Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Political Empowerment and Leadership Development of Dalits in Gujarat
The present research paper attempts to examine the programme carried out by the four selected NGOs for the political empowerment of dalits in Gujarat. Each NGO’s one major programme directed towards the political empowerment of dalits have been identified and analysed to find out their suitability for the political empowerment and leadership development of Dalits. The paper describes and analyses programme of NGOs, keeping in view political empowerment and leadership aspects. The researcher has considered ten categories such as basic information of programme; process of planning for programme; process of resource arrangement and utilization; programme execution process; nature of local participation in programme; Dalit empowerment aspects in programmme; decision making process; monitoring; evaluation; sustainability of programme, while analyzing, interpreting and discussing about the contribution of programme of each NGO to understand the political empowerment process of dalits. It also highlights the process of capacity building and leadership development among dalits and tries to understand the extent of NGO’s contribution in the political empowerment of dalits.
Key Words: Leadership, NGOs, Political, Empowerment, Programme, Dalits
The proliferation of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) is a continuous process in India. During the last three decades, there has been a rapid growth in the number of NGOs in various parts of India. The studies have shown that the nature and types of NGOs are varied in India. They are involved in performing various activities such as providing educational and health services, relief, charity and welfare services, increasing people’s voice in decision making, engaging in developmental work, self-help group, human rights issues, social awakening, community development activities in urban and rural areas, etc. These NGOs have been involved in the welfare and development of poor and weaker sections of the society. However, the different aspects of NGOs and their contribution for various issues and situations remain unexplored due to lack of information and literature. The contribution of NGOs in dalit empowerment is one such unexplored area of social science discipline.
The dalits problem and suffering in India are multi-dimensional due to practice of caste system and caste-based discrimination. Historically, there have been various efforts against the practice of caste system and untouchability. Similarly, the Indian government has initiated various legal and constitutional provisions for the welfare, development and protection of dalits. However, despite of government efforts, there has not been much change in the condition of the majority of dalits in India. Moreover, how NGOs are instrumental in political empowerment of dalits and creating leadership among them is unexplored area in social science literature. It is in this context; the present article highlights and examines how NGOs as a component of civil society contribute for dalits political empowerment in terms of political leadership development in three districts of Gujarat.
Gujarat, one of the economically progressive States of India, has long history of voluntary movement and comparatively high proportion of NGOs. However, the state suffers and lags behind in various dimensions of human development. The estimate of below poverty line in Gujarat is 18.4 per cent and it is comparatively high among the population of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Similarly, the problems related to land reform, redistribution of common community resources, practice of untouchability, caste-based discrimination and atrocities committed against dalits are still a regular phenomenon in the various parts of the state (Shah, 2000; Lious, 2002). Thus, the present article tries to examine the contribution of NGOs in political empowerment of dalits and understand the process of capacity building and leadership development of dalits in the state of Gujarat. According to unpublished sources of NGOs, there are totally 42 NGOs addressing the issues of Dalits and twenty (20) NGOs among them work for Dalit empowerment in Ahmadabad (10), Anand (3), Banaskantha (1), Gandhinagar (1), Junagarh (1), Rajkot (1), Sabarkantha (1), Surat (1) and Surendranagar (1) districts of Gujarat ( Jan Path, 2003). Out of these 20 NGOs (universe of the study) four NGOs have been selected purposely (purposive sampling) for the study. These four NGOs such as Ashadeep Human Development Centre (AHDC), Banaskantha District Dalit Sanghatan (BDDS), Behavioural Science Centre(BSC), Navsarjan Trust (NT) have been chosen keeping in view their involvement in mitigating caste-based discriminations and atrocities committed against the Dalits, and their programmes directed towards the social, economic, educational and political empowerment of Dalits in Gujarat. These four NGOs are located in Ahmedabad (2), Anand (1), and Banaskantha (1) districts that represent more than 1/4 Dalit (Scheduled Castes) population i.e. 990734 out of total 3592715 Dalit population of Gujarat. Hence, the above four NGOs of Ahmedabad, Anand and Banaskantha districts have been selected to examine their contribution for the political empowerment of dalits in Gujarat.
