Jan 092014
 

हर्राजखेडी में शर्मसार यात्रा

ग्राम पंचायत हर्राजखेडी में समुदाय संचालित सम्पूर्ण स्वच्छता पद्धति का प्रयोग करते हुए, दिनांक 18 दिसम्बर 2013 को सामुदायिक बैठक कर शर्मसार यात्रा का आयोजन किया गया। शर्मसार यात्रा के दौरान गांव के 150 से ज्यादा लोगों ने भाग लिया जिसमें पुरूष, महिलायें एवं बच्चे भी शामिल थे।

शर्मसार यात्रा के दौरान ग्रामीणों को खुले में शौच की समस्या और खुले में शौच से होने वाले नुकसान के साथ-साथ खुले में शौच और मर्यादा जैसे मुद्दों पर समुदाय को संवेदीकृत किया गया। शर्मसार यात्रा के दौरान समुदाय के अधिकांष लोगों ने माना कि वो किसी न किसी माध्यम से मानव मल को अपने घर, पानी और खाने तक ले जा रहे है। साथ यह भी स्वीकार किया वो मल का सेवन कर रहे है।
शर्मसार यात्रा के बाद गांव के चैक पर एक सामुदायिक बैठक का आयोजन किया गया जिसमें बडी संख्या में महिलाओं, बच्चों और पुरूषों ने भाग लिया। और सभी ने गांव को खुले में शौच मुक्त बनाने का वचन लिया। बैठक के दौरान महिलाओं और बच्चों के समूहों खुले में शौच जाने वाले परिवारों की निगरानी के लिए आगे आये।

हर्राजखेडी में जारी है निगरानी

शर्मसार यात्रा के बाद ग्राम हर्राजखेडी में रोज सुबह एवं शाम खुले में शौच जाने वाले परिवारों की निगरानी की जा रही है। यह इस निगरानी में बच्चे, महिलायें एवं ग्राम के बुजुर्ग शामिल है जो खुले में शौच जाने वाले परिवारों को शौचालय निर्माण और खुले में शौच जाने की आदत को बंद करने के लिए प्रेरित कर रहे है।

सरपंच भी गांव की निगरानी में शामिल

बुधवार को हर्राजखेडी में निर्मल सीहोर परियोजना के तहत् हुए शर्मषार यात्रा के बाद गांव को खुला शौचमुक्त बनाने के लिए गांव के बच्चों, महिलाओं एवं सरपंच ठाकुर प्रसाद ने कमर कस ली है। शर्मषार यात्रा अगले दिन प्रातः 5 बजे से खुले में शौच जाने वालों की निगरानी की गई। निगरानी में गांव की जागरूक महिलायें, पुरूप, बच्चे के साथ-साथ गांव के सरपंच भी प्रातः 5 बजे से डटे रहे। निगरानी के दौरान खुले में शौच को गये लोगों को पकड़ा गया और उन्हे मल को मिट्टी या राख से ढक कर आने की सलाह दी गई।
निगरानी के दौरान सरपंच ठाकुर प्रसाद ग्रामीणों को कहा ”आप आज अभी से शौचालय निर्माण करवायें, जो भी सहयोग चाहिए, मैं उसके लिए तैयार हूँ।“ साथ ही निर्मल सीहोर परियोजना की पूरी टीम पिछले 3 दिनों से गांव में ही डेरा डाले है। जो ग्रामीणो को शौचालय निर्माण करने के लिए प्रेरित कर रहे है और साथ ही शौचालय से जुडी शंकाओं को भी दूर कर रहे है।

