2007 Gwanju Human Rights Awardee
My final words of advice to you are educate, agitate and organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can loose our battle.. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is battle for freedom. It is the battle of reclamation of human personality….
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." (Desmond Tutu)
GRAMSWARAJYASAMITI, DUDHI, SONEBHADRA (U.P.)
Tribal Women's Maha Sammelan
Ref. : GSS/543 /2010 Date:-30/1/2010
We are pleased to inform you that on Mahatma Gandhi Shadiat Diwas 30th-31th Jan. 2010 Gram Swarajya Samiti, Duddhi is going to organize a big gathering over the issue of land rights and the question of displacement of tribal people, Education, right to work & right to food in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh. Twenty five local meetings have already been successfully organized and about five thousand people from the bordering areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Sonbhadra district of Uttarpradesh are expected to participate in the meeting.
GSS is an organization rooted in the long tradition of Gandhian constructive intervention in the matters affecting common lives. It is pertinent to recall that this area is a long sufferer of the government's apathy towards the land rights of the people where thousands of villagers and tribal inhabitants cultivating the lands are being denied the ownership rights and are forced to live under the constant threat of being displaced by the forest department. The activists of the organization have been part of the now famous judicial intervention in the matter where Supreme Court constituted a survey team to assess the problem and assure the traditional land rights of the tribal people. It is really unfortunate that the government has not only failed to implement the judgment in its true spirit but also done nothing to stop tribal lands from being usurped by other classes.
Now the new government plan to provide 100 days Employment MNREGA Scheme for the livelihood of poor unorganized sector labour. GSS is committed for the implementation of all the government plans for the tribal's.
Your presence gives us morale support & also we get strength to solve the problems of the tribal's.
Gram Swarjya Samiti
Duddhi, Sonbhadra, U.P. Pin- 231208
Gaon ki Dharti Gaon ka Raj,
Gaon Gaon me Gramswaraj
Note: Duddhi is 160 km from varanasi, via varanasi-robertsgunj-chopan-hathinala-duddhi. Hathinala varanasi
Renukote – Shaktinagar Marg Dudhi
Tribal Women's Maha Sammelan
Venue : Suraji Sthambh Nagawa, Dudhi - Sonebhadra U.P.
Date: Saturday 30th January - 2010
12:00 – 12:15 Welcome Address Mr. Maheshanand Bhai
Chief functionary GSS
12:15 - 12:20 Inauguration
12:20 – 12:40 Suraji Sthambh Mala arpan
12:40 – 01:00 Keynote Address Mr. Prashant
01:00 – 01:15 Speaker Mr.Vishwanath Kharwar
01:15 – 01:30 Speaker Mr. Genda Prasad
Block Pramukh (Babhani)
01:30 – 01:45 Speaker Mr. R.L. Tiwari Advocate
01:45 – 03:00 Speaker Mr. Jitan Kharwar
03:00 – 03:15 Speaker Mr. Chitranjan Singh
02:15 – 02:45 Speaker Mr. C.M. Prasad (EX, D.I.G.)
M. L. A. (Dudhi)
02:45 – 03:15 Speaker Mr. Ashok Singh
All India Vice President INTUC
& Board Member of NCRI
03:15 – 03:45 Speaker Dr. S.V. Prabhat
Chairman NCRI Hyderabad
03:45 – 04:00 Rajo Devi Dalit Woman Award Distribution
By Dr. S.V. Prabhat, Mr. Ashok Singh, Mr. C.M. Prasad
04:00 – 04:15 Consolidation & Valedictory Mr. Maheshanand Bhai
Venue : Bhath Chhetr,Village - Jugail - Sonebhadra U.P.
Date: Sunday 31th January - 2010
12:00 – 12:15 Welcome Address Mr. Rahul Srivastava
Chief Viaro Hindustan Distt Sonebhadra U.P.
