CUTS realised that a fresh approach to the term ‘Empowerment’ was needed. Hence, the Rural Empowerment Programme (REP) was undertaken by the CUTS Centre for Human Development (CUTS CHD).
‘Empowerment’ means creating in people a critical consciousness about the existing socio-economic system and making individual communities capable of identifying what type of social change they wish to achieve and how to attain it.
The major aim of the REP was to empower weaker sections through a process of education, training, networking, and building up grassroots and community action groups in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan. REP gave birth to seven social action groups in the rural areas. Earlier no such groups existed in Chittorgarh. In this context, the programme was a success.
The REP was based on the theme that awareness generation of people could only begin with change in their own perception. In order to achieve this proper information was essential. Keeping this in mind, the Centre released a publication ‘Soochna Hi Shakti Hai’ (Information is Power) covering all areas of citizen’s rights and responsibilities. It was released on Mahatma Gandhi’s Jayanti (birthday) on October 02, 1991.
Although the REP was able to train and educate over 200 people in the district, orthodoxy in the community proved the major obstacle in women’s participation in REP and it was not as high as expected. This problem was overcome by the Centre in subsequent projects undertaken on the subject. This project was supported by HIVOS, The Netherlands, Regional Office South Asia, Bangalore.
- Enhance the decision making power of women in society.
- Make the villagers more aware active and enthusiastic so that they initiative action not for only for their own village but also encourage similar activities in other village.
- Improvement in civic amenities and health services thought constant public pressure.
- Achievement of total literacy including female literacy.