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MMuussaahhaaaarr IInniittiiaattiivvee iinn EEaasstteerrnn UUttttaarr PPrraaddeesshh

((AAnn AAccttiioonnAAiidd IInniittiiaattiivvee:: SSuuppppoorrtteedd ddyy PPAACCSS//DDFFIIDD))

Reefflleeccttiioonnss R

aanndd LLeeaarrnniinngg

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CCoonncceepptt && CCoommppiillaattiioonn::

AAsshhookk KKuummaarr SSiinnhhaa TTeeaamm LLeeaaddeerr,, MMVVPP,, AAccttiioonnAAiidd

Empowerment is a process of increasing the capacity of individual or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired action and outcomes MMuussaahhaaaarr IInniittiiaattiivvee iinn EEaasstteerrnn UUttttaarr PPrraaddeesshh -- AAnn AAccttiioonnAAiidd IInniittiiaattiivvee SSuuppppoorrtteedd bbyy PPAACCSS//DDFFIIDD AA WWoorrlldd ooff ddiiffffeerreennccee ffoorr MMuussaahhaaaarrss

Empowerment is a process of increasing the capacity of individual or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired action and outcomes

CCoonntteennttss

Foreword – Page 5 Working Area – Page - 7 Introduction – Page - 8 About the Community – Page 9 About Musahaar Initiative – Page 11 Conclusion – Page 41

Goal 1

Addressing Immediate Poverty Need

– Page 41 Goal 1 Addressing Immediate Poverty Need Page 17 Goal 3 Goal 2 Community

Page 17

Goal 3

Goal 2

Community Capacity Building

Need Page 17 Goal 3 Goal 2 Community Capacity Building Page 12 Community Capacity Building for

Page 12

Community Capacity Building for Political Participation

Goal 3 Goal 2 Community Capacity Building Page 12 Community Capacity Building for Political Participation Pag

Page 20

3

Goal 4

Goal 4 Page – 29 Goal 6 Page 36 Securing Government Entitlements Goal 5 Research and

Page – 29

Goal 6

Goal 4 Page – 29 Goal 6 Page 36 Securing Government Entitlements Goal 5 Research and

Page 36

Securing

Government

Entitlements

Goal 5

Research and Policy Analysis for bringing about Legal Reforms

Goal 7

Policy Analysis for bringing about Legal Reforms Goal 7 Page 23 Conscientisation of the village communities

Page 23

Conscientisation of the village communities

Reforms Goal 7 Page 23 Conscientisation of the village communities Page 33 Media Campaign, Advocacy and

Page 33

Media Campaign, Advocacy and Lobbying

4

FFoorreewwoorrdd

We are pleased to present the review and reflection of our work in the form of this Annual Progress

Report. Reflecting on our work critically has always been our way of holding ourselves accountable to

the people, partner communities, governments and donors we work with. This report presents a cross

section of the progress, we are making, the lessons we have learnt and the concerns and challenges we

still face and are committed to addressing in the coming months and the year ahead. We hope that this

report retains the characteristics of openness and honesty.

In 2003 – 2004 & 2005, with the help of partner community and our colleagues, we made great strides in our endevour of fighting against poverty and injustice through supporting and strengthening community’s actions and initiatives. Musahaars remained the first and foremost stakeholder in our endeavor. We invited them to be the part of our team in order to build their ownership of the initiative from the very outset. The external socio political milieu was equally testing in Maharajganj like everywhere. This is why that despite local non-Musahaars groups, panchayat members and functionaries, government officials, media and other civil society stakeholders do accept the extreme vulnerability and marginalisation of Musahaars but are yet to be as responsive and progressive towards them. But with utmost humility we would say that our intervention today has set out a course of mobilizing Musahaars towards self-analysis and collective action. In chores we have also strived to enthuse a sense of transparency and accountability at all levels through the process of social audit. It was indeed inspiring to see communities taking charge of their concerns and taking positive actions to hold governments accountable and claim their rights and entitlements.

Beyond these successes at the local community level, our partnership with networks, alliances with larger civil society organization brought a wide range of positive effects that affected poor and marginalized people (communities) in many ways. Musahaars unheard and unseen hitherto, acquired a place in public domain and stormed into public discourse and in many cases it helped to influence the way of government and non government organizations, public institutions think and act. We also saw our relationship with donors grow and strengthen both in terms of their contribution as funds and solidarity.

The founding of Musahaar Vikas Pahal Sammitti as a new platform with more equitable sharing by partner communities is, we see an event with far reaching consequences on the lives of Musahaars in near future. The board members including partner community will take the onus of shared decision- making and collective actions of our initiative in near future. With this development we see our accountability further strengthened to the people and communities we work with and it will make us more effective in fighting and eradicating poverty together. A board of members from partner communities and project team are constituted and decisions were taken to give separate identity to Musahar Manch (membership drive and community based organization) and establish their visibility in the region. Recent developments in our relations with district administration and government departments have given renewed impetus and further enhanced the credentials of this initiative. The release of department memos by the District Magistrate, Chief Development Officer and Sub Divisional Magistrate, Nichlaul underlining the marginalisation of Musahaar community and a commitment to work for their development, is an indication of the institutional linkage, that the project is gradually begun to make. The District Magistrate Maharajganj has nominated, the Nodal Officer for Musahaars on behalf of district administration. The Nodal Officer will work as interface closely with government functionaries and Musahaars initiative to implement the government scheme among Musahaars. “There is a gap in ongoing development and Musahaars lives, Musahaar initiative is bridging this gap”

Ian Curtis, Senior Advisor DFID

Finally we pay tribute to all our colleagues’ particular those who work on the front lines of our fight against poverty and injustice. The progress and achievements presented here are a result of their courage, conviction and committed action, in the face of increasing challenges and risks in supporting poor and marginalized people to claim and exercise their right.

