Women’s Action for Development ( WAFD) was formed in 1978 as a voluntary effort of a few socially minded young people who wanted to make a difference. . The focus of work has always remained women, and as needs changed WAFD too took up new issues which were affecting women in the rural areas. For the past more than ten years WAFD has focussed on how climate change is affecting women and their workload and their lives. In order to really help the women with simple technologies, which would/ reduce the drudgery of their live. In order to do this WAFD started working with INSEDA as their technical partner who designed simple low cost, low carbon. environmentally friendly technologies which could be easily used by the women.
The very first innovation was a bio gas plant using bamboo as base instead of bricks. This was aimed at women’s and children’s health due to smoke in the kitchen, as well as reducing the woman’s drudgery. Here women too were able to earn some money by weaving the baskets for the biogas plant, during their free time after finishing their household work. This plant was called the “grameen bandhu” . After this came many other smaller technologies like solar dryers, solar poly house, roof rain water harvesting structures , all using bamboo as the base.
WAFD has been implementing and teaching people about “eco village development”(EVD) since last 15 years.
In the urban areas WAFD is working with a small group of 1500 women to help them get access to small credit. This small credit is to help them set up some income generation activity so women can earn some income, and their image and respect within the family and society increases. Through this program women’s sense of self worth increases, and most important they also get a role in decision making also increases. As one of the oldest members of this program said “I no longer have to stretch out my hand to ask for something. I can now stretch out my hand to give”. Their contributions in the house has enabled many children to pursue an education there are engineers, computer operators, beauticians among these children.
WAFD philosophy is to teach community and other smaller NGO’s to work for their needs and then move on. We do not want to create dependency, but rather teach them to stand on their feet. Sometimes we have succeeded sometimes not. But we keep moving forward .