निगरानी में बच्चे भी पीछे नही

खुले में शौच जाने वाले परिवारों की निगरानी में गांव हर्राजखेडी के बच्चे भी पीछे नही है। 18 दिसम्बर 2013, बुधवार को हर्राजखेडी में निर्मल सीहोर परियोजना के तहत् हुए शर्मषार यात्रा के बाद गांव के लगभग 10 वर्ष तक के 6-8 बच्चों का समूह जो अपने विद्यालय के आस-पास खुले में शौच जाने की समस्या से परेषान थे, वो निर्मल सीहोर परियोजना की टीम के सदस्यों से मिलें और अपनी समस्या बताई। परियोजना टीम ने बच्चों के इस समूह और अन्य बच्चों को इस समूह में शामिल कर स्वच्छता बाल सेना का गठन किया और उन्हे दल में अगले दिन प्रातः 5 बजे उन्हे गांव के चैक पर बुलाया। सभी बच्चे अपने अन्य साथियों को लेकर अगले दिन ठीक प्रातः 5 बजे गांव के चैक पर पहुंच गये और उसके बाद टीम सदस्यों ने उनको खुले में शौच जाने वालों की निगरानी में शामिल किया और उसके बाद बच्चों ने सीटी बजाकर और “खुले में टट्टी जाना है, तो उस पर मिट्टी डालकर आना एवं बंद करो, बंद करो खुले में टट्टी करो।” के नारे लगाते हुए पूरे गांव में खुले में शौच जा रहे लोगों का पकड़ा और उन्हे खुले में टट्टी न छोडकर आने की सलाह भी दी। पिछले दो दिनों से बच्चे सुबह और शाम सीटी एवं नारों के साथ गांव हर्राजखेडी मे खुले में शौच जाने वालों की निगरानी में लगे हैं।

ग्राम स्वच्छता रैली

निर्मल सीहोर परियोजना के अन्र्तगत् ग्राम हर्राजखेड़ी में बच्चों के साथ जल एवं स्वच्छता में दिषा में लोगों का व्यवहार बदलने में एवं प्रत्येक घर में शौचालय बनाने के उद्देष्य से ग्राम के प्रत्येक मोहल्ले में बच्चों के माध्यम से स्वच्छता रैली निकाली गई जिसमें 60 से 65 बच्चे शामिल रहें। रैली के दौरान बच्चों द्वारा नारे लगाये गये। जो हैं-

हर घर में शौचालय हो, अपना गांव निर्मल हो।
बंद करो, बंद करो, खुले में टट्टी बंद करो।
खुले में टट्टी जाना है, तो मिट्टी डालकर आना है।

मल पर मिट्टी और शुरू हुआ शौचालय निर्माण

ग्राम हर्राजखेडी में शर्मसार यात्रा और लगातार हो रही निगरानी, स्वच्छता रैली, स्कूल ट्रिगरिंग और सामुदायिक बैठक के बाद समुदाय में व्यवहार में परिवर्तन देखे गये। अब लोग शौच के बाद अपने मल को मिट्टी से ढकते नजर आये और साथ ही लगभग 10 से ज्यादा परिवार शौचालय निर्माण को आगे आये जबकि 4 परिवारों ने तुरन्त शौचालय निर्माण का काम शुरू कर दिया।

रात्रि ग्राम चैपाल का आयोजन

Nigrani Samiti- WASH sehoreग्राम हर्राजखेडी में दिनांक 21/12/2013 शाम को ग्राम के चैक एवं अन्य मार्गों में माध्यम से निर्मल सीहोर अभियान के तहत् स्वच्छता रैली निकालते हुए ग्राम के बाजार चैक पर रात्रि ग्राम चैपाल का आयोजन किया गया, जिसमें ग्राम पंचायत के सरपंच ठाकुर प्रसाद वर्मा के अलावा गांव के 125 से ज्यादा लोगों एवं निर्मल सीहोर परियोजना के ब्लाॅक आष्टा के पूरी टीम ने भाग लिया। रात्रि ग्राम चैपाल के दौरान ग्राम के जल स्त्रोतों के नमूनों का पी.एच.ई.डी. के ब्लाॅक समन्वयक मंगलेष दुबे द्वारा जल नमूनो का परीक्षण किया गया, परीक्षण के दौरान सभी नमूने संक्रमित मिले। पी.एच.ई.डी. के ब्लाॅक समन्वयक मंगलेष दुबे द्वारा ग्रामीणों को जल स्त्रोतों का जल्द से जल्द क्लोरीनीकरण करवाने का आष्वासन दिया गया।

