DATE: 22nd & 23rd June 2007 followed by 1 day Planning workshop on 30th June 2007





The state of Orissa continues to remain in the lowest strata in many fields of the human development indices (HDI). Few facts in this regard:- Population:36 million(3.57% of the Indian population); 22.1% are tribal belonging to 62 ethnic communities; 16.5% constitute schedule castes; Nearly 85% live in rural areas;  Sex ratio: 972 females per 1000 males (27th in the gender disparity index); the total backlog of unemployment at the beginning of 2001-02 was in the order of 7.72 lakhs; Literacy rate: 63.08% (male-76.1% and female 51%, literacy rate in tribal districts is as low as 34%); Infant Mortality Rate is 75 in Orissa contrary to 58 at the national level; 54.4% of the children are undernourished; 76% depend on agriculture; 47.15% of the people are BPL(Below Poverty Line)against 26.1% at the national level; Per capita income: Rs.12,388(Current prices) against Rs.20,862 for India as a whole. Thus poverty is endemic in nature and as a result of this precarious state of affairs and due to many other socio-political attributes, the traditional community living system is distorted and social peace and harmony is broken. Women are the worst victims of this deterioration process. In order to revive the harmonious living process in the communities and establishing peace, the programme of Mahila Shanti Sena was initiated in Orissa by Unnayan at its operational area in Rasgobindpur block of Mayurbhanj district in August 2005. The programme is based on the philosophy and guidance of the veteran reformer Acharya Rammurti and his pioneer organisation Shrambharti. The programme has been supported by McMaster University-Canada, SEEDS and few chapters of AID-USA. Gradually this initiative by Unnayan is gaining momentum and bearing positive results. The programme has been now extended to 2 other blocks in Mayurbhanj, i.e. Morada and Suliapada which is being supported by AID-Philadelphia and SEEDS. In 2006, a training was also conducted in Jagatsinghpur. Impact of the training has been very positive and thus, effort is now also being taken to extend this programme to Jagatsinghpur district.



As a part of the current MSS programme in Mayurbhanj, a training programme was organised in Morada block involving grassroots women from various Gram Panchayats. A total of 50 participants attended this training. It was a 3 days programme, 2 days of training and 1 day of Action Plan. Since the participants, most of whom belonging to marginalized families, expressed their inability to attend the training for 3 days at a stretch, therefore the action plan was done on a subsequent day. 







Day-1 (22 June 2007)           

9.00AM           :           Breakfast

9.40AM           :           Registration

10.10AM         :           Welcoming Participants through “Passing on the Bouquet” system

10.20AM         :           Inauguration of the programme through an innovative participatory method

10.40AM         :           “Here & Now” exercise to bring concentration of the participants

11.00AM         :           Introduction of participants (one by the other process)

11.45AM         :           Tea Break

12.00AM         :           Training timing & management plan (Management group formation from

among the participants)

12.10PM         :           Expectation of the Participants

12.45PM         :           Exercise (Group discussion) on Problems of Women with causes thereof

2.00PM           :           Lunch Break

2.30PM           :           Presentation of the group discussion

3.15PM           :           Analysis on Group Discussion

4.00PM           :           Simulation Game

4.15PM           :           Exercise (group discussion) on Solution of the Problems

5.30PM           :           Presentation

6.15PM           :           Day Break

7.30PM           :           Cultural Programme by Participants

9.00PM           :           Dinner

Day-2 (23 June 2007)

6.00AM           :           Shramdan & Socially Useful Productive Work by Participants

6.45AM           :           Getting Ready

7.30AM           :           Breakfast

8.00AM           :           Assembling in the Training Hall

8.10AM           :           “Here & Now” Exercise

8.30AM           :           Presentation of the Report of Previous day’s proceedings and feedback from

participants on the report

9.00AM           :           A recapitulation of the Problem-Solution exercise done on previous day

9.15AM           :           Analysis

10.15AM         :           Mahila Shanti Sena (The Concept, Origin, History & Growth)

11.00AM         :           Presentation of success stories (Experience Sharing) by old MSS leaders

11.45AM         :           Tea Break

12.15PM         :           Rules & Regulations of MSS

1.15PM           :           Simulation Games

2.00PM           :           Lunch Break

2.45PM           :           Further Discussion on MSS

3.30PM           :           Establishing Linkage between Participants Expectations shared at the

beginning of the workshop and fulfillment of same

4.00PM           :           Oath Taking

4.45PM           :           Feedback on training from participants

5.30PM           :           Fixation of date for Action Plan & Day Break

Day-3 (30 June 2007)

Action Plan


The Welcome ceremony was done through passing on a bouquet system. All the participants stood in a circle and they welcomed each other by passing a bouquet from one to another. Everybody present there was considered as both guest as well as participant. Similarly, the participants stood in a semi-circular shape, strongly holding one another’s hands passing their energy through hands. At both ends of this semi-circle stood two most senior persons among the participants who, with one hand, held the threads of the programme banner and hoisted the same. It was followed by lighting the lamp and a peace song intoned in chorus. The purpose of this was to make everybody feel privileged and develop a sense of equality. A single bouquet was used for welcoming all the participants that gave the message of ‘maximum and equitable utilization of resource’. For introduction of participants a different method was used. Participants were divided in two-member teams and each one was given some time to discuss with and know her partner focussing on her own self, her family members, her positive qualities and strength areas, and few memorable life experiences (happiest and sad moments). Then one was introduced by the other before the whole group. All these processes were meant to inculcate certain values among the participants.  The facilitator explained the essence of all the above-said processes to the participants. Senior teachers of SibaMuniAshramHigh Schoolwere invited to the inaugural programme.



