The Mahila Samakhya Sitapur Women’s Federations reach across 450 villages with a membership of 15,245 poor rural women, including more than 11,000 Dalit women. Sisters For Change partners Jan Gayn Maha Sangah (JGM) Women’s Federation in Mishrikh block and Upwan Maha Sangah (UM) Women’s Federation in Pisawan block are two of the oldest federations, first established in 1996.
The Federations educate and mobilise socially and economically marginalised women and have established 4 Nari Adalats (women’s legal committees) to empower women to seek justice for crimes perpetrated against them and to combat violence at home, work and in the community.
Uttar Pradesh was the first state in which the Government of India’s Mahila Samakhya (women’s empowerment and education) programme was launched as a pilot in 1989. Starting from three districts in 1989, the programme has grown to 17 districts in 2016, with the establishment of 5,000 sanghas (women’s village-level collectives) and a membership base of 150,000 women from social and economically marginalised groups. More than 500 of the programme’s members have been elected to local Panchayati Raj institutions.
Sisters For Change worked with Sitapur Women’s Federations from 2016-2018 to build the legal capacity of the women’s legal committees in women human rights and domestic law, specifically the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act, the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act 2015 and the Domestic Violence Act.