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Wekoweu Tsuhah

By Ananda Banerjee  December 17th, 2018

Programme director at the North East Network (NEN), Nagaland and a member of the Mahila Kisan Aadhikar Manch (Women Farmers’ Rights Forum), Wekoweu Tsuhah is at the forefront of championing women’s rights and creating alternative development models by strengthening local food and farming systems. Under her leadership, community seed banks and organic markets are being established so locals have autonomy in food production; participatory videos on local culture, livelihoods, environment and other community concerns are being produced to give women farmers a voice. In another initiative, NEN—the North East Network, a women’s rights organisation, and one of the first in the northeast to combine activism with advocacy from a liberal feminist perspective to convey critical gender issues through dialogue and dissemination—together with a network of more than 600 local women from Chizami and neighboring villages of Phek district in Nagaland, built ‘Chizami Weaves’. This helped preserve and promote the rich textile weaving tradition of Nagaland, while ensuring a sustainable source of income for rural women and girls. “Through this initiative, not only did they get the opportunity to earn an income, but it has also given them confidence and leadership skills,” she says. Her team is currently working to organise around 3,000 women workers in the informal sector (farmers, weavers and vendors) in Phek, Dimapur and Kohima districts of Nagaland with an aim to build visibility and recognition for their work, and to enable them to collectively claim their rights and entitlements.