How women bring changes in Ghospur village

The Problem

Ghospur village is vulnerable to recurrent floods. There was no proper road or infrastructure and the community was living in difficult conditions. This village is far away from the nearest town Birpur and it was difficult to carry patients and pregnant women to take to hospital. Now the situation is changing. Changes are visible and women leaders are in the lead. There is a change in attitude, leadership and looking at their communities that was not present 2 years ago.

There are about 100 households and they are depending on agriculture. It all happened when community was oriented by GPSVS facilitated by SSP 2 years ago. They learned how to organise and mobilise women members, need for conducting vulnerability mapping, attending training on disaster preparation and looking for sustainable livelihoods.

The initiative

This was the time when Kausalya Devi, Ganga Devi and Shanti Devi took the leadership of Self Help Group. They got training on vulnerability mapping and mobilised women and other communities to conduct the mapping in the village. There were more than 30 women members participated in the mapping. They identified that there are several problems exist in the village and finding a way to solve it.

The mapping and analysis was a big change in the mindset. They were able to understand and analyse their own risk and vulnerabilities and identified priorities in solving the issues. As a follow up of the mapping, SHGs called women members, community and ward members to discuss the problem facing by the village and how Panchayat body can help them to solve the problems identified.

“We got orientation and awareness from women leaders from other villages on how to work together to improve your village thru mapping, identifying problems and solutions.” – Ganga Devi

The major problems identified in the mapping was lack of road, anganwadi, raised hand pumps, strong houses, insufficient water for irrigation, unsafe drinking water leads to water borne diseases and increase health expenditure, lack of toilets, sand deposit in agriculture land, lack of ambulance service, lack of high land in time for flood, and loss in agriculture etc.

To solve these issues they formed Village Development Committee (VDC) facilitated by GPSVS. VDC was comprised of women leaders and elder leaders from the village including ward member. They prepared a community plan based on the priorities identified and submitted to Panchayat. They also held dialogue with Mukhya of the Panchayat for need for resources and action for solving the issues in the village focus on infrastructure. Mukhya was cooperative and integrated the plan of Panchayat and submitted to Zilla Parishad. Zilla Parishad approved the plan with changes and released resources to Panchayat. In the approved plan 60% of the Ghospur community demand was met and it was a success for the women group. This was happened due to regular meetings and dialogues with Panchayat body and block level officials etc.

Community demand to the Panchayat that included in the plan was to build proper road connecting to the main road, raised hand pumps at community level that would ensure safety and no mixing with drainage and waste water as well as safe in flooding, toilets using government scheme, solar light, cleaning the area, polio vaccination, setting up grain bank, disaster task force, first aid facilities, safe high land for rehabilitation in flooding, health sub centre, anganwadi, sand removal from agriculture field and boring well for irrigation.

“If we won’t then who will. Many people also compliment our determination and that we have been able to build a relationship with local government.” – Renuka Devi

Result

  • Due to the leadership of the community the Ghospur village got 5 hand pumps thru DRGF yojana worth for Rs. 2 lakh.
  • Panchayat constructed a concrete road for 1.5 km that connects to the main road. Earlier they were walking thru the water to go to school, health centre and market. Panchayat also approved an Ambulance service which they can make phone calls and ambulance will arrive in the village.
  • A health sub centre was approved and come up in the village and the existing Anganwadi got repaired. Now 40 children are going to Anganwadi.
  • 28 toilets are constructed using government scheme and more community is planning to build toilets using the scheme. There was not a single toilet in the village earlier and everybody practice open defecation. Now the practice is changing slowly.
  • 18 houses have been strengthened and raised the platform using Indira Awas Yojana.

Impact

  • Women leadership are developed in addressing local risk and development
  • 12 women leaders are visiting offices from Panchayat to block level for negotiating to get resources for local development and social security schemes.
  • Partnership strengthened with government offices and Panchayat body
  • Block officer respect women’s demand appreciated their work.
  • They are now negotiating with local government to address issues that identified in the mapping such as destruction of crops due to flood, irregular rain patterns, food and fodder scarcity etc.

 “Earlier we used to only worry about our own families, but through this initiative we know that we can do a lot for the community”. – Kausalya Devi

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