Gramin mahila vikas sangh latur
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Gramin Mahila Vikas Sangh, Latur. Location of Marathwada Region. Marathwada Region. Comprises of the inland eastern districts in Maharashtra It accounts for 16.84% of the state's population and is home to nearly 30% of the state's Below Poverty Line families.

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Marathwada region
Marathwada Region

  • Comprises of the inland eastern districts in Maharashtra

  • It accounts for 16.84% of the state's population and is home to nearly 30% of the state's Below Poverty Line families.

  • Per capita GDP is Rs 10,373 -- a good 40 per cent below the state's per capita GDP of Rs 17,029 -- and contributes just 8% of the state's industrial output.

  • Literacy rate is the lowest in the state (51.23%, Census 2001).

  • All eight districts figure in the list of the 100 poorest districts in the country.

  • About 98% of agriculture is dry land farming and cotton is the major crop.

  • But the inherent susceptibility of cotton crop to pest and the vagaries of nature make its cultivation a risky affair, resulting in many a farmer falling prey to debt.

  • Perhaps, the most neglected region of Maharashtra


Socio cultural aspects
Socio-Cultural Aspects

  • Feudal society - Patriarchy is still very strong in the region

  • Regressive social attitude towards women and depressed classes (Dalits).

Socio cultural aspects1
Socio-Cultural Aspects

  • One-fifth of Marathwada’s population is ‘dalit’- ‘lowest’ in the social strata, in a caste-ridden society

  • Dalits and women are marginalized both socially and economically

  • Estimated that over 85% of dalits work in the agricultural sector as wage labourers

Personal journey
Personal Journey

  • Kushavarta Bele – Founder member of GMVS

  • Married at the age of 13

  • Schooling discontinued

  • Life revolved around domestic chores and as a daily wage farm labourer to supplement the family income

A desire to complete her school level education and learn more remained suppressed but alive within Kushavarta

Personal journey1
Personal Journey

  • Supported by a local schoolteacher, Kushavarta completed her high school braving several odds on the home front

  • Joined a local NGO and worked as a grassroots worker

  • Work involved travel and late hours - ill treatment meted out by her husband and in-laws

Emerging as a leader
Emerging as a Leader

  • Realised the need to address several issues affecting women/dalits at the local level

  • Work at the grassroots had resulted in reaching out to a large number of women / other community members.

  • Resolved local level problems on domestic violence / PDS cards and had the ability to approach Government officials / other NGO networks - developed a good rapport with the community

  • Local people approached her to start an organisation and initiate development activities in the villages of Deoni and Udgir blocks

Establishing gmvs
Establishing GMVS

  • Gramin Mahila Vikas Sanstha (GMVS) was established in 1996 by Kushavarta Bele

  • Objective of implementing locally relevant programmes with a primary focus on dalit and women’s issues

  • Kushvarta Bele with the support of a small team drawn from the community has gradually built the organisation

  • Recognised at the district level for its strong community presence

  • and the voice of dalit and marginalised women

Main activities
Main Activities

  • Promotion of Self Help Groups

  • Thrift and credit activities at the SHG level and developing linkages with Banks

  • Training workshops for livelihood activities – organic agriculture, animal husbandry and poultry

  • Mobilizing women to resolve cases of domestic violence through community level interventions/family counseling/legal aid

  • Supporting and managing ‘anganwadis’ (play schools)


  • Currently the operational area in Udgir and Deoni blocks covers about 100 villages

  • Promoted more than 500 Self Help Groups

  • Involvement of about 12,000 women in various activities

  • Accessed more than Rs. 40 M through different sources of credit to meet their production needs

Support from different Government schemes, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Development Support Team

Working with the community
Working with the Community

  • Drawing women from within the community to work as ‘Community organisers / workers’

  • Training and mentoring undertaken by Kushavarta Bele

  • Women leaders at the village level nurtured to act as first level contact within the community

  • Promotion of village level forums – Self Help Groups / other ad hoc women’s groups to solve burning issues (dowry death / domestic violence / water supply etc )

  • Holding of Women’s Conventions at the block level

  • Counselling centres – legal aid / awareness on Government Schemes

Empowering women
Empowering women

Political participation of women through :

  • Training programmes on roles and responsibilities of Gram Panchayat members, importance of political participation of women and understanding welfare programmes are routed through the Gram Panchayat.

  • Encouraging women to engage in the Committees formed at the village level and address the needs of needy and poor women

Empowering women1
Empowering Women

  • Sensitization of community on gender imbalance particularly on son preference at birth / ill effects of female foeticide

  • Village level workshops for adolescent girls to create awareness regarding personal hygiene, nutrition and general health