Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Building knowledge societies at the grassroots

In the rural areas of Jharkhand, literacy level of women is low. Traditionally, they have remained confined to their homes and fields and even today their world revolves around within these parameters.

For a long time, they have held a desire to seek new avenues of information of the aspects related to their daily lives and local developments.

Given the fact that very little emerged from within their environment to require a change, not until Mobile Libraries came into the scene. It's an initiative of the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) project that seeks to address issues of poverty in 120 districts across India by improving access to rights and entitlements by those who remain socially excluded of whom women form a large chunk.

Young enthusiastic boys ride bicycles across 30 villages in Maheshpur block in Pakur district loaded with not only books, newspapers but forms for old-age pension, information on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and Forest Rights for sharing with the local communities.

The women held back, perhaps because of lack of literacy and being unsure of how all this material could relate to them. This bastion was also broken once these young 'library activists' started to speak to them, giving them information about the material they had and how it could benefit them.

full report here Sify

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