IT for Change represented the 'Making Women's Voices and Votes Count' project at the  UN Women Fund for Gender Equality Asia Pacific and Europe and Central Asia Grantee Convening, organised in Bangkok, between September 2-5 2013. The Convening was an attempt to bring together UN Women Fund For Gender Equality grantees from various countries of Central Asia and South Asia. The Convening focused on enhancing participants' understanding of Results Based Management  and the Monitoring and Evaluation and Reporting Requirements of the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality. Additionally, the participants were encouraged to share details of their projects, as part of a one-hour 'Share-fair' slot was allotted for networking and peer sharing. A 5-minute film was shared on behalf of the 'Making Women's Voices and Votes Count' project to showcase the vision and strategies, guiding the interventions at the three sites.

Between 19-22 June 2013, Anita and Nandini from IT for Change, with Shreeja, Mangala, Rajesh and Harish from the Prakriye field centre of IT for Change, visited Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghathan (KMVS) and Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan (Abhiyan). The objectives of the exposure visit were as follows:

  • To understand the insights and learnings of KMVS from their experiences of collectively organising and building capacities of Elected Women Representatives in Mundra and Nakhthrana Blocks of Kutch district for over 20 years.
  • To understand Abhiyan's ICTD model and ICT-based telecentre strategy for enabling marginalised communities to challenge existing informational hierarchies, that impede their access to entitlements and provide new information channels that can enable the emergence of a community-centred local governance and development model, on the ground.


The field visit opened up alternative imaginaries for the team, on addressing the questions of 'the politics of context' and 'the politics of technology' in the search for a context-appropriate, situated, ICTD paradigm. Also, the field visit re-affirmed the partnering organisations' commitments to pay close attention to the differential local governance institutional scenario in Gujarat and Karnataka, while evolving a common strategy for the 'Making Women's Voices and Votes Count' project.


Between June 17-18 2013, the three partnering organisations – IT for Change, KMVS and ANANDI – met at Ahmedabad, to share  implementation experiences across the three sites, six months into the project period. The  objective of the meeting was  to enable all three partners to take stock of key insights and challenges to be addressed across the three sites and consolidate plans for the next six months. Ms. Cynthia Stephen, State Programme Director, Mahila Samakhya Karnataka – in partnership with whom IT for Change is implementing the project in Mysore – also participated in the meeting.
On the Second Day, officers from UN Women and the Gujarat State Resource Centre of the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women joined the meeting. Ms. Anita Gurumuthy from IT for Change made a consolidated presentation about the project progress across the three sites, the key challenges the project has had to encounter and the revisions in the strategy that has been neccesitated by on-ground developments.



The horrifying gang rape of a young woman, on 16th December, 2012, on a public transport vehicle in Delhi, which led to widespread media and public outrage on the incompetence of existing institutional structures to protect women's rights to bodily integrity and protection from violence, coincided with the formal launch of the project. Mahila Swaraj Manch, the collective of Elected Women Representatives in Shihor block that the ANANDI team works with, wanted to express their solidarity with the women's groups and organisationa who were expressing their outrage and shock, and demanding state accountability for the increasing lack of safety for women, in urban centres. Therefore, they decided to take out a rally, to the block headquarters, as an expression of their solidarity with the global One Billion Rising Campaign against gender-based violence. The participants secured the required permissions to take out the rally and successfully sought the support of local police and government authorities. This rally received widespread coverage in the local media. 1600 signatures were collected in support of the One Billion Rising Campaign, and another 1200 signatures were obtained for a petition to the Government of Gujarat seeking changes to existing legal provisions – for ensuring adequate,effective and timely response to victims of sexual violence. This is a significant step in linking the mandate of elected women representatives, to represent the interests of a women's constituency, with the concerns of the larger feminist movement, at a very tangible level.


The ANANDI and KMVS teams wanted to know more about IT for Change's experiences in exploring new techno-social possibilities for supporting women's collectives' empowerment process in context-appropriate ways, and the specific ICT strategies that the Prakriye field centre of IT for Change was planning to explore under the 'Making Women's Voices and Votes Count' project. Also, the KMVS and ANANDI teams, wanted to understand the specificities of working with community video and GIS platforms, as they were planning to explore these techno-social possibilities for the first time, under this project. Therefore, Lata Sachde, Bharmal Marwada, Kruti Laheru and Dilip Patel from KMVS and  Hiraben Solanki, Jahnvi Andharia and Upasana Munjpara from ANANDI visited the Prakriye field centre between 29th March 2013-1st April 2013.

In this one-week long exposure visit, the teams learnt about the technical aspects of video production such as handling the camera appropriately, ensuring audio-video sync, and working on video editing software platforms. They also discussed with the Prakriye team, various ways of addressing the main challenge of producing community video – the need to ensure that the intended messages are  communicated in an appealing way, and not in a top-down manner that is reminiscent of development communication films which are usually screened under government and NGO programmes. During the visit, the Prakriye team members also shared with the ANANDI and KMVS teams, the technical know-how of working with GIS platforms, and some of the strategies for utilising GIS possibilities to visually re-combine and re-present datasets before the community  – in order to enable women to critically engage with the micro-politics of entitlements.


The Inception Meeting of the ‘Making Women’s Voices and Votes Count’ was held in Ahmedabad, between 23-24 January 2013. The objective of the meeting was to enable the three partnering organisations – IT for Change, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghathan and ANANDI -- to deliberate upon the strategic directions of the project. The meeting commenced with presentations by each organisation, to enable all participants to get acquainted with each other's work, the historical trajectories that have shaped the organisation's journey and experiences in the area of working for women's empowerment, and the standpoints that each organisation locates itself in, regarding the question of engendering local governance. These presentations were followed by a day and a half of intense dialogue, and culminated in a re-affirmation of the shared vision of exploring technological possibilities, for capacity-building of elected women leaders and bringing together geographically dispersed elected women leaders and members of women's collectives, though new technologies such as Interactive Voice Response Systems. The meeting also agreed to work with four primary objectives – networking women in local governance, creating new information centres, creating local media and techno-social processes and actively engaging with policy processes – and build on indicators to enable assessment of the project.