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By Ashapradeep Bureau

Bhubaneswar: To mainstream marginalized communities, women and unorganized workers, “Prayas” a Single Window structure set up in Bhubaneswar by CFAR with support from Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives has facilitated 6021 community members to access schemes like ration and voter card, aadhar registration, widow and old age pension, subsidy for constructing toilets, skill development.

Strengthening the Single Window Centre, Prayas, Centre For Advocacy and Research is  able to demonstrate strong community-government partnerships, strengthening the role of community leaders in monitoring bodies and watchdog mechanisms and increasing their participation in it highlight governance gaps and in partnership with all stakeholders work out the modalities of improving the governance of schemes and programmers.

In this context to showcase the successful establishment and functioning of single window (PRAYAS) and peoples’ participation and acceptance this process Centre For Advocacy and Research (CFAR) organised a media meet on December 29, 2017 at Redcross Bhawan Bhubaneswar. Near about 25 community leaders from 15 settlements where CFAR is implementing the project and 15 media personnel from the leading news agencies of Odisha participated in the programme. The programme started with a welcome speech by Mamata Singh, Asst. Project Coordinator CFAR and objective shared by Mr Sukant Kumar Sahoo.

Ms. Pujafula Pattanayak, State Project Manager, CFAR shared the journey of Prayas Single Window in its two years of launching in Bhubaneswar in addressing governance for pro poor. She told, “In terms of demonstrating inclusion in sectoral schemes and work on delivering a package of schemes for the beneficiaries with the aim of strengthening the household security. We also ensure that the women have access to essential health services, better civic services right from access to clean and safe drinking water to clean toilets and cleaner neighbourhood. Such inclusion are being catalysed on grounds of clear policy level commitments which can be evidenced in the form of official directives, orders, circulars, letters. Some work towards catalysing such concrete partnerships with the Municipal Corporation and the various Departments we are engaging with. The partnerships with civil society, unions, associations should be made more visible through joint initiatives aimed at fostering inclusion and creating and using wider advocacy platforms for strengthening the urban infrastructure and governance for the poor and the marginalized. We also used evidence based tool like Social Audit and public hearing to find out gaps in accessing benefits under ICDS in ward no 52 and now the AWCs are running more proactively ensuring health and nutrition of children and pregnant and lactating mothers.”

The Community Advocates on dice shared the issues and challenges they have faced during the process of advocacy with departments in accessing schemes. Ms. Mamta Ojha, Kela Sahi shared about the situation of getting Ration and how the control dealer compelled them to buy potato and agarbati for getting ration. The strengthened community leaders shouted and complained against the dealer in Department Food and Civil Supply by which the licence of the dealer has been cancelled. She also spoke how due to not having Aadhar card, the dealer denied to give ration and after long argument of community advocates he agreed and provide ration.

Ms. Pinki Nayak, Rickshaw Colony shared about the process of using evidence based tool social audit followed by public hearing on ICDS in ward no 52. She also spoke how the tool was so effective that it was able to control the corruption in AWCs and make the community people responsive and attentive to see the quality and quantity of food being provide to the children and pregnant and lactating mothers. Ms KabitaNayak, Janch Committee member of Harijan Sahi shared through the process of Social Audit, they are able to know their role and responsibilities to monitor the benefit under ICDS. She also show the booklet provided by CFAR to monitor the quantity and quality of service delivery in AWC and how the AWW became more proactive and provide actual benefits to children and pregnant and lactating mothers that they are deserved.

Ms. Bimala Sethy, Jharanasahi told about the gap in accessing benefits under Madhubabu Pension Yojna. She told in Pryas Single Window 108 applied for pension and 40 got sanctioned but due to very old and some people are unable to go for Aadhar enrolment, they had been excluded from getting pension. But by continuous effort by going to BMC, OCAC and CO the very old persons are now getting pensions. But the journey is still going on as single women are not recognised to get pension. She also spoke about the emerging women leaders in the community as previously only men leaders took part in decision-making process, but now women are in the planning and development of the community.

Ms. Ranjulata Nayak, Harijan Sahi shared about the process of capacitating School Management Committees in ensuring RTE. She told how through CFAR, the SMC members can able to recognize their role in developing a child friendly atmosphere in school and ensuring quality education as well.

Mr. Sujoy Kumar Mishra, School Management Committee chairman, Capital Govt. Primary School, Unit 6, spoke about their transformation from a dormant SMC member to an  active member who is now doing all his responsibilities as SMC member to bring change in education system in the school. According to him if 5 SMC members are active then the school will ensure quality education. He also glad to shared that due to CFAR and RTE Forum, issues of the school can be known to education department. Again his demand to effective running of toll free number and complain box so that children’s complain can be addressed in a bigger platform and the monitoring mechanism can be strengthened.

Mr. Sameer Ranjan Dash, Project Coordinator, CFAR delivered the status report of people using toilets in ward no 52. He said,   people applied under IHHL,   got work order, have completed toilets and awaiting for getting subsidy amount. He also raised how Prayas continuously advocacy with SBA cell under BMC and now BMC declared to construct shared toilets those who have no space for constructing toilets. But making the ward ODF is a handholding process that includes every bodies support starting from behaviour change of people in using toilet to department provision and construct toilets (community/ shared) and septic tanks (shared/ common) as per the situation and context.

In the next session, the members from different community management committees shared their experience in accessing the schemes. Community Management Committee member of Ganganagar Hostel Site, Ms. Hajira Begum Spoke how they addressing all sanitation related issues of the settlements and also demand shred/ community toilets to make their settlement ODF. They are also putting sincere effort for behaviour change of people to construct and use toilet. Ms. Jinia rani Patra, President CBO, Jagruti Parishad, spoke about the vision and mission of the CBO to act for the development of urban settlements. The CBO of more than 100 members (all women) from 15 settlements of Bhubaneswar is being capacitate by CFAR to work for rights and entitlements of marginalised communities.

The media personnel also shared their opinion and suggestion to strengthen the community so that they can be the milestone for whole Odisha in advocating for their rights and entitlements. They also congratulated CFAR and its Single Window for their effort in using evidence based watchdog mechanism in the community to make governance more inclusive and people’s friendly. At the end Ms. Kuntala, Maa Mangala Sahi gave vote of thanks to all.

January 11, 2018 • No Comment