4th Martha Farrell Awards: Towards building a gender-just future

rdt published date October 12, 2020    rdt published author rdt


Martha Farrell Foundation and Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) with support from Rural Development Trust (RDT) felicitated the winners of the 4th Annual Martha Farrell Award over a virtual ceremony on October 10th, 2020.

The awards drew over 149 nominations in the individual and organisation categories from 20 states of India. In the individual category, Uttar Pradesh-based activist Mamta Singh won the award for her work of empowering survivors of gender-based violence across Unnao, Hardoi and Sitapur while the award for the foremost organisation was bagged by Andhra Pradesh-based Rural and Environment Development Society (REDS) for their work in championing women agricultural workers’ rights. Both winners were felicitated in their hometowns with Mamta being awarded by Mr. Ashok Singh, Director of Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra (Lucknow), and REDS by Ms. Anne Ferrer, founder and Executive Director of RDT, Anantapur.

Mamta Singh, an Uttar Pradesh-based activist winning the ‘Most Promising Individual’ for the fourth edition of the MFF Awards, 2020. Location: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh ©MFF

I live and work in a state where the idea of womanhood is gravely endangered,” said Mamta, 40, upon receiving the award. “It is my wish to continue fighting for the rights of all marginalised communities, especially survivors of gender-based violence, by offering them a safe space and the opportunity to feel empowered,” added the lawyer in the making.

REDS which took home the Institutional Award has been capacitating and collectivising women farmers since 1996, to advocate for their rights and support survivors of gender-based violence in their midst. The organization and its founder-president Ms. Bhanuja Cheruvu have braved numerous obstacles to ensure gender justice and gender equity in the communities, as a means to bring holistic development in the region.

In a first, this year the awards were expanded under the aegis of jury member and renowned theatre director Feisal Alkazi, who recognised two additional Special Jury awardees under each category – a testament to the Awards’ growing geographical and sectoral outreach. The first winners in this newly-minted category were Mumbai-based Vaishali Jethava in the Individual category and Ranchi-based NGO, Association for Social and Human Awareness (ASHA) in the Institutional category.

Bhanuja Cheruvu, Founder and President of REDS, giving the acceptance speech for receiving the ‘Best Organisation for Gender Equality’. Location: Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh ©MFF

“People like the awardees and nominees of the Martha Farrell Awards do not work for awards and recognition but because they believe in the truthfulness and justice of what they are doing yet awards like Martha Farrell Awards are meaningful and important in acknowledging women and men who are working tirelessly in different corners of the country and the world so that women and girls can lead better and dignified lives,” remarked Anne Ferrer while felicitating Bhanuja of REDS with the ‘Best Organisation for Gender Equality’.

Instituted to honour the late gender activist Dr. Martha Farrell and her ideals, the Award has been recognising trailblazing individuals and organizations since 2017 whose work paves the way for gender-equal and gender-just futures.

Ten finalists were shortlisted earlier this year, followed through a rigorous due-diligence process, before the winners were selected. Moncho Ferrer, Programme Director, RDT, who was a part of the seven-member jury who selected the winners, stated, “It was an honour to be a part of a jury of such eminent personalities with valuable expertise to offer. The process of selecting the awardees wasn’t an easy at all as all the nominees are doing such incredible work on ground. I congratulate all the winners and the finalists of the Martha Farrell Awards 2020.”

Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Chairperson, MFF giving a closing address along with Tariqa Farrell Tandon, Director, MFF and Suheil Farrell Tandon, Founder, MFF present at the virtual ceremony. Location: New Delhi ©MFF

The Awards, typically announced in April every year, were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nominations for the 5th Martha Farrell Award are now open. All information regarding eligibility and application is available on The Foundation’s website.

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