Gandhian Unit for Integrated Developement EducationA man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
GUIDE is primarily a team of women working for the empowerment of women. The acronym itself is consciously arrived at. It reminds us of our attitude. We do not want to do anything for others, but only guide them to be able to do themselves, so that they could become self supportive and their effort sustainable.
As the first step, we have helped women to achieve their felt needs met. These felt needs (water, road, street, transport etc.) are generally the needs of their family and the community too. The sceptic male members of the community began to acknowledge.
The women then moved on to finding alternative income generation and value adding to their products. They also learnt new skills, such as masonry and carpentry. This was part of their effort to assert right to livelihood. At this stage they started their own savings and lending, which has now become over Rs. 3 lakhs common fund of them which they now call as GUIDE rural banking.
They then took up that issues related to young women made pregnant and deserted by promising boys, dowry harassment and domestic violence. The male members did not appreciate it. They wanted the women to keep away from these ‘personal matters’. The women fought their way through, and have gained acknowledgement both from the local communities, the local police and the district authorities after about 15 years struggle.
As the latest step, the women have taken the lead in organising village level resource protection committees (RPC). These RPC have taken up water conservation activities (land development, planting trees in catchments, water conserving cultivation etc.) and also are leading protest against illegal sand mining, commercial water extraction and industrial water pollution.
The women of GUIDE working area have lead network of women federation in the local districts and in other districts. They take up advocacy campaigning and lobbying for policy changes. They have succeeded in brining domestic violence act, changes in dowry harassment act and women harassment act and are working towards reservation to parliament and legislative assembly constituencies. GUIDE plays an important role in the Violence Against Women campaign for the past 12 years at the state level.
On the coast, we have helped fisher women to assert their space in the decision making regarding the relief and rehab activities. Fisher women have helped non fisher women to have their space in rehab. Fisher women have developed a ‘coastal women movement’ to ensure that the coast remains for the coastal communities. They will soon be having official space in the traditional panchayats of the coastal villages.