Nandini, an initiative aimed towards the empowerment of women and girls in Gomati district of Tripura, is helping in the successful implementation of the central government’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme in the region. Started by 2008-batch IAS officer Sonal Goel, Nandini is an umbrella project that encompasses the work of several district administration departments.
It was started in April 2014. Here are a few programmes and activities conducted as a part of the initiative:
1. Setting up a crèche – the first of its kind:
On October 5, the Gomati district administration launched a crèche named Nandini in its office complex for women employees. Gomati became the first district in the state to set up such a crèche.
2. A park dedicated to girls and their parents:
In collaboration with the Health and Family Welfare Department and Udaipur Municipal Council, the district administration set up a park dedicated to girls and their parents. The park named Rabindra Udyaan was set up in 2010 but had not been put to any good use. Today, it has been revamped and over 120 trees have been planted by local residents in the names of their daughters, sisters, granddaughters, etc. The community itself has taken up the responsibility of taking care of the park.
3. Festivals with a purpose:
As Durga Puja is one of the major festivals celebrated in Tripura, the Gomati District Administration planned to popularize the idea of women empowerment during the celebrations. They encouraged pandal committees to work around the theme of saving the girl child and women empowerment. “We were happy to see that many of the pandals were working towards the cause in some way or the other – some were conducting discussion seminars, others had exhibits promoting safety of the girl child, etc.,” says Sonal.
4. Collective streamlining of projects:
The DM issued collective guidelines to all stakeholder departments like social welfare, health, education, police, judiciary, forest department, IT department etc., informing that they all should take up steps towards women empowerment.
5. The Health and Family Welfare department has started training ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) on how they can prevent domestic violence.
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Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
6. Making women self-dependent:
The department of social welfare in the district is involved in providing supplementary nutrition to 24,315 girls in the age group of six months to six years. The department has also set up 70 vocational training centres for making women self-dependant by teaching them tailoring skills.
7. All-women polling booths:
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
Participation of women officials during the election procedure is highly encouraged in the district. There are at least one are two polling stations in the region where everyone from the election staff to the security personnel are women.
8. Nandini Samman:
An award called Nandini Samman has been introduced in the district and has been adopted by every department to honour women and girls excelling in different fields. The education department awards female students who perform well; health department honours the ASHAs; social service department gives the award to anganwadi workers, etc.
Because of a comparatively lower sex ratio as indicated in Census 2011, Gomati district came under the purview of 100 districts enlisted by Ministry of Women & Child Welfare, Government of India and was adopted by the state as well as central government under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
The initiative has been named Nandini after a female character in Rabindranath Tagore’s book Raktakarabi, who fights for freedom. Sonal Goel, who has her roots in Panipat, Haryana, was posted to Tripura in the year 2014. After working in the private sector for over two years, she wanted to do something for the society by “whatever means possible” and decided to go for civil services. She observed the issue of female foeticide very closely during her training period in west Tripura region and wanted to work towards solving it since the beginning.