Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra show the way in achieving excellence in women’s empowerment

30-year-old from Kashmir wins Most Promising Individual of Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment 


Resource and Support Center for Development (RSCD) from Maharashtra wins the Best Organization for Gender Equality category


New Delhi, 25 April 2018: The Martha Farrell Awards for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment were first awarded in 2017. Instituted in the memory of Dr. Martha Farrell, a prominent activist for gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Award is co-sponsored by Rizwan Adatia Foundation (RAF) and Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), and supported by Martha Farrell Foundation (MFF). Martha was killed in Kabul (Afghanistan) in a terrorist attack in 2015, while leading a gender training workshop for the Aga Khan Foundation. The Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment takes forward her ideals and principles.

The Award gives a prize money of INR 1,50,000 to each of the winners in two categories.

  • Most Promising Individual (any gender) who has worked on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment consistently, and
  • Best Organization for Gender Equality, which has been implementing practices to create gender sensitive and secure workplaces

This year’s Most Promising Individual Award has been won by Nadiya Shafi from a pool of 82 nominated entries. A Srinagar resident, Nadiya is a video reporter, associated with the Kashmir Unheard Project and Video Volunteers. With the Project from 2014, after completing her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Kashmir, Nadiya has been defying patriarchal norms in a society where domestic & sexual violence are more the norm than exception. Nadiya has been leading gender discussions clubs in her hometown. . The club comprises students, housewives, labourers, artisans, farmers – citizens of Srinagar  – and engages them in discussions about sexuality, patriarchy and gender inequality. She is currently in the process of expanding these clubs to the Shopian & Phulwama districts of Southern Kashmir, which are some of the most disturbed areas of the decades-long armed & cross-border conflicts.

Learning that she had won the award, Nadiya said, “It is indeed an honour to receive the Martha Farrell Award. The valley is a beautiful place, but the women here have never been able to appreciate this beauty due to the turmoil within from generations of unfortunate subjugation. And I have only just scratched the surface in making them and people aware about the importance of being equal. This Award will only make my resolve stronger to work towards this cause with even more conviction.

The Best Organization for Gender Equality category has been won by the Maharashtra based Resource and Support Centre for Development (RSCD) for sustained efforts towards promoting inclusion of women in political processes across 30 districts of Maharashtra and in developing gender sensitivity in its workplace. Established in 1994, RSCD’s vision is to promote a society with equal and appropriate opportunities for the deprived sections, so that they may live a life with dignity, justice & freedom. They started the Mahila Rajsatta Andolan (MRA) in 2000, and have since seen increased women’s participation in local governance structures. The Centre’s mission for strengthened women’s leadership is seen in its organizational practices as well. Senior leadership & district teams are women-only teams. Male staffers reflect on their experiences of caregiving responsibilities at home and encourage their wives and other female family members to participate in local political activities, contest local elections, ensuring joint property ownership, etc. RSCD’s work reflects Dr. Farrell’s commitment to gender mainstreaming within organizations and reiterates her mantra of ‘The Personal is the Political’.

Rizwan Adatia, Founder of Rizwan Adatia Foundation, said, “Both Nadia & the RSCD exemplify the intent behind the Martha Farrell Awards. Strong individuals and groups, who are undeterred in their paths to promote gender equality and awareness. Both Nadia & the RSCD should be emulated across the country, so that women’s empowerment moves from being just a catchphrase to a reality.”

Dr Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President, PRIA, who co-sponsor the Award, said, “The current scenario, perhaps more than ever, calls for active engagement with women’s empowerment. Martha Farrell Awards are proof of the different ways in which we can collectively work towards a gender equitable society”.

A total of 147 nominations were received across both categories this year, which were carefully reviewed for merit by an eight-member jury comprising eminent jurists, women’s rights proponents, film makers, social activists, and media entrepreneurs.

To know more about the Martha Farrell Awards and the Martha Farrell Foundation, please visit www.marthafarrellfoundation.org

The Martha Farrell Foundation

A passionate civil society leader, renowned and respected across the world for her work on Gender Equality, Women’s Rights & Adult Education, Dr. Martha Farrell was killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul (Afghanistan) in May 2015. She was leading a Gender Training workshop with the Aga Khan Foundation at the time. Established in September 2015, the Martha Farrell Foundation continues the same values that Dr. Farrell strove for. It focusses on gender mainstreaming and adult education. The Foundation supports practical interventions towards achieving a gender-just society. Some of these are,

  • Kadam Badhate Chalo: working across 12 locations in 7 states, it is a programme to end violence against women and girls (VAWG) working with young boys & girls collectively finding solutions.
  • Making Workplaces Safe: Training & development programmes facilitating gender mainstreaming in organizations and communities by raising awareness on sexual harassment.
  • Scholarships & Fellowships: The MFF-NAPSWI & the Martha Farrell Memorial Fellowship are awarded to develop new knowledge and professional practices for promoting gender equality, women’s leadership and prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace.

Visit www.marthafarrellfoundation.org, or to know more.

Rizwan Adatia Foundation

Mr. Rizwan Adatia, born in Porbandar (Gujarat), shares his ideology with Mahatma Gandhi besides just the birthplace. Having struggled as an entrepreneur from the age of 16 when destiny took him to Congo, he was determined to change his future and finds joy in supporting struggling individuals. As the Founder of the Rizwan Adatia Foundation and the Chairman of the Board of the COGEF Group, Mr. Adatia has built a multimillion-dollar conglomerate, starting from a small chain of shops. He now offers his leadership & guidance experiences as a motivational speaker and mentors a lot of deserving young people.

The Rizwan Adatia Foundation provides funding & services, addressing issues related to health, education, and economic disparities. Instituted in 2015, the Foundation is an effort spanning 11 countries. It actively supports interventions that deliver quality of life opportunities to the poor & most deprived.

Visit www.rizwanadatia.org to know more.

Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)

It was during the Emergency, when completing his field work in rural Rajasthan, that Dr Rajesh Tandon, an IIT-Kanpur, IIM-Calcutta graduate, was inspired to work in the area of voluntary action. On completing his PhD, he returned to India and a few years later established PRIA in 1982. Since then, for 36 years, he has steered PRIA to become a leader in the practice of participatory methodologies for empowerment of the poor and marginalized. PRIA is a recognized knowledge and training centre on participatory research, advocating and promoting empowerment and inclusion in areas ranging from citizen leadership, accountable local self-governance, gender mainstreaming, right to know, people’s control over natural resources and global solidarity and responsive civil society in India, South Asia and beyond.

Visit https://www.pria.org to know more.