ग्राम हर्राजखेड़ी को निर्मल बनाने के गांव के सरपंच ठाकुर प्रसाद द्वारा निर्मल भारत अभियान के तहत् शौचालय निर्माण के लिए मिलनेे वाली राषि और उसके लिए पात्रता के बारे में विस्तारपूर्वक बताया, साथ ही गांव को निर्मल बनाने के लिए आगे आकर भागीदारी करने का आग्रह किया। आयोजित ग्राम रात्रि चैपाल के दौरान सभी ग्रामीणों की सहमति से कुछ निर्णय लिये गये जो गांव को निर्मल बनाने के लिए जरूरी थे। ये निर्णय है-

  • 13 सदस्यों की निगरानी समिति गठित।
  • ग्राम हर्राजखेड़ी को 15 जनवरी 2014 तक निर्मल गांव बनाना है।
  • 15 जनवरी 2014 तक शौचालय निर्माण न करवाने पर दण्ड स्वरूप उन परिवारों का राषन कार्ड निरस्त करने का निर्णय लिया गया जो निर्णय पंचायत का था।
Apr 092013
 

Introduction:

Village Amrod is a dependent village of Raipur Nayakheda Panchayat, which is situated in Sehore block of Sehore district. It is 20 Kms away from District headquarters, Bhopal and 5 kms away from Indore highways.  There reside a total of 105 families, with a population of 750 villagers, out of which 50% belong to Mewara caste, 19% from Vishwakarma caste, 25% from Dalit, 1% from General and remaining 5% from Muslim community. The major occupation of people here is agriculture. With the financial and technical support from Water Aid, Bhopal , under the “Drinking water and Sanitation programme” organised by Samarthan, regular meetings with community by visiting their homes were organised. Information regarding the duties and responsibilities of Gram Sabha was disseminated and their opinion about drinking water and sanitation issues were asked. It was found that the village inhabitants were suffering with problems related to open defecation and cleanliness.  Only  10% households have toilets made using low cost two pits model, though they are not even being utilized and remaining 90% defecate in open.

Intervention:

With the help of continuous interactions of Samarthan with community, awareness about the various diseases caused due to open defecation and also were told about the humiliation being faced, especially by women. Knowledge regarding low cost toilet design, which used to cost around Rs. 5000-10000  was also imparted, as villagers basically had myths about toilets construction that it cost around Rs.30000-35000 and also quite difficult to construct.

Outcome:

Thus a sanitation campaign began in the village wherein all the community people proactively participated and helped each other to construct toilets.  Within a span of 6 month around 98% household have constructed toilets and started using them. In the coming 1-2 months remaining 2% households will be completing their toilet construction and soon Amrod would be declared as “Open Defecation Free” village.  When asked about their experiences, the community respond that this intervention has helped reducing many cases of water borne disease and also the women feel safer now.

Apr 092013
 

Introduction:

Water Tank at Dodi

Village Dodi is situated in the Sehore block of the Sehore District, which is 21kms away from the Sehore District Headquarter. There reside a total of 202 families. There are 75 families belongs to Mewra community, 79 to Meena, 39 are Dalit and 9 families belong to other communities. The major occupation, here, is agriculture. With the help of Wateraid Bhopal’s Financial and Technical assistance, a base line survey was conducted in December 2011 along with the discussion with villagers in regard to the awareness about rights and duties of the Gram Sabha and to know the issues related to drinking water and sanitation. During the discussion it was found that the village is suffering from the problems of drinking water availability, sanitation and open defecation. Though there are 13 hand pumps and 4 wells, but approximately from 20-25 years, this hand pump are seasonal in nature and get water during July-December and remains dry during rest of the months. These hand pumps supply water for 5 months in a year to the village.

In these circumstances, the villagers especially women and girls have to travel 1.5-2 kms to collect the water from bore well and have to carry this head load which takes 4-5 hours a day. It was also found that only 27 families have toilet facilities and rest of the people defecate in areas nearby to the village which leads to the problem of sanitation and women feel ashamed. From past 25 years, dependency on underground water has increased. When villagers were asked about the approach of Gram Sabha or Panchayat for resolving the water and sanitation issues; they told that Gramsabha is just for name sake, only on 2 or 3 occasions like 26 January and 15 August, Secretary and Sarpanch visit their village and take the signatures of villagers. The villagers showed their anger towards Panchayat and government that as being a small village with less population they are unable to avail the benefits of any government scheme.