12:15 - 01:15 Vichar Gosthi Open Session Local Issues
Village INTUC Pradhan & MNREGA Member
01:15 – 01:45 Future Plan Address By Mr. Ashok Singh All India Vice President INTUC & Board Member of NCRI, Dr. S.V. Prabhat Chairman NCRI Hyderabad
01:45 – 02:00 Consolidation & Valedictory Mr. Maheshanand Bhai
A ROAD ON WHICH LESS TRAVEL
GSS IN A DECADE
The Secretary of the Organization, Sri Maheshanand Bhai, was closely associated with Banwasi Sewa Ashram for nearly two decades during which he developed a deep insight into the issues and problems the tribals of the area were daily subjected to. It was Bhoomi Haqdari Morcha, a CBO which had decided to ensure the tribal's access to and control over the natural resources of the region to which they had been wedded for centuries. After the death of Sri Prem Bhai, the founder member of Banwasi Seva Ashram, in order to intensify the efforts of the Morcha by providing it a more formal structure, Sri Maheshanand Bhai decided to establish Gram Swarajya Samiti (GSS) at Dudhi, a tehsil of Sonebhadra district (Eastern U.P.) in 1997. The operational areas are 100 Panchayats in 4 blocks of the district viz. Dudhi, Myourpur, Babhani, and Chopan.The thrust was on providing entitlements to the tribals, the main target groups. It was basically the demand of the CBO to form GSS to achieve the aim towards which they were striving.
Gram Swarajya Samiti (GSS) envisions the establishment of a society based on Gandhian principles of Self-reliance, Self-sufficiency, and Social Justice where each has equal opportunities.
The mission is to facilitate the deprived and subjugated tribals to gain access to their entitlements, which is their right.
With a firm belief in the essential dignity of the community and in their capability to overcome the forces that exploit them, GSS views development as a process of empowerment, focusing on people's participation and the creation of groups and associations at the local level.
GSS has strengthened Bhoomi Haqdari Morcha (BHM), and formed Kanhar Bachao Andolan (KBA), and Mahila Shakti Panchayat (MSP). GSS is also associated with other networks viz. Voice Of People (VOP), Jan Kendrit Vikas Manch (JKVM), Right To Food (RTF) campaign, and Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Action Network (UPVAN), at the state level, and with National Alliance For Right To Education and Equity (NAFRE) and Human Rights Law Network at the national level. The CBOs formed by GSS also support, monitor, and strengthen the functioning of the Panchayats
The Strategy adopted by GSS is:
- Organizing training programmes, workshops, camps and meetings, and dissemination of information for awareness generation and sensitization.
- Organizing rallies, foot-marches, etc. for mass mobilization and action.
- Lobbying and Advocacy for raising assertive voices. and influencing policy- level decisions.
- Interface and interaction with Government Departments and other actors of Civil Society for collective action.
OPERATIONAL AREA -
The area is characterized by degraded land and poor infrastructural support. During periods of good monsoon, there are floods, and during poor monsoon, there is drought. Jharkhand in the east, and Chattisgarh surround Sonebhadra district in the south, Madhya Pradesh in the south- west, and Bihar in the north- east. So the Naxalites have easy entry into the area and create law and order problems. Though agriculture is the major occupation of the tribals who comprise 80% of the population in the operational area, it is seasonal and non-remunerative and the tribals (Gonds, Panikas, Pathari, Agariya, Bhuiyas, Bagias, Kharwars, Cheros & Ghasias) are forced to obtain food and minor forest produce from the depleting forests to survive. There is a high rate of seasonal migration since there are hardly any alternative sources of income and employment. The rate of education is extremely low and there is a high dearth of awareness. This has a direct bearing on the status of health as the rate of Maternal Mortality and Infant Mortality is very high. The rate of mortality is enhanced by the occurrence of certain diseases like Malaria, Flourosis, Gout, Skin infections, and TB, which assume epidemic proportions. The rural non-farm sector has failed to provide employment and the poor tribals lack the education and skills required to take advantage of the opportunities available. This lack of awareness has prevented them from gaining access to the benefits they are entitled to thereby increasing the concentration of poverty and are consequently cut off from the mainstream.
