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Dzvinuo Theunuo
The Government of Nagaland, through the Directorate of Women Development has the mandate of uplifting women to function as equal partners and participants in the development process. This new

Directorate has initiated and is implementing a number of welfare and development programmes for women.

The Directorate is presently under the charge of the Commissioner and Secretary, Social Welfare and Women Development who also heads the Directorate as Ex-Officio Director of Women Development. At the Directorate, he is assisted by the Joint Director, Deputy Director and two Assistant Directors. In the districts the District Welfare Officers assist in the implementation of the programmes of the Department.

Under the programme of Financial Assistance to Destitute Women, financial assistance @ Rs 100 per month is given to needy destitute women. About 1750 women beneficiaries are receiving assistance and during 2006-07, 500 new beneficiaries were selected.

The centrally sponsored scheme of Swayamsidha is an integrated scheme for women empowerment based on the formation of women into Self Help Groups (SHGs). Accordingly, the Department has initially identified 6 ICDS Blocks for a Pilot Period (2001-06) ? Medziphema, Kohima, Jakhama, Pf?tsero, Mon, Sangsangnyu, where 140 villagers have been covered and 600 SHGs were formed up to 2006-07, covering 6340 rural women. 538 SHGs have opened bank accounts, 289 SHGs have availed loan from the banks/other agencies. It may also be mentioned that 35 grocery shops are owned by Swayamsidha SHGs.

To impart training to school dropout girls and rural women for their self employment, the Training cum Protection Centre was established. The centre imparts training in knitting, weaving, and tailoring trades. During 2006-07 vocational training was imparted to 65 girls.

The Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls, introduced in 2002-03, provides supplementary nutrition to under-weight girls. Tuensang district was selected as the pilot project. To cover more beneficiaries the scheme has been extended to 20 most backward blocks in the state under the State Plan during 2006-07. Approximately 1, 06,000 adolescent girls have been covered during the year.      

The Directorate of Women Development also co-ordinates and implements various programmes mooted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The Directorate, at present, is implementing grant-in-aid programmes through NGOs on the recommendation of the state government. These include STEP (Support to Training and Employment Programmes); Working Women Hostel; Swadhar, that extends temporary shelter and rehabilitate those women and girls who have no social support systems etc and Swawlamban that provides training and skill to women to facilitate them to obtain employment or self-employment on a sustained basis.

The Department has also recommended 25 applications of deserving girls to the Maulana Azad Education Foundation, New Delhi during 2006-07. Under the Chief Minister?s Corpus Fund, the Department has also initiated a women-group-based programme and is working though SHGs on transformative livelihood interventions and market linkages.

The Nagaland State Women Commission has also been constituted and its Chairperson and members have been duly appointed. The Commission will study and monitor all maters relating to constitutional, legal safeguards provided for women. The Commission will also advice the State Government on all matters concerning policy on women.

An Integrated Development cum Resource Centre for women is under construction at Dimapur. This Centre will provide information on rights and opportunities for women, develop/enhance their skills and provide support services. Other services to be provided include leadership and capacity building. For demonstration as well as to augment the vocational training and other income generating activities, machineries such as processing equipments for common use will be installed. The Centre will also include a library with internet connection, facilities like fax, printing, PCO, computer services, cr?che services, recreational facilities, self defense classes, fine arts, music classes etc. The construction works of the IDRC for women at Dimapur is expected to be completed soon.

A Rehab cum Support Centre is being established to be attached to the IDRC, Dimapur for catering to the special needs of commercial sex workers, HIV/AIDS infected and affected women, deserted women, victims of sexual exploitation and marital violence. Services to be provided include free legal aid, counseling and spiritual guidance.

The Department has also forwarded the application of 117 orphans to the Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Memorial Trust for grant of Rs. 500 per month to each child for a period of five years. During 2006-07, 100 have been selected. The Department also provides grant in aid to deserving NGOs working for the rehabilitation and support of women in difficult circumstances. So far 49 NGOs have received grant in aid.

Thus, the Department strives to accelerate the empowerment process of women while also acknowledging the fact that women are now accepted agents of development.

April  2007                                                                                                                    
ADIPR (Nagaland) Feature