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Administrative Office
G-1, 200 Azad Society,
Ahmedabad 380 015.
Gujarat (India)
Tel : +91-79-26746145, 26733296
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A State level project end workshop on Improving Access to Information on Public Schemes in Backward districts in India (2014 – 2018), supported by the European Union was held on
December 1, 2018 at AMA
A State level project end workshop on Improving Access to Information on Public Schemes in Backward districts in India 2014–2018, supported by the European Union was held on December 1, 2018 at AMA, Ahmedabad. This project is being implemented in two tribal talukas – Poshina and Vijaynagar, of Sabarkantha district in Gujarat and two dalit dominated blocks - Patodi and Sindhri in Barmer district in Rajasthan. An updated version of the book on schemes in Gujarat related to Education, Health, Social Security and On Farm Livelihood was published in collaboration with AKRSP (I) and released on this day. Soft copies of the government resolutions, circulars and notifications related to these schemes were also provided to the participants along with the relevant Acts.There were 101 participants in this event from various CSOs in the state, academic institutions and CSRs. In this workshop 22 citizen leaders presented their experiences on Improved quality of service delivery of public programmes through grassroot level action on major public schemes related to MGNREGA, ICDS, pensions, PDS, primary health care using various strategies. The staff of UNNATI presented on the Major Outcomes in the Project undertaken by UNNATI in Gujarat, use of community Based Monitoring Tool for five rounds to improve the accountability of grass root level service delivery institutions at the village level and Facilitation for Change in Administrative Mechanisms for Improved Public Service Delivery.
The objective and purpose of the workshop were shared by Deepa Sonpal, Programme Coordinator, UNNATI. Mr Apoorva Oza, CEO, AKRSP (I) shared about the relevance of this project. Mr Binoy Acharya, Director UNNATI shared the major achievements of this project in Gujarat. Each presentations were summed up by experts – Prof. Navdeep Mathur, IIM-A; Ms. Nandini Rawal, Executive Director, Blind People’s Association, Ahemdabad; Ms. Renu Khanna, Director, SAHAJ, Vadodara; Mr Sachin Oza, DSC Foundation; Mr Harinesh Pandya, Director, Janpath and Mr Chetna Nand Jha, FES, Anand.
Celebrating international Women's Day at poshina, Sabarkantha district in Gujarat on
March 13, 2018
The International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated on March 13, 2018 in collaboration with the  District Panchayat Sabarkantha, Unnati and the European Union at APMC, Lambadiya panchayat, Poshina, Sabarkantha district in Gujarat.
At this sammelan the invited speakers were Ms. Sophia Khan, Director of SAFAR, Ahmedabad; Ms. Jaya Vaghela  Deputy Managing  Director of Gujarat State Mahila Sewa Sahkari Sangh Limited; Mr. Mahesh Patel, Deputy Director of VIKSAT; Shri Kaushik Modi, GAS, Deputy Collector and SDM Khedbrahma; Mr. Harsh Vyas, IAS, DDO, district Sabarkantha; Mr. P. Swaroop, IAS, District Collector, Sabarkantha;; Ms. Deepa Sonpal, Programme Coordinator, Unnati and Taluka Level Officers of Poshina. There around 1100 participants in this sammelan comprising of women  citizen leaders, beneficiaries,  aganwadi  workers, ASHA workers, women elected representatives, member of CSOs, members of SHGs, officials of the various government line departments, girls students from nearby College and schools, women teachers, the district and taluka/ block level elected representatives and community members etc. Women community leaders and teenage girls shared their experiences and their challenges at the sammelan related to access to schemes on education and  health; on violence against women like witch hunting and suicide; and on the need for empowering women and raising their voice through formation and strengthening of collectives (sangathans).
At the sammelan stalls displaying IEC material of various government departments and schemes were displayed like – education, health, ICDS, DCPU, KALP producer company limited, VIKAST (by Tata trust), APMC and Unnati. The participants visited the stall during the registration and also during the lunch time.
Half day orientation of Staff was conducted on Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Act 2013
December 12, 2017
Half day orientation of Staff was conducted on Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Act 2013 on December 12, 2017.

The objectives of this workshop were as follows:
i. Transforming workplace culture and attitudes towards women;
ii. Understanding sexual harassment;
iii. Understanding who can complain and who can she complain against;
iv. Understanding the role of the employer in prevention of sexual harassment;
v. Role and functions of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and
vi. Understanding the process of complaints and enquiry

