June 12, 2013

Capacity Building Workshop on Advocacy for Reproductive Health and Rights

New and proposed schemes like Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) and the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) continue to exclude women who have more than two children. National data and reports indicate to pockets of the country with MMR above 400 and high rates of home deliveries despite the so-called successes of measures like Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Access to safe abortion services are compromised because of restrictions relating to sex-selective practices, while unsafe abortions continue to contribute to the burden of maternal mortality and reproductive health morbidity. In addition to the policy asymmetry, there has been a spate of cases reported of negligence and lack of attention to quality of care in family planning camps in various states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and most recently in West Bengal. Quality norms are constantly flouted with the surgeries taking place in a school building, pregnant women being operated upon, men being operated upon in exchange of treatment of other family members, etc.

In response to such a national scenario, revealing the urgent need for a collective advocacy to address these concerns a three day capacity building workshop around essentials of reproductive health and rights advocacy was organised in Delhi on 20-22nd of May 2013 to (a) build a common consensus among partners in states on human rights issues (b)  reinvigorate advocacy around delivery of comprehensive health services for the vulnerable and marginalised (c)  increased accountability of the government. 
Advocacy groups and organisations like Advocating Reproductive Choices (ARC), Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive population Policies, CommonHealth, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and NAMHHR partnered to undertake the workshop. 

20 organisations from seven states (Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh) participated in the advocacy workshop and prepared plans for advocacy action in these states. Strategies and immediate action points are being worked upon by the participants. it is hoped that these organisations will be supported in their advocacy agendas by the organizers of the workshop

From Agenda to Action: Street Vendors Dialogue with Lawmakers to Convert Street Vendors Bill into Act

Labour day (1st May 2013) was celebrated with great gusto by 800 street vendors from 8 states who gathered in New Delhi during a National Dialogue.  The dialogue was organised by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) in collaboration with Centre for Civil Society (CCS) to build momentum around the immediate enactment of The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act.  The dialogue brought together key stakeholders including Members of Parliament, civil society representatives, labour and human rights activists, and street vendors. 

During the dialogue street vendors shared the challenges that their work entails and the successes that they achieved as a result of sustain advocacy efforts with Municipalities officials and Commissioners in cities across various states.  The dialogue brought together a panel comprising of various stakeholders and civil society representatives.  One of the panellists, Mr. Suniti. K. R. Gupta representing the Department of Food Safety spoke briefly about what the Ministry was doing for the vendors in Delhi.  Mr. Shantanu Gupta from the Centre for Civil Society discussed the provisions of the Street Vendors Act. NAMHHR member, Ms. YK Sandhya was on a panel and spoke on the maternity benefits for the women working in the informal sector.

 Member of Secretariat, Ms. Aditi Sood also attended the event and disseminated the NAMHHR policy brief on maternity benefits during the event to the media, NGOs and other civil society members.

National Conference on Women’s Social Security & Protection in India

A national conference was organized by PWESCR, in collaboration with UN-women, Heinrich Böll Foundation, ILO and UNSW on 6th& 7th May 2013 aimed at enriching the existing debates on the Right to Social Security by analyzing the issue with a gender lens.

 The Conference brought together people from diverse backgrounds, sectors and regions in order to identify multiple threads that underlie the women and social security issues. Over 170 participants from over 16 States including social activists, academic intelligentsia, ground workers, bureaucrats, trade unions, NGO’s, iNGOs and political leaders from various sectors congregated for the Conference to share and exchange their rich experience and knowledge on various aspects of social security issues in India.

The two daylong workshop helped in building conceptual understanding on the gender dimensions of Social Security, Social Security Schemes from a woman’s perspective and develop strategies to advocate for improved Social Security and protection for women based on human rights framework.

This Conference was a first step in efforts to ensure that women’s voices are heard and that their realities are taken into account while addressing challenges in matters of social security and protection in India. NAMHHR members Ms. Sashiprava Bindhani, Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Ms.YK Sandhya participated in the consultation and shared NAMHHR policy brief on maternity benefits.