Friday, February 22, 2013

Lasting Impressions

Two years back, when Kate James, the Chief Communication Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation(BMGF)told her mother about Rajpati, the woman leader under the RGMVP’s community empowerment programme in India, Kate’s mother appreciated her. Kate felt very important at that time because her mother had not often acknowledged her accounts of meeting well known personalities or celebrities.

On February 21, 2013, two years later, she visited the RGMVP again, which is presently implementing a community mobilisation programme supported by Gates Foundation. She met and interacted with Rajpati and a group of 50 other women leaders in a Block Organization office in Lalganj Block, Raebareli district.

The women leaders of Kranti Block Organisation made a presentation on how their Organisation was able to double the outreach in the block in less than two years and as a resource organisation, nurtured four other blocks simultaneously. With a pride in the organisation and commitment towards organising other poor women around them, they explained their scale up strategy.

Kate and her team from BMGF were greatly impressed when they saw the confidence, enthusiasm and the power of articulation of the women leaders. They were the very women, who were in the clutches of poverty and subjugated to all sort of social barriers until two years ago but were today beaming with success and the incredible spirit of voluntarism.

Kate was eager to hear from Rajpati about the developments in her life. Rajpati briefed her that while she used to take care of just one or two blocks two years back, currently she is associated with the whole programme. She explained how she now devotes her entire time in spreading the concept and building the capacity of women for further mobilisation and nurturing leadership. Rajpati clearly shared her vision of how in the next two years, the programme would be scaled up to cover the entire state.

Kate said that she once again felt very important and proud that she could visit and interact with the women from the community, the real testimony to development.

( Kate James with the leaders from the community)