ISSUES ADDRESSED BY GSS-
- The organization started addressing the issue of providing Rights of Land (Land Entitlement) to the tribals. The fraudulent fiscal maps drawn up before the bifurcation of Mirzapur & Sonebhadra districts were not corrected nor checked. A lot of land was captured illegally by the Forest Department without following the Reserved Forest Act. (Article 4 & 20). As a result, the tribals were denied access to the land, which was rightfully theirs.
- The establishment of large-sized industries viz. Hindalco, NTPC & Konicaria Chemicals, etc. have robbed the tribals of their settlements & they have neither been rehabilitated nor adequately compensated. As a result they are denied access to sources of income & employment.
Bhoomi Haqdari Morcha – (Year of Inception-1995)-
Bhoomi Haqdari Morcha (BHM) is a community-based organization consisting of village volunteers aimed to provide leadership to the Land Right movement. It organizes Protest Rallies, Sammellans, Dharnas, Road Blocks, Dialogue with authorities to attract mass attention on the issues of Land Right & create pressure on authorities to take appropriate action.. It enjoys massive support of the people, & the community funds all the activities.
Bhoomi Haqdari Morcha has been constituted in 100 GPs with total memberships of 3300. While rest of the members join the protests & marches as per the need , 360 members are intensively involved in BHM's activities.
Accordingly, BHM has raised demands, sent letters to the Governor & concerned authorities, carried out an assessment survey, organized Kisan Sammelans, Padayatras & Meetings to facilitate mass mobilization & action.
Kanhar Bachao Andalon-
Kanhar Bachao Andolan (KBA) was a movement launched by the community against the construction of a dam on Kanhar River, which would displace 14 villages of U.P., 6 villages of Chhatisgarh, & 5 villages of Jharkhand. A number of initiatives were carried out viz. meetings, camps, rallies, etc. Support from Civil Society from other parts of the state was received. In fact, Chief Justice E.Z. Yakub from South Africa also came over, visited the area & participated in the meetings. Most of the work of construction of the dam had been completed.
Kanhar Bachao Andolan – (Year of Inception-2002)-
This committee has been formed in 11 villages consisting of 22 members with equal participation of men & women. Out of these 11 committees has been formed with participation of 1 male & 1 female member from each committee. Thus there are total of 22 members in the Central Committee. The Central Committee has its office in Sundari village, the first village to be submerged in case Kanhar dam is constructed.
The role of this Committee is to keep itself informed of the latest stand of the Govt. on the issue, keep the others informed, & decide the strategy & mode of protest.
The General Committees keep consulting the people for their opinion & share information through organization of meetings & individual contacts. They organize meetings of the committee to discuss it & bring the issues & decisions to the Central team & the decision of the Central team is taken back to the village committee & the villagers. Thus these committees are the organization of people & it is for the convenience of smooth communication & decision-making. The community itself funds the activities of the committees.
After a lot of deliberation, the community decided that construction of the dam should be stopped forthwith. It was the Women who took the lead in this Endeavour. Armed with whatever implements they possessed, they decided to launch a physical assault on the workers. The workers, fearing their safety and life fled from the site. The work of construction of the dam has automatically come to a halt. The machinery and spare parts have been dismantled and sold as scrap.
Mahila Shakti Panchayat -
Till the 1960s, the society of the tribals was matriarchal in nature. Thereafter, with the establishment of industries, there came about a gradual change in the attitude of the people. The society started becoming patriarchal and the women found themselves at the losing end. They no longer enjoyed rights to land, were not entitled to minimum and equal wages, did not have any share in the property, no power of decision-making, and were even denied participation in a number of events. Cases of domestic violence and other atrocities and exploitation were heaped on them and they were pushed to the lowest rung in all spheres: social, economic, and political.
Though gender was a inevitable component in all the activities/interventions of GSS, it was not formalized in a concrete manner. Therefore, to address the above issues, Mahila Shakti Panchayat (MSP) was established in 20 GPs.