Ashok Kumar Sinha Programme Officer

ActionAid International India

WWhheerree wwee wwoorrkk

Geographically Maharajganj is situated in the north - east corner of the Uttar Pradesh and is surrounded by Nepal in the North, Gorakhpur in South Kushinagar in East and Sidhartha Nagar and Basti districts in West. With international border along, the geographical location is proving to be very strategic. The district is comparatively new and was formed in 1989 only. Total geographical area of the district is 2948 square kilometer. The entire region, being a Tarai area of Himalayan range is full of rich and fertile soil. Maharajganj is an agriculture surplus district and is famous as Mini Punjab. Maximum and minimum temperatures of Maharajganj are 41 and 8 degree Celsius respectively and average rainfall is 1446 mm. Administratively there are four tehsil (revenue headquarters) in Maharajganj namely, Sadar, Nichlaul, Nautanwa and Pharenda, in which parts of Nichlaul, Pharenda and Nautanwa we touch. Likewise out of 12 blocks, we cover part of six blocks. Nichlaul is the tehsil and block where Musahaars concentration is densest as 16-gram sabha fall under Nichlaul tehsil.

7
7

IInnttrroodduuccttiioonn

Right Based Approach understands poverty as a denial of basic human rights. It draws together our work with the grass root and empowerment with action to address the causes of poverty and empowerment is a process o increasing the capacity of individual or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired action and outcomes Empowered people have freedom of choice and action. This in turn enables them to bette influence the course of their lives and the decisions that affects themEmpowerment of people means enabling them to do what they want to do and be what they want to be.

AAbboouutt tthhee CCoommmmuunniittyy

‘Mushahar’-the term on being translated in to English emits off a meaning that is synonymous to ‘Rat eaters’. But in reality, search for food compels them at times to follow field rodents and glean grains from their burrows. Chronic hunger is an overt display of multiple poverty syndromes that Musahar suffers from. Originally Musahars were forest dwellers and used to depend upon forest produce and agriculture. But eventually they have become landless agricultural labourers. Socially they are considered as lowest among the Dalits. Musahar lives on double jeopardy of fear and deprivation. Listed under Schedule Caste category in Uttar Pradesh, Musahaar live at the margin of society. Many are indebted with dismal

conditions of health and education. They are also marginalised in terms of justice and rights – disenfranchised in terms of land and common property resources. Hunger creeps in to their lives especially in the distress months. Limited coverage, inapt and inadequate distribution of Antyodaya, Annapurna, National Old age Pension Schemes, Widow Pension Scheme, Maternity and Family benefit schemes and such other social security schemes are only deepening the hunger crises in Musahaars.

Musahaar Vulnerability - source: baseline 60 50 40 30 20 33 37 45 51 39
Musahaar Vulnerability - source: baseline
60
50
40
30
20
33
37
45
51
39
10
0
Landlessness
Homestead land
No ration card
indebtedness
Land mortgaged

Politically voiceless their representation in local panchayats as well as in the Dalit movement is nearly absent. Although services have been provided in many Musahaar villages but the Musahaar hardly access these. Even local non- Musahaars groups, panchayat members and functionaries, government officials, media and other civil society stakeholders do accept the extreme vulnerability and marginalisation of Musahaars but are not as responsive and progressive towards them.

MMuussaahhaaaarr IInniittiiaattiivvee

Working with marginalised groups is one of the basic principles of ActionAid India. Accordingly Musahaars Empowerment Project in Maharajganj district by ActionAid India is a part of its larger initiative with Musahaar Community in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Vision

The vision of this initiative is to demonstrate sustainable and replicable model interventions for empowerment of vulnerable community like Musahaars by means of collective action, supported by grass root measures for food and livelihood security, political participation, peoples plan and research and advocacy at micro and macro level.

Objectives:

Enabling environment for Musahars to raise their voice and concern at various forum Improved access to government programs, services (like education and health) and schemes Ensure household food security and comprehensive livelihood options for Musahars Build a sensitized and empathetic civil society and Panchayati Raj Institutions towards issues and concerns of Musahars

With these objectives, project has facilitated the partner community for their self-analysis. This self-analysis helped in identifying development issues, which are

Issues Prevalent in the area (a macro view):

Together with the community and with the process of self-analysis and awareness, we have identify following issues

Chronic Hunger and to a large extent Food insecurity (Intra and Inter household) Indebtedness (due to a large access and control over the informal credit system in the area) Lack of access and control over the agriculture, homestead land and other common property resources by the Musahars Lack of access to functional education/health system by Musahar people Absence of political representation of the community in the Panchayati Raj Institutions and no participation of the Musahar in the Panchayati Raj Institutions Inadequate livelihood opportunity for Musahaar

Goal 1

Addressing Immediate Poverty Needs

Goal 1 Addressing Immediate Poverty Needs 12
Goal 1 Addressing Immediate Poverty Needs 12
Goal 1 Addressing Immediate Poverty Needs 12

12

Empowerment with grass root action and provision of services

With our baseline we have data and

information outlining the extreme

vulnerability and marginalisation of

this community. Almost all the families

are food insecure and face hunger in

distressed months of July –September

and December- January. Health is one

reason Musahaars get trapped in the

webs of indebtedness and mortgaging.

Having analyzed it addressing

immediate poverty needs becomes our

approach. Initiative for Grain Bank,

Health Revolving Fund, formation of

Self Help Groups, initiative for

livelihood support and freeing up the

mortgaged land are to name a few.

Using tools like Participatory Poverty

analysis (PPA), wealth ranking and

Vulnerability analysis, we reached out

to the most marginalised individuals/

families among Musahaars.

