The fundamental basis of awareness building activities is organising neglected and deprived men and women in the society, particularly the ultra-poor. By forming new groups, uniting them, and fostering discussions, these activities develop understanding about the disparities in society and their own role within it. The groups can then begin to take steps to demand and realise their rights.
Approach to organisation of Landless groups and their structures
Primary landless groups (shamity) are formed with a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 30 members. Male and female members are organised into separate groups to ensure that at the initial stage of group formation, the women get a safe space of their own to express their voice and concerns in a predominantly patriarchal society, which often excludes women from public spheres. At a later stage, when both women and men are more aware, as well as receptive and able to work together as equals, committees are formed with both male and female representation. The committee is formed once group membership covers two-thirds of the target population of a particular village, union and upazila (See Figure-1)
However, at times, to give impetus to organisational activities, the members decide to form ad-hoc co-ordination committees called ‘area committees’ in areas where membership coverage is less than two-thirds. The formation and re-organisation of the committees at every level is achieved through an annual convention of landless groups. This process gradually strengthens the landless groups, and the committee members gain credibility in their own communities, which ultimately helps the group to participate in the local decision making structures.