Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission (ASRLM) had partnered with Kerala State Poverty Eradication Mission, Kudumbashree - NRO for implementing the PRI CBO (Panchayati Raj Institutions - Community Based Organisations) Convergence Pilot Project in Assam. The Memorandum of Understanding for the partnership was signed by the two Missions on 20th January 2014. The Kudumbashree National Resource Organization (NRO) provided technical and implementation support to ASRLM for the convergence project which was implemented in 36 pilot GPs of two blocks of Laharighat and Bajiagaon in Morigaon and Nagaon districts respectively.
Activities started in field in the month of March, 2014 with the scoping study as the first activity. One of the major focuses of the project in last three years has been the process based capacitation of various Stakeholders in field (PRIs, SHGs and Community cadres). Local Resource Group (LRGs) from the community and Mentor Resource Persons (MRPs) were the main driving force in carrying out the field activities.
The concept of PRI-CBO Convergence envisions that increased articulation of the demand from the community through proper capacitation mechanism will improve the ability for service delivery of the system. The continuous interaction that CBO have with the public system, especially Panchayat, can be facilitated through Participatory Assessment and Planning tools supported by a dedicated community cadre. In the long run the institutional synergy between CBO and PRI structures eventually helps in developing a strong democratic citizenship at the grassroots level.
The rationale is that democratization and inclusiveness of the poor are essential components for good governance, which can be achieved by bringing together PRI and CBO structures under the same platform. The opportunities for convergence are also opportunities for local economic development and social justice.
PRI-CBO Consultative Meeting
Local Resource Group (LRG) members are facilitators of the project activities at the grass root level providing handholding support to SHG network and PRI representatives. They are identified from the local community, capacitated on various aspects of the project and continuously mentored by Kudumbashree Mentor RPs.
LRG’s capacitated in 2014
LRG status as of now
LRG Orientation in Niz Gerua Panchayath, Laharighat Block, Assam
Internal mentors are selected from the existing internal resource pool of LRG with the responsibility of replicating the project in other blocks. 60 Internal Mentors are selected in two phases. The selection process was an activity centric process that tested the individuals based on two major categories - knowledge and skill.
The activities of all SHGs and VOs are now not just limited to thrift and credit, but also geared towards social activities.
Apart from the three tier federative structure, VOCC was formed in both the blocks to ensure that there is constant interface, linking the community federation to the panchayat. After their training, the VOCC coordinators and conveners in each of the panchayats have actively taken up their responsibilities and started engaging with the panchayats on an equal footing. The three sub committees for health and education, livelihood and social welfare have been put into place and the VOCC is now streamlining their functioning with the existing SHG and VO network. There has been a gradual evolution of the CBO from being a scattered unit to being a collectivized and strong entity. Having received office space within panchayat premises, VOCC members regularly sit in their office and accept applications and aid the local community in accessing benefits of the panchayat and line departments.
VOCC meeting in Kuhumtali GP, Bajiagaon
Gram sabha mobilization in tea gardens of Assam at Amlokhi Panchayat, Bajiagaon Block
To strengthen and institutionalise the interaction between PRI and CBO, the project envisages the formation of Gram Panchayat Coordination Committee (GPCC) in pilot GPs. The GPCC comprises of members from VOCC, PRI and line departments.
The GPCC is expected to meet at regular intervals and deepen the co-ordination between PRI and CBO in matters related to planning and service delivery.
A panchayat level convergence platform between the panchayat, VOCC and line departments have also been formed and trained in 35 panchayats.
GPCC Meeting at Rangagura panchayat, Bajiagaon Block
Poverty Eradication Committee (PEC) was constituted at some panchayats realizing the magnitude of the poverty. As the name suggests, the committee aims to work towards eradicating poverty from each household in the village and give special care to the weaker sections of the society.
Poverty Eradication Committee (PEC) at the GP Level in Bhoraguri Gram Panchayat
Bal Sabha was formed in all 36 GP’s. Children aged between 6 to 18, from the geographical limit of one or more SHGs form a Bal Sabha. In a Bal Sabha, 10 to 25 children were included as members.
Both Laharighat and Bajiagaon Blocks have undertaken initiative to conduct Medical Camps jointly with the help of CBO and Panchayat to address the health needs of the community.
Rally of Bal Sabha Childrens Group at Udmari Panchayat, Bajiagaon Block
PAE is a SHG level interaction based tool that helps in generating awareness on various entitlements and local-self governance systems. Using PAE, the community generates a database on its access to schemes and participation in governance process. This database is used for making demand plans by the CBO and is also treated as a baseline for measuring success in achieving entitlements by the community.
EAP is a target plan prepared by each Village Organisation (VO) to address the gaps in the access to entitlements identified during PAE. Using PAE data as the baseline, each VO sets quarterly targets for various schemes. These targets are regularly monitored and evaluated by the VO.
The Gram Panchayat Poverty Reduction Plan (GP2RP) is a comprehensive demand plan prepared by the self-help groups and their federations in partnership with the grampanchayats for local development. Features of GP2RP are Social Inclusion, Entitlements, Livelihoods, Resource Development and Basic Infrastructure.
Progress Report on PRI- CBO Convergence in piloted blocks
S.H.G members having job card for MGNREGS
SHG s who identified work under MGNREGA
SHG Members Demanded work under MGNREGA
SHG Members obtained work under MGNREGA
SHG Families having a latrine in their house (SBM and Non SBM)
SHG families using the latrine (SBM and Non SBM)
SHG families having RSBY health card
SHG woman / family members obtaining old age pension
SHG woman / family members obtaining window pensions
SHG woman/ family members obtaining disability pensions
SHG woman/ family members obtaining baideo pension
Pregnant / lactating woman receiving services from Anganwadi
Children in age group 0-3 years receiving services from Anganwadi ( from SHG families)
Children in age group 3-6 years enrolled in Anganwadi ( from SHG families)
Total Numbers of Bala Sabha Formed
Total Numbers of Bala Sabha RP Trained
Numbers of SHGs took Up IHHL(Toilet) construction work
The pilot project on PRI- CBO Convergence was initiated in two (2) blocks viz., Bajiagaon (Nagaon) and Laharighat (Morigaon ) during FY 2014-15 covering 36 GPs. The main objective of the partnership between ASRLM and Kudumbashree NRO was to create a model for supporting both PRI and CBO networks for effective convergence leading to sustainable and better implementation of NRLM. In the long run, it should result in the creation of a robust institutional structure of the poor that is closely linked to local governance and development.
Assam was a forerunner amongst other states doing the Convergence project. Now, ASRLM is scaling up the pilot project to 4 new blocks i.e. Barhampur (Nagaon), Laokhowa(Nagaon), Dhekiajuli(Sonitpur) and Borsala(Sonitpur) at first phase. The internal pool (Internal Mentors) developed during the piloting shall help in scaling up the PRI-CBO Convergence project. Kudumbashree- NRO, Kerala will handhold the Internal Mentors in the scaling up programme. The number of panchayats in the new blocks total to 51. Govt. of Assam is also contemplating to replicate this PRI-CBO Convergence to all blocks of Assam in near future.