In this workshop in all 26 staff members from Gujarat participated - Ahmedabad, Sabarkantha and Kutchch offices of which 11 were women staff members. This workshop was facilitated by Prita Jha from Peace and Equity Cell, Ahmedabad. The salient features of the Act were discussed in detail. The staff also discussed in the following in three small groups of men and women i. why sexual harassment happens? Ii. Why is sexual harassment not being reported? iii. What needs to be done at the organisational level? Each group presented their understanding and the facilitator wrapped up the discussion with the sharing the other provisions in the Act related to the duties of the Employer to prevent, prohibit and redress were also discussed. The role and limitations of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) were also discussed. The provisions in the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 sections like - 354 A on Sexual Harassment, 354 B on disrobing, 354 C on voyeurism and 354 D on stalking were also discussed highlighting that this penal provisions.
November - December 2017
A series of trainings for Citizen Leaders are being carried out on 'Gender Sensitivity and Legal Basics during November - December 2017 for Poshina and Vijayanagr talukas the objectives of these trainings are as follows:

i. Understanding gender stereotypes, process of socialization and distribution of work roles among men and women.
ii. Equip the participants with an understanding of basic criminal justice processes and procedures to provide support to support survivors as they go to police station and courts.
iii. Build understanding of child sexual abuse and Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.

The first set of these trainings was carried out during November 7-8, 2017 for the citizen leaders of Poshina and during November 9 - 10, 2017 for Vijaynagar. In all 58 citizen leaders participated of which 14 were women.
The second set of trainings were conducted on November 21 - 22, 207 for Vijaynagar and 23 - 24 for Poshinain which there were 45 citizen leaders of which there were 10 women participants and the third set during December 5 - 6,2017 for Vijaynagar and December 7 - 8, 2017 2017 for Poshina in which there were 66 citizen leaders of which there were 28 were women. In all 169 citizen leaders were trained of which there were 56 women. These trainings were conducted with the support of Usmanbhai from Peace and Equity Cell, Himmatnagar.
Campaign on Right to Information Act 2005
October 9 - 13, 2017
Campaign on Right to Information Act 2005 was undertaken during October 9 - 13, 2017 at Poshina and Vijaynagartalukas of Sabarkantha district in Gujarat . Village level meetings were conducted at 10 locations under the project on 'improving Access to information of Public Schemes in backward districts'supported by the European Union. In these camps around 1000 persons from both the talukas participated. These camps were carried out in partnership with Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP). RTI on wheels was used as an effective medium to address the gathered citizen to brief them about the Act, how it is an effective tool to invoke local accountability and asserts their rights. Question and answers were provoked at the end of the session and feedback and further course of action like approaching the appellate authority were suggested on the spot.

On October 11, 2017 half day district level workshop on Right to Information Act 2005 was conducted with government line departments of Sabarkantha district and Poshina taluka in Gujarat. In this there were around 80 officials from the district level including the District Development Office (DDO), Mr H Vyas participated along with taluka level officials including the Mamlatdar and Taluka Development Officer (TDO) Poshina.
Citizen Engagement for Action (CEA)
August - September 2017
Citizen Engagement for Action (CEA) was undertaken in 64 villages of 31 panchayats of Vijaynagar and Poshina talukas of Sabarkantha district in Gujarat during August and September 2017.This exercise was conducted under the project on 'improving Access to information of Public Schemes in backward districts', supported by the European Union.This was the 5th round of this activity that is being conducted every six months with the following objectives:

i. Generate awareness about the schemes and entitlements at the community level and identifying bottlenecks and issues in accessing public services at a particular falia/ village level;
ii. To make people more accountable towards the services and monitor and ask for their rights
iii. Facilitate the articulation of demand by the members of the community for their entitlements and seek quality and timely delivery of services without discrimination;
iv. Improvement in service delivery is initiated through local innovative mechanisms in collaboration with various government departments and panchayat level committees by citizen leaders, community and staff and
v. Identification of beneficiaries at the falia/village level.

