Project Jagori

Campaign Story

About the project

Founded in 1984, Jagori works in support of women’s rights toward their vision of a more just and feminist-conscious society. To that end, they enlist a wide range of partners and women leaders from marginalized urban and rural areas. In 2016, Jagori embarked on the “Creating Safe Public Spaces…” project to improve the safety of women, girls and other vulnerable groups using public facilities and spaces in Ranchi and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand. Jagori partners with government, business groups, and NGOs to develop and implement interventions that promote prevention of and response to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence in public spaces. Women’s participation is incorporated in every phase and level of decision-making and operation.

This Project is fully funded by the Oak foundation.

Making a difference

Local communities and support organizations – though well-meaning – harbored gaps in understanding issues pertaining to women’s safety, mobility, voice in local governance and access to services. In 2021, Jagori coordinated a series of capacity-building workshops for local partners, which covered topics including gender budget, policy, combating violence against women through state institutions, women in the economy, and strengthening social protection measures, especially in light of the COVID pandemic. The pandemic created increased burdens of unpaid care work for Jharkhand’s women, upticks in domestic and other forms of violence (witch-hunting, trafficking and sexual violence) and loss of livelihoods with little to no recovery.

Action during COVID times

● Following a rapid assessment survey of their needs, provided dry ration support to 15 Pink Auto (ladies’ autorickshaw/”tuk-tuk” drivers) during COVID second wave.
● Dry rations (including food grains) and COVID sanitation supplies delivered to 1000 women vegetable vendors.
● Seeds for vegetables, grains, and pulses delivered to 155 women farmers throughout 7 villages.
● 16 villages and 5 urban streets surveyed as part of “Safety Audit Walk” to understand safe mobility issues for women, such as poorly lit streets and isolated areas.

The way forward

● Engagement with block and local officials, state women’s commission, and Ministry of Women and Child Development on women’s safety audit findings from Ranchi and West Singbhum.
● Provide technical support to implementing partners of initiatives, including training 18 block resource persons of Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society on safety audit methodology.
● Follow up 2021’s special activities around International Women’s Day and Anti-Street Harassment Week with similar awareness drives.
● Conduct meetings with 16 Gram Sabhas (village governments) to orient members on their roles in preventing discrimination and violence against women and girls.

Project Impact

200

Women from lower-caste, tribal and marginalized communities received dry-ration relief.

2500

Copies of Hindi newsletter on woman-focused social welfare programs distributed among needy women in Sonua and Ranchi.

35

Team members and volunteers instructed on way to strengthen social protection measures.

24

Members from All-India Women’s Hawker Federation and women’s NGO trained in safety audit process.

174

Individuals participated in focus-group discussions on safe mobility

Last Year’s Grant Disbursed: $52,956

Current Year’s Approved Grant: $92,370

Project Story

Poorna is a savvy street vendor who plies her wares in Lalpur bazar in Ranchi. She is known for her shrewd bargaining skills, and many of her peers praise her communication skills and her ability to purchase vegetables from the wholesale market at a low price. Her daily routine requires enormous stamina. She travels to the market at 4:00 AM, sets up her shop, and sells vegetables until 9:00 PM. Her days are busy and the market is always brisk; she barely finds time to eat because her main concern is to ensure she has enough money to feed her family. She has a supportive husband, who helps her run the shop. Though she herself is illiterate, her son is studying in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, and her other son is preparing for a competitive exam.

Poorna’s resilience and bold nature led to her being appointed as a member of the Town Vending Committee (TVC), where her role was to handle problems arising from the eviction of street vendors. However, during the pandemic lockdown, she was left without work and struggled to pay interest on the loans and fees for her children’s education.

Jagori assisted Poorna by providing ration support, which fed her and her husband for 3 months. During that time, she was able to divert her savings toward the education of her children. Poorna’s unique “street smarts” proved a great asset to Jagori. She participated in the safety audit workshop and supported the Jagori team throughout the audit walk, as well as assisting with focus group discussions and interviews with local officials.

She shared that the workshop and the discussions on the issue of women’s safety and violence has helped improve her understanding on the issue of safe mobility for women. In the future, she hopes to advocate for the equal rights of the women street vendors who depend upon public space.

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