The present study falls under exploratory research design for qualitative research. To justify the importance and needs of the study, the method of case study has been especially adopted to scrutinize, in detail, the profile of the selected NGOs’, their programmes for the political empowerment of dalits. Keeping in view the objectives of the study, the purposive sampling has been used as sampling technique for the study. Certain criteria have been adopted for selecting NGOs as a purposive sample. The data have been collected by using both primary as well as secondary sources. The primary data regarding NGOs’ programmes and their relevance to the political empowerment of Dalits have been collected through semi-structured interview schedule from the Programme Coordinators of the selected NGOs. The present study is heavily relied upon qualitative analysis; however the quantitative analysis were also made for explaining some of the facts. The quantitative as well as qualitative data collected through interview schedule, interview guide and informal discussion were analyzed descriptively to understand the fact that to what extent the NGOs can contribute for political empowerment of Dalits. Finally, the analyzed data have presented through the descriptive writing to support the objectives of the study.
NGOs' Programme for the Political Empowerment and Leadership Development of Dalits:
In this part, one programme of each NGO related to political empowerment of Dalit community have been illustrated. The researcher has considered ten categories such as a) basic information of the programme b) planning process c) process of resource arrangement and utilization d) programme execution process e) nature of local participation in programme f) Dalit empowerment aspects in programme g) decision making process h) monitoring i) evaluation j) sustainability of programme, while analyzing, interpreting and discussing about the contribution of each NGO in the political empowerment process of dalits.
The illustration of the following four case studies will help to understand the process of political empowerment of dalits and their by their leadership development in the state of Gujarat:
Case Study No. 1
There are a total of four programmes of this NGO namely a) Legal Education and Awareness Programme (LEAP) b) Career Guidance Cell (CGC) c) Youth Education Service (YES) d) Community Organization and Rural Development (CORD). Out of these four programmes, CORD is directly related to the political empowerment of dalits. This programme has been studied and analyzed to find out its relevance and contribution to the political empowerment of Dalits. The details of this programme are as follows:
The Programme of Community Organisation and Rural Development (CORD)
This programme has been started with an intention to organise the Dalit community and educate them about various developmental and welfare schemes of the Government in order to ensure that all the benefits would reach those for whom the schemes are envisaged. The objectives of the CORD are as follows: a) to sensitize and educate the Dalit community about the welfare and developmental scheme of Government b) to organize Dalit to collectively demand the government authorities for the implementation of government schemes in their favor c) to form self-help and local mandals of the women and youth at the village level and d) to initiate small micro credit and entrepreneurship programmes for Dalit women. With these objectives, the CORD has been started in 1979.
At present it works in the 25 villages of Anand district and targeted towards the Dalit women and Dalit youth. The CORD section is responsible for the formation of 25 village level Mahila Mandals and registered trust under the name of Stree Chetna Sangh in 1993. Each mahila mandal in the village functions under its own independent name and is affiliated to the Stree Chetna Sangh. The Stree Chethna Sangh through the CORD conducts various activities for the growth and development of the women and securing government welfare schemes in favour of Dalit community. The working committee of Stree Chethna Sangh meets regularly once in two months, where local issues affecting the community are discussed; attempts are made to solve the problems. Similarly, there are 36 Dalit youth mandals in the 36 villages of Anand district formed by the CORD.
At present CORD section is mainly concentrating on the creation of new mahila mandals and youth mandals and monitoring of the existing mandals. The planning process of CORD is also in the same direction to make local mandals more effective and strengthen to resolve their problems through themselves and CORD will provide guidance. The planning is conducted among the director, programme co-ordinator and field staffs of the organization, the new strategy, methods of work and activities are planned in the direction to create new mahila and youth mandals. The resources in terms of programme co-ordinator and field staff are recruited for effective implementation of the programme. However, the special efforts are made through camps and training programme to mobilize volunteers from the target community. The intention behind this the local community and local mandal should take initiative to resolve their crisis and CORD will support from the outside.
The CORD team visits regularly to the operational area and conducts meeting with the executive council of each mandal to understand the problem of Dalit community and resolve the local crisis through local mandals. For the creation of mandals in the new areas the CORD organizes the meetings, camps, training programme and guidance session to sensitize the Dalit women and youth about the importance of unity and collective struggle against the injustices. Similarly, to make the self-help groups self-reliant the CORD section organized a number of awareness and training programs in the villages in collaboration with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a Government of India undertaking. Information was given on the various income generating programs that can be undertaken, and the procedure to obtain the loans offered to the beneficiaries.
