Uttarakhand Mahila Parishad

Women’s Literacy

Adolescent Education

Uttarakhand Mahila Parishad
(Uttarakhand Women’s Federation)

Uttarakhand Mahila Parishad-UMP, which means Uttarakhand Women’s Federation, was set up in 2001 at Almora, with the joint efforts of our partner organizations and rural women to provide a state level organisation promoting collective action to achieve gender equality and justice. Spread over nine hill districts of the state of Uttarakhand, UMP consists of 490 groups with approximately 16,000 rural women as members.

In a village, all women are members of a single group called the mahila sangathan or the whole village group-WVG. Efforts are made to ensure that irrespective of caste, class and other disparities, all women join together to form one group and a sense of bonding and solidarity prevails. Each WVG has an elected female president, and sometimes, a secretary.

UMP is the largest network of rural women’s groups in Uttarakhand, and hosts programmes that enable women to invest in social relations to gain access to and to have control over resources at household, community, regional and state level. The network brings together WVGs of each cluster of villages to form kshetriya mahila sangthan (regional federations) which consolidate at the state level to form UMP.

Though WVGs and the regional federations take decisions on initiating any activity in the community and manage their resources - for example, time, natural resources, village funds etc., a support system is required to provide information and new ideas and to coordinate activities that WVGs take up from time to time. UMP raises the required funds, organizes workshops and training programmes and monitors activities. Depending on their needs, WVGs take up the following activities:

• Organize regular monthly meetings in the village
• Raise awareness on education, especially schooling and retention of girls
• Literacy and education for adult women
• Protection, conservation, regeneration, sustainable management of forests, land and water
• Access to safe sanitation facilities to poor, widowed, deserted women and others
• Preventive health care and nutrition of women and girls
• Cleaning of the village
• Prevention of violence against women and children
• Action against alcoholism, illegal mining, deforestation etc.
• Action to demand appointment of teachers, doctors and for regular supply of electricity, water etc.
• Access to government programmes on development
• Representation and participation of women in Panchayats and other committees
• Exposure tours for rural women
• Documentation of women’s experiences
• Annual publication of a women’s magazine called “Nanda”, with contributions by the village women.

Every year the UMP organises over 15 regional congregations of women in villages spread over Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand. Congregations provide a forum to rural women to raise their concerns, share experiences and plan for the future.

Research Project
In 2013, an ICSSR sponsored 2 year research project on disaster and gender was entrusted to USNPSS, addressing two themes:
1. Gender issues in the development of ecologically fragile zones, a case study of the village communities in Uttarakhand and
2. Gender and Disaster: Women affected by disasters and their coping strategies in Uttarakhand.