Partnership with local government: The Case of Paardi village, Nanded, Maharashtra

Pardi village has a good learning in local development due to strong partnership within the  women’s group and local Panchayat. The Panchayat President Mr. Tikle is one of the main supporters for women’s initiatives; he understands and respects their skills and knowledge.

Mr.Tikle has been the President for the last 10 years showed other villages that major involvement of women groups in development activities makes  a difference. He respects women community and involves them in decision-making in local development.

Mapping and follow-up actions

When women groups conducted hazard and vulnerability mapping in May 2011, they identified several problems and issues that can be solved by local Panchayat. During the mapping local Panchayat members were also present. The groups listed their priorities with local Panchayat to solve the issues. The Panchayat and women’s groups discussed the problem one by one and found solutions for most of them.

The village has improved in toilet construction activity leading to a 30% increase in the number of toilets in the last one year thanks to SHGs which created awareness  on the issue in the community and mobilised BPL families to access the government subsidy for the purpose. Now 80% households have a toilet attached to their homes and they use it. They are working towards transforming their village into a cent percent free of open defecation in the coming year.

Women’s group also identified the risks students face because of the roads that are running on both sides of the school causing accidents. They solved this problem by shifting the students to one side of the road. They also constructed humps to slow down the vehicles.

Electricity: They have identified 37 houses which do not have electricity connection in one pocket. The groups discussed with Panchayat.  Their plan to get connection for the all households  is under progress.

Wells: By accessing Government programmes the community got 43 wells for the village. 17 wells are already constructed and 25 wells are waiting.

Cremation ground: There was no cremation ground to bury the dead. In MREGA programme ground has been sanctioned.

Meeting hall: A Meeting hall had been sanctioned by the Zilla Parishad (district level elected body) but the budget was low. So the Panchayat has re-submitted the plan with revised budget and the people are waiting for approval.

Non formal education: Women’s group noted that the 20 odd boys are working in hotels in Loha do not attend schools and decided to provide them non-formal education in the evening time with support from local educated youths.

Social Marriage: The Panchayat organise collective marriages to reduce the costs and time significantly. They hire a marriage hall in same day for marriages that happens on the same or consecutive days.  People cooperate without any caste barriers.  Since the participants for the marriages are mostly the same people, it is a good example set by local Panchayat.

Old houses: They also identified four dilapidated houses which are threat to villagers as they may collapse at any time. They asked the owners to demolish them and they agreed.

Tree plantation: The number of trees was decreasing day by day in the village. To find a solution to this problem, women’s groups in partnership with the local Panchayat planted 2500 saplings using the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) under which job seekers  are paid irrespective of gender Rs.100/-  per day’s work. Thus this group is making an effective contribution towards mitigating climate improvement using available resources.

Water conservation: They did not get enough water for 12 months for farming and so the yield of Kharif  (monsoon) crops was less  were affected. Now they are planning conservation of ponds and other water bodies by improving and maintaining by community.

Organic initiatives: Due to high usage of chemical fertilisers the agricultural productivity has declined and the fertility level of the land is low. Now the community is planning to start organic agriculture after getting training from Krishi Vigyan Kendra. Twenty five women are ready to use this method to cultivate jowar, thur and vegetables in one acre each.

Since the year 2008 itself there have been a few SHGs who doing organic farming for vegetables. They want to expand their acreage after obtaining further training and accessing more resources. Taking advantage of a Government scheme, they also want to purchase cows, goat and ox for income generation which will also give dung to generate compost for the agriculture.

In Paardi village, 43 women are engaged in vegetable cultivation and marketing including  10 landless women. Earlier these landless women used to purchase vegetables from Loha market and sell in neighbouring villages. After becoming members of the agriculture group, these women  purchase vegetables from 33 women who grow vegetables organically and take a share in the profit the next day. They do not travel to or buy from the market.

Ring Road: The unique success of this Panchayat is the construction of a ring road that connects all 8 villages in the Gram Panchayat using MGNREGS. You will never find a ring road in other rural areas. But due to community cooperation and will power of the Panchayat President, with manual labour contributed by women’s groups, this road became a reality and many people are admiring it. It helps to speed up the development of the village.

Bund and drainage: The Panchayat constructed a nine kms. bund to prevent water flowing out of village and use for agricultural  purpose.  So the water can be used for agriculture purpose. For this, a 70 hectare drainage was straightened to allow free flow of water to their agriculture fields.

Teaching other villages and community: Many people including Gram Panchayat members from within the district and from several other districts (Hizoli, Parbani, Washim, Osmanabad, Yevatmal),   and Government officials visit this village to see the working of Paardi Gram Panchayat and community cooperation for development.  The President of Paardi Panchayat, Mr.Tikle  has also given training to Panchayat Presidents at Collectorate.

– Swayam Shikshan Prayog, February 2012

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