While at one hand we have delivered

services to meet their immediate

poverty needs, on the other hand we

have empowered and educated them to

demand their rights and entitlements 1

1 State has the provision eight social and food security schemes for the poor peoples living Below Poverty Lines.

Accomplishment 49-grain bank to reduce the hunger gap amongst the Musahaar community

Formed 74 SHGs ( Female 64 and male 3 ), Rs 104728(Female saving 91583; male savings Rs.13135) to (Female 64 and male 3), Rs 104728(Female saving 91583; male savings Rs.13135) to

meet their immediate credit needs for their survival and other consumption needs. 1 Self Help Group has got accreditation of Cash Credit Limit and 4 SHGs have been graded to be included for Cash Credit Limit.

have been g raded to be included for Cash Credit Limit. 47-health check up and awareness
have been g raded to be included for Cash Credit Limit. 47-health check up and awareness

47-health check up and awareness camps with help from PHC, 4077 Musahaars and 660 non-Musahaars benefited 118 Musahaars (96 females and 22 males) beneficiaries from 35(31 female and 4 male) SHGs have started income generating activities. In Kalnahi musahaar tola, fisheries as collective income Generating Programmehave also been started The revolving fund for Income Generating Programme is Rs. 1,87700 (Female Rs. 1,67,700, male Rs.20, 000). Rs 482200 as support to free the Rehan (mortgage land) of 142 Musahaars 77 Musahaars 29 females and 48 males benefited from a total of Rupees 90000 as health revolving fund. Rest of the amount is their with the tola to be used later on.

from a total of Rupees 90000 as health revolvin g fund. Rest of the amount is
from a total of Rupees 90000 as health revolvin g fund. Rest of the amount is
from a total of Rupees 90000 as health revolvin g fund. Rest of the amount is

Simultaneously we worked to inform and educate the community about the basic services 2 provided by the government.

Initiative

for

Providing

Food

Security

Grain bank

Grain banks functions as a community owned and self-managed mechanism 3 to reduce the hunger gap among Musahaars. The contribution from the community is considered as, an indicative to their participation. However those who 4 were not in a position to give their contribution also received the benefits from the grain bank. Thus the project successfully advanced

the concept of reaching to the last

Grain Bank providing Food Security during Distress Months

Grain Bank providing Food Security during Distress Months

2 Primary Health Care and education

3 Every grain bank in the village has a grain bank management committee comprising of three women and two men

4 Persons With disability, elderly persons and orphan children, destitute and deserted women

TARA The case study shows that one of the most vulnerable Tara, who runs marathon to meet the two ends, didn't feel the curse of rainy season- the distressed months this year, because there was grain bank and Self Help Group in her hamlet.

At 30, Tara lives in Buchiya tola of Sabya gram sabha. She is a widow and has no children. This year on 3 rd March 2003 her husband, Brijlal met with a train accident while crossing the railway line at Gurli and died on the spot. Now she lives alone in her hut. There is a meagre piece of land in Brijlal's name, which remains submerged for most of the time in the year. Though, they used to sow paddy every year hoping against hope that this year it might not get ruined. She had no means of survival left, as her maternal family in Kalnahi too was not in a position to help her in any way. In this crisis period she got help from the anaaj kosh. She has a buffalo now that has given birth to a calf (baby buffalo called 'Padi') and is milking now. Four years back Brijlal had taken this buffalo on 'Bataee' from some Kushwaha of Ahirauli. It means that whatever milk the buffalo gives will be distributed equally between the actual owner and the raiser. The buffalo gives 2 liters of milk daily and Kushwaha takes half of it. Thus Tara sells rest one-liter milk to the local milkman in the village at the rate of Rs 8 a liter. This is what her earning is. But for that too, she toils for 6-8 hours in collecting the fodder preparing it for the buffalo. But before all this when she found nothing to do during ' bhado' (rainy season) she got 10 kg of free wheat from the grain bank and another 15 kg that she'll return to the anaaj kosh. Not only that Tara is also a member of the Self- Help Group and saves Rs 20/= every month. She says with a smile on her face "e baar bhado bujhaaeel na" (This time I didn't feel the hardships of rainy season)

Initiative

towards

Providing

Health Security

Health Revolving Fund

We introduce the concept of revolving fund to meet the immediate health needs of the community. The basic purpose was to disengage Musahaars with irony of chronic indebtedness and help them improve their condition. The fund was rooted through Musahaars Manch 5 bank account at village and district level. While some amount for emergency was always available with the community. The high point of this initiative was that it was fully in the hands of the community to take decisions and manage it. However our learning says that the concept of revolving fund needs to be melting more intensely in order to sustain it. Also there is a need to in place a

community based monitoring mechanism to ensure the utilization of funds for health purposes only. By sensitizing the local health set up and educating community on preventive and curative measure, we worked for the promotion of health rights of Musahaars. Whether it was regularizing the visit of ANM or informing PHC about the deteriorating public health and sanitation situation in the villages or chipping in the routine immunization and pulse polio immunization drive, we made concentrated efforts to address their health issues of Musahaar (focus children & women). Though our focus was with Musahaar community, but Non-Musahaar community also benefited from this health drive and this finally helped in bridging the gap between Musahaar and other community of the area.

Beneficiary of the Health Camp
Beneficiary of the Health Camp

5 A membership based two tiers Community Organization that has separate bank account and villagers are the signatories.

Panmati at her sho p

Panmati at her shop

Self Help Groups and promotion of alternative livelihood

Formation of Self-Help Groups was done to meet their day-to-day consumption needs and promote the habit of thrift and saving. The facilitation of SHGs was done with a community centric approach in line with basic self-help approach. Form the outset we made effort to link up with government supported Sampurna Gramin Swarojgar Yojna (SGSY). We funded SHGs to support individuals/collectives to start income generating activities. Every such initiative preceded a detailed and thorough Feasibility Analysis Study. Our focus was mainly on meeting local needs.

Rehan Churaao Abhiyan

We aim to open sustainable livelihood

for Musahaars. Accordingly we

financed the money for freeing their

mortgaged land. The amount was

channelising through Self-help

Groups/ Musahaars Manch. The nature

of this support will be remaining

revolving in future. It accelerated the

access of Musahaars on the fertile land

resources of the region and also was

instrumental in sensitizing non-

Musahaars, government and panchayat

functionaries and political class. Still

the challenge remains if the Musahaars

are able to do utilize the land for

farming. Thus the project successfully

advanced the concept of reaching to the

last with various interventions to

address the immediate needs of poor

people.

