Social Mobilization for Poverty Alleviation

Social Mobilization For Poverty Alleviation
On the left - Andu Bai, sitting with other women explaining the activities of the women's group

As a result of UNDP India’s Social Mobilization for Poverty Alleviation project in partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, women in the villages of Udaipur in Rajasthan have been able to open bank accounts and take important decisions related to livelihoods.

OWNING POVERTY ALLEVIATION

Highlights

  • Helped mobilize people’s organizations as a response to development and poverty alleviation
  • Enabled formation of women’s groups and self-help groups (SHGs) that help institutionalize community participation in planning and resource management
  • Assisted in monitoring the regeneration of community property (forest areas) owned by every household in the village
  • Enacted bye-laws which include meeting rules, penalties for trespassing on protected common plots as well as work distribution

Now she speaks of how she goes to the bank and how she learnt to save penny by penny to put in her account. Andu bai is one among the beneficiaries of UNDP India’s Social Mobilization for Poverty Alleviation project. The primary aim of the initiative was to mobilize people’s organizations as a response to development and poverty alleviation. At the same time, the specific focus on women’s groups and women’s empowerment was in line with the Indian Government’s and Rural Development Ministry’s (MoRD) agenda and policies on poverty alleviation. MoRD is UNDP India’s national partner in this project. The Rawach women’s group led the village assessment and made decisions on where wells would be deepened or farm bunds would be built. These measures helped families improve their livelihoods and sustain their lives. Their decisions were widely appreciated as it benefited several families. Women in these families also stopped migrating in search of work as they focused more on farming. They also receive financial support through inter-loaning within the group.

Apart from women’s groups, self-help groups (SHGs) were also formed or existing SHGs strengthened. Through these village-level groups, the project was able to institutionalize community participation in planning and resource management. For instance, women in Chitrawas panchayat monitor the regeneration of community property (forest areas) owned by every household in the village. The group also enacted bye-laws which include meeting rules; penalties for trespassing on protected common plots as well as work distribution. The entire village now lives by these rules, which has helped the forest come back to life and also improved their natural resource base.

NGOs and district government authorities monitoring and verifying the project outcomes and impact, feel the next step should be the formation of a women’s federation that can act as a pressure group. “We are planning a market federation of sorts at the district level”, said the CEO, Jassa Ram Chaudhary, of the Ajmer Jilla Parishad (district). There are several strategies in the pipeline to take poverty alleviation to the next stage in Rajasthan through the networks the project created between NGOs, community-based organizations, government authorities and other government bodies.

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