Norway to fund UN project for women’s role in Panchayats

The Norwegian government Wednesday signed an agreement to grant the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) $9 million for strengthening participation of women in local governance in India.

The partnership agreement was signed by UNIFEM executive director Ines Alberdi and the Ambassador of Norway to India Ann Ollestad.

‘This signature is an initial step in working to promote women’s participation in local governance and government in India,’ Alberdi told reporters here at the UN office.

The grant will be used over a period of three years to initially train 30,000 women elected representatives from six Indian states. ‘The grant can be extended to a longer period,’ Alberdi added.

‘The government-run National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) will be in-charge of training to the women. The training could in turn be conducted by the state institutes of rural development,’ said a UNIFEM South Asia official.

UNIFEM is already in talks with the ministry of women and child development (WCD), National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Planning Commission to promote and sustain the project.

Alberdi said that UNIFEM would also be working in partnership with the ministry of panchayati raj.

All the UN’s millennium development goals (MDGs) are inter-linked with the third goal focusing on development of women and gender issues. Our proposal wants to relate this with the Indian government efforts,’ Alberdi stressed.

In the three years the project will be implemented in states with varying women representation in local government which will include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Meghalaya, Karnataka as well as Kerala.

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