The public schemes covered pertained to education, health ICDS, MGNREGA, PDS and Pension. In these meetings a total of 3638 persons participated of which 2866 were men, 1279 women and 13 persons with disabilities.
A day long Consultation on ‘Strategies for Improving Access to Public Schemes / Programmes’
August 3, 2017
A day long Consultation on ‘Strategies for Improving Access to Public Schemes / Programmes’ was held at Ahmedabad, August 3, 2017 as part of the European Union supported project on Improving Access to Information of Public Schemes in backwards districts in India. At the Inaugural Session of the Consultation, the key Note Address was delivered by Prof. Ghanshyam Shah, Former Professor, JNU and Governing Board Member, Centre for Social Studies, Surat. The first session was on, Strengthening People’s Collectives for Demand Generation, the second session was on Public Engagement for Accountability and the third session was on Innovations on Accessing Public Schemes (Attached is the detailed schedule). There were 86 participants from 38 CSOs (including 11 out of the 14 CSO partners being supported by the EU for this project in India from 2014 onwards) and five academic institutions. A detailed report of the proceedings will be uploaded once prepared.
The Fourth Ashok Memorial Lecture, Deepa Sonpal
August 12, 2016
The Fourth Ashok Memorial lecture was delivered by Deepa Sonpal, Programme Coordinator on August 12, 2016, at a function organised by the Shanta memorial Rehabilitation centre (SMRC), Bhuhaneshwar. Among the other guests present were Ms Anita Agnihotri, IAS, Principal Secretary, Govt. of India, MSJE; Ms Mansi Nimbhai, IAS, Director, Govt of Orissa, SSEPD; Mr Xerses Sidhwa, Director, Health Office, USAID, India; Mr Arup Dasgupta Deputy GM, SBI; Mr Deepak Sauja, Business Head, Odisha Circle, Vodafone and Dr Asha Hans and Ms Reena Mohanty, SMRC.
Download 4th Ashok Hans Memorial Lecture
VDP Training
January, 2016
Training of PRIs, Government Functionaries and Citizen Leaders on Village development Plans in Poshina and Vijaynagaar talukas of Sabarkantha district in Gujarat.
Two trainings on Village Development Plans were conducted for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), government functionaries and citizen leaders for two talukas in Gujarat during January 2016. The objectives of the training were :
  • Familiarization about the process of Village Development Plan under Intensive Participatory Planning Exercise–II and financial devolution as proposed by 14th Finance Commission.
  • Develop understanding on the reasons for poverty and exclusion and build a linkage with the poor quality of delivery of services
  • To help build a vision for developing a model panchayat
The first training was conducted at Poshina taluka on January 16, 2016 in which 25 PRI Representatives and government officials including Taluka Development Officer and Assistant Programme Officer (MGNREGA) and 33 citizen leaders participated in the training. The training at Vijaynagar taluka was carried out on January 19, 2016 in which 26 PRIs, 18 talatis and 25 other government functionaries including the TDO, Mamlatdar, NRLM and watershed staff, District Development officer and Director DRDA and 28 citizen leaders participated.
Participatory Assessment of Basic Services
October- December, 2015
Poshina and Vijaynagar talukas of Sabarkantha district, Gujarat
'Participatory Assessment of Basic Services' related to – primary education, health care and social protection and security was conducted during October, November and December 2015. Consultations were held with a total of 1542 members of the community of which 741 were women, 801 men and 27 persons with disabilities from 53 falias/ villages in 28 panchayats. Discussions were held on the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery of services and schemes at the community level related to:
  • Primary schools – scholarships, mid day meal
  • Aanganwadi – Integrated Child Development Scheme – nutrition and immunisation for children between 0-6 years, pregnant and lactating women and adolescents
  • Social protection and security – old age pension, niradhar old age pension, widow pension; disability identity card, disability pension, palak mata pita, manav kalya and manav garima yojana; MGNREGA and Indira Awas Yojana.
At the community level actionable points were discussed and responsibilities have been taken up for improving the quality and timely delivery of these services.
Orientation on Mainstreaming Disability for inclusive Development
September 2 – 4, 2015
Unnati’s training center at Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
A three day’s training program on mainstreaming disability for inclusive development was organized by Unnati and German Leprosy Relief Association (GLRA) at Unnati’s training center at Jodhpur, Rajasthan. This training program was organised primarily for the partners under the project ‘Improving Access to Information of Public Schemes’ supported by the European Union in India.  In this training total 25 participants – middle level development functionaries from seven partner supported by EU and one partner associated with Unnati over a long period, Foundation for Ecological Security participated.

The broad objective of this training programme was to enable partner organisations adopt an inclusive approach to address specific barriers to enhance the participation of persons/women with disabilities in decision making process. The specific objectives of the training programme were:
  • Orient the participants on disability as a social construct
  • Build a conceptual understanding on the paradigm shift from the charity and medical model to the social model of disability
  • Develop an understanding on the different kinds of barriers that limit the participation of persons/women with different types of disabilities
  • Build understanding on the legislation and policy, both present and upcoming, related to disability
  • Develop understanding on mainstreaming disability in development process through case example; and
  • Evolve specific strategies for effective delivery of public services for the person/women with disabilities in the on-going developmental activities/programs.
The facilitators of this training program were Mr. Binoy Acharya and  Ms. Deepa Sonpal from Unnati, Mr. Gaurab Sen from GLRA, Ms. Nandani Rawal from Blind People’s Association, Ms. Amba Salekar from Equals and Mr. P.K. Pincha who was the former Chief Commissioner for persons with Disabilities.
Soochna Swabhiman Yatra
Campaign for Access to Information on Public Programs and Entitlements with Dignity.
Badmer, Rajasthan, March 16- April 3, 2015
Public (government) programs and schemes whether it is on health care, care of the pregnant and lactating mothers, institutional deliver, primary education including quality of teaching, mid-day-meal, free text books and uniform, scholarship, pensions for old persons, persons with disabilities, and many others contribute in strengthening the survival strategy of the poor families. They can make the best use of these programs and lead an economically secure life with dignity if available with ease and in real time. However, many a times, the poor and the vulnerable are not able to access the public programs as they do not have the right information and the application process is complex and time consuming. They either have to use exploitative intermediaries or expensive market mechanisms to avail the program benefits.

