The Family Empowerment Programme (FEP) aims to empower women in migration affected communities to help them overcome the pressures arising from informal, low waged work that marks the survival of their homes.
When men migrate to cities, women continue to sustain their families through increased care and work responsibilities. Their labour remains invisible and unpaid and indirectly over-compensates for the extractive and poor conditions in which migrants must work. Under the FEP we promote and nurture solidarity groups of rural women (Ujala Samooh) to come together on platforms for articulating their needs and claiming their entitlements from local administration. Ujala Samoohs are organized into apex structures at block levels to become a force representing women’s voices and claims in an environment that neglects their labour and contribution.
Over 13000 women are organized in Ujala Samoohs across rural south Rajasthan. These groups are led by a cadre of strong peer leaders and volunteers – Ujala Mitras – who have gone through a process of critical thinking and training to lead change and challenge existing power structures within their communities. Thousands of families have been linked to basic social protection, i.e., full, and regular work under NREGA, regular pension and subsidized ration under the Public Distribution System. Ujala Mitras have attained new visibility in the functioning of panchayats, local planning and demands on local administration.
FEP also extends collectivisation support to women workers participating in the rural and urban labour markets migrants in Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Ahmedabad, Beawer. A diverse group of women and girls participate in the labour market - some of whom are migrants themselves - face gender-specific challenges, such as workplace harassment, workplace accidents, unequal wages, and lack of basic sanitation and health facilities. This strong collectivization has helped leverage response from employers and local administrations over highly precarious workstreams that remain invisible.