From November 16 to 21, representatives from the United Nations Development Program (head of UN operations in India, and on the behalf of the UNDEF) visited five of the twenty-one villages where the Women Empowerment: Community Sanitation through Democratic Participation (WE:CSDP) project is active. WE:CSDP is a two year, pan-India initiative jointly funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) in line with the Government of India‚Äôs commitment to improving sanitation and rural development. The project aims to empower at least 5,000 women in rural communities across India to champion sanitation and community development.
The villages were: Devgain, Jharkhand; Ratanpur and Hadiabad, Bihar; Guptapada, Odisha; and Kanti, Haryana. These are the same villages where AMMACHI Labs, Amrita SeRVe and other MA Math activities are ongoing. The UNDP representatives were enthusiastic about the progress of the project and the strength and accomplishments of the women in the community. The UN team spent considerable time speaking with Community Organizers #COs, project participants, and other members of the community to understand what their experience has been. They also toured the village and made note of all the improvements and development efforts accomplished under the WE:CSDP project and the other activities of the MA Math. Overall feedback was extremely positive especially in the empowerment demonstrated by the women. The UN team encouraged us to continue with our efforts and were impressed by the dedication of staff in the field.