Rajwatia w/o Tilakdhari receiving her mortgaged land Acquisition papers

Rajwatia w/o Tilakdhari receiving her mortgaged land Acquisition papers

Goal 2

Community Capacity building for political Participation

Musahaars are politically voiceless. Their representation and say in the Local Self Governance is almost negligible. Even those who are members of the panchayat are titular only. The Capacity building of the community is being done to enhance their level of participation in the political mainstream and local self-governance process. We undertook major initiatives for information dissemination and education on basic provision of Panchayati Raj Institutions. They were made aware of their rights as voters, encouraged to participate in the gram sabha meetings. The process is on to encourage Musahaars to stand for forthcoming panchayat elections 2005. Their capacities are also being built up around issues relating to negotiation for their rights and benefits when village level schemes are designed. The cadres have been trained and prepared peoples' plans - Lok Adhikar Yojana.

and prepared peoples' plans - Lok Adhikar Yojana. C C a a d d r r

CCaaddrree BBuuiillddiinngg ffoorr ppllaannnniinngg ooff LLookk AAddhhiikkaarr AAbbhhiiyyaann

17

Initiatives

towards

Political

Participation of the Musahaars dialoguing with Lok Sabha candidates

On 5 th April 2004 Musahaar Manch organized a large public meeting in block campus of Nichlaul tehsil in Maharajganj district. The main purpose of this meeting was to hold a dialogue with Lok Sabha candidates from different political parties in an effort to bring Musahaars issue in the political agenda of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Musahaars gathered under the banner of Musahaar Manch and were quick to use this opportunity to give an expression to the crisis faced by the community in the region. Nearly a thousand Musahaars gathered from across the entire area in Nichlaul to participate in the dialogue

Udassi strongly articulated following demands of Musahaars Manch and sought solidarity from different political parties and civil society groups.

Scheduled tribe status for Musahaars whose life styles are similar to that of tribes Special components for Musahaars in district plan and Purvanchal Vikas Nidhi Special package for flood hit Musahaars and non Musahaars families in the area To ensure 100 days of minimum employment guarantee in a year for

with Lok sabha candidates in fray from different political parties in forthcoming Lok sabha election. The event

Accomplishment

Training and capacity building of cadres on participatory planning 24 Micro plans prepared and presented in respective gram sabha meeting Increased participation of musahaar in the gram sabha meeting – Musahaars names are proposed in resolution for benefits. Dialogue with Lok sabha candidates and their representatives from different political parties on safeguarding their interests

ue with Lok sabha candidates and their representatives from different political parties on safeguarding their interests
ue with Lok sabha candidates and their representatives from different political parties on safeguarding their interests
ue with Lok sabha candidates and their representatives from different political parties on safeguarding their interests
ue with Lok sabha candidates and their representatives from different political parties on safeguarding their interests

highlighted the crisis faced by the community and accordingly put forth the demands before the prospective Member of Parliament. For Musahaars, for larger civil society groups and for Different political parties too it was an unusual event. For the first time in the history of Maharajganj that Musahaars gathered together to hold dialogue with candidates of loksabha election. The candidates and their representatives reflected it again and again in their speeches. But for Udassi who till recently was confined to the boundaries of her hamlet working day and night to help her family it was a real big occasion perhaps a lifetime chance. Perhaps, a lifetime chance. Who is now nominated as the vice president of Musahaars Manch? She took everyone by surprise, said emphatically “je baghe se bachave ke khatir hamke kora mein lukwaee unke hamni ke kapare par baithawal jayee” that this time Musahaars are not going to waste away their votes, instead they're going to vote

only to those who will provide them security and tact them from the dangers of hunger, disease, indebtedness, illiteracy and feudal mind set She also strongly articulated following demands of Musahaars Manch and sought solidarity from different political parties and civil society groups. Speaking on the occasion Congress candidate appreciated Musahaars Vikas Pahal for its endevour to promote self- advocacy in Musahaars. He said, he does Not want to use this platform to gain political mileage but want to assure that since now he is aware of their problems he will continue to work for Musahaars issue. He wins the election or otherwise will not affect his position. Like wise the representatives of the SP, BSP and BJP also supported Musahaars demands. They said that they with the help from grass root cadre take up Musahaars issue in village panchayat. Media, non- Musahaars groups, panchayat functionaries and civil society groups

who were present in the meeting in the large number, termed the event as “path breaking” as for the first time poor people successfully articulated their issues and involved political candidates in the process. Now sine election is over in region and result is awaited, Musahaar hope that winning candidate will consider their issues in the coming days. The process is on to encourage Musahaars to stand for forthcoming panchayat elections 2005. Their capacities are also being built up around issues relating to negotiation for their rights and benefits when village level schemes are designed.

”We are not going to waste away our vote this time.We will vote only to
”We are not going to waste away our vote this time.We will vote only to
”We are not going to waste
away our vote this time.We
will vote only to those who
are going to protect us from
hunger, illeteracy and
diseaese and feudalism”

Musahaars Manch Vice President Udassi in the Jansabha

GGooaall 33

CCoommmmuunniittyy

IInnssttiittuuttiioonn

BBuuiillddiinngg

Initiatives towards Formation of Community Based Organization

Musahaar Manch

a Community Based

Organization 6 of Musahaars is first step

towards realization of rights and empowerment of the community. We focus on to build an advocacy body of

Formation

of

Musahaar Manch Taking out a rally for Food for Work Pro gramme

Musahaar Manch Taking out a rally for Food for Work Programme

Musahaars, which in turn will make the government accountable and responsive to the socio economic deprivation of Musahaars. Our implementation has set out a course of mobilizing Musahaars in 73 Musahaar hamlets towards formation of a community Based Organization as a platform for self - analysis and self – advocacy Musahaar Manch has gained visibility among different stakeholders in the

6 A Community Based Organization is a platform of like-minded people of a particular community working towards a common goal for uplifting their own situation and position. It involves a process of analysis, awareness and advocacy by identifying local emerging issues and acting together on it.