Intervention:

During the month of December 2011, a base line survey was conducted in the village Dodi under the “Drinking water and Sanitation Program” organized by Samarthan in order to strengthen the role of Gram Sabha, in the first base line period from December 2011 to March 2012 the general information was collected and tried to built the confidence among the villagers.

The intervention was made in the form of making people aware by organizing a sanitation rally at village level and the issue was discussed among the school children. The secretary of Grma Panchayat was promoted as the member of the District Level DRC. A special Gram Sabha was organized and training related to building basic sanitation infrastructure and water quality enhancement was imparted. People were made realize that government is not solely responsible for improving their life style but it’s their responsibility too. They need to recognize the strength of Gram Sabha and come forward for development of their own village.

A ray of enthusiasm was observed among the villagers through continuous discussions, home visits and personal interaction, focusing on changing unhealthy practices and creating awareness about rights and responsibilities of Gram Sabha. As people are now willing to change their drinking water and sanitation system so Samarthan adopted PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) tools to conduct social mapping, dream mapping, resource mapping and transect mapping at village level. A working plan for three years was made with the help of data collection, data analysis and prioritization of the identified problems, reasons, available resources and potential solutions, which was approved by the community at Gram Sabha.

Outcomes:

During the program of clean drinking water availability, focus was drawn on the duties and responsibilities and capacity building of Gram Sabha which resulted into organization of Gram Sabha where significant participation of men and women was observed.

After the meetings of Gram Sabha, the people of Dodi drafted an application to create pressure on, and on July 20, 2012 a meeting was held with the officers of PHE to avail the facility of Nal-Jal-Yojna.

2 years back, a tank was constructed but it was defunct as there was no bore well attached to it, but then pressure was created on PHE department by the Panchayat and a tender was released after 2 months. Till today’s date, about 90% of the work is already completed. And by June 2013, it will be completed and handled over to the Panchayat and the community. This will help Dodi village to obtain sufficient and clean water. This led to confidence building among the community members for Gram Sabha and realized the power of Gram Sabha.

After the meetings of Gram Sabha, community took the decision to make the village clean. In Dodi village, out of 202 families only 27 families had toilet facilities. So the community decided to extend this number to 117 families. The increased enthusiasm of the villagers, made Panchayat take several decisions like distribution of cement gates, toilet seats, etc to the villagers, even if they don’t have money, they would make them work under MNREGA and would collect the payment in instalment as and when they receive. At present, in Dodi village, toilet facilities have been provided in 70 %of the houses and by June 2013 it will be made defecation free with the help of Panchayat and community.

Case of Ratikheda:

Similar results were obtained in Ratikheda, with Samarthan’s intervention. In order to overcome water problem, it was suggested to give 3% peoples participations in Nal-Jal-Yojna under PHE department to avail the facility of tap water in the village. The community made the cost estimation of the Yojna which was found to be Rs. 13 lakhs approximately. The community decided to pay Rs 40000 in cash for which Rs. 880 was collected from each family and the draft was made for the same and deposited with the PHE department and the department made the assurance that the work will commence from May 2013.

Feb 112013
 

During its several interactions with village folk in the 144 Panchayats of the Sehore block of the Sehore district under the project titled Promoting Reform Initiatives to Ensure Equitable Access and Sustainability of Water and Sanitation’, Samarthan’s realized that a major impediment towards toilet construction was the misconception among people that it was very expensive – most people were under the impression that it costs as much as Rs. 50,000. In addition to lack of awareness on low-cost toilets, awareness on issues like water purification, waste water drainage, rainwater harvesting and solid waste disposal was also quite low.

