
Gender Community

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Monday, 14 October 2013

GIZ- Sampark-Gender Community Partnership: Addressing Violence Against Women Through Microfinance

The Gender Community is pleased to share its yet another – and the last - initiative of 2013, which is a collaborative venture between Sampark (a Bangalore based NGO), GIZ (New Delhi), and the Gender Community (as a facilitating knowledge partner) to highlight issues specifically concerning Violence Against Women, and focus on how Microfinance to women addresses VAW.

Via this Blog, we are sharing the key deliverables of this collaborative venture with a request to development practitioners across the country. If this issue – VAW and Microfinance - falls within your domain of expertise (research or practical), please contribute by submitting a response, and sending any papers you may have written, which will be duly acknowledged in due course.

Key Deliverables (Time Line: October-December 2013)

•    Hosting a discussion on the Gender Community’s e-platform to discuss the key links between access to finance and reduction of violence against women (VAW), in theory and practice - Watch out for this discussion on Gender Community’s  online platform! Coming Soon!
•    The discussion will be followed by a paper summarising research undertaken, and practical experiences of civil society organisations in addressing VAW though microfinance as well as other initiatives/interventions.
•    A second paper will be on Violence Against Women and how Microfinance does or can address this.  This paper will also benefit from the field visits to three locations, and key informant interviews that are being conducted by Sampark and Priyasakhi Mahila Mandal (Indore/Madhya Pradesh).
•    A consultative seminar with a group of experts and practitioners to share the findings and information collected/collated based on the e-discussion, the two written papers, and the field visits.
•    Final Report – a document with recommendations on the lines of an ‘action plan’ - for dissemination and advocacy purposes that shall be undertaken by Sampark, GIZ and their network partners. In addition, the action plan will be shared with Gender Community members as well as relevant ministries/government agencies.

The Gender Community takes this opportunity to thank its members both in Sampark (Bangalore) and GIZ (New Delhi), who took this initiative; particularly, we would like to thank Dr. Smita Premchander, who is also one of the advisory members of the Gender Community, and Jonna Bickel (GIZ).

We would once again like to draw our members’ attention that through its Knowledge Management work, the Gender Community continuously tries to reach far and wide to development practitioners so as to facilitate their work to the optimum, and thereby accelerate the achievements of many of our development goals. It is our endeavour that more and more practitioners in India/South Asia, realize the importance (and potential) of the field of knowledge management in the development sector, and make use of the services such as the ones offered by the Gender Community of UN Solution Exchange.

Those following closely the activities of the Gender Community would know that the Community’s profile is fast changing. In the last three/four years, we are no longer restricted to ‘e-queries-consolidated reply’ mode of knowledge sharing or knowledge management. The Community’s work goes much beyond its online discussions/services. Our last Annual Report (2012) is a testimony to that. Please access (PDF; Size: 1.67MB) to know more about the Community’s work and share it, if you can, within your networks, encouraging others to join the Community. Membership to the Gender Community is free and voluntary; members can unsubscribe anytime they wish.
We would like to close this Blog with our regular call - ‘update your profiles’! Please access - fill the requisite information if you have not done it as yet, and send it back to us. The membership form can be shared with anyone interested to join the Gender Community of Practice.

Any feedback that helps us to promote, strengthen and improve our Knowledge Management work and services is most welcome. You can address your mails to Resource Person & Moderator – Gender Community at

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

[se-gen] Query: Identifying Jobs/Work for Women under the MGNREGS, September 2013

[se-gen] QUERY: Identifying Jobs/Work for Women under the MGNREGS – Advice. Reply by 24 September 2013.

This is a query from Dibyendu Sarkar, Commissioner-MGNREGS (West Bengal), which has been posted to the Gender Community members for their inputs. Besides our blog, the query is appearing on the blog:
We are keen that through the Blogs many more development practitioners who are not members of the Gender Community participate and contribute to this discussion on NREGA. In 2013, the Gender Community is collaborating as a knowledge partner with PACS-DFID’s on  “Addressing Gender Issues in NREGA”.
To know more about this collaboration, please visit: (PDF; Size: 370 KB).  The inputs from the below appended query shall also feed into the Community’s knowledge based work on NREGA with PACS.