Information is perhaps the most powerful tool for the people in a democracy. If one is informed fully then she can assert her rights and access her entitlements. A Suchna Swabhiman Yatra (Campaign for Information on Entitlements and Access with Dignity) was conceived by UNNATI under the EU supported project on “Access to Information on Public Programs). It was carried out during March 16 – April 3, 2015 in two trails covering 72 remote habitations and dhanis of 30 gram panchayats in Kalyanpur, Patodi and Sindhri blocks of Barmer district of Rajasthan. The Suchna Swabhiman Yatra aimed to provide information about various government schemes and programs using popular audio, visual and audio-visual formats. It helped the excluded people to voice the problems that they were facing in accessing their entitlements openly and without fear. It provided the opportunity to the PRI representatives, service providers, government functionaries and citizens to engage for ensuring the ‘last mile’ reach of public programs. 6421 people (female – 2557, male – 3212, persons with disabilities – 30) participated in the yatra. 188 panchayat representatives and government functionaries also participated. 90 citizen leaders supported actively in various stages of the campaign. During campaign 332 cases of Pensions and Insurance, 41 cases of Social security for Unorganised sector workers, 18 cases related to PDS, 78 cases related to IAY sanction and payment, 44 cases related to functioning of primary education, 23 cases related to child care facility, immunisation, ANC and PNC care, 196 cases related to electricity connection and 14 others were identified and taken up with the relevant authority for redressal
2-day Capacity Development Workshops for Std. IX English teachers of Scheduled Areas of Gujarat
September 16-21, 2013
Dada Bhagwan Satsthanak, Kelanpuri, Vadodara
Participants of one batch from 7 districts of Gujarat at a Capacity Development Workshop
As a part of the 'English Language Enhancement Program' for schools in scheduled areas of Gujarat, three 2-day Capacity Development Workshops were organized for Std. IX English teachers. 134 teachers of 208 schools from 15 districts of Gujarat participated in these workshops held in 3 batches

Experienced facilitators who have developed a SATCOM programme for English Language for these schools interacted with the teachers and answered their queries related to teaching and learning of English. The workshops used participatory and experiential methodology. Participants learnt how to teach the Std. IX textbook effectively to enable the learners to use English to express their own ideas and feelings as well as get good marks in the examination. Inputs were provided on communicative activities and use of open ended questions for language production, classroom management, using technology for teaching and professional development and lesson planning. Participants worked in groups and prepared innovative plans to teach the textbook lessons in an interesting manner. An online community for teachers has been created for ongoing discussion on issues related to teaching and learning English. Teachers also discussed about the 'English Language Mela' to be organised at the end of 2013. The Mela will be organized for over 200 schools at 10 different locations in Gujarat to exchange creative ideas for exploring and using English. It will also provide tribal students an opportunity to interact with others in English and enjoy using the language. Thirty DVDs of the Std. IX WELCOME English SATCOM programme were distributed to the teachers as resource material.

I learnt various new techniques to be used in the classroom to teach vocabulary, grammar and lessons in interesting ways to students. We need more such input at regular interval to keep ourselves updated. I look forward to attend the 2nd phase of workshops, shared Ms. Aysha Makrani (English Teacher, Model School, Chhotaudepur).

Gaurav Parmar (English teacher, Sainik School, Kherancha) says, Capacity Development Workshop was a wonderful experience, finding so many fresh ideas from our colleagues. I appreciate the effort of facilitators, organisers and Tribal Development Department for running such a useful program.

Feedback has been collected from the teachers and based on the expressed needs, a second series of Capacity Development Workshops will be organized after two months. In the meanwhile, teachers have chosen assignments that they will do in their schools. The problems faced and the possible solutions for effectively implementing these assignments will be shared in the next workshop.
1-day Orientations for Std. IX English Teachers on the English Language Enhancement Programme (2013-14) for schools in scheduled areas of Gujarat
July 24-26, 2013,  August 5-7, 2013
English Teachers of Std. IX during Orientation workshop held at EMRS, Tilakwada, Narmada
Unnati Organisation for Development Education, Ahmedabad with support of Tribal Development Department organised 1-day Orientation programmes for Std. IX English Teachers at 6 locations. The event was organised under the English Language Enhancement (ELE) Programme for schools in scheduled areas of Gujarat.