There is a good response of Dalit women and youth to CORD activities. They regularly attend meetings, awareness sessions and pro-actively taking action to resolve their local problems and seeking the benefits of Government schemes in their favour. The programme co-ordinator reveals, “The members of Mahila Mandal and Youth Mandal took initiatives and themselves have got some Government schemes and civic amenities like widow pension, delivery stipend, etc. for their villages. The 9 villages received subsidized loans for purchase of buffaloes. In a village a co-operative society of handloom weavers is formed with the help of CORD and 21 men and 4 women have undergone 6 months handloom training for self employment. These women have taken active part in organizing women groups in other villages”.
The programme is directed towards the sensitization and mobilization of Dalit community and creating ability among Dalits especially women and youth to participate in the socio-political activities, take socio-political action for economic and social development of the communities and form an organization for action and upliftment. The CORD is doing good work in this direction to create political empowerment among Dalit community.
The decisions of CORD are mainly taken by the director of the current NGO and CORD team but there is a scope for the member of different mandals to participate in the decision-making process for the better implementation of programme. The decisions for the village level mandals are taken after the prior consultation with the executive committee and member of the women and youth mandals. There is a greater involvement of women in the decision making and staffs play the role of facilitators.
The monitoring is monthly process, in which programme co-ordinator takes feed-back from the field staff and personally visits the villages and interact with mandals. The regular monitoring keep CORD programme co-ordinator aware about the internal issues of the mandals and needs and issues of the community. In the annual evaluation, apart from strength and weakness of CORD, the issues related to strengthening bond among the members of mandals, effective governance, formations of new mandals and innovative measures for seeking larger participation for democratic struggle are discussed and evolved.
The CORD is well-directed towards the political empowerment of Dalits through the creation of women and youth mandals. The planning, execution, decision-making processes and monitoring and evaluation are well channelised to achieve the aim of programme. The higher level participation of Dalits in every meeting and training camp shows the importance of programme in their life. The CORD shows the character of long term sustenance. In a nutshell, CORD creates awareness among Dalits about their socio-political rights and forms local organization of Dalits to initiate welfare and developmental activities and collectively struggle against the injustices. Thus, the CORD programme of this NGO contributing to political empowerment process of Dalits thereby brings them in the main stream of political leadership.
Case Study No. 2
There are a total of five programmes of this NGO that works for Dalit empowerment such as a) Organization Building and Legal Aid Programme (OBLAP) b) Saving and Credit Co-Operative Society (SCCS) c) Bal Vikas Kendra (BVK) d) Panchayati Raj Initiatives (PRI) e) Developmental Programmes (DP). The Panchayati Raj Initiatives (PRI) have been selected to analyze and understand the contribution of this organisation for the political empowerment process which are as follows:
The Gujarat Government amended the Panchayati Raj Act in 1961 in tune with the 73rd constitutional amendment. The purpose was to increase the participation of the Dalits, Adivasis and women in the process of self-governance. In spite of this the Dalit, Adivasi and Women Sarpanchs and Chairpersons of Social Justice Committees are unable to enjoy their power. They meet discrimination even after being elected in the Gram Panchayat. No confidence motions are misused in dismissing them. They cannot work or take decision for the welfare and development of their own community. Keeping these things in view, the Panchayati Raj Initiatives (PRI) has been started since 1999 to prevent injustices and increase Dalits participation in self-governance. The objectives of this programme are: a) to enable marginalized sections such as Adivasis, Dalits and Women to participate in the process of local self-governance b) to enable Dalits, Adivasis and Women to raise their welfare and development issues at the Gram Sabha c) to create leadership qualities among the marginalized section d) to provide guidance and training to Dalit, Women, Adivasi Sarpanchs, Panchayat members and Chairpersons of Social Justice Committees to run the office effectively e) to make facilitation groups of marginalized sections sarpanchs at taluka level to address their common concern at the higher level f) to coordinate and network with other like minded organizations for taking the issues of marginalized to higher level. The marginalized sections such as adivasis, Dalits and women are the target groups of PRI.
The planning for PRI is designed by the president, secretary and programme wing staff to evolve effective measures such as methods of work, trainings, camps and guidance to sarpanchas/social justice committee chairman, and addressing the welfare and developmental needs of Dalit community. The special staff such as block programme co-ordinator, block in charge have been appointed to carry out regular activities of PRI such as understanding of the village dynamics, rapport formation with government officials and updating information about the government welfare and development schemes for SCs/STs. Similarly, the cadre of volunteers also developed at the village level for mobilization of support and community organization. All the activities of PRI are managed by the funding from international funding agency.