Mahila Shakti Panchayat – (Year of Inception-2005)
MSP is a membership- based women's organization formed with the objective of enhancing the capabilities of the women to undertake and solve issues related to women. Various awareness- generating programmes are carried out for women from time to time, with the help of formal and informal meetings. They are sensitized about their rights & privileges. MSP provides a common platform to the village women to share their issues, problems and collectively find out solutions to them. They are provided information about Central & State- sponsored schemes & programmes, amendments to the Panchayati Raj Act, policies formulated for their empowerment & legal rights. MSP also motivates elected women representatives to play a active role in the panchayats.
LINKAGES WITH OTHER NETWORKS-
GSS has established linkages with other networks at State & Central level, which are also intervening in the areas where the CBOs here are intervening in. This is facilitated by the like-minded basic principles shared by the GSS & the Networks.
- Voice Of People (VOP) is a state- level Network committed to creating a society where the poor, helpless & Dalit tribals enjoy a non-exploitative environment. VOP is waging a struggle where scientific techniques are being used to develop a structure where the farmers & labourers are provided opportunities to assume leadership roles. It's aim is to oppose the conspiracy to subdue emerging Revolutions, prevent Communalism, Fascism, Capitalism & Market forces, & create structures at the local level for the same.
Comprised solely of villagers, they raised demands on issues affecting them directly or indirectly on various themes. These issues were taken to the higher levels to be resolved & the resolutions were transferred back to the lower levels. VOP enables the needs & aspirations of "invisible" citizens to be heard & merit due consideration. VOP plans to address the following issues: -
1. Right to employment through land development.
2. Right to education.
3. Right of community on PDS goods & resources.
4. Campaign on Health Services Entitlement.
5. Campaign against Liberalization, Privatization & Globalization.
- Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Action Network (UPVAN) is a state- level network of NGOs working on various issues. UPVAN organizes workshops & seminars on issues for organizations affected by them. The main points which require policy level intervention, are tabled during advocacy workshops comprising government functionaries, civil society & stakeholders. UPVAN also brings out newsletters containing important information & the latest developments in the sector.
UPVAN provides educational support for strengthening capacities, solidarities through collective learning & action, mutual affinity & basically provides recognition to organizations. GSS & its interventions have received wide recognition at various fora at the state & national level through collaborative activities, especially in he area of strengthening PRIs..
- Jan Kendrit Vikas Manch (JKVM) is a forum at the state- level which takes up issues in the three sub regions of the state viz. Central U.P.- Drinking Water, Eastern U.P.- Floods, & Southern U.P.- Drought i.e. the major issue / problem facing that particular area. The operational area has been suffering from drought since last 3 years. The CBOs at the local level have been able to obtain a platform where they have highlighted their problems under the banner of JKVM at the regional level, which has been taken up for deliberation at the state level. The main issue that has been highlighted is Drought which is in its third consecutive year
- Right to Food Campaign (RFC) is a state- level campaign to ensure provision of food as a right to all. A core team has been constituted & GSS is a member of that team. Campaigns have been organized to provide state- sponsored schemes viz. PDS, Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY), Food for Work, Employment Assurance Schemes (EAS), Ananapurna Scheme, etc. In recent times, a campaign on Right to Employment has also been organized.
- Manva Adhikar Panchayat (MAP) is a state- level body comprising Legal experts, Media, Social Activists & NGOs who are working for the implementation of Human Right Values at the grassroots. GSS is a member of MAP. It highlights cases of Police& Forest department atrocities on the poor tribals, violation of Human Rights at various levels, etc. to the higher levels for attention & redressal. A Campaign from 1st to 10th December, 2005 on Human Rights throughout the operational area was also organized
- National Alliance For Right to Education & Equity (NAFRE) is national- level forum, which envisions having a democratic, just & secular society, where every citizen irrespective of its caste, religion, gender, race, sect etc. can equally enjoy its' rights & practice its' duties without any fear. Though the focus is on Education, the Alliance also takes up other issues of local level networks and CBOs if they merit serious consideration. Organized at the national level, the interventions receive wide attention and a few issues affecting the operational area have also been taken up at the national level, like Right to Education of children, Right to Work for every Adult, representation of weaker sections at all levels, taking NAFRE's vision at grassroots level, & Advocacy for Equity in Education.
- Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a national- level forum providing legal support & assistance to organizations & individuals working for the disadvantaged sections of the society. GSS is an active member of HRLN. The forum organizes workshops & meetings from time to time where issues regarding Human Rights violations are discussed & legal angles are debated. Caselets of organizations & individuals are published in a journal, which is widely distributed. Learning materials are also made available to the members.
The Chief Functionary of the GSS is a member of State Advisory Board European Union FnsT-PW & National Project for Prevention for Torture in India. He is also the recipient of National Foundation of India Award, Kabir Award & Janmitra Nayas Award.
PROGRAMMES: OUR VALUE ADDITIONS
Education Enhancement -
Education is Knowledge and Knowledge is Power. This has been our guiding force since our inception and we had formed 20 NFE Centers. This has now been reduced to 10 of which 5 are functioning as Resource Centers called Chetna Kendras. Since we do not plan to develop an alternative system of education, our aim is that the remaining 5 Centers also become Chetna Kendras to be managed by the community. We are making efforts to ensure that the Government schools in the area function properly i.e. teachers are regular, students are regular, the Shiksha Mitras are regular, the parents are serious about their children's education, the course curriculum is appropriate, etc. The CBOs at the local level and the PRI, especially the Education Committee are motivated to provide support and take up eventual responsibility.
Since the NFE Centers were a model where quality education was provided through joyful learning methods, the communities have imbibed the importance of education. As a result, on strident and sustained demand from the community and the CBOs, the numbers of primary schools and junior schools have increased. The community has also decided that the teachers will not be allowed to intervene in other activities like they are usually asked to by the Government. On 5th September 2006, the government and private teachers were felicitated.
Health and Care-
This area is rich in natural resources. The variety of medicinal plants available here qualifies this region as a fertile ground for endorsement of herbal medicines. GSS utilizes the services of external resource persons to identify the medicinal plants & to explore methods of preparing medicines through them. The idea is to revive and keep alive the tried and tested systems of medication with herbs, roots, etc. easily available, easy to prepare, and relatively cheap.
The community is motivated to organize Health Check –Up camps on their own since they now know the process and the staff. The CBOs and the Health Committees are mobilized for this purpose. The severe cases are referred to the district hospitals.
Awareness meetings and camps are organized to sensitize the community about the importance of nutrition, adoption of sanitation and hygienic practices, preventive measures for certain ailments, etc. A number of people are affected with flourosis since the sources of drinking water is full of chlorine. Cases of TB are also quite common as malnutrition is highly prevalent. Cases of Malaria are also common. Therefore the community is advised to ensure that the ANMs are regular in their visits.
80% to 90% of women and children have been immunized and there has been an appreciable drop in the rate of maternal mortality and Infant mortality. The GPs have started constructing low-cost latrines. In 20 GPs, certificates of Birth Registration have been issued to the children.
Strengthening Local Self-Governance-
GSS had intervened in strengthening Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the area of Governance only after the elections in 2000.Since the elections had already been carried out, GSS's interventions were limited to sensitizing the elected representatives about their roles, responsibilities, rights, duties, etc., trying to mobilise the Gram Sabha to play a more active role, mobilizing the sub-committees, motivating the women to participate in the meetings, and so on. A number of anomalies like booth capturing, vote fixing, coercion by illegal means, election of undesirable persons, lack of awareness about the act and its provisions, etc. had been noticed. Therefore, after the announcement of elections to the GPs in 2005, GSS decided to intervene more intensively from the pre-election phase itself so that the voters were able to understand the process and were able to exercise their franchise with a greater degree of awareness and reduce the shortcomings that were in existence earlier.
- Pre Election Voters Awareness Campaign (Villages, Blocks & District) – The whole process took the shape of a campaign where the community were educated about the election process, the reserved & unreserved categories including those for women, the potential candidates etc. Efforts had been made to ensure that no voter was left out. Local youths were mobilized to prevent any anomalies from happening during election. The voters were also informed about the eligible criteria for both voters & contestants. Audiovisual aids in the form of charts, posters, videos including Nukkad Nataks (Street Plays) & Puppet Shows were organized to educate the voters about the types of contestants they should vote for. Information camps were established where prospective contestants were assisted in filing their nominations. The voters were also educated regarding the voting form, colors & symbols. A number of CBO members also contested the elections.