164 participants from 15 districts of Gujarat participated in the above orientations at the following locations:
EMRS Pardi, Valsad on July 24, 2013
EMRS Mota, Surat on July 25, 2013
EMRS Tilakwada, Narmada on July 26, 2013
Sainik School Kherancha, Sabarkantha on August 5, 2013
EMRS Kharedi, Dahod on August 6, 2013
EMRS Waghodiya, Vadodara on August 7, 2013

Objectives of the Orientations:
  • Share the objectives, key components and logistics of the ELE programme events for 2013-14 and their schedules
  • Discuss and finalise the logistics of the ELE programme
  • Discuss the role of the English teacher in enhancing English language in their schools, challenges and how these can be overcome
  • Acquaint teachers with the monitoring and support in ELE programme
  • Learn about experiences of teachers of the previous relay of Std IX programme (Feb-Apr 2013)
Teachers actively participated in these workshops. They were acquainted with the key components of the programme which included the SATCOM based WELCOME English programme, capacity development initiatives for English teachers, English Language melas and above all, efforts to create opportunities for the use of English in schools. Teachers were informed of the logistics, discussed their role, and provided valuable input for Capacity Development Workshops to be organised for them as well as for the English Language Melas to be organised at the district level.
Consultation on Ensuring Accountable and Responsive Public Services Delivery for the Marginalised
April 25, 2013
Access to government programs on education, health care, child care, social security, Public Distribution System (PDS) etc. are very important for a dignified life for poor people. These government programs, if implemented well, can bolster and sustain economic and social change, poverty reduction and improvement in living standards.

The rights based approach seeks to make the duty-bearers (primarily the State) accountable to the claim-holders (its citizens) for protecting and promoting human rights. Citizens have a dual role, both as `claim holders’ and also as `duty bearers’; they can demand their rights as claim holders, and they can also play a decisive role through various actions to ensure that their demands are fulfilled. Access to government programs can be improved when people through their collective strength and forums can hold the service delivery institutions accountable. At the same time, importance of enabling the delivery agencies or the administrative mechanisms to reach to the community and deliver in an accountable manner cannot be undermined. Several organisations have tried to develop and use mechanisms and tools for making information available, creation of empowered demand and enabling accountable and responsive basic services delivery.

Objective : Develop a shared understanding on mechanisms and tools to increase access of the marginalised groups to public service programs.

Participants : 48 participants from NGOs, government and academic institutes

Panel 1: Mechanisms for Accountable and Responsive Basic Services Delivery (chaired by Lata Kachwaha, SURE) included experiences in implementation and issues and achievements of the following Acts and programmes:
  1. Rajasthan Lok Sewa Guarantee Adhiniyam or Rajasthan Guaranteed Delivery of Public Services Act 2011. (Section Officer, Prashasanik Sudhar Vibhag)
  2. Right to Hearing Act 2012 (RTI Manch)
  3. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana in Rajasthan (State Nodal Agency, Rajasthan)
  4. MGNREGA Samvad (Renuka Pamecha)

A 22 minute documentary (produced by Unnati) on the process of Community Based Monitoring piloted in 50 villages of western Rajasthan with traditionally marginalized dalit women to facilitate an empowered demand for their entitlements was shown post lunch.

Panel 2: Creation of Empowered Demand (chaired by Aditi Mehta, ACS, Department of Art and Culture, formerly Principal Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment):
  1. Community monitoring of health services under NRHM in Rajasthan and its impact (Center for Health Equity, Prayas)
  2. Challenges and issues of malnutrition in Rajasthan and the status and requirements of nutrition centers (Consultant, Gender, Youth and Governance)
  3. Experience in facilitating community monitoring of Right to Education (RTE) entitlements and quality of education in primary schools (Pratham)
  4. Social security services and issues of women from the minority community (Vividha)

Some learnings from the consultation:
  • Independence of the facilitating organisation is a necessity for institutionalization of any social accountability mechanism, whether social audit or community monitoring
  • There is need for correct and evidence based information
  • Simplification of steps and formats for information collection, verification and dissemination and role clarity are key for increasing the scale of social accountability efforts
  • Findings need to be communicated in a non-confrontational manner. This will increase the confidence of the people to raise their voice and provide scope to the governing and the delivery mechanism to take corrective action
  • Continuous consultations are required at different levels to strengthen the system in an enabling manner
  • Facilitating organisations also need to concentrate on ways to strengthen the program apart from playing the role of watchdogs

The consultation covered diverse services and entitlements and it was concluded that various mechanisms and tools can be used to stimulate demand side empowerment and supply side responsiveness and accountability. Focus should be placed on the needs of the marginalized in the community and an information strategy geared to penetrate, foster association and engender a sense of being entitled to the service as a citizen. Rights based Acts, especially, RTI, Right to Hearing or Guaranteed Delivery of Public Services Act are windows of opportunity and provide an enabling environment requiring innovative strategies for information dissemination and implementation as well as appropriate vigilance to be effective.
Training of Trainers on Developing Accessible Tools on Situation Analysis and Capacity Assessment by Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs)
April 1-4, 2013
Training of Trainers on Developing Accessible Tools on Situation Analysis and Capacity Assessment by Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs), was organised during April 1-4, 2013, at FMC, Bengaluru for the participants deputed by the respective organisations. The objectives of the ToT were to:
  1. Developing understanding of the various participatory tools on Situation Analysis and Capacity Assessment
  2. Understanding its applicability for DPOs in the changing context
  3. Suggestions for making the tools accessible for persons with visual impairment and other disabilities: hearing impaired, cerebral palsy and orthopedic disabilities
Each organisation had deputed participants for the ToT and the respurce persons for the programme were Mr Venkatesh Balakrishna, Founder Director, ADD India; Dr Victor John Corderio, World Blind Union; Prof Neharika Vohra, IIMA; Dr Yogesh Kumar and Mr Venkatesh Prasad Samarthan, Dr Harish Vashistha, Mr Binoy Acharya, Ms Geeta Sharma, Ms Deepa Sonpal and Ms Sandipa Nelson.