KKeeyy AAccccoommpplliisshhmmeenntt Formed Musahaar Manch as people’s organization, 900 Musahaars aguwas working under its banner

Musahaars using more public space have or g anized 11 rallies to demand their g more public space have organized 11 rallies to demand their

public space have or g anized 11 rallies to demand their entitlement / rights. 24 Tola

entitlement / rights.

24 Tola Suchna Kendra

24

Tola

Suchna

Kendra

become

functional

as

information

hub

at

village

level.

 
information hub at villa ge level.   Established Musahaars Vikas Pahal Samiti le g all y

Established

Musahaars

Vikas

Pahal

Samiti

legally

entitled

to

work

with

Musahaar.

 

region. At present Musahaar Manch is willing to take charge of the grass root action and empowerment. In future Musahaars Manch envisages its role of facilitating equal participation of Musahaar in decision making process and thus ensuring their rights and entitlements for an improved socio- economic-political condition. It has proved to be a successful mechanism to give voice and opportunity to the marginalised Musahaars. With this process a sense of unanimity and collectivism got strengthened. Musahaars are now a step forward towards improved socio economic condition.

What is Musahaars Manch district level including 6 office bearers

Not registeredMusahaars Manch district level including 6 office bearers Tenure of the committee is of one Representing

Tenure of the committee is of onedistrict level including 6 office bearers Not registered Representing nearly 10000 A membership based organization

Representing nearly 10000bearers Not registered Tenure of the committee is of one A membership based organization year Re-election

Tenure of the committee is of one Representing nearly 10000 A membership based organization year Re-election
Tenure of the committee is of one Representing nearly 10000 A membership based organization year Re-election

A

membership based organization

year

nearly 10000 A membership based organization year Re-election after one year populations Having a two tier

Re-election after one year

populations

Having a two tier structureorganization year Re-election after one year populations Working for the assertion of their Key Functions rights

Working for the assertion of theirafter one year populations Having a two tier structure Key Functions rights Ensuring regular inter and

Key Functions

rights

Ensuring regular inter and intra community interaction

Identifying local issues and highlighting them. Interface between government and the community

them. Interface between government and the community Self-advocacy body of Musahaars Community Aguwas are in
them. Interface between government and the community Self-advocacy body of Musahaars Community Aguwas are in
them. Interface between government and the community Self-advocacy body of Musahaars Community Aguwas are in
them. Interface between government and the community Self-advocacy body of Musahaars Community Aguwas are in

Self-advocacy body of Musahaarsthem. Interface between government and the community Community Aguwas are in action The processes and steps

Community Aguwas are in actionand the community Self-advocacy body of Musahaars The processes and steps involved Rapport building Addressing

The processes and steps involved

Rapport buildingAguwas are in action The processes and steps involved Addressing immediate needs Knowledge building and sharing

Addressing immediate needs Knowledge building and sharing Knowledge building and sharing

Educating about the concept ofAddressing immediate needs Knowledge building and sharing CBOs Aguwas identification Training and continued

CBOs

Aguwas identificationbuilding and sharing Educating about the concept of CBOs Training and continued facilitation Formation of tola

Training and continued facilitation facilitation

Formation of tola level andAguwas identification Training and continued facilitation district level Musahaars Manch Structure A two tier

district level Musahaars Manch Structure

A two tier structure- District and

Gram sabha (tola) level

25 member executive body atA two tier structure- District and Gram sabha (tola) level The founding of Musahaar Vikas Pahal

The founding of Musahaar Vikas Pahal Sammitti as a new platform with more equitable sharing by partner communities is, we see an event with far reaching consequences on the lives of Musahaars in near future. The new board member that includes community members will take the onus of shared decision- making and collective actions of our initiative in near future.

members will take the onus of shared decision- making and collective actions of our initiative in
members will take the onus of shared decision- making and collective actions of our initiative in

GGooaall 44

SSeeccuurriinngg

GGoovveerrnnmmeenntt

EEnnttiittlleemmeennttss

23
23

Initiatives For Linking And Liasioning with Government Structures Interface Camp: A Step Towards Direct Interaction

One of the guiding principles of ActionAid is that state

has the primary responsibility for ensuring equity and

justice for the poor and marginalised. Accordingly

linking and Liasonning with government becomes our

Key accomplishment

3 bridge course school

established. 700 children enrolled

in primary school.

23 interface camps betweenschool established. 700 children enrolled in primary school. Musahaars and g overnment helped 198 Musahaars household

Musahaars and government

helped 198 Musahaars household

benefiting through food security

and welfare schemes.

Nodal

Officer for

the

District Magistrate at district level

a

coordination committee at tehsil

level to monitor the development

work with Musahaars

23 long pending land

distortion cases have been

resolved with the help from

Tehsil administration

23 Musahaars received

homestead land entitlement.

from Tehsil administration 23 Musahaars received homestead land entitlement. Appointment Appointment of a Musahaar of b
from Tehsil administration 23 Musahaars received homestead land entitlement. Appointment Appointment of a Musahaar of b
from Tehsil administration 23 Musahaars received homestead land entitlement. Appointment Appointment of a Musahaar of b

Appointment

Appointment

of

a

Musahaar

of

by

from Tehsil administration 23 Musahaars received homestead land entitlement. Appointment Appointment of a Musahaar of b
from Tehsil administration 23 Musahaars received homestead land entitlement. Appointment Appointment of a Musahaar of b

development approach for Musahaars empowerment.

We expect the state to be the arbitrator in favour of

Musahaars while at the same time enabling Musahaar’s

action.

