SOVA’s approach to development at the community level includes efforts to strengthen the Capabilities of grassroots governance like Gram Sabha, Palli Sabha, village-level committees and Panchayatraj Institution (PRI) in order to manage their resources, to demand the implementation of and monitor various government schemes and initiatives, and to protect and ensure the viability of the community against external threats such as economic exploitation, social and political marginalization, and discrimination.
In Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) function poorly and lack the information and political power to make changes. We motivate adult villagers to participate at all levels of self government, take accountability for their communities, access information on government schemes, function transparently, and become self-reliant in true spirit.Given the fact that the Constitution of India reserves the head of the panchayat institutions exclusively to tribals, and one third of the seats to women, there is a huge opportunity to strengthen these self governments so they can effectively advocate for their communities, customs and culture.
Community Organisations : We are facilitating and strengthening the village and federation level community organisation and building the capacity of community members . We have been supporting on three major approaches 1. Capacity Building of community leaders on government program, leadership quality and resource mobilization 2. Information dissemination on different government policy, provisions and its accessibility through Village Development Committee, Child Club and women’s groups to support in planning and implementation of program 3. Linkages and advocacy with Government department, PRIs, tribal and community leaders for hassle free access of services and peace building among the displaced and non displaced community To make a stronger impact of the village issues at block and Panchayat level, Panchayat level federation are established to take up the issues at political and administration level to ensure benefits to all the deprived but eligible individuals. A strengthened village development committee has taken the ownership to bring every community issues before the Panchayat level federation where village’s community takes the responsibility to address common community issues.
Involving Women: We facilitate the inclusion of women in village self-governing bodies and encourage them to hold their own meetings to discuss their issues. In each of our target panchayats, women’s organization meetings have been held, where we work to help them define their role in the Panchayat Raj system and strengthen their role as decision-makers regarding health and education issues.
Community Monitoring Information System(CMIS):The Community Monitoring and Information Chart is a pictorial tool that helps even illiterate people understand and take ownership for their village issues. It has proven to be more effective than the methods adopted by the Government through using the register. It is community-friendly and easier to track by both literate and illiterate people. The implementation process increases curiosity among the community as it provides a picture of the village with regards to those who have benefitted and those who are waiting to benefit. This increases community participation especially among women. Presently the Government has given responsibility to the Panchayats to ensure the rights of every family through family tracking but the Panchayats have been using registers to collect information at village level, which effectively excludes the participation of illiterate people. The Community Monitoring and Information Chart could be replicable in all villages of a Panchayat. Different government projects like Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) have given ownership to communities to improve the livelihoods and health status of vulnerable families. The Community Monitoring and Information System could be easily replicated to monitor these government programs.
Land and Forest Rights: We facilitate the formation of forest rights committees and train them on the key issues and how to advocate for their rights. So far, with our support, over 900 families have applied for land and forest rights under the Forest Rights Act. In addition, we’ve helped villages develop sound plans for sustainable agriculture, land management, forest regeneration, and water harvesting.
Community Radio: Community Radio provides opportunities for development practitioners working in rural India in terms of knowledge sharing and learning. This radio station has been set up at Koraput and youth members have been trained to manage the community radio station. Different community-led programs are being developed for narrowcasting. The station’s programming cover more than 60 villages including Koraput NAC and Township in 15 km radius by air. This initiative addresses a desire of the local community for content on relevant local issues like livelihood, new and innovative agricultural practices, health issues, and local folk and film music. Supported community radio center is a mouthpiece of its objective and it’s narrowcast which creates awareness on various government schemes, promotes local folk songs and stories and overall development of community capacity to manage a community radio station.
SAMADHAN: SAMADHAN is a new Grievance Redressal Platform that promises to take care of Citizens’ Grievances through e-complaints, SMS, and Calls. So if someone is not being paid his wages under NREGA,he can call up toll free number and register his complain. If a mother fails to receive her monetary support under the Janani Surakshya Yojna, she can also complain. If an Anganwadi Worker is not opening the nutrition center, one can log on to SAMADHAN’s e -portal for relief. Complaints can also be lodged directly at the District Collector’s Office. Koraput has become the first district of Orissa to integrate a technology-driven complaint and Grievance Redressal Platform into its administration system for enhancing efficiency, accountability, and transparency in delivery of services to citizens.SAMADHAN system was launched by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Orissa Sri Naveen Patnaik on 26th of August 2011.
Community Watch:“Community Watch” is unique project where community learns about their entitlements as per their right, monitor the delivery of entitlements and holds the relevant agencies accountable to seek the rightful entitlements for their children. On the other hand it provides an opportunity to the policy maker and the Governmental agencies to understand the gaps in the implementation of the schemes and delivery of the entitlements of citizens as per their rights.The ‘Community Watch’ provides a scope to understand the adherence to Supreme Court directives with regard to the ICDS in the villages where this project has been implemented and provide information for future advocacy. It can be expected that an empowered community who understands their right and the rights of their children would know how to seek and ensure the rights of their children, which would bring about a positive change in the early childhood care and development of children.The objectives of the web based system is to empower the community to keep an eye on the status of implementation of Supreme Court directives on Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in their community/villages through participation in the data collection, and dissemination of information.