The project was being implemented in 15 villages of Mainpat block of Surguja district of Chhattisgarh since 2009 with the support of AEI Luxembourg through TDH Germany. The title of the project was “Promotion of Health and Education Rights of Tribal Communities in Chhattisgarh”. The programme aimed at running bridge school, ensuring good health of the tribal and marginalised population, developing nutrition garden and providing skills for the local community so that they can earn a livelihood for themselves.
The first phase of the programme was Shikhar Yuva Manch which worked in 150 villages of 4 blocks of Bilaspur, Kabirdham and Surguja of Chhattisgarh since 2009. It promoted girl child education, women capacity building, and networking with change agents for women development and strategic intervention on rights-based perspectives with development integration. Initially, it worked in 30 villages of Bodla, Pali and Lakhanpur blocks in Chhattisgarh. It ensured the education of children through ensuring total enrollment of children in schools in the project area, creating awareness in the community, especially among the parents about the provisions of RTE and the importance of education. It formed various village level institutions like School Management committees, Bal Panchayat etc. it raised voices for child rights at village and school levels. The rate of school dropout children went down and retention of children in schools has enhanced.
The creation of health awareness, especially among children and women in villages was another aspect of the project. Women groups were formed at the village level to impart information on health services available at village and block levels and to closely monitor the services provided at ICDS centres. A cadre of village volunteers was trained on health-related topics like malnutrition, pre and postnatal care, immunization etc. Regular health camps were organised with the help of government hospitals to create community awareness about common illnesses and preventive measures. The end result was that the community’s access to the health services like immunization, nutrition, pre and post-natal care was enhanced.
Women were linked to various livelihood related government schemes. Many families demanded livelihood opportunities as their rights from the local administrative bodies… The interested beneficiaries were trained on goat rearing, poultry farming, organic farming and mushroom cultivation etc. It helped in advancing the annual income and nutritional status of communities.
The second phase of the programme was more consolidated in terms of implementation. It was known as “Promotion of Health and Education Rights of Tribal Communities in Chhattisgarh”. It is being implemented in 15 villages of Bolda block of Kabirdham district and 15 villages of Mainpat block of Surguja districts of Chhattisgarh.
- Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (Baiga tribe) and backward groups.
- Villages located in Isolated and inaccessible villages on the hills.
- People have less access to government services and schemes.
- Children less than 14 years and neglected and affected women.
- Villages affected by mining and projects.
- 2611 children enrolled and retained in government schools. 26 School Management Committees were active. 30 schools followed RTE standards and norms.
- 500 children actively participated in 30 children clubs.
- 30 SHGs members monitored health and nutrition services in villages and helped 3200 children to have access to regular immunization and nutrition services.
- 80 malnourished children and 112 pregnant women linked to ICDS services in villages.
- More than 100 women raised their voices against domestic violence.
- 1664 job card holders availed an average of 70-80 days of work under MGNREGA.
- 60 families cultivated green vegetables from their kitchen garden for consumption.
- 301 beneficiaries enhanced their skills in various non-farm occupations like goat rearing, poultry, piggery, mushroom cultivation etc.
Major Lessons learned
- Children’ enrollment increased but quality of education was still a concern.
- Children become literate, however, there was uncertainty whether the system was appropriate for creating interest in children and linked with the livelihood system.
- The uniform system of education does not serve the purpose of rural children. Socio-cultural diversity of various communities should be respected, and necessary modifications and adaptations needed to suit children.
- The designs of the government’s health services were excellent. The need was better and a humane delivery system. The stress could be made on primary health services for tribals, especially PVTGs to be more effective to attain good health.
- With rising awareness levels, demand for work rising under MGNREGA increased. The benefit of government schemes reached only a few community members due to high demand and low supply.