Bhikhari .a musahaar aguwa makes a point before Pradhen,Panchayat Members and Block Devlopment Officer

Bhikhari .a musahaar aguwa makes a point before Pradhen,Panchayat Members and Block Devlopment Officer

Our Understanding and analysis suggested that

Musahaar are marginalised in terms of justice and rights

– disenfranchised in terms of land and common property resources. Limited coverage,

inapt and inadequate sharing of government food and social security schemes 7 has

further widened the scope of marginalisation among Musahars. Although services have

been provided in many Musahaar villages but the Musahaar hardly access these.

7 Targeted Public Distribution System, Antodya Anna Yojna, Annapurna Scheme, Mid Day Meals scheme, National Old age Pension Scheme, Widow Pension Scheme, Integrated Child Development Scheme National Maternity Benefit Scheme and National Family Benefit Scheme and other social security schemes

24

With this context we began to invite block, tehsil and district level government functionaries at the doorsteps of Musahaars hamlets. This clearly empowered Musahaars while for government functionaries it was a new realization to various dimensions of poverty, hitherto unseen and unheard. This interface between government and Musahaars clearly accelerated the pace of realization of rights and entitlements among Musahaars.

Our commitment to transparency and accountability towards multiple stakeholders including partner community proved significantly important in establishing Musahaars image at district level 8 The efforts to engage with government received major impetus when district administration recognized Musahaars as one of the most marginalised community in the region. Consequently a Nodal Officer was appointed exclusively for Musahaars and a coordination

committee was set up at tehsil level to oversee and monitor the development work with Musahaars. Besides, district administration 9 issued department orders to include Musahaar in government program, schemes and services. These include, measure to give Below Poverty Line ration card Antodya card to Musahaars, Set up Ashram Type Schools in Musahaars dominated block, include Musahaars families in social security schemes and Indira Awas Yojna, launch of special immunization drive for pregnant woman and children from Musahaars community and orders to allot entitlement for agriculture and homestead land security.

Strategies that helpedStrong articulation and demand generation by the community

Based on those demandsg articulation and demand g eneration b y the community and needs, interface and regular follow

and needs, interface and regular follow up action

and

Transparency accountability aspects

Based on those demands and needs, interface and regular follow up action and Transparenc y accountability
Based on those demands and needs, interface and regular follow up action and Transparenc y accountability

8 We presented our development approach, strategies, programmatic details and income expenditure statement before district administration in social audit programme

9 Department orders by District Magistrate, Chief Development Officer, District Development Officers and Sub Divisional Magistrate

District level social Audit - 25 th September 2004

Recently, we have completed the pilot phase of Musahaar Empowerment project in the

district of Maharajganj of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. During our course of intervention we

organized many social audit programmes at community level, which helped us in

promoting the concepts of transparency and accountability towards our partner

community. This also helped the team to spend more time for reflecting, learning and

improving the quality of our work with our primary stakeholders. All together we

conducted 11 social audits in Musahar hamlets itself in the presence of partner

communities, non-Musahaar communities, schoolteachers, media personnel, panchayat

members, representatives of political parties, government functionaries and the project

team. In front of theses gatherings we presented the project budget and income

expenditure statement. Though initially it looked as a one-way process but it helped in

increasing solidarity with different stakeholders towards Musahaar communities and

reassured our commitments for the values of transparency and accountability at levels.

With this backdrop we organized a district level social audit programme at the office of the District Magistrate of Maharajganj district on 25 September 2004. Entire District Administration (revenue, agriculture, forest, industries, education health and development departments) Panchayati Raj Institutions functionaries, representatives of Non government

Organizations, media personals, representatives of political parties, project team and partner communities were

present. The social audit programme is our way of holding ourselves accountable to the people, communities, supporters, governments and donors we work with.

Distrcit Magistrate Mahraganj and others of give a patient hearing to the p resentataion of

Distrcit Magistrate Mahraganj and others of give a patient hearing to the presentataion of social audit at district headquarter in Maharjganj

“Musahaars are coming out of villages and jungles and speaking in front of all of us with confidence to realize their rights / entitlement. It is a positive sign for ensuring accountability of duty bearers" said Mr. Ram Kumar, District Magistrate of Maharajganj district during his address in social audit meet. On 25th August 2004, Musahaars empowerment project supported by PACS/DFID organized a social audit meet in District Sabhagar10 of Maharajganj district. The purpose was to bring together communities, partners, project staffs, government functionaries and other key players to reflect together on success and problems related to our work. The meeting started with presentation of project’s objective, approach, strategy, programmatic details and accomplishment and challenges were made before the larger audience. The key accomplishment of the project was presented. Further the project staff has presented the budget realisation of the project in details. Of a total budget of Rs 4695930 for 18 months PACS supported programme our realization has been 85.62%. 87.73 % in overheads, 83.69 % in programme and 90.67% in salary is finally reported. Project has spend Rs 25, 69,565 in total programme which includes Rs 10, 59,285 in addressing poverty needs, Rs 2,36,430 in Awareness Building, Rs 4,97,531 in Cadre building, Rs 98,792 in development communication, Rs 268196 in Institution building, Rs 97,440 in Networking and federating the people's organisation and Rs 3,11,891 in Research and Advocacy. First time in the region Non Government organization has presented its budget in the presence of various officials of district administration, aguwas from Musahaars community, voluntary organization members of district panchayat and media. This is step towards promoting public action and making state accountable towards poor. As an agency we are accountable towards the community, government and civil society agencies, so we made our budget public.

Udassi from Gedahadua and Srikant from Charbharia spoke at length about the lives of Musahaars and the crisis they face. Srikant put for the demand on behalf of Musahaars Manch.

10 Meeting hall of district administration

Speaking as the Chairperson the DM said that government has its own limitation in its system. This widens the gap in people aspirations and government work. We all have to work to reduce this gap. He further requested that all development departments should include Musahaars in their programme since they are one f the most marginalized community. He appreciated the work done by the project and said he will initiate actions from his side to fulfill the demands of Musahaars Manch. He also said that the responsibility of follow up rests with the project team. The Chief Development Officer said that he knows Musahaars through the Initiative work and homestead insecurity is one of the major problems of this community. He assured that among four Musahaars dominated villages he will allot 100 houses for Musahaars community.