In order to create awareness on these objectives with the objective of improving the condition of rural water availability and sanitation, Samarthan, with support from the district administration and Zila Panchayat has set up an information centre at the district level. Termed as the District Resource Center (DRC), the information centre will be useful in the training of WASH motivators and would also provide valuable support to the Collector’s campaign of making the villages in the catchment of the Kulans river open defecation free. Exhibits of models depicting low-cost toilets, rainwater harvesting systems, wastewater drainage systems and solid waste drainage systems have been showcased at the DRC. In addition to information material like posters and pamphlets the DRC also features contact details of resource persons who can provide detailed guidance on WASH techniques. The informational material exhibited at the DRC will also be showcased at various events to increase its outreach. In this series, the Samarthan team hosted a stall at the district level youth conference of the Nehru Yuva Kendra in Ashta. Stalls (Salah Kendra) were also hosted during weekly haats in Ashta and Sehore.

Inauguration of DRC by Mr. B.S. JamodThe DRC was inaugurated by Mr. B.S. Jamod, CEO of the Zila Panchayat on 30th January 2013. To mark the event, Samarthan also organized an awareness motorbike rally in which 40 people including Samarthan staff, WASH motivators and TSC in charge of the Zila Panchayat participated. The CEO Zila Panchayat waved a green flag to begin the rally. The 40 bikers first reached Padli village to spread the message of safe drinking water and sanitation. The rally was received with a great fanfare by villagers and Panchayat representatives. A meeting was organized in the Gram Panchayat compound where the villagers, upon being inspired by the motivators, took a vow of making their village open defecation free. Thereafter the rally went to village Jamni, Barkhedi, Kulans Kalan, Kulans Khurd and Dhabla. Villages covered also included Khedli, Bilkisganj, Patni, Uljhawan, Bhojnagar Hirapur, Bamulia and Badnagar.Motorbike Rally

This initiative was acclaimed by one and all – the district administration, Panchayat functionaries and villagers.

Jan 182013
 

A report card study carried out by Samarthan points to poor school infrastructure as a major impediment to the realization of the Right to Education (RTE). Samarthan continued its efforts to strengthen School Management Committees (SMCs) – a potentially powerful instrument for reducing absenteeism and attrition by improving school facilities and functioning. Our strategy of intervention has involved strengthening of SMCs for playing a more active role in school management, orienting PRIs on the RTE norms and their rights and responsibilities vis-à-vis the RTE and engaging with the education department for more effective implementation of the annual plan of SMC. We have focused our efforts in five panchayats in Datia, Sehore and Panna each: A total of 109 SMC members and 105 PRI members from our project area in Panna, Sehore and Datia districts were trained.

Impacts

  • The State Human Rights Commission took cognizance of the report card findings and sent an official note to Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK) demanding immediate explanation on 6 points. The RSK gave a detailed response, accepting the points on which they had failed to implement the RTE.
  • PRIs have received a sanction letter for appointing cleaning staff in schools of Sehore district.
  • Due to the effect of the Citizen’s Report Card released by Samarthan, the block administration in Sehore released funds for the construction of 160 school toilets as per the RTE norms.
  • The State Human Rights Commission also instructed RSK to construct a bridge on an urgent basis in Magarkhedi and Dhaboti village so that the students have to travel less distance to reach their schools.
  • In village Dhaboti, primary students should be provided with transportation facilities and this should also be included in the yearly budget planning.
  • In Sehore districts, all the schools have been instructed to construct a boundary wall around their school. Also funds are to be sanctioned for those schools who have not been allotted given funds to construct a boundary wall.
  • In Sinawal village, Datia District, repairing of school building needs to be completed by 31st July 2012.
  • The well in the premise of school in Sinawal village should be covered with net in order to safeguard the children from accidents.
  • The authorities of the primary school in Sinawal village have been instructed to connect the hand pump to the school premises with the help of a motor so that children don’t have to cross the road for drinking water.

You can get read the detailed report card report here

Jan 072013
 

Child Rights WASH is pilot intervention by Samarthan with the support of SCF and WaterAid in 15 Panchayat of Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh, India (Balswachta) .

About Bal Suchna Patal  

These were children’s notice boards that were put up at prominent places in the villages frequented by the duty bearers. These notice boards provided an excellent medium for the children who were shy and discriminated against to express their WASH related needs. Children would write down their problems on the notice boards and these would be erased by them only when the problem was solved. It was found that the duty bearers would take urgent steps to solve the problems due to fear of losing facing in front of the whole village.

