Community Based Machanisms
Community participation lies at the heart of all of MSS’s interventions, and
one of the most effective ways of ensuring this is through building strong community mechanisms at the village level. These forums and groups enable local people to play an active role in the development of their communities, ensuring that their voices are heard and that their needs are met as completely as possible.
MSS supports a number of different people’s organisations working to improve the conditions in the villages where the organisation works. These forums bring together various individuals representing all local groups in order to ensure that the opinions of the entire village are taken into consideration.
Village Development Committees
Village Development Committees (VDCs) are Community Based Organisations (CBOs) formed at the village-level to discuss issues related to the area, and to plan and implement various micro-development initiatives. Problems of villagers are discussed in these meetings and solutions are formed. The discussions are mainly held on issues that are raised in the meetings of other CBOs. Common issues discussed by the committees include:
- Visiting schools, Anganwadis and health sub-centres
- Mother and child immunisation
- Coordination and networking with government departments and officials
- Proper implementation of government policies
- Information about MGNREGA and its proper implementation
- Right to Information Act
- Information on the Public Distribution System
- Preparing village-level micro-plans for development
- Identifying community members that could benefit from government schemes and ensuring that they have applied
- Ensuring that government workers undertake their roles and responsibilities in full
- Ensuring that school drop-outs are re-enrolled in education
- Ending child labour and child migration
- Raising awareness of negative social issues within the community such as child marriage, witchcraft and alcoholism
- Increasing child participation in Bal Panchayats
- Ensuring that School Management Committees
are run effectively
Jagruk Manch, meaning “awareness forum”, is a Panchayat-level platform of stakeholders comprised of VDC members, government officials and PRI members to maintain better coordination of various developmental agencies with the people. Issues are introduced by the VDC, and then discussed between all members. Topics include:
- Monitoring of the MGNREGA programme
- Notifying community members of government schemes such as old age pensions, ration cards and child support
- Provision of drinking water facilities
- School boundary walls and classrooms
- Continuous absence of teachers in schools
- Irregularity in visits of health personnel in villages, and non-availability of medicines in sub-centres
- The Public Distribution System Ensuring the participation of village people in Gram Sabha and Ward Sabha meetings, and helping to support Panchayati Raj institutions
- Supporting the Gram Panchayat in providing better Panchayat-level and government services
- Managing coordination between NGOs and village-level forums for the development of the local community
- Supporting the work of various village-level committees and strengthening their capacities
- Solving various other village level issues
Gram Vikas Kosh
Gram Vikas Kosh (GVK) is a village development fund that has been implemented in 25 villages where MSS works. Small monetary contributions are collected from village members, which are then used to make improvements to village infrastructure and facilities. The GVKs were originally implemented in 2000, and so far over Rs.5,00,000 have been collected, which has mainly been used for the maintenance of irrigation systems.
The Bhader Adivasi Van Uppaj Avam Tendu Patta Sanghrahan Shahakari Samiti Ltd., Biroti, also known as the Cooperative Society, is a cooperative of collectors of Minor Forest Produce (MFP). Located in the village of Biroti, Jhadol Block, the Cooperative Society helps members to market these products and ensures that they get a higher price than they would by bargaining with middlemen alone.
Lift Irrigation Committee
MSS has established 17 Lift Irrigation Systems in villages in Jhadol block, more information on which is available here.
Each lift is managed by a Lift Irrigation Committee, which is responsible for ensuring that the system is maintained, that usage fees and maintenance costs are collected, and that all beneficiaries have equal access to the lift. Committee members also work together to decide on the most suitable crops for farmers to grow during the season and the amount of land that each farmer will irrigate to make the most efficient use of the available resources (e.g. mustard and chickpea in drought years, and wheat in years with good rainfall). These committees are led entirely by the local farmers with only facilitative support from MSS.
MSS has incorporated Bal Panchayats across its working area, enabling children to participate in local-level decisions and gain experience in leadership and team-work. More information on Bal Panchayats can be found here.
Supporting Government Programmes
MSS facilitates the running of School Management Committees, a requirement of the RTE Act.
These committees are made up of parents and teachers at each school, who are responsible for managing the school and ensuring that its students get the best education possible. More information can be found here. MSS also supports the running of Child Protection Committees at the Panchayat and Block levels (PLCPCs & BLCPCs), which are led by the Sarpanch and made up of various individuals in positions of responsibility towards children. A full description of these committees can be found here. Finally, MSS works with Integrated Child Development Services, a government sponsored programme, to tackle malnutrition and health problems in children aged below 6 years and their mothers. This work is undertaken mainly through Anganwadi centres, more information on which can be found here.