Dear Members,

I am presently posted as a Special Secretary in the Panchayats & Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal. Since March 2012 I have been functioning as the Commissioner, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), West Bengal.
Women participation in MGNREGA in West Bengal is relatively low. Compared to the all India average of 51.33% of women contribution in total person-days generated during 2012-13, West Bengal could achieve only the stipulated minimum of 33% (33.70%). There is substantial inter-district variation. A number of districts could not even reach the 33% mark.
I have been telling the districts to take effective steps to enhance women participation through a series of activities. Also, via a blog that I maintain, I have tried to outline some of the activities to promote women participation. Major thrust is on linkage between NRLM and MGNREGA to ensure that the Self-Help Groups are utilized to plan, promote, implement, monitor and supervise activities under MGNREGA. Members may like to access this blog at

In March 2013, we organized a workshop on women participation in MGNREGA, wherein the keynote address was given by Mr. S. M. Vijayanand, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India. Our understanding is that the issue is more of discrimination within the family where the scope that NREGA is giving to the households is usurped by the male folk and women are not allowed to access the benefit. Incidentally, in West Bengal person-days generated per active household is pretty low and last year we could reach an average of 34.63 person-days per active Job Card. Although we talk of demand-based allocation of work, the ground reality indicates selective employment. We are trying to address the issue of demand by empowering kiosks to register demand directly from the Job Card holders, the issue of finding suitable work which will encourage women to meaningfully participate is something with which we are grappling.
Initiatives from the State Government has resulted in some marginal increase  and districts have started to take up all-women works which is expected to raise women participation in the programme. However, we are often faced with the problem of identifying works which can be taken up by women alone. Presently, women are mostly engaged as part of mixed groups for different land development, flood protection, water conservation, creation/ enhancement of irrigation potentials etc. Women are exclusively engaged in raising of seedlings in nurseries and some of the plantation activities, both afforestation and plantation of fruit-bearing trees. Of late, we are trying to construct individual household sanitary toilets in convergence with Nirmal Bharat Abhijan (NBA). However, in this sector too, participation is mixed and both male and female job seekers are engaged.

Based on the above background, I would like to request Gender Community members to share some concrete suggestions on the following:

• What could be the possible ways to promote greater women participation in addition to the ones that we have already asked the districts to put into practice?
• What could be the specific works where only women can be attracted and only women labour groups would be interested, and capable of giving optimal output?
• How, in a scenario where women would be encouraged to participate in a greater number, we would be able to ensure quality output?

In addition, we welcome any other issue that the members may highlight concerning the gender aspect of MGNREGA implementation.
I look forward to your valuable contributions. We shall duly acknowledge your contribution.

Best regards,
Dibyendu Sarkar
Commissioner, MGNREGS, West Bengal &
Special Secretary,  Panchayats & Rural Development Department,
Government of West Bengal

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Recommendations at the Dissemination Workshop

Dear Members,

The last day of the Puri Learning event culminated into a Dissemination workshop. The following key recommendations or “way forward” emerged at the end of discussion/deliberations.
•    Identify some key themes to prioritize the interventions, and continue with  such cross-learning and sharing activities. First priority is to meet the basic needs of all people including women and children and other vulnerable people.
•    Strengthen the village level institutions (village level committees such as education committees, mothers’ committees, panchayat raj system, palli sabha, pani panchayats, etc.)  and local leadership.
•    Attitudinal and behavioural change of community with the help of civil societies, grass root organization and other stake holders.
•     Improve natural drainage system; provide enough provisions/spaces at intersections of road and drainage systems.  Need to understand the dynamics of Mahanadi delta before any interventions takes place through participatory approach.
•    Wider advocacy for replication of model on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. AusAID-UNDP water adaptive pilot models were well recognised by members.
•    Allow the local officers to come up with new ideas and support; training institutions need to adopt and incorporate such kind of on field learning exercise  within their training schedule
•    Convergence and coordination of government programmes and resources 
•    Need to  prepare the village level comprehensive disaster management plan incoporating climate change.
•    Prolonged waterlogging consider it as disaster and  map the training needs of the people to adapt to such situations.
•    Need to give attention to health of women and children; livelihoods (through skill development, especially owing to high migration of men when women are left to fend for themselves)

- Organizing Team