Life Education and Development Support (LEADS)

Project Theme

Education

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2015 - 31 Jan 2016

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Introduction

Jharkhand was created on 15th November 2000.  This state is very rich in natural resources like forests, minor forest produces, minerals etc but people of the state, mainly tribal people, are still hand to mouth. Last eleven years of separation of Jharkhand is yet to yield desired results for the poor. 

The number of tribal communities who live in Jharkhand is 32 whose total population is 7087068 (26.3%) out of total population 26945829 (Ref: Census 2001). 94% of tribal population are living in the rural areas and only 6% of them are living in the urban areas of Jharkhand (Ref-1991 census). The total population of scheduled caste in the state is 3189320 (11.8% of total population). 

The concentration of tribal population in proposed Khunti districts is very high. The condition of STs and SCs is not very good and they are still struggling for their basic rights and dignified life. They are excluded from main stream of development paradigm and basic facilities required for dignified life which perpetuate their problems and ultimately their exclusion continued in-spite of many efforts. 

Literacy rate in Jharkhand is 67.63% in general out of  which female literacy rate is 56.21% where as male literacy rate is 78.45% (Ref census: 2011) but that among the tribal people, especially among the tribal women, is very low (10% approx.) in the proposed district. Male female ratio is 947 (census: 2011) which is little higher than national ratio (933). Child mortality rate in Jharkhand is 52, which is higher than other developed Indian states. 

Khunti district is mainly dominated by Munda tribes who have being exploited for long and forced to live in isolation.  Khunti district is one of the educationally backward district and the major inhabitants are Munda tribes who have been excluded from education system for long, hence the low rate of literacy amongst them.

Life Education and Development Support (LEADS) is a trust established by a committed group of professional on 14th Dec 2004 for development and empowerment of poor and unorganized people of rural area and urban slums. LEADS is also committed to provide promotional services like training on various issues and participatory approach of development, consultancy, monitoring and evaluation in behalf of resource agencies to development sector. The organization was formally registered on 14th Dec 2005 to give more focus on realization of its vision. LEADS is focusing on empowerment of STs, women and development of children besides scheduled caste, other backward caste and marginalized community of society. The organization was focusing on issues like: Livelihood promotion, Educating children and ensuring their fundamental rights, promoting local self governance, agricultural practices, natural resources promotion etc during its initial period of intervention through local contribution and later on support from donor agencies. The organization is committed to realizing following vision and mission in its referral community.

LEADS is working in 20 villages in each of Murhu Block of Khunti District, Bandgaon Block of  West Singhbhum and Mahuadanr of Latehar of Jharkhand which are the most backward district of the state and falls under 200 most backward district of India.  Through network LEADS works in more than 12 districts of Jharkhand.

 

The Project: 

The project takes a Rights Based approach for empowering the community/civil society and promotes state level lobby and advocacy for effective implementation of RTE.

•Oxfam India, in partnership with civil society organisations, will facilitate monitoring effective implementation of the Right to Education Act and government programmes; and engaged in intensive budget tracking of financial investments, in select intervention areas.

•Children in select Oxfam India intervention areas will benefit from inclusive and quality education in formal public education systems through effective modelling developed by Oxfam India through its partners.

•Advocacy for adequate public investment and its effective utilization will force the Government to commit to a progressive spend-plan and substantial increase in education budget every year.

 

The Impact:

Oxfam India along with its partner initiated the process of strengthening the civil society movement towards realizing the right to education. We have so far – 

•Review of School Development Plan has happened in all the14 intervention schools. The process involved joint participation of Parents, Teachers, SMC members, PRI members and Bal sansad. 

•SMC federation is advocating for its issues at block and district level- Memorandum of demands submitted to BEEO at block level and DSE at district level.

•SMC members are performing according their roles and responsibilities. Most of the SMC members now have a clearer understanding on RTE act 2009. Regular SMC meetings are happening in 13 out of 14 intervention schools and accordingly action plan is being prepared by them.