Bal Suchana Patal tested as a powerful tool and strategies to attracting duty bearers to respect child rights and in time delivery of required WASH facilities Children’s notice board were placed in 14 villages. Its objective is to attract service providers and parents attention towards problems and issues of children’s right to safe water and sanitation facilities.

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Click here to watch the coverage on Bal Succhna Patal by Doordarshan channel.

Sanitary Bank Club

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Jan 042013
 

Samarthan along with Water Aid launched a campaign for providing school girls with proper sanitary napkins facilities. The main objectives of this campaign was-

  1. To provide school girls with continuous availability of sanitary napkins so that they can attend schools regularly.
  2. To educate them about the personal hygiene.
  3. To make separate toilets for girls in schools along with proper disposal system.

It was during the Khel Khel Mein Badlo Duniya campaign organized by Samarthan and Water Aid in Jatakhedi and Nayakhedi, this problem being faced by adolescent school-going girls surfaced. The girls revealed, during discussions with Samarthan’s team members that there are no separate toilets for girls in their schools and they face a lot of embarassment during their menstrual cycle days in schools. That is the reason why they do not attend school during that period and prefer to stay back home. When asked the head mistress about the absenteeism of girls she confirmed that due lack of proper sanitation system for girls in the school, the girls prefer to stay at their home. Also they have to travel a long distance to reach school and since they use cloth sanitary pads they feel uncomfortable.

sanitary bank club-jatakheda-samarthan

Thus Samarthan and WaterAid together started a campaign in the high school of Jatakhedi and Patan village, Sehore district for providing the girls with sanitary pads on a regular basis. They formed a sanitary club (samiti) in the school constituting 20 student members and a teacher to monitor the sanitary pad bank. This club was provided with a box of 60 sanitary napkins which was bought at wholesale price from the market. It cost Rs 2 less than the market price. (That is, each packet of sanitary napkin costs Rs 22 at market price but when they bought 60 packs they got each at Rs 20.). The club was then told to issues napkins to the girls at subsidized rate only. In this way whenever a girl needs a sanitary napkin pack, she can go to any Sanitary Club member and buy a packet at a subsidized rate. It is the responsibility of the Sanitary Club members to buy new packs of sanitary napkins whenever required.

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Now after the campaign was started, the girls are coming to schools regularly and can also take part in extra-curricular activities without any hesitation. In this campaign the head mistress of the school Mrs. Rajni Sisodia played a very important role. Without her support this campaign wouldn’t have been a success. The girls in the initial phase of the campaign were very reluctant to discuss about such issues. Mrs. Rajni Sisodia motivated the girls and encourages them to come forward and take part in this campaign. She also regularly monitors the proper functioning of the Sanitary Club.

With the success of the campaign, the Gram Panchayat and school authorities also came forward and decided to construct a separate toilet for girls so that they don’t feel uncomfortable at school. Also an incinerator was installed at girl’s toilets at higher school in Patan, Sehore district. Many high schools in other villages in Sehore district are now adopting the same model of sanitary pad banks.

When asked, the girls of Patan and Jatakhedi high schools about the sanitary pad bank they comment that, “It has indeed changed our lives and made it easier for us to attend school as well as engage in other activities. This campaign has also taught them about personal hygiene which protects them for various diseases. They are thankful to Samarthan and WaterAid for initiating such innovative campaign and look forward to other such initiatives in future.”

The head mistress Mrs. Rajni Sisodia who was the main motivator for this campaign told us that since the inception of this campaign there have been many changes. The girls have also become more confident. They now actively participate in various extra-curricular activities. Also since the start of this campaign girls are coming to school regularly and the rate of absenteeism has decreased tremendously. Also the school authorities have taken an initiative to address girl’s sanitation issues more proactively.

