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Mahila Mandal Barmer Agor [MMBA] aims to uplift the status of marginalized dalits by ensuring their involvement in local development processes, with a focus on women & people with disabilities. Since its inception in 1991, MMBA has been instrumental in addressing issues related to women's empowerment for which they received the Women’s Commission Award in 1997. The Project Holder known to all as Adil Bhai holds 12 years of experience in the development sector in the western Rajasthan region of Barmer. The inspiration to work in the sector was derived from witnessing his mother Mrs. Mumtaz Ben, who is now the chairperson of the organization, in action as a social activist working among the disadvantaged community in the region. He has been an active member of the State Alliance Jan Morcha since the past eight years. He has served as the Regional Convener for three consecutive years from 2002 to 2005. Currently, interventions of MMBA are spread over 15 villages in 12 Panchayats of Jaisalmer District, Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer is the largest district of Rajasthan but has lagged behind in development processes. In the reference area, OBC’s and minorities are found to constitute nearly 60% of the population while ST’s and SC’s account for 23% and 14% of the total population. The general population comprising of Rajputs accounts for less than 5% of the population. Droughts are predominant and recurrent in the region adversely affecting the local livestock and prospects of farming. Water scarcity is rampant due to irregular rainfall and inadequate irrigation facilities. The recent spate of floods further crippled the local area economy with large scale devastation of life, material and crop loss. With poor yield from agriculture and non-availability of livelihood options, people are compelled to migrate in distress to neighbouring districts and states.
Availability of drinking water from the ground level resource is also limited due to high fluoride content in the water. Water is supplied every 10-15 days and stored in common usage tanks. Involvement of womenfolk and especially girl children in fetching water over long distances is a common phenomenon in the region. Child rights indicators are dismal for both awareness and achievement. Retention in schools beyond primary education is a major problem for both boys and girls. The scattered settlements and the distance from schools is a major hindrance to continuing education. Children drop out of school at an early age and get engaged in construction work, tourist services and in hotels. Gender discrimination is rampant as is evident by high incidence of female infanticide and confinement of girls in household activities. In this backdrop, Mahila Mandal Barmer Agor [MMBA] aims to uplift the status of marginalized dalits by ensuring their involvement in local development processes with a focus on women & people with disabilities.
- To improve the social, political, educational, health and financial conditions of the marginalized dalits, women and people with disabilities.
- To fight against the social discrimination.
- To generate awareness on the basic rights of the people.
- To work against exploitation of women, dalits and people with disabilities.
- To create awareness on water resource management.
- To strengthen the Panchayati Raj System for developmental activities.
Review and Impact
MMBA has had sustained field presence in the Barmer region for the past sixteen years. The rights based orientation of the organization has been evident in its intervention activities and response to local level development issues. The organization has also worked extensively in the field of advocacy on the issue of disability and direct intervention through livelihood generation.
Disability being one of the prime focus issues in Rajasthan, Mahila Mandal Barmer Agor has come up with an innovative model for working with differently abled children (DAC) and adults (DAA), through the rights based approach. MMBA’s proven expertise in intervening on the issue of disability increases its potential in the direction of identifying issues and lobbying for policy advocacy. The organization’s established rapport with the local administration furthers its cause and lends strength to its efforts for advocating for implementation of existing schemes and policies.
- 108 new borns out of 115 (45G+70B) and 50 old births were registered.
- 60% partial immunization was achieved with the support of and coordination with diverse stakeholders. 77 older children and 139/156 pregnant women were also immunized.
- 480 (251 boys +229 girls) children are registered with existing Anganwadis. Demand for 4 new Anganwadi centres was placed.
- 15 Children's Collectives were formed in the project area, with the students of local primary schools.
- Marvar Viklang Adhikar Manch [MVAM] was formed and its membership base was extended across four districts of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Jalore. Capacity building inputs were provided to the MVAM members on disability rights and government programs.
- Viklang Sammelan was conducted in each of the four districts Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore and Jodhpur on issues of Differently Abled Children [DAC] and Adults [DAA]. Community was mobilized to prepare and submit a 11-formula demand note to the District Collector to ensure adequate rehabilitation for the reference population.
- 2 Disability Resource Centre (DRC’s) were established in Barmer and Jaisalmer to support the DAC & DAA with information on government schemes and facilities. Through the review period, 166 individuals were aided in securing access to various facilities like bus pass/train pass/disability certificate etc.
- 220 children were mainstreamed.
- 15 working children [as tourist guides] were linked to schools through engagement of their families in regular dialogue.
- 15 Self Help Groups, with 122 women members, were formed. These SHG’s were federated into the Marwar Jagruk Mahila Manch (MJMM). 3 days leadership training was organized with 30 leaders of MJMM.
- Reduction in IMR and MMR.
- 90% old births and 100% new born children are to be registered .
- All children of 22 villages and all pregnant women to be provided immunization, health care and supplementary nutrition support.
- Efforts to be made for ensuring benefits of NREGA for the reference community – awareness building to be done among community and members of all 11 reference Panchayats, interface to be ensured with local government machinery and community to be mobilized for minimum wages.
- Strengthening women's collective action – formation of 10 new SHG’s by the second quarter and nurturing of 15 old groups. Women’s Self Help Group to mobilize the community to avail regular and qualitative services at the Panchayat level.
- Community mobilization by 15 Village Sakshis – the collectives to support in regular and effective functioning of Panchayat meetings and other efforts of the CBO’s, such as the Children's Group.
- Interface between the Panchayat Village Education Committee (VEC) and VDC will be established and the VEC’s will be made active.
- Training for MVAM members to be done for building perspective on rights based advocacy for ensuring disability rights. Annual sammelan on disability shall be held to create common forum for organizing the disabled and like minded groups on the issue of disability.
- Organize disability camp at Jalore to expedite the process of obtaining certificates, pensions, travel passes etc.
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