Under the Indian constitution, 50% of all elected seats in village, block, district and municipal-level governing bodies must go to women. On paper this appears to be a progressive measure to ensure female participation in community decision-making, yet in practice elected women often have very little real power. Vikalp works with federations of women from local panchs and sarpanches in the Jodhpur district to empower female representatives, encouraging them to make decisions independently and fully use the power given to them by their elected position. In these federations, female representatives come together to share common problems and grievances and to work toward collective solutions.
Vikalp helps train women in the proper procedures for local panchayat, encourages them to participate in all activities of the panchayats, assists them in bringing their issues to the attention of local administrations and helps build self-confidence and capacity of federation members so they can become wise and strong leaders.
Additionally, Vikalp works towards increasing the participation of women in local Gram Sabha meetings and voicing their concerns in front of the local government and members of their community.