It is incredible how much I have learned in just a few days about the organization I will be working for, as well as about the language and place were I am staying. The first few days were spent understanding more about the organization, from listening to the staff of each department share what they do, to going into the field and visiting the woman farmers and learning about the work that they do as well as how they have been organizing themselves in various groups that CORD has facilitated.
The project I will be working with is called the Mahila Kisan Sashaktikasan Pariyojana (MKSP), which can be translated as Women Farmers’ Empowerment Project. It was started a year ago, after observing that women often do 60-80% of agricultural work, yet receive no official recognition as farmers. Through this project, hundreds of women are now recognized as women farmers, and are involved in various activities through MKSP to increase the yield of their crops, health of their soil, collective bargaining power in the market, and the food security and income of their families, to name a few things.
Today was exciting in that we all began to officially iron out our specific projects that we will be working on for the rest of the summer. I will be doing a case study of a sample of the woman farmers to see how the MKSP project has progressed over its first year, and to understand in a holistic way how it has affected the woman farmers. We are all still figuring out the details, but I am very excited to work with a project (MKSP) whose mission I strongly believe in.
(it’s a little hard to see here, but this is at the Dharamsala airport a little over a week ago. I almost fell over when I saw all of the beautiful mountains!)