When it comes to key issues like access to education and healthcare, gender relations, caste and communalism, Akshara uses both direct intervention when warranted, as well as a more long-term approach that aims at changing attitudes at the community level.
One the 5th of March 2013, Akshara organized a procession to Paud (the largest village of the area) on the occasion of Women’s Day. The procession was initiated by the Director Dr. Harsha Joshi, and was supported by NGOs in the vicinity. Sodexo also extended their support and sponsorship by providing beverages and water for all the volunteers taking part in the session. There were approximately 500 participants in this successful rally and the event was the beginning of a series of action. All the 14 organization who took part in the event agreed to a five point resolution:
- One women should be appointed at the village level who can guide female victims properly.
- The appointed women must be paid from the budget of the Gram Panchayat (local government) and each village much allocate this provision in their annual budget.
- As per the Domestic Violence Act 2005, there should be one protection officer at the Taluka level. This has not been implemented so far.
- A female police officer should also be responsible for addressing women issues at the police station (eg. When registering complaints or enquiries)
- Police stations should provide a conducive environment for women’s security.
In keeping with the holistic approach, Akshara has been working hard to change the local sanitation scenario – toilets and plastic waste have been focus areas. A sanitation drive has been started by the Akshara students and team in all the villages and so far, 100 bags of plastic waste were collected from 6 villages and sent to the recycling unit in Pune. Community participation is increasing in this activity.