The participating organisations will go back and conduct three workshops with the core committee members of their organisations:
  • Perspective building and situation analysis (SA)
  • Building effective institutions and DPOs
  • Self-capacity assessment (CA) of their respective DPO
The above activities will be conducted in the period of May – June 203 and be extensively documented with the support from facilitations deputed to each DPO.
Inception Workshop on Development of Accessible Tools on Situation Analysis (SA) and Capacity Assessment (CA) by Disabled People’s Organisations
February 14-15, 2013
Since October 2012, an 18 months project on Towards Developing a BPO/DPO led Pedagogy to Facilitate the Process of Social Change has been initiated. This project was sanctioned by Sightsavers, UK through a global call for proposals. This project aims to work with eight partners: Blind Persons Organisations (BPOs)/ Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs)/ NGOs in India and develop accessible tools especially for enhancing the participation of persons with visual and hearing impairment, persons with cerebral palsy and locomotor disabilities.

An Inception Workshop on Development of Accessible Tools on Situation Analysis (SA) and Capacity Assessment (CA) by Disabled People’s Organisations was organised during Ahmedabad, February 14-15, 2013. The objective of this workshop was to develop a common understanding on relevance and application of identified frameworks, tools and techniques on SA and CA. In this workshop the respective heads of organisations from 7 NGOs/ BPOs/ DPOs participated.

  1. ADD India supporting ATTD a DPO federation in Tamil Nadu represented by Ms. Jaishree Mukherjee (Executive Director. ADD India)
  2. Sama Foundation supported KARO a DPO in Karnataka (Mr Paul Ramanathan, Executive Director, Sama Foundation)
  3. Rashtraya Viklang Manch – in two states Rajsthan and Madhya Pradesh (Mr Sonu Golkar, Secretary and Dr Victor Corderio founder member)
  4. Sanchar supported DRG, a DPO in West Bengal (Ms Tulika Das, Director, Sanchar)
  5. National Association for the Blind, Sabarkatha district branch, Gujarat (Dr Bhaskar Mehta, Vice President, NAB, India and ms Praveena Mehta, Joint Secretary, Nab, Sabarkatha)
  6. Disability Advocacy Group, Gujarat (Ms Neeta Panchal, Secretary, Mr Parag Panchal and Ms Kinneri Desai, members)
An advisory group of eminent experts on Organisational development has also been formed to guide and provide input to this research. This team comprises of Prof T V Rao (Adjunct professor) IIM-A; Prof Neharika Vohra, Professor, IIM-A, Dr Rajesh Tandon and Dr Kaustuv Bandhoyapadhya, PRIA, New Delhi; Dr Yogesh Kumar, Samarthan Centre for Development Support, Bhopal and Mr Binoy Acharya, Director, Unnati.

Other participants present at the meeting who are part of this project were Dr Harish Vashistha, Senior OD Consultant and Prof Nivedita Kothiyal, IRMA, Anand. Members from Unnati present at this meeting were; Ms Deepa Sonpal. Programme Coordinator,; Ms Geeta Sharma,, Programme Coordinator, Ms Sandipa Nelson, Ms Dharmishta Halpati and Mr Laxmansinh Rathod, Mr. Manish Parmar and Mr Sardarsinh Rathod as support staff

In this workshop the identified tools on SA and CA were shared and discussions on how these could be made accessible and be suitably adapted in the coming ToT organised for two representatives of from each organisation and the modalities of operation in the next few months and the plan of action.
National Consultation on Safety of Houses Under Indira Awas Yojana in Disaster Prone Areas
December 21, 2012
Development Alternative World Headquarters, B-32, TARA Crescent, Qutub Institutional Area,
New Delhi.
National consultation on Safety of Houses under Indira Awas Yojana in Disaster Prone Areas was organised by Unnati with knowledge support from Knowledge Works. It was hosted by Development Alternatives. This was organised to share the results of a short pilot study in six states (Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Uttrakhand, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh) covering of 100 households in each state to understand the disaster resilience of IAY houses.