The programme execution process generally starts with the survey to identify Sarpanchas and Social Justice Committee Chairman (SJCC) from the marginalized sections of the operational areas. After this, the list of Sarpanchas and Social Justice Chairman is prepared and block level meeting is conducted to aware them about the situation of Dalits in the rural areas. In this meeting, the views, difficulties and needs of Sarpanchs and SJCC are also taken into consideration and as per requirements the trainings, exposure visits and camps are conducted to enhance their knowledge and capacity building. The training programmes are mainly focused on the topic such as economic, social, political analysis; understanding of Panchayati Raj Act; understanding of government schemes; financial matters in the Panchayat; leadership skills in local self-government; role/responsibilities of leaders in the Panchayati Raj Structure; role of Social Justice Committees in Peoples’ Movement; plan for capacity enhancement of Social Justice Committee; role of Peoples’ Organizations in Panchayati Raj; duties of Women Sarpanchs; participation of women in Gram Sabha; people’s participation in Panchayati Raj; planning, implementation & evaluation; etc. The participation of Dalits is positive and high in training programmes and they try to implement in their acquired new knowledge for better functioning of the gram sabha.
The PRI especially design for the political empowerment of Dalits. It is improving the skills and knowledge of Sarpanchs and SJCC for effective functioning of local self-government for the welfare and development of the Dalits. Similarly, it also increases the ability of the Dalits to participate in the socio-political activities, take socio-political action for economic and social development of the communities and form an organization for action and upliftment of the community.
The decision making of PRI is democratic and participatory. The president, secretary and the programme wing staff jointly plan for programme and evolve methods of work and activities. Due regards are also given to the views and opinions of sarpanches and SJCC in the planning and formulation process. The monitoring and evaluation are conducted on a regular basis by the programme wing staff and impact of training programme is evaluated as per initiatives taken by the Sarpanchs and SJCC for the benefits of the Dalit community. The overall evaluation of PRI conducted in sixth monthly review meeting of the NGO.
The PRI is an innovative programme directed towards the political empowerment of the Dalits. It enhances capacity of the Dalit sarpanchs and SJCC to address the issues of the Dalits and run local self-government efficiently. The planning, progamme execution, decision making, monitoring and evaluation are well directed towards the political empowerment of the Dalits. However, independent funding is required for the sustainability of the programme. It has been described above that the PRI programme of this NGO has been designed for political empowerment of Dalits. PRI building capacity of Dalit sarpanches and increases their participation in the local self-government. It also promotes socio-political action to address socio-political issues of the Dalit community. Thus, the NGO through PRI programme contributing to the political empowerment of Dalits in Banaskantha district.
Case Study No. 3
There are totally seven major programmes of this NGO that are: a) Antyodaya Vikas Shikshan Centre (AVSC) b) Bhal Bara Dalit Mahila Credit Co-operative Society Ltd. (BBDMCCSL) c) Child Development Centre (CDC) d) Panchayati Raj Initiatives (PRI) e) Resource and Support Programme (RSP) f) Human Rights Cells (HRC) g) Human Resource Development Programmes (HRDP). These programmes are run by the respective units of the NGO. In order to understand the contribution in political empowerment of dalits the Panchayati Raj Initiatives (PRI) has been selected, analysed and interpreted that are as follows:
The Panchayat Raj Initiatives (PRI) of this NGO has emerged on the particular socio-political context of Gujarat. The observation and working with the Dalit and women sarpanches of gramsabha brought out the fact that although 73rd constitutional amendment and the Gujarat Panchayat Act (GPA), 1994 opened up the new avenues for political participation of Dalit, women, and marginalized section at the local self-government but in the reality they have been excluded from political power. The working experience of this organisation shows that the Dalit, women and marginalized section sarpanchs face difficulties such as strong sense of caste-based discrimination and practice of “untouchability” in the village creates major detriments for the operationalisation of PRI provisions, lack of functional working relationship among the Dalit communities and inability of the Dalit communities to articulate their demands, existence of strong patriarchal set-up, lack of unity among the Dalit community, lack of awareness of the PRI and GPA provisions, higher caste ruling by proxy, dismissing the Dalit sarpanches who dared to be assertive and autonomous through engineered no-confidence motions and by controlling the local bureaucracy.