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Jan 042013
 

Village Sikandarganj in Sehore district used to face frequent breakdowns of community handpumps. The technician from the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) used to charge Rs. 200 for a service that is supposed to be provided free of cost. When Samarthan’s team along with a team of resource persons from various government line departments (including two functionaries from the PHED visited village one evening to carry out a sensitization campaign, the villagers aired their grievances with them. The functionaries of the PHED assured the villagers that they would report the issue to the officials. As a result of the complaint, the technician who was unlawfully charging the money was reprimanded. The villagers have reported that all the repair work is carried out promptly and free of cost. The same team of resource persons has visited 40 villages over the past three months in a campaign dubbed by Samarthan as Ratri Chaupal. It is this team that has created awareness about the Rs. 2000 grant from the Agriculture department for the construction of NADEP composting pit, which has led to the construction of NADEP pits in 30 villages. As a part of this ‘Ratri Chaupal’ campaign, these resource persons have gone from village to village to tell people about the increase in subsidy for toilet construction under Nirmal Gram Abhiyan from Rs. 3200 to Rs. 4600. It was because of these efforts that 76 toilets were constructed during the campaign and more continue to be constructed.

samarthan-ratri chaupal

Samarthan has been implementing an initiative to spread the sanitation message in various Panchayats of the Sehore district. One of the objectives of the project is to set up Block Resource Centers (BRC) at each of the three blocks of the Sehore district equipped with material to sensitize villagers on the need and benefits of sanitation. However it was realized that beneficiaries from the village seldom visit block headquarters and whenever they do, they do so on some official business and would hardly find the time to visit the block resource center and the sensitization resources would just sit there without reaching out to the beneficiaries. It was thus decided to set up a Mobile BRC, which is essentially a team of resource persons who would undertake sensitization visits to the villages with the purpose of convincing the community to undertake sanitation efforts. Samarthan staff that has been working closely with line departments for the past several years has cultivated good professional relationships with a number of functionaries, especially with the ones who are sincere and proactive in their work and have a commitment towards social welfare. Samarthan team got in touch with some of these functionaries and shared with them the idea of creating a mobile BRC. The government functionaries volunteered to act as resource persons and join the Samarthan team in visiting villages for sensitizing the communities. The team also shared the idea with the officials of various line departments, who in turn suggested additional names of staff who had good oratory skills and would be willing to volunteer for the initiative.

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The team shored up by Samarthan includes functionaries various capacities in different government line departments including Education, PHED, Agriculture, Zila Panchayat, Health, PWD etc. These government functionaries are at various stages of their service – some a few years into their service and some closer to their retirement. But a common thread that binds these government functionaries is the motivation to contribute to the society over and above what their job requires. Many of these resource persons have special talents like poetry which have proved instrumental in engaging people.

After a few initial sensitization visits, the team realized that it was very difficult to gather people at one place during the day time as most of them were away in the fields. During Ganeshotsav, the team decided to visit a village at night as they were sure to find the entire village gathered together to celebrate the annual festival. This proved to be a masterstroke as it provided the team an opportunity to strike a rapport with the villagers by participating in the festivities. After joining the people in bhajans and other activities, the team started delivering the sanitation message under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. The people were very responsive as the team had been successful in winning their confidence. This how the idea of ‘Ratri Chaupal’ was born. Samarthan has carried out one-day workshops to train the team of resource persons.

In order to induce the community into building toilets, the mobile BRC team tried to stir their sentiments. The female team members stressed how uncomfortable it was for the women of the community to defecate in the open. The team also tried to drive home the point that open defecation was the root cause of malnutrition and disease in children. They also tried to dispel the myths prevalent among the community that toilet construction is expensive. Most of the people were under the impression that toilet construction requires almost Rs. 50,000. The team told the community about low-cost techniques of toilet construction. They were able to convince most of the households in each village to shell out money for sanitation. Issues of village-level sanitation such as drains and solid waste disposal were also discussed with the community.

An important side-effect of this campaign was that because a number of government functionaries were present in the village, the community started sharing other problems with them. They raised issues related to several other government schemes such as social security pensions, MGNREGS, water supply, education etc.  While the functionaries were able to address some issues immediately, for the others they gave guided the complainants whom to approach. In some of the villages, people said that it was for the first time that government officials had visited them.

When the team of resource persons was asked what made them join the campaign even though it was not required as a part of their work. They said that what motivated them to join the team was not only their inclination towards community service but also their close relationships with the Samarthan team. They said that it was it satisfaction of working with like-minded people as a team that induced them to spare time, efforts and money (i.e. fuel for personal vehicles) for the campaign.

