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Reports Publications

  Women in Panchayati Raj
  Article 14 of the Constitution of India, guarantees “equality” to all Indian women- equality of opportunity, equal pay for equal work and no discrimination by the State. In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women and to the children, renounces practices derogatory dignity of women.

But the real life situation of women in India reveals an opposite picture, contrary to what the constitution aims for. Except the states of Kerala and Mozoram, the female literacy rate in India is lower compared to the male literacy rate.

In most Indian families, women do not own any property in their own names, and do not get a share of parental property.


  Housing Security in Chittorgarh District
The unmet need for appropriate housing is huge in the rural areas of India. Most of these houses have minimum living space, insufficient ventilation, inadequate sanitation and built out of inferior quality building materials.

However Prayas, has proven that these obstacles can be conquered by introducing Cost Effective, Energy Efficient and Environment Friendly (CEEEF) technology and gender sensitive housing. With support from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Prayas initiated a project “People’s Initiative for Housing Security in Chittorgarh District” in October 2003.

Chittorgarh in South Rajasthan is mainly occupied by the Bhil tribes. A typical house in the area is built with local materials which require maintenance on monthly basis. About 80% of these houses are without windows and approximately 94% are not electrified. Poor economic status, rising prices of good quality building materials, non-availability of skilled labour are critical problems.


  Ensuring Gender Equity in Housing
  The Government, both at the center and the state levels, recognizes peoples’ “Right to Shelter.” Though there are Government schemes to ensure that the three basic needs of “Roti (food), Kapda (clothes) and Makan (shelter)”are met, the ground reality gives a contradictory picture.

As per the 2001 census of India, more than 80% of rural households do not have appropriate and secure shelter.

Samarasa recognized and addressed housing as a basic need that provides dignity, comfort and identity to the owner of a house. But in a patriarchal society like India, women hardly enjoy the ownership rights. So, a larger part of Samarasa’s concern was to promote housing rights of women through its Rural Housing Project which was implemented during the years 2003-2007 in collaboration with Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Holtec.

The programme was implemented in 15 villages of Bidar district, Karnataka. It could bring about women ownership of housing, gender equity, facilitate access to mainstream support services, demonstrate sound technological practices and promote sustainable livelihood measures.