Keeping the above things in view, the organization took initiatives for strengthening the political participation of the Dalit community and effective implementation of GPA started PRI programmes in the operational areas. The objectives of PRI are as follows: a) the implementation of GPA provisions for uplifting the socio-political status of SCs, STs and Women and ushering changes in social relation b) Promotion and support to the Dalit community-based organization c) capacity-building of PR representatives to address the Dalit issues in the panchayat d) to build political consciousness and attainment of political power among Dalits. The target groups of PRI are Dalit, women and marginalized section sarpanches of the gramsabha. At present, the programme is operationalised in the five districts of Gujarat covering 4000 villages of 21 talukas/blocks.
The PRI planning process is participatory and democratic. The director, secretary, project co-ordinator, programme wing staff of PRI team and CBO members jointly plan for the programme. In the planning process, the strategies and methods are adopted for effective implementation of programme. The training programmes, camps, exposure visits are designed as per the needs and strengthening capacity of the Dalit and women sarpanches, social justice committee chairman and community-based organizations (CBOs). Thus, the planning process mainly strives towards capacity building of the elected Dalit and women representatives of local self-government and making them able to address the issues of Dalit community in the gramsabha and local bureaucracy.
The special PRI cell has been created under the rural development team and the Project co-ordinator, Project supervisor and field staffs have been appointed for the effective implementation of programme. Similarly, the CBOs are identified and the cadres of volunteers are prepared at the taluka and village level for conducting training programme, mobilization of local support and community organization. The financial resources for the recurring and running expenditure of the PRI programme are managed through the international funding agency.
The programme execution process of PRI is systematically addressing the real issues of the Dalit and women sarpanches. At the outset, the organisation organizes district wise preliminary meetings of staff of the CBOs and director and PRI cell. The main purpose of this meeting is to establish the context and relevance of the programme which the organization intended to take up, role clarification and, the activities that the organisation would be engaged in the forthcoming period. The people share their experiences related to the problems faced by Dalits and their representatives with respect to Panchayati Raj. The issues and problems such as the strategies used by the “upper” castes during elections to divide the Dalit votes, such as, putting up dummy candidates, lack of information regarding the procedure of filing nominations during elections, leading to rejection of forms, resulting disqualification from contesting the election, constant threat of no-confidence motion against Dalit and women sarpanches, if they dare to go against the vested interests of the powerful castes/leaders of the villages, non-cooperation and withholding of crucial information regarding the developmental programmes, allocation of finances and other important issues pertaining to the Panchayat by the Talati (secretary to the Panchayat, the lowest ranking revenue functionary), gram Sabha not being convened, or when convened, excluding the marginalized communities from the same, and not taking up issues of importance to those communities, social justice committees not being constituted, its chairpersons kept unaware of their roles and powers etc presented and discussed in the meeting.
The decision making of PRI is participatory and democratic. The Director, Project Co-ordinator, Project supervisor, field staff and CBO members jointly plan and discuss the issues related to the implementation and governance of the programme. The decisions regarding design of the training programme, workshops, staging of protest march to government offices, implementation of welfare and development schemes for Dalits are taken jointly and in consultation with the CBOs.
The monitoring is conducted on monthly basis by the Project Co-ordinator, programme wing staff and CBO members. The CBOs monitor the programme at the village and taluka level and report the impact and performance of programme to project supervisor. This is followed by the Projects supervisor leading to the Project Co-ordinator, ending up with the Director. The overall evaluation of the PRI conducted annually to assess the strength and weaknesses of the PRI. The impact of the programme is measured on the basis of the initiatives taken by the Sarpanchs and SJCC for the implementation of government welfare and development schemes for the benefits of the Dalit community. The planning process, progamme execution, decision making, monitoring and evaluation are well directed towards the political empowerment of Dalits community. However, financial self-sufficiency is required for the long term sustainability of the programme.
The PRI is well directed towards the effective political participation and political empowerment of the Dalits. The training programme of PRI is strengthening capacity of CBO members as well as Dalit/women sarpanchs and SJCC for effectively running the gramsabha and social justice committee. It has been revealed by the programmme officer that the impact of PRI training programme is positive on the Dalit/women sarpanches and the SJCC of the different villages. They became efficient and confidently governing the affairs of the Panchayat. They articulate Dalits interests in the meetings and implement the government welfare and development schemes for the benefits of Dalits. Importantly, they take independent decisions for the welfare and development of village in general and Dalits in the particular. Thus, the PRI has created a team of efficient Dalit/women sarpanches, SJCC to address the different issues of Dalits at the Panchayat as well as district levels. It is innovative programme of this organisation for effective implementation of local self government as well as political empowerment Dalits.