•10 schools developed as Model schools.

•The understanding of Bal Sansad members on child rights and entitlements under RTE act 2009 has improved. In 11 of the intervention schools the Bal Sansad is performing their responsibilities according to their post in the cabinet.

•Small savings by BAL sansad is happening in 2 schools and is initiated in another 5 schools. This is to develop the habit of savings in them.

•Promotion of Jharkhand School Management Committee Forum (SMCF) in Jharkhand- SMCF is playing a vital role in the advocacy process and power has shifted from CSOs to SMC.

•JRTEF is a major advocacy role player in Jharkhand.  Government of Jharkhand has appreciated JRTEF and shown willingness to work together.

•More than lakh grievances under RTE Act were collected and a report was shared at state and to all the 24 districts to District Collectors to take action on the same.

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries:

 “Previously we treated the school as a Government property. We did not pay attention, whether the kids are going to the school or not. Now our thinking has changed a lot and we treat the school as ours. We want our kids to avail good education.”- Nistaar Soy, SMC President, Paatpur

Case Studies/Human stories:

When there is teamwork, wonderful things can be achieved

Gurgurchuan is a tribal dominated village in Torpa block of Khunti. There are 69 households in this village of which 63 households are of ST families. The distance of Torpa block and CHC is around 12 Kms from the village. The nearest health sub centre is at Sundari village which is around 2.5 Km from the village. There is one Primary School in the village. There are two teachers in this school; one regular and one Para. 

Before LEADS started its work in Gurgurchuan the School Management Committee was inactive. Most of the SMC members were not even aware of their membership in this management committee. SMC meetings hardly ever happen here. They have not heard of anything on Right to Education Act.

LEADS started working in this area in the year 2011. In the very beginning the staff members initiated interactions with the teachers, SMC members and villagers. This helped in developing a healthy inter personal relationship with the stakeholders. Sooner SMC meetings were organized in the school premises with the support of the teachers. During these meetings the SMC members were capacitated on their roles and responsibilities. Several rounds of capacity building trainings and workshops were conducted subsequently. Slowly the members began to develop an understanding on the entitlements provided under Right to Education act 2009. They realized that their role in the development of school is important. Of course it took time but now the SMC here is performing. SMC meetings have become regular and plan for school development was prepared.  Last year, after having a review of School development plan the SMC members submitted a copy of the SDP to the BEEO of Torpa.

The involvement of community in school development has also increased. Several cases can be enumerated when the community acted as an entity and delivered. One such incident happened recently where the collective effort of the community was seen. 

There is a Kitchen room at Gurgurchuan Primary school. This kitchen room is poorly ventilated. Due to accumulation of excessive smoke the cook was facing problems in preparing food in this poorly ventilated kitchen room. So outside this kitchen room a temporary kitchen shed was built in 2013 for cooking purpose. This temporary kitchen shed was made of wood and having a thatched roof. After a couple of year this temporary kitchen shed was no more in usable condition. So there was immediate need for an arrangement of a new kitchen shed. During one of the SMC meetings the teacher shared that fund is allotted for white washing of school building. The SMC members made a plan that if the white washing is done by the villagers on their own then the wages of labour could be saved. This saved amount can be used in building of a new kitchen shed. The teacher agreed to this proposal. The next step was to mobilize the villagers for voluntary contribution. The SMC members shared this plan in the Gram Sabha meeting. They urged the villagers for their voluntary support in the white washing of the school. The Gram sabha also agreed to this plan and subsequently consent of villagers taken. The Gram Sabha fixed the date of whitewashing on 9th May 2015. On this day around 70-75 villagers joined hands and voluntarily completed the white washing of the school building. From the amount saved out of white washing and the labour wages, materials necessary for building the kitchen shed were purchased. On 12th May 2015 the villagers once again joined hands and a new kitchen shed was built. 

Of course LEADS played a guiding role in all of these but it all happened due to the honest and sincere efforts of the SMC members, Teachers as well as the community members.