Lataben Sachde – India

Linked with Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan – KMVS.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

For 15 years, Lataben Sachde (born 1963) has been working with elected women, and studying their perspective on good governance. The change her leadership has brought about is evident in the way that women leaders execute their positional power in their respective villages. i.e., responsibly. An estimated 500 “leaders” have stepped out of their restrictive social mores, challenging the patriarchal setup. Lataben and her team are the quiet force that has initiated a powerful grassroots movement of women claiming their public spaces.

She says: “I am hopeful that in the next ten to fifteen years, women will be more actively involved in the ‘governance movement’ and that it will translate from paper to reality. My role will be to provide as much information to as many women as I can”.

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Lataben Sachde – India

She works for the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan KMVS.

Lataben’s specialty lies in interacting with women who have been elected, and understanding their perspective on what comprises good governance.

Lataben Sachde was born in 1963 into a lower-middleclass family from a village close to Bhuj in Gujarat’s Kutch district. After completing her higher secondary school, she had to give up studying, as she was married into a traditional family.

She began working with the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS) a little over 14 years ago. Her husband’s friend came to know about KMVS, and that it was looking for a local woman who could work with the community. Lataben was initially not too keen on taking on the responsibility, but her husband encouraged her to at least give it a shot. He supported her quietly through the difficult days that followed her decision to join.

Over the years, she has had to struggle with her in-laws’ opposition to her work in an unconventional environment. She also had to overcome her own lack of exposure and specific educational skills within the organization. Today, Lataben is one of the leaders of the KVMS.

Her work with KMVS is centered on the political empowerment of rural women. She inspires by personal example, and has built the capacities of women in the area of governance and political leadership at the village level. Lataben’s focus is on nurturing the political leadership within the village and the community.

She follows the principle that drives KMVS’s activities – mobilizing women, spotting potential leaders, and training and impelling them towards achieving an independent identity.

Lataben has been instrumental in building the capacity of the elected women representatives, and guiding them in ably discharging their responsibilities. Lataben’s Kutchi origin gives her the edge: she effortlessly understands the dynamics of the social set- up. In the 15 years that she has been working in the field, she has been interacting with women who have been elected, and understanding their perspective on what they think comprises good governance. She also interacts with the government machinery to understand its perspective, so as to strategize and create an entry-point into the fortified system.

The change that Lataben’s leadership has brought about is evident in the responsible governance behavior of the women leaders in their respective villages. An estimated 500 leaders have been able to step out of their restrictive social mores, challenging the existing patriarchal set-up.

Lataben’s capacity to manage her familial responsibilities and her responsibilities at work has finally won her the respect of her in-laws. They are now understanding and supportive of her work in the field.

Lataben and her team are the quiet force that has initiated a powerful grassroots movement of women claiming their public spaces. “I am hopeful that in the next ten to fifteen years, women will be more actively involved in the ‘governance movement’ and that it will translate from paper to reality. My role will be to provide as much information to as many women as I can,” she says. (1000peacewomen).

links:

Relief, Rehabilitation and Development, The Case of Gujarat, 52 pages;

Revista Pangea;

Panel of the seminar.

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