- During the Election - The voters were mobilized to exercise their franchise & GSS along with the CBOs played the role of a watchdog to prevent any irregularities. Efforts were made to ensure that the whole process was peaceful & the elections were free & fair.
- Post- Election – After the results were announced, the elected representatives were felicitated. Training programmes were organized for the elected representatives. Since a number of them had contested & won the elections for the first time, the Act & its provisions were explained in great detail. The roles, responsibilities, rights & duties of the Pradhan & other elected members with regard to meetings, development of plans, role of panchayat secretary, role of sub- committees etc. were also explained. In the trainings, besides literature, a number of audio visual aids were used. Posters & charts were also pasted in the Panchayats Bhawan & other public places.
- Election to Nagar Panchayats & Nagar Palika Parishad – A campaign during the pre- election phase was organized for the urban local bodies in 5 Nagar Panchayats & 1 Nagar Palika Parishad. This intervention was also our first. The process was similar to the one followed during election to GPs. A novel feature was interface meetings between the prospective contestants & the voters. The prospective contestants were asked to relate their activities & functions they would perform if they were elected. This provided the voters a fair idea about the suitability of the contestants. Since most of the voters are fairly literate, not much intervention as regards awareness for filing nominations & casting votes was required.
Janta Jungle – A Community Initiative
9 lakh trees, divided over 4 beats which were cut (but not uprooted) were once again regenerated
from roots or stems. The community, dwellers of Nagwa village, about 15 kms. from the office headquarters, which have been wedded to the forests for centuries and who regard it as their own ancestral property decided to protect and conserve it. The youths of the village teamed up and formed groups who took turns to protect the large tract of forest where not only the community but also even the Forest Department cannot enter or initiate any interventions there. Anybody doing so will have to bear a heavy and even face social ostracisation. Janta Jungle is a rare model of a community's initiative to protect, preserve and enhance the environment.
Our Achievements -
- The psychosis of fear among the community has been removed.
- The people are now making efforts to gain access to their entitlements on their own.
- The tribals have tried to preserve their cultural ethos & age-old traditions.
- The interventions of the CBOs have finally prevented the Forest Officials from perpetrating atrocities on the tribals. The Legal Rights will be obtained soon through the new Forest Act.
- The tribals have become aware that their environment is gradually being destroyed & will have a deleterious effect on their lives. They are deeply concerned about it & are trying out new & innovative experiments to safe guard the environment & ecology of the area.
- The work on Kanhar Dam has been stopped thereby preventing displacement of a number of people from their villages.
- Owing to the interventions in strengthening local self-governance, Gram Sabhas have now started strengthening themselves.
- The people have finally realized the importance of good health & are taking measures for adopting adequate safe guards.
- The women labourers in certain areas have finally obtained gender justice through payment of wages equal to that of the men.
- An appreciable amount of awareness about Human Rights & Child Rights has been generated among the community & they have started raising their voice on the occasion of their violations.
- The Mahila Shakti Panchayats have provided the women social, economic & political strength to raise assertive voices & break the shackles of discrimination.
- The tribals have become aware of their rights to the basic necessities of life viz. Education, Health & Livelihood and have started demanding them.
- The interventions have made the government more responsive & responsible in the discharge of their duties.
- The community has started searching for solutions to their problems themselves.
- The tribals have finally realized the challenges posed by Liberalization, Privatization Globalization, (LPG) & the exploitative market forces & started discussing them.
- The tribals have started demanding their involvement in policies being formed for them, in taking decisions on the policies being formed, & interventions in the political process.
Maheshanand Bhai, a post-graduate, hails from Chandauli. A close associate of Sri Prembhai he has been working since the last 25 years. It was after the death of Sri Prembhai that he formed GSS to carry forward the struggle. He is experienced in Group Formation, Rural Entitlement, Project Formulation, Report Writing , etc.
