Home Institution

Middlebury College

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

India: Health and Human Rights


The following research study was conducted between the dates of 12 April, 2011 and 6 May, 2011 in the district of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, and in surrounding rural villages. The investigation focuses on the empowerment of marginalized women through NGO and government programs, particularly through their employment in the field of public health within the role of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and related Community Health Worker models developed by NGOs. The study will consider how empowerment through employment in the health sector works to decrease gender inequities by improving the status of the woman, increase the woman’s confidence, training her to be an advocate of health matters (both her own and those of her community) through educating her on her rights, while simultaneously tackling the social development and poor health indicators of marginalized populations. Other evolutionary methods of women’s empowerment, spearheaded by active NGOs in different parts of India, will be discussed and used to identify the limitations of the government ASHA program. The training, implementation, monitoring, and financial affairs which are specific to a grassroots-based scheme, require careful consideration and continued support; in locally implemented schemes, where the context is one of historic structural violence, a proper translation of policy into practice is essential. NGO additions to government empowerment programs will be used to detect specifically where written policy fails to become actual practice. The rhetoric of globalization and the accepted universal human rights discourse, as well as the impressive arguments and evidence provided by research subjects, make it mandatory that no one is neglected services by India’s public health sector regardless of the beneficiary’s apparent inaccessibility to the provider and vice versa.


Civic and Community Engagement | Disability and Equity in Education | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Social Welfare | Women's Studies


Article Location