The MykiFest awardees | PC: EastMojo image

Kohima: On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Nagaland legislator R Khing encouraged Naga women’s participation in the state’s decision making body. The legislator said there must be active participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields and at all levels of the decision-making process.

With the absence of women in state legislature, R Khing, who is the adviser to the Animal husbandry & veterinary department as well as Women Resource Development, said: “Women must come forward to the law making body”.

Khing was addressing the MykiFest Awards held at Hotel Japfu in Kohima on Monday.

While women are generally good in all other fields, he said the presence of women in the state’s decision making body is “silent”.

With women in the forefront in many fields of work, except in politics, he encouraged political participation of women, adding that it is time for women to make way to the state assembly. Women’s participation in the state legislation is the “most essential and need of the hour,” he said.

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The MykiFest Awards was organized by the Women Resource Development (WRD) to recognize the contribution of performing women in Naga society. MykiFest is an annual event organized by the WRD to celebrate the contribution of women by providing a platform for a wide category of women to come together and interact, do business, exchange ideas, and showcase their talents or to sell their innovative products.

The MykiFest Awards was instituted to recognize and emphasize the activities of NGOs and other women groups who have been selflessly working for the upliftment of women in the state. It is also aimed to inspire women to envision and achieve similar goals.

This year, the award was presented to five women under the individual category and three teams under the group category. Vilone Sakhrie, additional director and head of department of WRD, said the awards are presented to local women who have silently been contributing to the society.

He said that the MykiFest Awards will target “lesser known people” and will acknowledge their contributions. The Awards will next be presented after four years and will not be an annual affair.

The MykiFest Awards 2020-21 in the group category were presented to:

1.      Runway Nagaland which was founded in 2013 by Nengneithem Hengna with a vision to promote the ‘Made in Nagaland’ brand focusing on using locally available materials and skills. An all women artisan team, Runway Nagaland has been preserving and promoting aged old indigenous art and handmade products and are dedicated to the traditional unique techniques of making handmade accessories.

Runway Nagaland works closely with the youth with the aim to pass on the knowledge to the younger generation, and to also promote the local economy. Their products are sold in the international market as well with an annual turnover of around Rs 47.00 lakh. The Award was presented in recognition of their service in providing livelihoods opportunities for women and employment generation.

2.      The North East Network (NEN), Nagaland was awarded for their recognition of their community services and socio-economic upliftment of women in the State. A women’s rights organization based in Assam, NEN Nagaland Chapter is based in Chizimi Village in Phek district.

In 2008, a livelihoods project called Chizami Weaves was initiated with seven weavers. The brand has grown with over 900 weavers from Phek, Kohima and Tuensang districts. NEN Nagaland has also played a key role in organizing women workers in the informal sector bringing them under the banner of Self-Employed Women’s Association or SEWA in 2013 comprising farmers, home-based workers and vendors.

3.      Apparels & Accessories Production Team, TLI Project of the Department of Women Resource Development for rendering their services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initiated in 2017-18 under the Transformative Livelihood Intervention Project, the programme was created to develop good quality, low priced apparels and other items with Naga themed motifs and designs.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Production Team ventured into production of three layered face masks and provided it to frontline workers, health workers, district administrations, and local governing bodies free of costs.

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Under the individual category, the MykiFest 2020-21 Awards were presented to:

1.      Vimenuo Belho, a home-based entrepreneur was awarded for being an exemplar in successful home-based entrepreneurship. Also known as Ame, the successful Kohima based entrepreneur has been producing knit and crochet crafts for over six years with utmost commitment and dedication for her work.

2.       Iboli Zhimo, a self taught pebble artist also received the award. Founder of the LiStone Pebble Art in Dimapur (2017), Iboli Zhimo is the first pebble artist in Nagaland. Her craft involves production of traditional decorations and accessories using pebble stones. Iboli Zhimo was awarded for her skills in art and for innovative entrepreneurship.

 3.       Vikengunu Kera Fatima from Khuzama Village was awarded for her creativity and skill in craftworks and for exemplary community service. Her locomotor disability caused by polio did not stop her from engaging in craftwork, tailoring and embroidery, which she professionally does to sustain a living.

An advocate for persons with persons with disabilities, works also teaches children with disabilities and creates awareness for an inclusive society.

4.      Mezhüheno, a rural entrepreneur from Khonoma Village was also presented with the award. Her home-based wild-apple chips production and puffed rice productions which started in 2005 and 2008 respectively have grown to provide seasonal for other women.

She has also been the main supplier of wild-apple and puffed rice to the Department’s Fruit & Vegetable Processing Centre at Meriema consistently since 2010. She received the award from the department for her dedication, commitment and consistency in home-based entrepreneurship.

5.      Phaoniu Shio, a 21-year-old upcoming painter also received the award. She was recognized by the department for her skill and talent to create fine works of painting and sketching.

The awardees in the group category walked away with certificates and a cash amount of Rs 60,000 each while awardees in the individual category received certificates and a cash amount of Rs 40,000 each.

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