Devnandan Pandey,a Graduate from Balia, has been associated with GSS even before it's inception. Associated for 15 years, and a founder-member, he is a master trainer in the areas of Literacy/Education and Rural Entitlement, and is looking after the management of GSS.
Ramlochan Tiwari, a law graduate, and a local person is a founder- member and has worked with GSS for 3 years in the area of Advocacy to redress the legal issues. He is still informally associated with GSS.
Rajesh Ranjan Singh,a graduate from Bihar has associated with GSS for 10 years and has undergone training in Literacy, Portfolio Management, and Child Rights. He is presently working as Supervisor in Education.
Iftikar Ahmed, hailing from Chandauli has undergone training in the areas of Group Formation and Para-Health work. Associated with GSS for 10 years , he is supervising the management of Information Centres.
Ms. Anima Tikri, from Jharkhand, has received training in Group Formation of Women, Forest Management and Conservatio. Entrusted with the responsibility of functioning of women's groups, and management of Janta Jungle, she has been associated with GSS for 10 years.
Ms. Manva Devi, a local lady who has been associated with GSS for 10 years is looking after the functioning of Women's Groups. She has undertaken training as Dai(mid wife) and Women Leadership.
Ms. Chano Devi is also a local lady who along with Ms. Manva Devi has participated in the same trainings and has the same responsibilities.She too has been associated with GSS for 10 years.
Jiten Kharwar , a local who has been associated for 8 years and manages thetribal groups, land entitlement and organizes the Morchas has received training in Land Development and Group Formation.
Vishwanath Kharwar who has been associated for 10 years has obtained training in Displacement Policy, Rehabilitation and Group Formation. He is responsible for group formation to deal with issues related to Displacement.
Harikishun Kharwar, a local has obtained training in Land Survey and Group Formation. Associated with GSS for !0 years, he is looking after the area of Land Rights.
Dharamjeet Kharwar, a local, has been associated with GSS for 7 years and after obtaining training in Group Formation and Environment, he is responsible for strengthening the CBOs
Ms. Geeta Devi, a local lady and a graduate has undergone training in Group formation of Women and Livelihood. Associated with GSS for 10 years, she is responsible for strengthening Women's groups..
The above are a few selected individuals who have been promoted by GSS during their association to assume leadership roles and carry forward the initiatives in the pursuance of the achievement of the mission of GSS.
Our Future Plans –
- Even after ten years our operational area is very limited. Either we need to broader our scope or generate spread-effect of our activities. For this efforts at developing linkages with donors & institutions at the national & international level will be required. This is one area of focus in the near future.
- Efforts will be initiated to develop a model taking a small cluster where our present activities & other need based activities will be carried out. This model is expected to serve as a initiative of Sustainable Development to be replicated as where with suitable modifications. The sustainability of the model will be by transferring the ownership to the CBOs, especially the women & youth.
- There are still a number of constraints and hindrances faced by the tribals, especially those living in the remote hinterlands which are undetected and unaddressed. Our initiatives will be to capture these problems with facts and figures and organize advocacy workshops with Government and Civil Society to bring about requisite policy changes and provide the tribals a definite identity.
- There are a number of small initiatives/organizations working in and around our operational area whose activities are more or less similar to ours. We will be supporting these organizations to become further strengthened so that we can initiate collaborate ventures together for greater impact.
- There are a number of people belonging to the lower strata of society who are unorganized. Their unorganized status robs them of recognition and identity in the society. We will be bringing these people together on a common platform and assist in enabling them to form themselves into organized groups to initiate collective action a improve their standard of living.
- An immediate objective will be Rural Entitlement where efforts will be made to reach the State and Centrally – sponsored schemes designed for them, and of which they are totally unaware of, to them. Awareness generation will be a major focus.
