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Background

Mahan Seva Sansthan (MSS) began its development interventions by taking up work to benefit tribal families of 20 villages spread over 4 panchayats (Kolyari, Amivada, Panerva and Birothi) and now has spread over to 9 Panchayats, covering 60 villages in Jhadol Block and 5 villages in Kotra Block. The Project Holder, Mr. Lalit Joshi started the organization, with a few like-minded friends, with the volunteering zeal ‘to do some good for the people’, and address the exploitation and discrimination cropping up from class and caste factors. With the broadening of perspective and benefit of experience and experimentation a major shift occurred in the project holder’s attitude which led to the formation and strengthening of CBO’s, community leadership development, working towards the rights of tribals over natural resources and advocating for the rights of displaced citizens. Currently, Mahan Seva Sansthan is working in 46 villages (Phallahs) across 26 revenue villages spread over 8 Panchayats of Jhadol tehsil in Udaipur district of Rajasthan.

Situation

The identified villages are scattered small hamlets, predominantly inhabited by tribal communities. Around 66% of the population belongs to the tribal community while Rajputs, Brahmins and Jains constitute 31% of the population. All the 1884 reference households [population 12502] in 14 operational villages are tribals and fall under PESA. 70% of the population is below the poverty line. As per a survey conducted by the organization, most of the farmers are small, medium or marginal. There is not much disparity in land distribution among people of different castes. Most of the tribal population resides in the forest and do not possess the pattas for their land. Approximately 80% families depend on agriculture as the mainstay occupation. The region is mostly arid with scanty rainfalls and persistent and recurrent droughts. This renders agriculture unproductive thus compelling migration into neighbouring districts and states in search of alternate livelihoods. Problem of potable water also persists in the area. The area is prone to threat of displacement from the proposed Manasi Wankal Dam that is feared to submerge 23 villages [of which 11 belong to the reference area].

Children continue to be the worst affected by the adverse economics of the reference families. As families migrate, children accompany their parents in many cases and get engaged in unorganized labour force that is inherently exploitative and discriminative. The situation is no better even if they do not accompany their parents – they are then required to take charge of the household, including the livestock owned by the household. Children are also engaged in collective minor forest produce. Social customs like 'Nata' system are prevalent – that completely deny recognition of women as equal members of society capable of taking decisions about her own self. Health awareness is very poor in the region. Awareness about issues like sanitation, mother and child-care is almost non-existent. Of the total child population around 60% children have early marriages. Early marriages inevitably lead to early pregnancies. The first pregnancy is between the ages of 16-18 years, which is a major reason of infant mortality. In this backdrop, Mahan has been intervening for the past eighteen years in the tribal dominated areas of Udaipur District, for integrated development by promoting education and health facilities, promoting environment conservation and working towards creating better livelihood opportunities among the deprived communities in this region.

Objectives

  • To effectively respond to the educational needs of the deprived tribal children.
  • To provide educational and health facilities in remote regions and strengthen the institutions of local self governance.
  • To liaise with government and non government agencies for development of the region and establishment of child rights in the region.
  • To mobilize the community against exploitative forces and address issues of gender and caste discrimination.
  • To promote local leadership to make the community gradually own the responsibility of the development process.

Review


Mahan Sansthan has over the years changed its strategy from service delivery to rights based interventions.

Mahan Seva Sansthan has been working for the past 17 years in Jhadol tehsil of Rajasthan and has been a CRY partner for the last 13 years. Significant achievements were attained in the area with regard to complete birth registration, immunization, enrolment of children etc.

The organization has started working on issues like displacement, building of community based organizations (CBO’s). Pertinent issues of gender inequality and patriarchy along with child participation have also been taken up. The organization has taken up some innovative activities this year - preparing curriculum for the multi-purpose centre and teaching the same to groups in the upper Primary and Middle schools. The rapport with the community, the good relationship with the Government, the linkage with other organizations at the district level and the strengthening of CBO’s are strengths of Mahan.

Highlights in the review period include:
  • 100% birth registration of all new born children.
  • All Children (235 children) and pregnant women (114 women) in 26 reference villages were provided heath care, immunization and supplementary nutrition support to check malnutrition and reduce maternal and infant mortality percentages.
  • Jagruk Manch [local community collectives] formed in all the villages which ensured appropriate implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee programs in terms of making of job cards for the jobless and issuing of jobs.
  • 4 government schools were activated.
  • In 26 villages, 100% out-of-school children (118 children) in the age of 6–14yrs. were mainstreamed.
  • 16 working children identified through survey and efforts were made to link them with education programs.
  • 2 new Bal Panchayats and 10 new children's groups were formed in the area.

Plans

The broad plans of the organization in its first year of partnership with CRY are:
  • To ensure 100% birth registration in 30 villages for new born children and 50% birth registration of children up to 3 years.
  • 30 villages to achieve 100% immunization of children.
  • ICDS centers to be strengthened through community pressure. New centres to be sought by the CBO’s.
  • Jagruk Manch and Children’s Panchayat through Panchayat resolution.
  • Block level Dai Network to be formed and mobilized to demand their rights.
  • Manav Vikas Manch [MVM] would be strengthened through induction of 100 new members and expansion over all Panchayats in the block.
  • 227 children in the 6-14 years age group and 449 children in 14-18 age group deprived of education will be mainstreamed.
  • 100% enrolment and retention (6-14 years) will be targeted in all the villages.
  • 4 activated schools will be retained and one more will be activated.
  • Panchayat Village Education Committee will be reactivated and trained on their responsibilities.
  • 46 community based organizations in 30 villages will be strengthened on the education issue.
  • Survey of working children will be carried out in one Panchayat.
  • 19 identified disabled children will be linked with disability certificate and the community will be sensitized on community based rehabilitation for these children.
  • Three Bal Panchayats will be sustained and the process of forming Bal Panchayats will be replicated in 3 more villages.

ANNUAL FINANCIAL SUMMARY

  • Right to Development
    $13,204
  • Right to Survival
    $10,648
  • Right to Protection
    $4,260
  • Right to Participation
    $4,259
  • Administration
    $10,222
  • Total Grant Approved
    $42,593