Chetna Vikas

Project Theme

Food Justice campaign

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2015 - 31 Mar 2016

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Introduction

Chetna Vikas was founded in the year 1985 by a team of young social activists who were actively engaged in the Sampurna Kranti Movement of Loknayak Jaiprakash. They joined together to form this organization that works for the empowerment and overall development of the disadvantaged section of the society on the values of peace, justice and equity. Chetna Vikas is founded on the basis of Gandhian ideology as it pertains to the alleviation of human suffering and injustice and the development of vulnerable people. The concept of Swaraj and Antyodaya are leading values for the organizational strategic plan. The founders have been keen to keep the environment and spirit intact even within smaller premises with little area of work. 

Development partners of Chetna Vikas are tribal and economically backward section of the society, who is deprived of their rights, the farmers who are living under subsistence farming and adversely affected by the agro environmental factors, the women and children who are deprived of their rights. Chetna Vikas is actively involved in district and state level networks in bringing positive changes in the society. The organization is part of various network namely Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan, Sukhar Virodhi Abhiyaan, Ekta Parishad etc. and also working in coordination with the Advisor to Supreme Court Commissioners on Right to Food. 

 

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 raise awareness and empowerment of the community and peoples’ institutions to demand and monitor their rights.

•Advocacy with the local institutions of governance to streamline the delivery system of food security related schemes/programmes especially for the marginalized section of the society. 

•Employing  grass root experience/learning to the larger advocacy processes which could result into development of people friendly policy advantages and adequate implementation of the same.

•The right to food campaign will be strengthened to create concerted public pressure on issues of food security and malnutrition.

•Supporting direct advocacy initiatives of the Advisor to Supreme Court on Right to Food campaign. 

 

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. 

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

 

Prior Achievements

•Complete the survey of all the 36 villages to find the eligible beneficiaries under different social security schemes. The community specially women are engage and involved to monitor various program/ scheme of food security.

•Federation of GARD - Creation of federation of GARD is aiming to reach in Block level with the village level issues from each village 4 volunteer are raised to be the voice of the community . Idea of one representative for block level was not accumulated because in the block level strong voice is needed and through 4 volunteer of each village concerned issues are notified in block level properly. In primary level village level representative taken up the issues of village where panchayat level volunteers taken forward the issues concerning in panchayat and lastly the block level volunteer carry forward the key one in front of block level official. In this whole process one chief volunteer of each village take major responsibility to follow up at every stage of work.

•District Level Network Alliance - A network formed in the last year at the Division Level is also approached for a well-coordinated approach on food security scenario and on advocacy initiatives. This network included NGOs of Santhal Pargana’s and also collated with Govt. officials to create a better networking system. It helps to raise issues directly and PRI are given responsibility to take forefront to address issues related life cycle of Right to Food. Issues which are addressed in such district/ divisional level meeting that is also forwarded to state level advisory of supreme court to taken forward in higher level .

In Santhal Pargana Region a Network and Alliance were built with several CSO’s at six district on the issue of Right to Food campaigning and advocacy. 

 

Policy level:

•Delivery of services (PDS, ICDS, MDM etc) got regularised in project area through Community based monitoring 

•Preparation and submission of draft model rules towards implementation of NFSA in Jharkhand in association with Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand.

•Government has accepted the demand of the civil society to include egg / fruit under the Mid Day Meal scheme run in school.  

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries:

““Add your hand with Gram Aahar Raksha Dal to access entitlement under NFSA and other social security schemes” –  Sunita Tuddu

   Village: Dumarthar

   Block: Saraiyahat

   District: Deoghar (Jharkhand)

 

Case Studies/Human stories:

Gram Aahar Raksha Dal (GARD) – For the community, by the community

Bhukarmuni Soren of Aurawari had a family of 5 persons. Though the small chunk of land was not sufficient to meet basic needs of the couple and three children, anyway they were dragging their children out. Her husband used to work as a laborer and she was taking care of her family and agricultural work. Despite being in scarce the family was happy with what they had. 

One day her husband came across unnatural death and everything was almost over for this family. The daily wages which her husband used to earn stopped and the family started starving. She tried her level best to work in other’s house to take care of her children but firstly the opportunities at village level were meagre and secondly it was not possible for her to carry out farm work simultaneously. 

She wondered door to door and knocked door of block level offices but it was of no use. Finally she came to know of Gram Aahar Raksha Dal being run in her village. People suggested her to submit her issue in GARD meeting. She didn’t have faith of getting her issue resolved at this forum as she was sent back from government offices. Unwillingly she attended one of GARD meeting of her village on Aug 16th, 2014 and shared her problem with its members.

She was suggested to write an application for issue of Lal Card. Since she is illiterate, she got it written by assistance from GARD members and forwarded by Parwati Besra, Mukhiya of Gaadijhonpa panchayat. By regular follow up of Block level GARD coordinator she got approval and a card was issued to her. Every month she is getting 32 kg rice which is sufficient to feed her family. Now she is free from the fear of starvation and works on her farm happily. Whenever she is free from agricultural activities she participates in other income generation activities