Koshish Charitable Trust

Project Theme

Small Holder Agriculture & Climate Change

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2015 - 30 Mar 2016

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Introduction

Koshish is a non-government organisation working for social upliftment of marginalised community and is registered as a charitable trust. It has campaigned and lobbied on issues such as Right to Food, Right to Information, Mahatma  Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Dalit and Women’s Rights, Panchayati Raj and Right to Education. Koshish has a resource group of experts to train community activists, enabling them to create awareness amongst the poor and marginalised communities on these issues. Koshish’s strength lies in its sustained interactions at grassroots’ levels on a variety of issues in urban and rural communities.

 

About the Project

The project aims to empower the most vulnerable sections of the community so that they can demand and protect their right to life with basic human dignity. This includes the right to food, right to health and other basic necessities and government accountability.

Food and social security schemes meant for marginalised, minorities, vulnerable section like women, children and the aged are not reaching them because of ineffective strategies, measures, corruption and insensitivity of and by government officials, people’s representatives Mukhiya, Panchayat Samiti, Zila Parishad, MLA’s & MP’s.  

In the past three years, production and procurement of grains has improved, however, data reveals that marginalised and vulnerable communities are not able to access as much food as required to prevent malnutrition, mortality rates, maternal mortality rates, infant mortality rate. According to the Government of Bihar nearly 50% of the children are malnourished. In this situation, protection of people’s rights to access to food and work becomes imperative. Numerous food security programmes of the state government and currently enacted Food Security Act are good opportunities to make them use for mitigation of malnutrition, anaemia and hunger. Implementation of food security schemes as per the National Food Security Act (FSA) and Social Security Schemes as per the Supreme Court’s guidelines needs to be monitored closely and duty bearers must be held accountable.

These guidelines are extremely important to give voice to the poor people and women and will give them platforms to organise themselves and fight for their entitlements concerning Public Distribution System (PDS), Integrated Child Development Services Program (ICDS) and Mid Day Meals (MDM). They will put pressure on officials and dealers, Anganwadi Sevika, teachers, Panchayat Rozgar Sevak (PRS) and local people’s representatives to provide ration, health care, Mid Day Meals as per the rules and regulation.

Empowerment of the vulnerable sections of the community is one of the most critical factors in the implementation of provisions relating to entitlements in the Food Security Act, 2013. According to the FSA, five kilogram grains will be given to 84% population of Bihar. However, mechanisms to identify beneficiaries, delivery system, redress and monitoring are yet to be streamlined.

 

Strategic Objectives 

•To create awareness and build capacity of the most marginalised communities towards their rights.

•To establish community monitoring for effective implementation of food security schemes. 

•Advocacy with concerned officials for redress of complaints, and better implementation food security schemes. 

•Right to Food campaign for effective interventions in policy matters in order to prevent food insecurity.  

•To support the Right to Food case in the Supreme Court for effective implementation of the subsequent orders.

 

Results to be Achieved

•Inclusion of all genuine beneficiaries of all categories to access entitlements under food security schemes as per NFSA.

•Community will be empowered to participate in monitoring of schemes and services under NFSA and other schemes on regular basis. Nyay dal / vigilance committee will be strengthened to ensure redressal of entitlements related complains.

•Strengthen Right to Food network in all districts of Bihar.

 

