An Empowered Tomorrow – The Swadhina Youth Story

Ek Saksham Kal (An Empowered Tomorrow)

Advocating Empowerment of women for a better tomorrow

Swadhina is conducting the youth empowerment programme with thematic and financial support from ILC under the Global Youth Leadership Programme in the remote pockets of Jharkhand in India. The project commenced in January 2022 and is still continuing. This document highlights some of the key achievements of the project:

Digital Empowerment of Youth, & Young Women:

Digital Trainings: Series of digital trainings for youths are being conducted by Swadhina volunteers in small pockets for youth and young mothers. The participants learn about importance of digital literacy for self-development and submission of online application for government schemes. So far 120 youths have been covered under the program

Digital Saksharta Mission: Swadhina is helping promote Digital Saksharta Mission, a scheme of Central Government, under which women are being registered in online portal. They are being trained locally and on successful completion of the training, participation certificates will be given which they can use elsewhere for livelihood promotion. Swadhina aims to cover about 500 women and youths in the first phase. 

Interactive Session with Experts and Specialists through Offline and Online Mode:

Interactive session with Village Leaders and Government Officials:  An interactive session with government officials and local body leaders was held on 19th February 2022. Topic of discussion was “Empowerment of Women and Youth through accessing Government schemes”. Total number of participants was 75. Government officers and local body leaders spoke to the participants about different available government schemes and documents to needed to access those etc. Many participants voiced the problems they face.

Interactive session on land of commons based livelihood: An interactive meet with local leaders , experts in the village and the local women was organized on 26th of March, 2022 at Chirudih village in Patamda. A detailed discussion was held on the challenges of seeking livelihood opportunities through land-based actions. Altogether 45 participants, including 41 women were present on this occasion. 

Interaction with Panchayat Leaders during Gram Sabha Meets: Swadhina lead members and WRC volunteers took part in village-level Panchayat meets to put forward issues on applications on access tom Forest Land for the indigenous families in the region. The discussion with the local Panchayat leaders helped to put forward the needs to look into pending applications as a part of the resolution. Local government (Panchayat0 leaders too promised to extend their whole-hearted support in this regard.

Webinar for Rural Youth: An online orientation was organised on 24th April 2022 where rural youth learnt about Sustainable agriculture and Accessing Government Schemes. It provided them opportunity with experts from the relevant fields like Dr Subhoshmita Mondal and Ms Sonia Bhattacharya. This was the first experience of the rural youths and women to attend a webinar and interact with urban experts. Among the 56 participants, 36 joined collectively as different groups using a single device. The session was well appreciated by all participants. More such sessions have been planned in the coming days. 

E-Women’s Resource Centres:

Two E-Women’s Resource Centres have been established. Digital equipment procuring process is completed. These centres are functioning as Mahila Sansadhan Kendras (E-Women’s Resource Centres). The centres play a crucial role in conducting village level meets to organise rural women and youth.

Organize Women and Youth Volunteers:

Village level meets: These meets have been crucial for creating awareness at the grassroots about the different government schemes. These meets successfully disseminate information about schemes and collection of data on schemes accessed and to be accessed. In such meets, list of women/youths/families who want to access different schemes is prepared.

Accessing Government Schemes: Under initiative of Swadhina E-WRC, forms of government schemes have been filled up and successfully submitted.  Most of the applications have been approved. Schemes applied for are Widow pension, Old age pension, Job card for 100 days work, Animal rearing scheme, PM Awas Scheme (Housing), Ambedkar Housing Scheme, Students’ Scholarship scheme etc. So far 1303 applications have been facilitated and  information has been collated disseminated for 20 types of schemes.

Another very important achievement has been the facilitation of tubewell/handpump repairing in the villages. Due to application submission and follow-up, nearly 23 such handpumps have been repaired so far, thus improving access to water for kitchen gardens and family farms of women farmers as well as access to clean drinking water.

Youth volunteers have also successfully solved the old approved cases where the families stopped receiving pension before Swadhina intervention due to technical issues about which they were unaware. Our volunteers have sorted out those glitches and the affected families would soon start receiving their money.

Publication of Booklets and Manuals:

Chitrakatha, a booklet in simple language on different laws is being used at the village level meets. Two banners in simple language developed and currently in use to motivate villagers to access government schemes.

Publication of Booklet in simple local language on Land and Laws and Cartoon booklet on Land Registration process is being documented now. Soon those will be available for grassroots use.

Flex banners, highlighting the need for digital empowerment and how it may help and support the women and youth to access government schemes on land, job and housing have been prepared. These are displayed during the awareness meets and trainings.

Their Stories:

* Menoka Mahato a 32 year old widow from Hurumbil village had suddenly lost her husband. She was in deep distress after the sudden accidental death of her husband three years ago. She has two sons – 10 years and 6 years old. She was encouraged to apply for Widow pension which is now approved. Now she gets a monthly pension of Rs.1000/-. She has used this money to ensure farming in her plot of land and has been able to continue education for her children.

* Puspa Mahato, is a 21 year of girl from Chirudih village. Her father is a daily wage earner and mother earns some money from goat rearing. She has three sisters and a brother. She was one of the participants of Digital training conducted by Swadhina at Chirudih village to be a volunteer. They direly needed a house. Through Swadhina’s initiative her family had applied under Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme. They have now got their house.

* Sanjay Mahato is a local youth from Kulthikri village. He had been an active participant in the digital empowerment trainings of Swadhina.  Being motivated through the trainings and webinars, he has now enrolled and undergoing training of the Digital Saksharta Mission program run by the government of Jharkhand. Currently unemployed, this will give him scope to find work under digital literacy.

* Much of the success of the programs has been due to the enthusiasm of the youth trainers. One such trainer is young Sandip  Mahato. Fresh out of high school, Sandip diligently trains village women and other youth – making them digitally literate. He also actively helps them in filling up the online forms and also maintains a detailed report on those in his computer system. We hope to see many more such active youths bringing emphatic changes in every remote region.


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Published by SWADHINA

Swadhina, established in 1986, is a civil society, NGO working for empowerment of women and development of children. Its main office is in Kolkata city in India. It works for all irrespective of caste, creed or colour.