In nutshell, it has been observed that PRI programme of the organisation is addressing the political empowerment of Dalits. PRI contributes to the political empowerment process of the Dalits. It develops capacity of Dalit/women sarpanches, SJCC to address the issues of the Dalits and runs local self-government effectively. It creates socio-political consciousness and promotes welfare and developmental initiatives of Dalits. Thus, looking at the nature and performance of PRI programme, it is evident that the organisation sufficiently contributing to the political empowerment of Dalits.
Case Study No. 4
The organization under study has systematic and well-directed programmes towards the Dalit empowerment. All the programmes and activities have one common agenda of strengthening non-cooperation against the caste–based discrimination and the practice of untouchability. The organisation strongly believes that caste discrimination and atrocities against the Dalits will disappear by systematic intervention and broad-based movements. There are total six major programmes of the organisation Viz., a) Legal Aid, Legal Education Programme (LALEP) b) Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK) c) Educational Programme (EP) d) Campaign, Training and Mobilization Programme (CTMP) e) Abolition of Manual Scavenging and Rehabilitation of Scavengers (AMSRS) and f) Women’s Empowerment Programme (WEP). Out of these, Campaign and Training and Mobilization Programme (CTMP) are directed towards the political empowerment of Dalit. The details of this programme are as follow:
The organization has major program of Campaign, Training and Mobilization Programme focus on generating awareness among masses about the Dalit deprivation in India. This programme has been started since its inception of NT. The main aim of programme is to generate socio-political awareness and consciousness among Dalits and strengthen Dalit local initiatives through different means to resolve issues of Dalit deprivations. The idea of programme is also to create an atmosphere of mutual sharing and exchange of ideas, views and experiences about Dalit empowerment between the Dalit community as well as the organization.
The objectives of programme are as follows: a) To train activists, community members and committed individuals in understanding society in its various manifestations and wider perspectives and be sensitive to the agenda of social justice, b) To empower local groups to increase their power and confidence through exposure to both the problems and resolutions, c) To train community volunteers as local Leaders by adding value of information and awareness to their voluntarism, d) To promote exchange of experiences between organization and the community to increase common knowledge base, e) To increase community participation in the movement in areas of agenda setting, planning programs and their implementation, f) To impart training and awareness especially to women activists and members of the community to ensure their participation at all levels.
Under this programme various activities organised by the NGO under the study such as Campaign for Drinking water for the Dalits, Implementation of land reforms, Unemployed Primary Teachers from Scavenger Community, Implementation of the Minimum Wages Act, Implementation of the Atrocity Act, Ban on Manual scavenging and Rehabilitation of Scavengers, etc. Similarly, the training programs for activists, community members, volunteers, Dalit sarpanch and members of other social groups and organizations have been organised with the objective of Awareness, community organization, campaign against untouchability, local self-government power and duties under the law, legal mechanism, government schemes, etc. In the year 2003-04, the total 212 training programs organised by the organisation and 7368 persons participated in this training programme.
The organization under the study strongly believes that apart from legal measures, the community action is essential for resolving the issues of Dalits. In this regards the organization organizing mass mobilization of Dalits around the issues such as Land reforms, securing minimum wages, implementation of welfare programs, securing primary and elementary education, atrocities against Dalits, effectively banning practice of manual scavenging and the rehabilitation of scavengers etc.
The planning procedure of CTMP is based on the findings of survey and research conducted by the organization on various issues related to Dalit deprivation. The planning of CTMP takes place between director, staff and founding member of the organization. The priority is always given to issue, which demands immediate concern and response. In the planning process the special emphasis is always given to the democratic and constitutional approach, strategy building, community support and resource mobilization, and long-term wider impact of the programme.
The resources for CTMP are arranged by recruiting state campaign co-ordinator, zonal collaborator, taluka/block collaborator and field staff at the organizational level. The cadres of volunteers are generated at the village level and community resources in terms of cash and materials are collected and utilized for the implementation of programme. Similarly, the membership fee of the organization is mainly used to carry out the activities of CTMP and no funding agency is contacted for financial support.
