Training to Empowerment

“Change is a process! Change begins with me!” says an impassioned participant at the recently held training for project staff of CARE’s Pathways program in India, which is being implemented in two districts in the state of Odisha.

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“From what we discussed today and the earlier round of training, one thing I am constantly realizing is that gender is a constructed notion.  There are so many stereotypes that I believe in without even being aware of it!” says another participant when I ask for his feedback.

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Stereotypes, gendered division of labour and resources – are social factors existing in every society. But in the tribal context of Orissa, India where Pathways is currently being implemented women and girls are pushed towards vulnerability and marginalization. As such, CARE’s work in this region with Pathways focuses on increasing productivity and empowerment of women farmers. Empowerment, in this context, therefore means changing the existing power relations within the family, in the social structure and markets.

For a program that focuses on empowerment as one of its goals, it is important that the team of program staff, who work directly with the community, are empowered themselves.  The Gender Equity and Diversity training was more about self and reflection than training on how to deal with social constructs in the community. After all, we, the project team, are a part of the community.

Lastly, why, the name, ‘Training to Empowerment’ of this blog post? The answer is in the impassioned cry of a fellow colleague, ‘Change begins with me!’.

Submitted by: Isha Agarwal, CARE, Join My Village