- Dudhi is the Gateway Of India for Child Trafficking. It is from here that children are taken to work as labourers, often in hazardous occupations robbing them of their childhood and stunting their physical and mental growth. Prevention of Child Trafficking and Child Labour will be a major area of intervention
Our inter ensuring children their rights have focused on right to survival through regular sensitization of the community on the importance and benefits of family planning, it's measures, spacing of births, avoiding abortions and female foeticide emphasizing that right to survival is a fundamental right of every child.The focus is on 100% of birth and death registration, immunisation of pregnant women and children in different age-groups, activating PHCs, ensuring regular visits of ANMs,activating the Panchayat Health Committees, ensure issuance of BPL cards and implementation of Govt. schemes. The CBOs are also motivated to play an active role.
It is ensured that the NFEs are regular, there is a demand for primary and junior schools, Govt. schools and formal schools. The PTAs, Panchayat VECs, and the CBOs are activated, and there is a special focus on 100% enrolment of girls.
Children involved in labour work, both at home and outside are removed and enrolled in schools. Special efforts are made to ensure enrollment of children who are physjcally and mentally challenged.Landless families are identified and provided land,landholders are provided possession, and efforts are made to protect forests through the Jante Jungle concept.
Regular meetings are organized and children are provided inputs on various issues, meetings are orgaised with villagers of the neighbouring states of Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. Meetings between the children and CBOs are also organized.
During the pre-election phase to PRIs, we intervened in all the three tiers.Besides intervening in our designated area , we also roped in 25 other groups working in the area and issue and provided them with charts, posters, pamphlets, IEC materials, and alsomotovated them to distribute them extensively and display them at all the public places. A full-fledged campaign was launched with Information Centres to provide information and assistance to prospective contestants and voters. Video shows, Street Plays a nd Puppet Shows were also organized.
We acted as watchdogs during the elections to ensure that the elections were peaceful, free and fair.After the elections, training programmes for the newly elected representatives were organized and special attentio n was given to the role of women whoare expected to play a active role. The sub-commities also underwent raining and special inputs were provided to the Gram Sabhas. A happy fall-out was that quite a few CBO members also won the elections.
In the elections to the urban local bodies 5 Nagar Panchayats and 1 Nagar Palika Parishad were taken up where the similar interventions and strategy were initiated. A special featore was 'Interface' meetings between the prospective contestants and the voters where th contestants related the activities/functions they would perform if they were elected. This gave the voters an idea to know what to expect from each and cast their votes accordingly.
In the campaign on Right to Food and Right to Work, the focus was on implementaion of NREGA in 60 GPs.19864 people have applied for job card out of which, after a lot of effort, 15,381 people have received them. Efforts to provide them employment and proper wages is going on Social Audit of quite a few GPs of the three blocks have been carried out and after dharnas at the Tehsil and Block level, they were able to receive minimum wages. Efforts are on to provide the Central ans State –sponsored welfare schemes with regard to food and work viz.ICDS, PDS, Mid-day meals, as well as othe r schemes viz. Old age pension , Annapurna scheme, Antyoday Anna Yojana, etc to the beneficiaries.Camps, meetings, padyatras have been organized along with distribution of posters , pamphlets, literature and wall-writings to sesitize the community, viz. all actors of Civil Society as well as Government Functionaries and bring the issue of Right to Food and Right to Livelihood on the state and national agenda.
We are trying to develop methods of Sustainable Agriculture in 3 GPs. The focus is on regenerating and preserving the old seeds which are still fit for germination. Besides, the farmers are being sensitized about using organic manure, bo-fertlisers, and construct compost pits, and avoid using HYVs and chemical fertilizers. The focus is not on preserving the production but on increasingthe productivity.
3 Kisan Schools have been established, one in each GP, where the farmers are being trained in preparation of Compost Pits, dosage of Organic Manure, preparaton of Bio-fertilisers, Vermicomposting , their application with regard to amount and time , and measures of pest and rodent control.
However, this activity is not limited to the 3 GPs only. Radio Talks are organized, if required on FM band so that the entire state of Sonebhadra is covered. Other progressive farmers are litening to the programmes and a few have also paid visits to the sites to gain hands-on experience and exposure.