This control over mind exercise was conducted to bring the participants’ mind to “here & now” situation enabling them to concentrate on the programme. The facilitator made all the participants sit in a comfortable position. Through a very slow and tranquil voice deliberated the process thus making them to concentrate on the various parts of their body starting from head (scalp) to lower feet and at the end requesting the mind to help them in concentrating in the workshop without deviation.



The following management groups were formed from among the participants in order to develop skills, inculcate sense of discipline and ensure smooth running of programme:

  • Time and discipline keeping group

  • Training hall decoration group

  • Lodging and Boarding management group

  • Report writing group

  • Cultural group



Participants’ expectations from this training were sought by the facilitator. All the participants expressed that they wanted to learn about the concept Mahila Shanti Sena and how it would help them in living a better life. Some participants who were the members of SHGs and had management problems and conflicts within the group members wanted to know the answer for solving the internal problems within the group. Most of the participants also expressed that they wanted to get rid of the social problems caused in their day-to-day life, particularly so problems of women in this male-dominated society and they hoped that MSS could provide a way out. Few participants also expressed to learn about leadership skills. Following expectations were presented by participants:

  • To know about the process of creating public awareness

  • Process of women’s development through Mahila Mandal

  • Skill development for group and SHG management.

  • How women’s education status can be increased?

  • Mechanisms of problem-solving within the group.

  • Development of skill for peace building

  • To know about the aim, objectives and formation of Mahila Shanti Sena.

  • To learn something new and disseminate the same

  • To learn about the activities of MSS in other areas and applying the same in own locality.

  • The way for reducing women atrocities.



Group discussion was conducted on the various problems faced by women and a cause and effect analysis was done. The participants made long list of problems in a woman’s life from birth to death (even before birth-eg. Female foeticide) along with the causes from their own perspective. They also worked out possible solutions for all these problems. The facilitator posed various questions on these discussion points in order to have deeper analysis of the problems. Examples from history, religion and contemporary period were given to clearer understanding. In this context, a very pertinent question was put, i.e. what were the qualities of all those who are regarded as great women. After a lot of discussion and analysis, everybody unanimously agreed that it was their perseverance, decision-making quality, strength of mind and body, upholding the self-esteem and ideal motherhood without discrimination between male and female children etc. that made those women great. Thus all other women can also prove to be great in their own sphere if they exhibit these basic qualities in their personal, domestic and social lives. A factual instance was given pertaining to the atrocities on women. Records show that about 82% of women atrocity cases are done by their own family members. A question was posed that against whom would we fight if we take the course of violent method? Would we fight against our own relatives and would it be successful? No violent method has ever brought happiness either to the winner or to the loser. This discussion led to the concept of Mahila Shanti Sena that has the ingredients of solving many of these core social problems, especially those of women, through a non-violent method of establishing community peace and harmony.




The concepts of MSS, its origin and growth, structural and operational features were elaborately shared with the participants. A printed brochure in Oriya containing information on these aspects was distributed among the participants for further reflection.



Smt. Bharati kabi and Smt. Meena (both old MSS members taking leadership role) who have gained meaningful experience shared the success stories of solving local social issues. This sharing incited the participants to participate in the process of MSS.



Towards the end of the training a linkage was established between the expectations of the participants shared at the beginning of the training with those of the topics dealt in the programme. The participants expressed that they got answer to most of their questions and the possible solution lies with the concept of Shanti Sena.



After sharing about the various aspects of Shanti Sena, the participants were invited to become members. However, they were given 15 minutes time to think about it and take their independent decision whether they would like to become members of this process. All the participants except one took decision to take oath as Shanti Sainiks. All of them stood in circle in the open field outside the school premises. At the centre of this circle there was a bonfire. The women took oath keeping the fire god as witness.



The participants gave their feedback on the following 3 components:- 1) Selection and relevance of training topics, 2) Training methodology and facilitation, 3) Logistics arrangement. All of them gave a positive feedback. However, they expressed that the training duration should have been a minimum of 3 days and felt sorry for their inability to attend the programme for 3 days at a stretch and decided to conduct 1day planning workshop on 1st July.



As per the decision taken on 23rdJune , Action Plan was done on 30th June 2007 at Malihata Anganwadi Centre, Morada. The participants who attended training had meanwhile shared about MSS with some individual members in their respective villages. They got a mixed response, some welcoming the idea and some others resisting the same. However, after a lot of discussions, 17 women volunteered to take leadership in promoting MSS in Morada block. The following action plan was made for next 3 months:

  • They would conduct village level meetings and discuss about MSS in their community

  • Whenever they would face problems they would take support of Unnayan

  • They would first concentrate on strengthening their MSS groups before taking-up any social issues

  • 340 families would be contacted, 29 MSS meetings would be conducted, 166 peace workers (Shanti Sainiks) would be developed and 16 Dastas (Group of 10) would be formed




People’s active participation, Lecture, Simulation games, Group exercises and presentation, Eexample, Presentation of facts and figures, Experience sharing, Case studies were followed as training methodology.



Sri Bhanu Prasad Panigrahi facilitated the training who was supported by Sri Anup Behera and Ms. Indira Mohanty (staff members of Unnayan) and Smt. Bharati Kabi and Smt. Meena (old MSS members) who had undergone ToT.



Report prepared on 2.7.2007