Praxis-Institute for Participatory Practices

Project Theme

India and the World

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Jan 2016 - 31 Dec 2016

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Introduction

India has become the third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity and has seen consistent growth rates for the last five years. However, a great proportion of the population remains excluded from the economic benefits. Inequality has risen during these years, with disparities between regions and among socially discriminated groups along the lines of caste, ethnicity, religion and gender. The 2011 census reports that Scheduled Castes (SCs) constitute 16.6% of the country’s population, Scheduled Tribes (STs) 8.6%, and Muslim minorities 13.4%. Together, these three communities constitute 38% of the population and a major share of the country’s poor. Members of these groups suffer from economic, social and political exclusion, which include discrimination, limited access to adequate public services or protection, violence and displacement, among others. The exclusions amplify the adversities on women and more vulnerable sub-groups within these communities. Lack of productive assets, training and skills, prevents marginalized communities from raising their incomes. 

Over the past two decades, a number of members of Dalit, Tribal and Muslim groups are working to address the prevalent development concerns of their communities and have set up community led organizations (CLOs) to raise awareness and demand more inclusive policies and adequate access to government entitlements and provisions. While past emphasis on inclusive growth resulted in a series of national legislative acts that enshrine basic civil liberties and socioeconomic entitlements; there is a gap in implementation of these policies or programmes. 

Praxis - Institute for Participatory Practices is a development support organization committed to mainstreaming the voices of the poor and marginalized sections of society in the quest for equity and governance. Praxis devises practices to enhance the participation of the community in all its endeavors while at the same time acknowledging that ‘participation’ is not a technical or a mechanical process that can be realized through the application of a set of static and universal tools and techniques, but rather a political process that requires challenging the existing power structure. Thus, for it, the community is not seen as an object but rather as an agent of change. It endeavors to work towards participatory democracy through social inclusion, public accountability and good governance. Praxis’s primary focus on the democratization of development processes. 

 

About the Project: 

Oxfam India (OIN) in partnership with Praxis - Institute for Participatory Practices & Centre for Social Equity & Inclusion (CSEI) have conceptualized a four-year project to take initiative on cultivating leadership among marginalized communities for sustainable and inclusive development and it is financially supported by the European Union. The project is aiming to enhance the capacity of civil society organisations led by members of three marginalized communities (Dalits, Tribals and Muslims) to perform their roles as independent change agents more effectively. 

The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the CLOs to advocate for change, voice the concerns of their marginalized communities and mobilize their participation in policy processes, reinforce accountability systems, raise awareness about local and national development challenges, research and analyze, and innovate through models of collaboration for inclusiveness. By strengthening organizational, thematic and advocacy capacities together, CLOs will be better equipped to engage in governance and decision making process around their specific thematic priorities; by coordinating strategies and advocating jointly, CLOs will amplify the voice of currently dispersed groups, creating a stronger momentum for change than could be achieved by each organization alone. The project aims to build a culture of plurality, diversity and inclusiveness and advocate on critical issues, at the right time, with the right partners, in the right places, by developing advocacy agendas based on GLPs, these will reflect the critical needs identified by communities themselves, by positioning agendas in key regional and national civil society networks, and working through coalitions with other CLOs/CSOs around thematic priorities, leading to greater influencing capacity.

 

Results to be Achieved: 

The outcomes for the project are - 

  • 50 CLOs have improved administrative, financial and legal processes favoring the sustainability, effectiveness and extension of their work and upscale their policy influencing monitoring in favour of marginalized communities’ rights and entitlements to health, education, food, and forests. 
  • 200 CLO leaders, members of Dalit, Tribal, and Muslim marginalized communities (of which at least 50% are youth and 40% women) have strengthened thematic, advocacy and leadership capacities and skills to better engage with and influence governance and development processes. 
  • 25 mentors, including activists, academics, technical experts and civil society professionals, provide on-going technical and advisory support to target CLOs’ advocacy and governance monitoring initiatives.
  • Greater awareness and participation of 200000 men, women and children from Dalit, Tribal and Muslim communities through GLPs to voice their needs, demand rights and entitlements and position their agendas for more inclusive development. 
  • 50 CLO have developed (or improved if existing) advocacy agendas based on GLPs, and these reflect the critical needs and recommendations identified by communities.
  • 50 CLOs are employing social accountability and equity tools in their respective policy influencing and governance monitoring initiatives in favour of marginalized communities’ rights and entitlements to health, education, food, and forests.