**Bhubaneswar:** In a bid to enhance the capacities of governance institutions, particularly Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), and to ensure that gender concerns are embedded in the design and implementation of legislation, policies and programmes, an agreement was signed between the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the Odisha Panchayati Raj Department here in presence of Panchayati Raj Minister Arun Sahoo.
While the project cost is Rs 46.30 lakhs for two-year duration, the pilot districts are Mayurbhanj and Dhenkanal.
The implementing agency is State Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (SIRD & PR).
“The MoU will empower the 50% elected women representatives of PRIs in the state. It has taken one GP each of Mayurbhanj and Dhenkanal as pilot districts. Later other GPs are also to be taken up that will lead to better outcomes for women resulting from improved access to their rights and entitlements through PRIs”, the Panchayati Raj Minister said.
The project will work for strengthening Gender Responsive Governance (GRG) through the capacity building programmes, viz conduct of training programmes for the elected PRI leaders including elected women representatives, mainstreaming the gender perspectives in the modules and manuals for the training elected officials and functionaries anchored by SIRD &PR, the department’s press release stated.
The capacity building initiative under the project will be aligned to the ongoing decentralisation effort in the context of implementation of Gram Panchayat Development addressing issues to women, it added.
Talking to media UN Women Office for India representative Dr Rebecca Reichmann Tavares said UN Women is honoured and grateful for being a partner for the task as Odisha is one of the leading states in incorporating more women in positions of leadership having implemented 50% participation of women at the Panchayati level and 30% more access to women for positions of employment with the government.