De­liv­ery points

Down to Earth - - GOOD NEWS -

How the Gram Ahar Rak­sha Dal (GARD) works food­grain.“Ear­lier we were not told why we are get­ting less grain.Now we know that the sup­ply to the pds shop it­self is less, and that the pds shop owner,in or­der to en­sure ev­ery­one gets some­thing, ends up giv­ing a lit­tle less,”say the women at Mad­hudinda.

En­abling de­ci­sions

gard mem­bers meet once a month.Hold­ing meet­ings more of­ten is dif­fi­cult due to co­or­di­na­tion and work sched­ule of the vil­lagers and the func­tionar­ies. Dis­cus­sions range from get­ting a hand pump in­stalled at a pri­mary school to plan­ning crop­ping pat­terns for a patch of land that has been left bar­ren. In Kor­daha vil­lage for in­stance,gard mem­bers have planned to plant mahua and other fruit trees along with tra­di­tional mil­lets like kodo on a patch of waste­land. More­over, gard has helped main­stream women.

gard mem­bers de­cide upon a course of ac­tion with con­sen­sus for com­mu­nity prob­lems. If an is­sue re­quires gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion,a let­ter is drafted and sent to the of­fi­cers con­cerned. On some oc­ca­sions, gard mem­bers have filed Right to In­for­ma­tion (rti) ap­pli­ca­tions.“Draft­ing rti is a part of the train­ing to all gard mem­bers,” says Verma. In Sari­a­hat vil­lage for in­stance, they filed an ap­pli­ca­tion un­der rti for an elec­tric­ity con­nec­tion.Though there was no re­sponse to their ap­pli­ca­tion, the elec­tric­ity depart­ment in­stalled a trans­former in the vil­lage.

“In some places there is a fear that gard mem­bers would form a co­terie and con­trol de­ci­sion-making. Th­ese are real fears, that’s why we are en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple to join the meet­ings,” says Verma. Though gard is en­vi­sioned to be an in­clu­sive ex­per­i­ment, there have been few cases of ex­clu­sion that have come to the fore.In Kor­daha vil­lage for in­stance,a few house­holds,be­long­ing to the Par­tic­u­larly Vul­ner­a­ble Tribal Group cat­e­gory, could not join the meet­ings due to the dis­tance from the school,where the meet­ings are held.“We are ad­dress­ing such prob­lems,” says Verma.“We need gard by our side when we visit child de­vel­op­ment project of­fi­cers or the bdos (block de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cers). We need them to su­per­vise our rti ap­pli­ca­tions. We are sure we can take this ini­tia­tive for­ward on our own,but we will need some more time,”says Rai.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.