when we proposed madhyam sakhi’s and their teams to make a film on their village, they were very happy and exited. the most interesting part was when they took camera and shot moving images. gradually when we started working on the issue, the storyline and documenting video, a new dimension was added to their perspective and the environment at the village level became more vibrant. video has always proved itself as a symbol of power. we have felt this many times when we move in to any community. this year we have done the shooting for 5 talukas with team led by 5 madhyam sakhi’s.
Madhyam Sakhi’s shared their experiences working with adolescent girls and how insecure they feel to move around in villages and also feel helpless when it come to expressing their feelings or experiences within family and peers relating to abuse or about their health. During the ‘Security Audit’ that each Madhyam Sakhi conduted, girls drew a map of their village and marked areas (in red color) where they felt threated or insecure. A charter of demands was given to repective panchayats to find solutions to their concerns.
Madhyam Sakhi’s use various methods to organize activities in the villages with media as the main tool of intervention. They show films on PRI and conduct dialogue with the villagers, and also show self-created media like the Flannel Story to generate interest in village development. Films on Gram Panchayat generates interest and lot of discussion follows after the screenings.
Gram Sabha is an important public forum where the main agenda is ‘village development’ and women hardly participate in such a forums. We believe that women’s participation is necessary for overall development of a community. So as a way out, Its was recommended by the state government to conduct a Mahila Sabha before every Gram Sabha. But in fact a Mahila Sabha is never conducted in villages due to lack of awareness and so women’s representation in gram sabha is affected. Therefore Madhyam Sakhi’s started orienting women about the procedure to conduct and document a Mahila Sabha as well as procedure to submit the proceedings to Sarpanch for him/ her to read it out during the Gram Sabha’s for further actions required. Such an activity becomes an eye opener for women and a platform is created for them to discuss variety of topics aiming development.
Abhivyakti’s strategy to initiate small libraries in villages continues with help of Madhyam Sakhi’s. It has offered reading material in villages where it works to cover the gap of non-existing reading culture in the villages. Along with this, the library has evolved as a public space for coming together to discuss urgent issues and take appropriate actions. Our aim is to make these spaces self-sustaining with the help of community endeavors and also develop this space as a community learning center.
A ‘Panchayat’ plays a very important role in the development of village. It is mostly observed that people are not aware of its functioning. People find it difficult to get their work done as the panchayat itself does not provide any information and there is a lack of transparency. People expect clarity on funds received, funds utilized, about government schemes and expect efficient delivery of services to the beneficiaries. To address this reality, Abhivyakti in consultation with RSCD, Mumbai decided to produce a video on most pressing issues relating to panchayat raj institution. Accordingly, we listed thematic areas like ‘JointHouse’, Identity card to sarpanch, gram panchayat darshan and so on so forth. Six thematic films have been finalized at the beginning of this year and are ready for dissemination. Trial dissemination in villages is carried out by Madhyam Sakhi’s. Six new thematic areas are also identified for the production of thematic videos.
Capacity Building for more than 130 community members from 52 villages.