Principal Secreartar y , Rural Development, GOUP and ADDO Social Welfare

Principal Secreartary, Rural Development, GOUP and ADDO Social Welfare

GGooaall 55

CCoonnsscciieennttiissaattiioonn OOff ootthheerr vviillllaaggee CCoommmmuunniittiieess

Initiatives for Conscientisation of other communities

Musahaars are socially ostracized; they face

discrimination even at the hands of Dalit. This

neglect and exclusion is equally visible in

villages and local panchayat. Hence we

intervene on the social environment of

Musahaars in order to create space for social

mainstreaming of Musahaars.

15th August 2003

Ledi, Karwatahi and Charbharia

Primary School

Many Musahars women took part in

the flag hoisting ceremony at primary

school this year. Champa of the same

tola hoisted the tricolor and took a

pledge along with other Musahaars

and non-Musahaars population to send

their children to school. The children

ate sweets. Same happened at the

Kalnahi primary school. While at

Charbharia the headmaster invited

Smt. Lachiya Devi, 40 years to hoist the

flag on his behalf on the Independence

Day ceremony organised by the

primary school. Lachiya Devi,

unfurled the Indian tricolor in the

presence of panchayat members, non

Musahaars population and enthusiastic

children. While addressing the

gathering, she said that real

independence would come only when

children, women and men are literate

and educated in the villages. Visibly

exited children shouted slogans ßgeus

euds Bkuk gS] Ldwy jkst tkuk gSÞ

Tractor Yatra For conscientisation of Non Musahaar Community

Tractor Yatra For conscientisation of Non Musahaar Community

Conscientisation of non Musahaars

communities especially those responsible for

the denial of their rights is attempted to

sensitize them to the human rights of

Musahaars and cease further exploitation.

The project facilities like health camps

remained opened for non-Musahaars groups

and it helped in increasing interaction between Musahaars and non-Musahars.

Taking up issue of good governance such as activation of Public distribution system, Integrated Child Development Services and Primary Health Centers could be done only after eliciting active support from other villagers. We introduced a concept Of “Musahaars Mitra” (Friends of Musahaars) to respect the solidarity from civil society groups. In times of crisis these groups supported our initiative with cash and kind.

Block Development Officer,Nichlaul inaugurates Tola Suchna Kendra

Block Development Officer,Nichlaul inaugurates Tola Suchna Kendra

Tractor yatra, Flag hoisting ceremony in primary schools, winter campaign in cities, Social audit programmes in villages, different demonstration and rallies provided grounds for Musahaars for redefining their relationship vis-a Vis Other communities. Musahars have set up Tola Suchna Kendra (Village Information Centre) in some villages that also act as meeting points for Musahaars and non-Musahaars. Despite these efforts we could not gain the confidence of other village communities towards our initiative and which became evident when the process of Lok Adhikar Yojna did not secure their participation. Musahaars will share the benefit of the village plan was cited to be the main apprehension behind it.

Empowerment is a process of increasing the capacity of individual or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired action and outcomes

Empowerment of people means enabling them to do what they want to do and be what they want to be.

Empowered people have freedom of choice and action. This in turn enables them to better influence the course of their lives and the decisions that affects them

Right Based Approach understands poverty as a denial of basic human rights. It draws together our work with the grass root and empowerment with action to address the causes of poverty.

GGooaall 66

RReesseeaarrcchh aanndd PPoolliiccyy AAnnaallyyssiiss ffoorr BBrriinnggiinngg aabboouutt

33
33

Major Policy Advocacy Issues…. Scheduled tribe status for Musahaars community 100 days minimum employment guarantee to all Musahaars families Fair and minimum wages for unorganized sector All eligible Musahaars be covered under Antyodaya anna Yojna Special relief package for flood hit Musahaars area Setting up of residential schools at district level with reservation for marginalised community like Musahaars Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressing Musahaar’s land rights issues with high priority

Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
Special component for Musahaars in the District plan Addressin g Musahaar’s land rights issues with high
 

Key Accomplishment We have covered following issues under research work Status of Public Distribution System and Integrated child Development Services

following issues under research work Status of Public Distribution System and Inte g rated child Development
following issues under research work Status of Public Distribution System and Inte g rated child Development
 
Food security, Status of Health & Education, Indebtedness Community Based Organization Child Labour and its

Food security, Status of Health & Education, Indebtedness Community Based Organization Child Labour and its impact on education of children of Musahaars

Labour and its impact on education of children of Musahaars issue based research and studies. The
Labour and its impact on education of children of Musahaars issue based research and studies. The
Labour and its impact on education of children of Musahaars issue based research and studies. The

issue based research and studies. The studies have helped in formulating our policy advocacy plans. The leaflet posters and pamphlets developed by it is used for educating the community, Leaflet on ICDS, PDS primary education, and Anaaj kosh

During our course of intervention we identified a range of policy advocacy issues for Musahaars in the region. We have highlighted and put forth policy advocacy in front of district and state government functionaries under the banner of Musahaar Manch. A functional Resource Centre for Musahaars has undertaken various

functionaries under the banner of Musahaar Manch. A functional Resource Centre for Musahaars has undertaken various

Community People of Charbharia getting the benefit of Food for Work

35

Goal 7

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LLoobbbbyyiinngg

36

Initiatives to create voice and visibility

From the outset a media campaign is launched to bring to public view, the lives and challenges faced by this community. At local level advocacy will be carried out with other NGOs, at state level with academic bodies and the administration to ensure social justice for them. Information Education Communication material such as posters and pamphlets will be printed on issues of Musahaars. Links will be established with other advocacy efforts and campaigns such as Right to Food Campaign, Education Campaign, Right to information and land rights campaign across the country. We not only facilitated the coverage of Musahaars issue and project event, but also systematically invited credible media and communication experts to capture and circulate the lives of Musahaars for to gain solidarity from wider public. Issue based write-ups also helped in advancing our approach and policy advocacy stand for musahaar community We published posters, leaflets and pamphlets keeping in view the consumption needs of community, government and larger civil society. Regional electronic media covered our certain press briefings as well. As part of our ongoing communication strategy for cause promotion we developed three documentary films on Musahaars “Karm Mitra" - a documentary made by the on Musahaar community has received Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award for best documentary. Similarly PACS project has captured Musahaar issues in New Horizons 11 . Another film “Pahchan Ka Sangharash” depicts real lives of Musahaars While engaging with media we paid special attention to the strategic objectives set out for the Musahaars empowerment project supported by PACS/DFID. Undoubtedly the timely coverage of project's programs and activities in print media has helped in creating the "voice and visibility" of Musahaar community locally and regionally. It has also been instrumental in breaking the culture of silence among Musahaars, thus stimulating a process of their awareness and assertion.

