Advocacy Win: One Job Card At A Time

Advocacy Win: One Job Card At A Time

Oxfam India is engaging with communities, in its intervention villages, at different levels.  One of the most important strategy is the formation of the women group in the community so they can raise and advocate for issues of the community at larger platforms.

In Muzaffarnagar, we formed women groups in each of our 40 intervention villages. Regular monthly meetings of the groups are organised; women meet and discuss issues ranging from education of children to health facilities in the community. Oxfam India supports these meetings by holding a range of sessions on capacity building and awareness sessions so that they are armed with all the information on rights and knowledge.

Phulat is such one the village of Muzaffarnagar. The village is Dalit majority and most of them are involved in agriculture labor. A women’s group has been formed in the village which meets regularly. They raised the issue of MGNREGA job cards; they alleged that most of the job cards were owned by those close to the village Pradhan and Panchayat Secretary. The MGNREGA job card ensures 100 days’ employment to each rural household. The women said that even when they approached the Gram Pradhan or Panchayat Secretary for work they would refuse to process the job card on some pretext or the other such as incomplete documents.

Oxfam India held an orientating with the women group on the MGNREGA scheme, the process of applying and documents required for the same. The group initiated the task and in the first phase a decision was taken to process the job cards of 35 women in the community. The group met the Pradhan with the demand to process their job card. When so many women landed up at his doorstep, the Pradhan could not refuse and he immediately forwarded the documents of the 35 women to the Panchayat Secretary.

The Panchayat Secretary took the application and asked to come after 10 days. When the women went back to him he informed that MGNREGA job cards were not being issued at the moment. When the women demanded a government order stating the same, he could not produce any. Then the women met with the block level officials and explained the whole scenario; they were assured that the necessary action would be taken.

And action was taken. Finally on 28 July 2022, the 35 women were called at Gram Sachivalay and were given their job cards in the presence of Panchayat Secretary and Gram Pradhan. A huge success!

The next step is to ensure 100 days work for these women and job cards for all the other women in the community. More power to community mobilisation!

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