28 participants from different national and state level technical institutions, NGOs, INGOs, financial institutions, insurance agencies and representative from Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) participated in the consultation. Key findings of the study on safety aspects were shared and in the respond the participants gives their inputs to improve the data analysis and presentation of the study. The important issues emerge from the study and consultation were to revised unit cost of the scheme for better material use and construction, enabling mechanisms to provide technical support and monitoring and linkage with the affordable insurance schemes to reduce the risk of houses. This effort will make at IAY houses more disaster resist and the beneficiaries using it will be safer in the context of specific hazards.
Strategic Review Meeting
12th December, 2012
UNNATI Coordinating Office, 216, Azad Society, Ahmedabad
UNNATI team members interacted with Dr. Rajesh Tandon, President PRIA (New Delhi) and Prof. Budd Hall, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Canada on December 12, 2012. The staff mainly discussed about the present challenges and strategic options/ directions for NGOs and support organisations like UNNATI. Dr Rajesh Tandon and Prof. Budd hall are Co-Chairs, UNESCO Chair of Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education.
Thematic Training on Decentralised Governance and Social Accountability For Mid-Level Professionals and Senior Functionaries of NGOs (Jodhpur)
September 24 -28, 2012
27 representatives of 16 NGOs from Gujarat and Rajasthan States participated in the five day training on Decentralised Governance and Social Accountability. In the recent years, the strategies for poverty reduction and social development have provided central importance to governance and institutional reforms. The World Development Report (WDR) 2000-01 emphasized that a governance centered development has three basic features - promote opportunities, facilitate empowerment of the poor to participate in the decision making process and enhancing security for vulnerability reduction.

A vibrant and developed society requires strong governing institutions and strong civil society. Governance cannot be strengthened without citizens and vice-versa. The state and citizens are joint actors of development process where there is no mutual suspicion and fear of people toward the state. Promotion of people centered tools of social accountability like Jan Sunvai (public hearing), report card (assessment of basic services) etc promotes active and responsive citizens. The governing institutions can effectively interact with all sections of citizens by practicing democracy, accountability, social justice and more so, decentralization. Decentralised governance is institutionalized in India in the form of Nagarpalikas and Panchayats (largest representative democracy) that have a great potential to closely interact with the citizens and remain responsive to their needs and aspirations. The spirit of the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments and Part IX of the Constitution is to enable PRIs and urban local bodies to function as units of local self-governance, with an emphasis on empowering them with a functional mandate, giving them a degree of autonomy, and imparting self-sufficiency through fiscal transfers, taxation powers and tax assignments (Raghunandan, 2007).

NGOs have an important role in strengthening the public domain or the public political space wherein citizens feel able and entitled to influence authorities, a space that maintains and re-enforces public belonging and identity and enables the integrative collective action that constitutes democracy. Retaining substantial powers in the public domain is required for decentralization to produce a democratic dividend in the form of increased equity, efficiency and development. The training for mid-level and senior professionals is placed in this context and endeavors to help them understand the theme, know about and develop the skill to practice and facilitate people centered social accountability tools and reflect on their roles.

The training used participatory pedagogy and the main sessions were as follows:
  1. Understanding vulnerability and social exclusion
  2. Reflection on governance and good governance including various characteristics of good governance
  3. Decentralization, concepts and types
  4. Devolution, Status, Activity Mapping
  5. Rights based Acts and Good Governance – Role of CSOs
  6. Social Accountability concepts and tools

Participants were able to recognize that the success of social accountability initiatives did not depend so much on the method or tool applied, but the processes of social mobilization, of voice and agency, and of advocacy and the direct engagement and negotiations in the public sphere. Methods and tools are important ingredients but they are instruments that should be selected according to the purpose and the capacity of users. They need to be adapted to and acceptable in a given context, taking into account cultural, social, political, economic and educational factors. Major learnings resulted from reflection on the role of the civil society organizations. Participants realized that enactments like Right to Information 2005, Rajasthan Guarantee of Public Services Act 2011, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2006 (MGNREGA) and policy guidelines about pro-active disclosure, timely grievance redressal, people’s committees like the School Management Committee (SMC), Village Water, Sanitation, Health and Nutrition Committee (VWSHNC) or Village Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (VVMC) provided an enabling environment for Social Accountability and citizen’s engagement in planning and monitoring of programs. Despite these the programs and their information did not reach the people, owing to social exclusion and lack of downward accountability, demand and supply side bottlenecks were created in program implementation leading to last mile delivery issues in public services. Voiceless common citizen remained content to live in a beneficiary-benefactor relationship. So, civil society organization needed to utilize the enabling provisions for strengthening the voice of the people. Rather it was necessary to develop systems and mechanisms that took into account the usual reasons for accountability failures and endeavored to create a co-governance space whereby governance structure could be facilitated to work in close coordination with citizen groups and institutions.

