The Value of the Girls LEAD Act: Successes from The Hunger Project-India

By Matthew Boltansky and Claire Lorenzetti

In 48 districts across six states, The Hunger Project-India helps catalyze the inclusion of women in rural governance as elected women representatives (EWRs) of Gram Panchayats (local villages). These programs have successfully engaged approximately 183,000 EWRs to encourage and empower women and girls to champion the skills that they already possess. This strengthens the quality of their civic and political participation, and builds their confidence to lead local initiatives in their Gram Panchayats.

In alignment with the goals of the newly introduced Girls LEAD Act, The Hunger Project-India has seen that empowering local women leaders helps achieve positive impacts on food security and nutrition rates, employment, child marriages, and quality education. Simply put, women and girls’ civic engagement and political participation yields more comprehensive and effective development outcomes. 

Elected women representatives, and any women in office, are uniquely positioned to empower adolescent girls and have profound effects on the course of their lives. For example, The Hunger Project-India’s workshops between EWRs and local adolescent girls have helped mitigate the prevalence of child marriage and built momentum for further female inclusion in Indian governance structures.

THP-India’s successful programs and interventions for empowering EWRs and adolescent girls are an established consultative and programmatic framework that reflect the strategies and goals of the Girls LEAD Act. We believe that the realization of women and girls’ civic engagement and political leadership through the Girls LEAD Act will accelerate the Journey to Self-Reliance and ensure sustainable development. 

To read the Girls LEAD Act in full and more about the scope of The Hunger Project India’s operations and impact, please visit the following references.

The Hunger Project India,

Girls’ Leadership, Engagement, Agency, and Development Act of 2019, S. 2766, 116th Congress (2019-2020).