Ranchi: A high level stakeholder virtual meet titled “Entitlements and Empowerment: Women as leaders of Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Response” was organised recently by SwitchON Foundation in collaboration with the Jharkhand State Renewable Energy Department (JREDA).
As women and girls bear the burden of climate impacts, they are also essential to leading and driving change in climate adaptation, mitigation and solutions. Without the inclusion of half of the world’s population, it is unlikely that solutions for a sustainable planet and a gender equal world tomorrow will be realized.
The webinar also highlighted that there is a critical need for prioritizing and introducing preferential policy treatment for Women, especially ensuring access to all the Govt. schemes related to energy, water and agriculture.
Jharkhand State Renewable Energy Department (JREDA) has been actively working towards promoting Women centric clean energy programmes across the state, primarily focusing on solar water pumps usage among women farmers.
Bijay Kumar Sinha, Project Director, JREDA said, “There is a need for attitudinal change towards women and recognise their role. We as a department realize this and have ensured that Women issues are an integral part of all programmes we roll out in the state”.
Earlier, as a part of a very successful programme with Jharkhand Govt, SwitchON Foundation has been supporting women to access solar water pumps and thus help them in asset creation and ownership while improving their income and livelihoods.
The foundation through its efforts has been able to successfully impact over 2000 women farmers in the Santhal Pargana district of east Jharkhand. The foundation’s approach has created an innovative method to include particularly those women who do not have land in their name. These women can now do an affidavit and easily apply for solar pumps and those applications to be treated with priority.
Bipin Bihari, Project Director JSLPS (Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society) said, “Women farmers predominate in the world’s food production yet they have been found to be the most vulnerable. However despite their vulnerability, women are increasingly seen as active and effective agents and promoters of adaptation and mitigation.”
Vinay Jaju MD SwitchON Foundation said, “We are extremely happy to work under the leadership of Govt of Jharkhand transformative policy approach in promoting women empowerment while at the same time ensuring a climate resilient future for the state. Through our SEWA Network we want to create evidence from the ground in ensuring that the benefits from various sustainable development schemes reach the marginal women farmers of Jharkhand.”
Moving beyond the solar water pumps scheme, SwitchON foundation through its SEWA network will now mobilize various Women SHG and other grassroot organizations on schemes related to water conservation and monitoring projects.
The network would look at now training women SHGs for water level monitoring and water management, promoting climate smart technologies such as solar pumps and micro irrigation through women farmers and promoting the cultivation of less water intensive millets through women farmers which will also eventually help in reviving traditional dietary practices which were in sync with the weather conditions of the region. Presently, the SEWA Network has 25 active member organizations of which 10 are from 6 districts Jharkhand.