5.2. Impact on Women and gender relations
- Women seem to be in the forefront of land struggle. Some of them can even argue the cases in the court. They are able to deal with government officials. The main title of the land is in their name. There have been some changes in the women's attitude and they now come out in the open for struggle.
- In the Coastal Andhra disaster preparedness programme too women are in the fore front be it thrift and credit programme, decision regarding building houses or task force group regarding disaster preparedness.
- SAKTI also provided training to women members of weaving communities to upgrade their skills in weaving. As a result, in contrast to ancillary jobs, women have now gained confidence in weaving saris with different designs. This has boosted their confidence and self respect.
- Although women were quite visible in the overall terms, there seems to be less focus on political empowerment of women at Panchayat level and the power relations in terms of intra-household dynamics. In case of intra House hold dynamics it was observed that women preferred sons to daughters. They also expressed the view that under stressful economic situation they will prefer sons' education over daughters', and take out daughters from the schools. Since the focus of their struggle was towards getting the land rights in their name, this aspect was not given much attention.
- SAKTI does not have women in their team except Sarada Devi, the Coordinator. The reason given by the team was the sensitive nature of the work, which forced many women to leave the organisation. The situation often led to several team members getting implicated in false cases and remanded to police custody. However, the review team has suggested the organisation to appoint more women staff, as well as enhance the gender equity.
5.3 Impact on Sustainability
- The programme is sustainable, as the capacity building process among the tribal communities has already been accomplished. Restoration of rich land to tribals and good cropping will lead to sustainability in terms of livelihoods of the tribal people. However, the legal battle for restoring the remaining land will require intervention of SAKTI.
- The advocates associated with SAKTI are reachable and available to the tribals and can be directly contacted. However, high costs involved in filing cases, does not seem sustainable if it has to be provided by grant money. Notwithstanding this, we must recognize that those judicial interventions will be a pre-requisite towards implementation of macro level policies and bringing about positive changes on the ground. Support for pending cases would therefore be critical.
- In the long run, however, land issues may have to be tackled in more effective manner through social movement than Public Interest Litigation. Collective empowerment process in Khammam may be more effective, though; it may lead to a lot of conflict between tribal and non-tribals on the one hand and between the State and tribals, on the other.
- Due to demand from the communities, SAKTI has been expanding its programme horizontally, which hinders the consolidation and scaling up process.
5.4 Impact on Environment
- Land restoration will definitely reduce burden on the forest for livelihood of the tribal communities and will lead to less exploitation of forest resources. Efforts towards stopping indiscriminate tree felling by timber companies and supporting NGO like Samata to file cases against mining etc. will lead to protection of the forests.
- SAKTI, as stated above, has been the pioneer in the work of restoration of lands and forest through judicial system. It has filed more cases related to tribal communities access to and control over forest and land resources, than those filed by even a national level organisation such as Narmada Bachao Andolan.
- The programme had to undergo several set backs during its implementation phase due to harassment by the authorities.
- Although the programme pertaining to land rights has been effective but the other programmes such as thrift and credit, and cattle rearing started by SAKTI have not yet yielded results.
- Regularity in implementation has suffered due to Naxalite problem in the area.
- The process of change would have been accelerated, if the approach was collective and movement oriented instead of legal casework-driven approach. It is therefore imperative that an overall capacity building is undertaken, with specific focus in the area of finance and field level efforts.
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