So this is the modus operandi of the ‘Ratri Chaupal’ campaign – the Samarthan team contacts the volunteers to find out their availability for a visit, based on which a mutually convenient date is agreed upon. The volunteers take their own vehicles and the entire team reaches the village in the evening. They go to a central meeting point of the village and start cultural activities. Gradually the whole village gathers and joins the activities. Once the team establishes a rapport with the community, they start giving out the sanitation message and sharing the problems of the community.

The Samarthan team shared the experiences and achievements of the mobile BRC and the Ratri Chaupal with the District Collector of Sehore. The Collector was so impressed with the idea that he decided to use it as a grievance redressal mechanism for various government programmes. He decided to begin by using the technique for the district’s campaign to revive the Kulans River, under which the villages in the catchment of the river are being sensitized on various government schemes on sanitation and solid waste management. The Collector has issued an order directing staff from Zila Panchayat, Janpad Panchayat and line departments including Agriculture, PHED, Women and Child Development, Health, Revenue, Horticulture, Education and PWD, to form a team and visit villages every fortnight. The Collector has named this technique ‘Ratri Vishram’ and has directed the staff to stay in the village during the night. A nodal officer has been appointed for every village and the Collector goes on surprise visits to monitor the nightly events.

The Collector has ordered that once the Kulans River Revival campaign is over, the ‘Ratri Vishram’ technique be used for other campaigns as well.

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Sep 182012
 

In Sehore, a district which has been blazing the trail for effective implementation of Panchayati Raj in the state, Sarpanches and Secretaries demonstrated disinclination towards Social Audit on MGNREGA in the 15th August Gram Sabha. Despite this reluctance, wherever Social Audits were conducted, a number of problems being faced by the laborers were highlighted and several corruption cases came to light. While in Jahangirpura, the Sarpanch and the Secretary fled from the Gram Sabha, in Khandwa Panchayat the Secretary refused to record the proceedings related to MGNREGS. In Raipur Nayakheda, the Panchayat Office remained closed.

 

Gram Sabha is used as an opportunity to discuss various programmes of rural development including the Social Audit of the implementation of the MGNREGA. A number of NGOs reviewed the process of Social Audit during the 15th August Gram Sabha – mandatorily conducted as per the the Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act. Samarthan ran a campaign for facilitating the Social Audit process in 10 districts of the state viz. Sehore, Dhar, Badwani, Jhabua, Panna, Satna, Rewa, Jabalpur, Seoni and Damoh. Under the campaign, one master trainers for every three Panchayats and two youth facilitator for every Panchayat were trained in the process of Social Audit. The youth facilitators were provided with MGNREGA-related data for their respective Panchayats. Based on this data, the youth facilitators had carried out discussions with villagers for coming up with issues for Social Audit. Samarthan reviewed the Gram Sabhas both in villagers with facilitators and in villages without facilitators. It was seen that in villages without facilitators the social audit process did not take place at all. On the other hand, in villages where facilitators were present, the social audit process did take place but the Sarpanches and Secretaries kept evading the process. Despite this, because of the intervention of the facilitators, social audit brought to light many administrative irregularities and the problems being faced by laborers.

 

Samarthan’s staff was deployed all across the district on 15th August in order to observe the Gram Sabha process. In Thunakala Gram Panchayat, Social Audit on MGNREGS issues was not carried out. The number of women attending the Gram Sabha was quite high but most of them raised the issues of Indira Awas Yojna and Social Security pensions. In Raipur Nayakheda Panchayat, Gram Sabha didn’t take place at all and the Panchayat office remained locked. At 10 a.m. itself, the attendance register showed 11.30 a.m. as the time of arrival of participants and their signatures. In Jahangirpura, the Gram Sabha began quite late. However soon the quorum was complete and a Social Audit was conducted; instead of participating the Social Audit, the Sarpanch and the Secretary fled from the scene, fearing a no-confidence motion. In Khandwa Panchayat, the Sarpanch and the Secretary agreed to participate in the Social Audit but, in order to avoid any action against them, failed to make an official record of the irregularities that were pointed out by the villagers.