NEN: Bringing together community to discourse on women in leadership

Participants during the observance of International Women’s Day 2021 held at Phekerkriema on March 8. (Photo Courtesy: NEN)
Participants during the observance of International Women’s Day 2021 held at Phekerkriema on March 8. (Photo Courtesy: NEN)

Kohima, March 8 (MExN): The North East Network (NEN), Chizami commemorated International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 by bringing together rural women, village leaders, women collectives to celebrate women’s leadership within their household and communities. The event highlighted women’s agency and their capacity to bring about change in their lives and communities, especially during the pandemic, NEN stated in a press release. 

IWD events were observed at three locations viz Chizami-Phek, Phekerkriema-Kohima and Shamator Town-Tuensang simultaneously bringing together the community to a discourse and celebration of the success of grassroots women leaders and recognising their contribution to the welfare of the society. 

At Chizami, 94 participants consisting of village elders, youth and students’ leaders, women society members attended from Chizami village, Sumi, Chizami Town, Enhulumi, Thetsumi and Mesulumi. 

A film titled “Trailblazers,” was screened on the occasion which narrated the journey of Chizami Women Society in bringing socio-economic changes in the community. It also highlighted the inclusion of women representatives in the village council and village development board.

Women and girls took part in extempore speech competition. One of the participants in her speech said that, if she was the chief minister of Nagaland, she would provide support to farmers and street vendors. She will promote and strengthen organic seeds and provide machinery to women so to reduce labour time. The street vendors had to sell their produce outside even during rainy days. “Therefore, I will build marketing shed in every village, roadside with proper toilets,” she said. 

Konyiu Lohe, President, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Nagaland, shared about her experiences and challenges faced when the pandemic struck, stating, “We organized awareness campaigns, attended state, national and international meetings via zoom. I did not even know how to use smartphone. But the pandemic enhanced my leadership as I had to learn new technologies to attend meetings online to collectivise ourselves.”

At Shamator, the event was attended by more than 100 participants organized by Yimchungeberu Arihako Shamator Area (YBASA). In her Keynote address, Seno Tsuhah highlighted, “It is imperative to ensure equal opportunities for both boys and girls to play a key role in shaping a better community starting from unbiased work distribution at homes.  If women’s chief work is considered at home, in the same way, equal space should be allotted in decision making bodies, economic, education and cultural fields to progressively march ahead.”

At Meluri, the event was organised by Pochury Mothers Association (PMA) in collaboration with NEN under the theme “Akünyievükürükatshü” (choose to challenge). It saw a gathering of 93 participants with participants from Meluri Women Society, Phoyisha Women Society, Kamaleah Women Society, Phochury Women Society, and Akhegwo Women Society.

“We say that women and men are equal in Naga Society because educational opportunities are given to both but when it comes to decision making body women are undermined,” stated ADC, K Fürhesie Nyuwi in his address, encouraging the participants to support women when they strive for greatness in pursuing and securing a place at the decision-making level.

At Phekerkriema, the event was organised by the SEWA, Phekerkriema Unit in collaboration with North East Network. About 56 community members’- men and women attended from Kohima, Ziezou, Rusoma and Phekerkriema.

Bounuo Zuyie, Agevan, a SEWA leader from Rusoma shared her experiences and learning during the national lockdown by remarking, “We can do much as individuals and we may be able to earn well through it. But being part of a collective and working as a collective is a different experience, the joy and the power of collectives has far more contentment and a satisfaction then working as individuals.” 

Lezo Rossi, Ex-chairman, Phekerkriema village, who shared great admiration for women’s role in the development of the community and society exhorted the gathering stating that, “Without women a village cannot prosper, without women a family cannot prosper.”

The event continued with skill development training on basket weaving with 31 community women representatives. Five SEWA leaders from Kohima unit facilitated the training to the community women further demonstrating the need for women to support each other at different capacities and the role of women beyond the four walls of their homes.