The CTMP execution process starts through a range of activities in the Dalit ‘vas’ (quarter). In some of the Dalit ‘vas’, the preliminary discussions with Dalits helps for the identification of a local problems such as availability of water and electricity, discrimination in minimum wages, caste-based discriminations etc. To get more authenticity of the fact, the organization conducts survey and collects wider responses, and starts initiative by CTMP to highlight the issues. The eruption of caste violence and case of atrocity in any village also provide entry point for intervention. This is followed by a period of intensive activity by registering the case, initiating legal process, mobilizing Dalit community, preparing victim and witness for court procedure, generating mass awareness for speedy legal remedy. Where there is no direct intervention with the issues, there the organization generates awareness, trained volunteers, provides moral support and keeps the issue alive.
The Dalit community response to CTMP overwhelming due to strong trained cadre of volunteers and membership based organization. The training programme has helped members of local and other organizations to further the awareness of the Dalit rights in the different areas. The People’s participation increased including women has increased in programs of mass mobilization and campaign around the issue of drinking water, land, minimum wages, atrocities, manual scavenger or membership organization.
The impact of training program of CTMP has motivated participants to set up local organizations and gave new rise to leadership among Dalit youths, who are expressing their voice against injustices and addressing issues of common facilities and their access to Dalits in the village panchayat. Thus, in real sense, the CTMP working for the political empowerment of Dalits by creating ability among Dalits to participate in the socio-political activities, take socio-political action for economic and social development of the communities and form an organization for action and upliftment.
The decision making process of CTMP is democratic, participatory but hierarchical in nature. The decision of CTMP has been taken by the Director in consultation with the State co-ordinator, zonal collaborator, taluka collaborators. The decisions further passed on by taluka collaborators to field staff and volunteers. At the village level meeting and training programme, the taluka collaborator, field staff, volunteers takes views and opinion of Dalits about the issues and initiatives of CTMP, which is communicated again to director, state co-ordinator, and zonal collaborator by the taluka collaborator.
The monitoring of CTMP conducted on the monthly basis by different staff of programme. The state co-ordinator, zonal collaborator, taluka collaborator, field staff as per division of their responsibility supervise programme at different level and provides feed back to the higher authority. The director conducts meeting once in three months with the staff of CTMP and get feed-back about the impact of the programme and emerging areas of concerns. The evaluation of programme conducted in the annual review meeting in which strength and weaknesses of CTMP assessed by the board of trustees, staff of the organization and measures are adopted for effective and wider impact.
The CTMP is the major programme of the organization to address the socio-political issues of Dalits through effective means and strengthen non-cooperation Dalit movement in Gujarat. The aims, objectives, process of planning, resource mobilizations, programme execution, participation of people, Dalit empowerment aspects, decision making process, monitoring and evaluation are systematically designed and implemented to give long term sustainability to programme.
It is described above that the organization has CTMP programme exclusively for political empowerment of the Dalits. CTMP strives for political empowerment of the Dalits through broad-based campaigns, training and mobilization programme. It creates ability among the Dalits to participate in the socio-political activities to strengthen non-cooperation movement against the caste-based discrimination and untouchability. Thus, the organization under the study through CTMP strives to contribute to the political empowerment of Dalits in the Gujarat.
The present study highlights that each NGO under the study has one major programme to contribute to the political empowerment of Dalits in the selected areas. The programmes of NGOs are systematically designed, executed, monitored and contributing sustainably to the political empowerment of the Dalits. The well-directed political empowerment programme of NGOs have been addressing various socio-political issues of dalits through the mechanism of participation, mobilization, awareness campaign, advocacy, networking, agitation, protest-march, sit-in etc. The programme of NGOs also train the activists, community members and committed individuals in understanding society and oppressive practices, and developing their perspective for the agenda of social justice. It empowers local groups to increase their power and confidence through exposure to both the problems and resolutions. The NGOs regularly conduct capacity-building and leadership development programme for community volunteers/members as local Leaders by adding value of information and awareness to their voluntarism. The NGOs also training dalits in the areas of agenda setting, planning programs and their implementation, impart training and awareness especially to women activists and members of the community to ensure their participation at local self-government and the society at the large. In conclusion, the above details highlights that the NGOs under study have systematic programmes and contributing positively to the empowerment process of the Dalits in Gujarat. However, the long term sustainability of programme and regular contact of NGOs with target group and people are essential factors for any civil society organization to create and facilitate effective empowerment process for the marginalized sections.
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Dr. R.R.Patil, is a Professor, Department of Social Work, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Rajasthan, Ajmer, Rajasthan-305801, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(The above manuscript is the excerpt of unpublished Ph.D work of the author)
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