In August 2013 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability, Executive Committee Member of the Asian Blind Union and General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped (2010 to 2015) was the national coordinator and the organizer to organize a seminar for visually impaired women in South Asian countries organized by the Asian Blind Union. Asian Blind Union organized a sub-regional workshop for South Asian Sub Regional countries for empowerment and strengthening of leadership and managerial skills of blind women leaders associated with its affiliated blindness organizations at Tangerine Beach Hotel, Kalutara. Asian Blind Union is one of the regional unions of World Blind Union which is the only voice of the blind at the international level and has a consultative status with the United Nations and its agencies. It has its affiliate organizations in almost all the countries of south Asian sub region, central Asian sub region and Middle East sub region. The workshop was inaugurated by its President Mr. S. K. Rungta from India. While inaugurating the workshop, Mr. Rungta expressed the concern about non utilization of our blind women leader’s skills in the organizational work. He informed that a study undertaken by Asian Blind Union has revealed that the participation of blind women in organizational work and their coverage in the services and programmes for the blind both in Government and NGO sector is very minimal. Keeping in view, this factor, the Union has undertaken a project titled as “women and IT” by which a greater role for blind women leaders would be facilitated both in terms of enhancement of their roles in organizational work and their coverage.
Addressing the inaugural function of the workshop, Ms. Sachu Ramalingam, project manager informed that opportunities will be provided to blind women leaders to first plan and formulate small projects for empowerment of blind women in their respective e countries and there after implement the same with the financial support from the Asian Blind Union. She maintained that this approach would build and enhance self confidence among blind women leaders. This will also help in change the attitudes of the leadership of blindness organizations towards the attainment of gender equity and equality.
Mr. QariSaad Noor, Treasurer Asian blind Union, Mr. Alex Jayawardane, President Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped, Ms. Shalika Karunaratne, Executive Committee member, Sri Lanka Council for the Blind and Ms. Manique Gunaratne, Executive Committee member of the Asian Blind Union and local coordinator of the workshop also emphasized the need for such initiatives and expressed their commitment to work together in this laudable endeavour.
About twenty women participants from five countries viz. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal participated in this workshop. On this occasion, a manual titled as, “Manual on organizational leadership and project management” which has been prepared through voluntary contributions of Mr. S. K. Rungta, President ABU, Mr. Amer Makaram, Secretary General ABU, Mr. K. Ramkrishna, General Secretary National Association for the Blind, India, Ms. Sachu Ramalingam, Project Manager, ABU. This manual is one of first of its kind to be used as reference material in organizational work and project management particularly by those who aspire to undertake responsible positions in the organizations of / for the blind as it provides very basic knowledge and skills in those areas. The Union has published this manual in all accessible formats including Braille and large print. It will also be translated in Russian and Arabic languages to make it accessible for the benefit of leaders in central Asia in Middle East. This workshop was the first in its series of three workshops as two remaining workshops will be organized for central Asia and Middle East in September and October respectively. This project has been financially supported by Norwegian Association of the blind and partially sighted. Media was present at the occasion. Several TV channels telecasted this programme in their main news bulletin. Following areas were covered in the programme.
An overview of organizational structure and responsibilities of different functionaries for identifying the reasons of lesser participation of women in different organizational roles
Requirement in terms of empowerment of women leaders to enable them to participate at different levels equally with male leaders.
An overview of the concept of project and project planning SESSION
Identification of project idea and the project planning
Around the idea so identified.
Describing organizational profile in the project including ‘SWOT’ analysis
Writing organizational profile
Describing activity plan in the project
Describing resource plan and budget of a project
Implementation strategies and administration of a project
Writing the activity plan around a project idea.
Resource plan and developing a badger for the project
Documentation and recording decisions, resolutions and descend
Monitoring, its meaning and object
The role and involvement of different functionaries in monitoring of the Project by ABU including National Affiliated Organization, Staff of affiliated organizations, focal points, Project Manager and Table Officers
Strategies of monitoring
Tools for monitoring
Face Book – Manique Gunaratne