11 a film on the poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme produced by LEAPFROG, New Delhi.

Initiatives for Building Alliances

Musahaars at World Social Forum, Mumbai (14 –20 January 2004)

'If the poor across the world are one, another world, a

better world is possible' so opines Meethaee Lal who

was a part of the 13 member Musahaar team that

participated in the World Social Forum on 14-20 January

2004 in Mumbai. For many, 4th World Social Forum was

special in many ways. That for the first time,

Three points helped us in our

effort of media advocacy

Close proximity with the

community.

Timely sharing of critical andof media advocacy Close proximit y with the community. reliable information Transparent approach in programme

reliable information

Transparent approach in

programme implementation

with the community. Timely sharing of critical and reliable information Transparent approach in programme implementation
with the community. Timely sharing of critical and reliable information Transparent approach in programme implementation

WSF .

It was organized outside

Largest ever number of organizations and

individuals participated in

A parallel event Mumbai

A sad development, South

Latin America (Brazil).

the event.

Resistance opposed even

African women was raped by her compatriot which went on to

bring a bad name to the WSF. But for us at Musahaars Initiative in Maharajganj it was

special for only one reason- that 13 people from Musahaars

community attended it and even got the opportunities to

raise their own issues and concerns. 8 Musahaars women

and 5 men joined hands and added voice with the rest of

the world in echoing another world is possible. Musahaars

who participated in WSF, from the far-flung areas of

Maharajganj are Udassi, Tetri, Kaushilya, Lachi devi,

Srimati, Binda, Anita, Hari, Methaeelal, Shambhu, Jawahar

and Prabhu. From across the world more than 10 million

people from nearly 2660 organization from 132 countries

took part in one of the biggest event of its kind. Social movements, Non Governmental Organizations,

community based organizations, peoples organizations, trade unions, socialists workers, social activists,

environmentalists, gay and lesbian rights workers, academicians, thinkers, intellectuals, artists,

journalists, writers, critics, film makers, theatre personalities and people from all walks of life gathered

and deliberated on the possibilities of another better world. For six days the world media, national and

local media remained glued to the NESCO ground in Goregaoun Mumbai.

Udassi also supported similar

views, while standing along the

stall of hunger kitchen.

She told the curious visitors that “ it was not that difficult for adults in the family to cope up with imminent starvation in the distress months, but making small children live with it is a real heartache for them.”

Musahaar presenting their Imortant issues at the World Social Forum. Musahaar woman watching a Nukad Natak on Women Empowerment in the World Social Forum Musahaars taking out a procession in World Social Forum

Musahaars taking out a procession in World Social Forum Amidst debates of whether such events will
Musahaars taking out a procession in World Social Forum Amidst debates of whether such events will
Musahaars taking out a procession in World Social Forum Amidst debates of whether such events will

Amidst debates of whether such events will have any significance in the real war against imperialist and market forces, 3 Dalit rights, women rights and child rights issues emerged as central around which the programmes can be clubbed. Musahaars also got united and added their voice in Alliance for Marginalised Community (AMC). On January 17 they staged a hunger rally in the NESCO ground. They painted the upper portion of the body and, took out a procession shouting slogans and with many followers from behind. One could read the messages such as hunger, Indebtedness, Musahaars are landless and have no homestead security, painted on their bare upper half. On January 19, Hari got a

chance to present his testimony before an international audience in the workshop on Right to Food organized by ActionAid India. With the help of facilitation and translation, Hari told the versatile gathering that "Barsaat mein kaam na rahla par ghar mein chulha na jalele. Laika bhukhle sut jalan" (In rainy season when there is no work my children sleep empty stomach). The participation of Musahaars in the World Social Forum has certainly helped them gain visibility and relate to the align movements on a broader scale. International and national media covered their stories and wrote about them. While the simple Musahaars from a remote rural area of Nichlaul Maharajganj were awestruck with the intensity and scale of the event they seemed satisfied to have had voiced their concern.

Conclusion:

Strategies that helped in grounding the Initiatives with Musahar Community -

Interface with government functionaries at the doorsteps of Musahaars – Realization of Rights, Self Assertion & Empowerment. Realization of Rights, Self Assertion & Empowerment.

Adhering to transparency – tola, block & district level social audit. ock & district level social audit.

Cause Promotion through strategic media advocacy at regional level dia advocacy at regional level

Inviting Musahaars fellows in the projectthrough strategic me dia advocacy at regional level Right Based Approach grass root empowerment with action

Right Based Approach grass root empowerment with action to address the immediate needs immediate needs

Empowered and visible CBOs in larger public domainroot empowerment with action to address the immediate needs Challenges Overcoming feudal set up in eastern

Challenges

Overcoming feudal set up in eastern up

Ensuring good governance at grass root level

Opening up sustainable livelihood opportunity for Musahaars

Now there is a need to work more on ensuring the sustainable livelihood for the

Musahaar Community with focus on women. In this entire process of community

mobilization, a collective group has been emerged which is totally guided and

coordinated by themselves only i.e. Musahar Manch. This document will act as a

resource guide book for different groups as well as mobilization of resources from

different donors / agency in the coming days.