Prior Achievements

  • Community members are trained to write complaints and deposit them in the Complaint Box. Nyay Dal members review all complaints every three months and try to resolve them with the help of officials of each scheme. 
  • Advisor office maintains coordination with officials concerned with all schemes from Block to State levels. They take up issues related to non-implementation of schemes and make sustained pressure on officials for quick redressal. They send reports on status of each scheme to the commissioners of the Supreme Court.
  • 36 village-based vigilance committees are formed and trained.
  • The awareness level of the community has increased about provisions of schemes such as: ICDS, TPDS, Mid Day Meals (MDM), National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS), National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS) and MGNREGA, through constant engagement by the project team. 
  • As a call of action after the incident of Mashrak block of Saran district in Bihar, the Right to Food Campaign Bihar was asked by the Governor to develop a Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for quality control of the cooking process (Kitchen) for MDM and Anganwadi, which could be presented to the government for implementation. 
  • The Right to Food Campaign, Bihar organised a consultation on “Food Security and Resources of Livelihood in Bihar” with focus on introducing amendments in the recently passed National Food Security Act, 2013 and gathering information on local resources of livelihood. The purpose was to create collective opinion at local level to pressurise political parties to include such demands in their manifestos and make it a political agenda. 
  • The offices of the Advisor to Supreme Court Commissioners in Bihar released its annual report and held a consultation at the A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies in Patna. The report was prepared on the performance of the various schemes such as ICDS, MDM, NMBS, NOAPS, NFBS and PDS. It was felt in the meeting that such evidence based report should be periodically prepared and submitted to the government, suggesting rectification of any  gaps in implementation of schemes.
  • East regional level consultation organised in which right to food advisors of five states participated.
  • Service providers, Panchayat representatives and concerned officials at block level are pressurised by people to deliver better services.

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries

“Now I am getting PDS entitlement and benefits of lactating mother in Aanganwadi Centre (AWC). Earlier, I was denied the benefits by the sevika. Then, I approached vigilance committee and community leader Ramdev. Again I went to AWC with members of vigilance committee and Ramdev ji and discussed about my entitlement.  Finally my name was registered in Aanganwadi Centre. I have belief on our community organisation Ward Committee, Vigilance Committee and Nyay Dal. Now I am getting Take Home Ration (THR) and egg also.”

 

Case Studies/Human stories

Name - Sakuntala Devi,

Village – Karma,

Block – Barachatti,

District – Gaya (Bihar)

This is a story of struggle of Munshi Manjhi who lives in Jamuniya Tola village of Mohanpur block of Gaya district (Bihar) with his wife and 6 children. (3 sons are in primary school and all 3 daughters are enrolled in Aanganwadi Centre.) He works with her wife at a brick-kiln near his and earns Rs 5000 – 6000 per month during season collectively. But they have work for 7-8 months only at bricks-klin. In off season they are working as agriculture wage labour in their village. Their income is very low to fulfil need of 8 member’s family. He has only 5 dismal homestead land.

They had to purchase food grain from market because they were not able to access benefit of PDS shop and AWC regular in earlier days. They were not able to save money to use for other necessities because they had to spent big part of their income on food. 

After intervention of Koshish Charitable awareness amongst community of this village has been increased about food security schemes of Govt. under NFSA.  They started participating in Ward committee to discuss their issue. They formed Vigilance committee and Nyay Dal for community based monitoring to access their right. Munshi Manjhi played active role to make others aware about provisions of food security schemes.

As the result of their continuous efforts with help of vigilance committee and Nyay Dal they pressurized PDS shop, AWC for distribution of fair entitlements amongst genuine benefishiries.  Now every person of this village is getting 4 kg grains per family member. Munshi Manjhi gets 32 kg food grain per month on subsidized rate (Market rate of rice is approx 25 rupees per kg and wheat is 20 rupees per kg but subsidized rate of Rice is 3 rupees per kg and wheat is 2 rupees per kg). Now Munshi Manjhi and his family can save their earning and using it for betterment of their life.

In his village Egg was not being served to the children at AWC. Munshi Manjhi and other villagers complained to the vigilance committee members. Thereafter, members along with community leader met sevika and asked her to give egg to children, lactating mother and pregnant women. Then she started distributing egg but only for two-three days in a week. On receiving complaint again from community member vigilance committee prepared a report and submitted to the CDPO. CDPO assured them of taking action against sevika. She visited the centre and scolded sevika and instructed her to follow norms. Thereafter, there has been improvement in the functioning of AWC. Beneficiaries are receiving egg and other services as per the provisions given in the NFSA. 

Now we can say that community awareness and community monitoring change whole scene of accessing benefits of PDS, ICDS, MDS etc.