Efforts were required for creating an environment for transparency and accountability with empowered people’s voice and the aim to check compliance and make delivery mechanism effective; not only to hunt for corruption. They should endeavor to maintain their independence and generate evidence based information. Non-confrontational manner of sharing of findings provided more space to governance institutions to take redressal action, though this did not refute the need for activism and strategic use of media in various respects. Continuous consultations at different levels are useful in strengthening the system in an enabling manner. A very important role for civil society organizations was to look for ways to strengthen the program apart from serving as watchdogs. All participant organizations were practicing social accountability in various forms and innovations and made action plans to take the process forward at their organizational level.
Public Hearing on Cases of Atrocities against Dalits (Jan Sunvai) July 22, 2011 at Jodhpur
In collaboration with local NGOs, UNNATI has been mobilising dalits and women on the issues of marginalisation, exclusion, social discrimination and atrocities since 1996. These efforts resulted in the local community raising their voice against discrimination and atrocities. To build common thrust and commitment against injustice a Jan Sunwai was organised to examine the selected cases of atrocities, discrimination and domestic violence. The objective was not to scrutinize the cases on technical grounds but to show solidarity to the victim’s families and local facilitators and CBOs. The honorable jury members for the Jansunwai were identified from various experts. The Jury comprised of the following: Mr. R. K. Akodia, Retd. Judge High Court Jodhpur and former member, Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission; Mr. Kishan Gurjar , Advocate; Mr. C M Naval, Retd. Additional SP Jodhpur: Mr. P.L. Mimroth, Center for Dalit Rights, Jaipur: Mr. Bhanwar Meghwanshi, Activist Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and; Ms. Varsha Ganguli, scholar researcher on women and labour issues. The cases examined during the Jan Sunwai were serious in nature like murder, rape, assault, sexual harassment and discrimination. 16 such cases were shared during the event.

The Jan Sunwai enabled the jury to understand the victim’s perspective and pain behind the cases. The cases were examined by studying case documents and procedures of inquiry. This was an effort to examine details of case papers, provide feedback to activist and victims to work out strategies for legal prosecution and strengthen local mobilisation. This effort has brought the cases in the public domain and to reflect on the vindictive way of dealing with dalits by highly insensitive administration, police and even society. Around 300 persons mainly from the victim’s family members, relatives and activists participated in the event with the hope to regain the dignity of dalits as human beings through accessing justice.
Consultation on Realising UNCRPD, July 8, 2011
A ‘Regional Consultation on Realising UNCRPD: Learning from inclusive Practices,’ was held in partnership with Blind People’s Association (BPA). The case studies on inclusive practices on disability in education and employment were documented on a pilot basis and this report was circulated in English and Gujarati in accessible formats at the consultation. Five cases were documented from four organisations – BPA for both education and employment, ADAPT (Abled Disabled All People Together – formally the Spastic Society), Mumbai for education, Microsign Products, Bhavnagar and Bharat Petroleum Ltd for employment. There were 155 participants including resource persons for this consdtituting of multiple stakeholders. The resource persons comprised of the organisations for which the cases were documented. Besides this the Principal Secretary, Commissioner for Disabilities and lawyers like Dr. Amita Dhanda from NALSAR University (Consultant for preparing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2011), Mr. Rajive Raturi (Human Rights Law Network), New Delhi and member of the drafting committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2011. From Delhi University we had three professors: Dr. Anita Ghai who is the Chairperson of All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) and has taught psychology at the Jesus and Mary College, Mr. Jagdish Chander teaches Political Science at the Hindu College, both are persons with disability and have worked as activists in the disability movement and Dr. Tanmoy Bhattacharya, Coordinator of Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC), Delhi University that strives for inclusion of SC/ ST and disability in the 25 colleges under DU. From Christian Blind Mission the representative was Mr. Murali Padmanabham the officer for inclusion.
Book Release: History of Women’s Movement in 4 parts in Gujarati and Hindi June 20, 2011
The series of books on History of Women’s Movement published by UNNATI in collaboration with Sahiyar (Stree Sangathana) Vadodara, were released on June 20, 2011 at Ahmedabad. Reviewers were invited to talk about the relevance of the books in contemporary times. Ms. Deepa Sonpal from UNNATI gave a brief background of why and how the books were prepared. Ms. Swaroop Dhrvu spoke on the relevance of the songs sung by the women’s and included in the books, Ms Trupti Shah from Sahiyar and the author of the books talked about how the books were conceived and explained the style of writing in drama style; Mr Tarun Deep Girdher, Faculty of Graphic Design at the National Institute of Design, explained the design development aspects and Ms. Sophia Khan from SAFAR, Ahmedabad and Fr. Jimmy Dabhi from Behavioural Science Centre, Ahmedabad spoke on Intersectionality and its relevance. There were around 80 participants from various NGOs in Ahmedabad.
Advisory Committee meeting of the SATCOM Programme
An Advisory Committee meeting of the SATCOM Programme for English Language Teaching for students of standard VIII of schools in scheduled areas of Gujarat (supported by Tribal Development Department, Government of Gujarat) is being held on May 2, 2011 at Ahmedabad Management Association to discuss the status and chart out the future directions.
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