The Ripple Effect of Women Empowering Women


The Ripple Effect of Women Empowering Women

25 Sep 2017 in Social

By buzzadmin

Bhagya, one of our Gelathi facilitators, has an interesting job – of identifying, grooming and empowering rural women leaders. It does sound ‘wow’, but when we gave her this job description, Bhagya’s face tried to conceal her apprehensions – “how exactly am I supposed to create leaders!” But this ambiguity at the surface of it all is what makes her job even more interesting. She decided to take up the role and figure things on the go.

Her initial visits to the villages didn’t give her much confidence. The women didn’t know what to expect from her too. Bhagya started with conversations with the women – she asked about their lives, enquired how the Buzz India training helped them bring about change, nudged the fence sitters to start making changes in their lives and gave them information that they can use to improve their lives.

Bhagya (center) with the Gelathi team

From among these women, Bhagya has to identify women who have it in them to become leaders in their own community. Why these leaders? These identified women, called Buzz Gelathis (Gelathi means friend in Kannada), will become problem-solvers and change-makers of their own community. They will identify problems within the community, find solutions through discussions, explore entrepreneurship and help each other in finding opportunities to grow. The best part here is, all this change is achieved from within the community. When change is from within, sustainability is intrinsically ensured.

We experimented a bit with by rewarding the Buzz Gelathis with a monthly honorarium. But soon we realised the honorarium is not what drives true leaders. We then decided to create a pool of women leaders who are volunteers. The identification process becomes tough, but we get a reassurance from the ground that money is not the motivation. It is but the aspiration for a better life, for themselves and for the communities they live in.

Our model for long-term handholding by creating local women leaders is still in its experimental phase. We are refining it based on the feedback that we gather from the women themselves, thus it’s becoming an enjoyable journey of co-creation.

Bhagya visits these women leaders once every month. She says, “The women wait for me to come. They are excited to share their progress and are eager to take for more information. I’m excited to see that my work is able to create a positive impact.” Also, in the process, Bhagya is rediscovering the leader in herself too – a ripple effect of women leaders creating more women leaders, and inspiring each other to find their inner strength.


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