Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health ( SWASTH )

Bihar Technical Assistance Support Team (BTAST)
Government of Bihar initiative supported by Department for International Development, UK


Bihar government to set up Gender Resource Centre

The Gender Resource Centre aims to streamline coordination and strengthen implementation of women empowerment programmes and schemes in the state.

Supported by the Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH) programme, the Government of Bihar (GoB) plans to set up a Gender Resource Centre (GRC), which intends to support the coordination and implementation of women's empowerment programmes and schemes. The centre will also support the state in implementing the State Policy for Empowerment of Women in Bihar.

The purpose of the GRC is to help various departments of GoB to mainstream gender-sensitive policy and programme planning as well as implementation into their regular work. The GRC will aim to do this through a range of activities that would involve identifying any existing policy gaps, undertaking quality research, building local capacities on gender, gender budgeting, supporting implementation of gender programmes and promoting effective planning to ensure effective delivery of gender programmes. The centre will work in areas of research, policy, advocacy, awareness and monitoring and evaluation of gender-related programmes of the government.

SWASTH has collaborated with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, UK, to develop the vision, objectives, and theory of change for the centre. Representatives from key national-level organisations like the Centre for Budget Governance and Accountability (CBGA), TRIOs Development Support (P) Ltd, and the Gender Resource Centre, New Delhi, participated in the consultations. The Bihar GRC has been modelled on similar successful models in Gujarat and Kerala.

Besides undertaking to sensitise and facilitate government departments on planning, implementing and evaluating gender sensitive programme, policies and laws, the centre will also work closely with NGOs, academic institutions and experts working in this area. 

At the envisioning exercise organised by the Bihar Technical Assistance and Support Team (BTAST), and led by IDS, Sussex and the Managing Director of Women Development Corporation, Dr N Vijayalakshmi,   the following specific objectives  were agreed upon:

  • Address existing gaps in policies; undertake quality research, schemes and programmes on women and girls and develop evidence-based strategies and innovative schemes for programming
  • Strengthen capacities of all key stakeholders (Government, private sector, non-government) for building gender responsive analysis, strategies, monitoring all programmes and policies and guiding IEC/BCC strategies
  • Promote effective planning, coordination and monitoring for more effective delivery of women and girls' empowerment programmes by the nodal state government department
  • Facilitate effective implementation of the State Policy for Empowerment of Women and the Detailed Action Plan by various government departments

On October 5th 2015, BTAST organised another consultation to agree on an action plan with clear roles and responsibilities. While activities to operationalise the GRC are underway, administrative approval for the construction of the centre has been received. This will be followed up by a cabinet approval by the Bihar government.  It is expected that GRC will start functioning in the first quarter of 2016.