Role of Core Groups in Promoting Community Governance
BETI Foundation is playing an active role in promoting Community Driven Development by integrating the concept of core groups in almost all its projects and intervention programs. Core Group comprise of people from the community living near one another, in a given urban neighborhood or rural village, as well as front line government functionaries who work as a team and eventually move towards Community Driven Development ensuring sustainable and need responsive impacts. Core Groups provide control of decisions and resources to the community. BETI Foundation plays the role of facilitator in forming, strengthening and promoting these core groups by organizing frequent training and refresher trainings.
The potential of core groups is being increasingly recognized. Some Examples include: Rural sanitation promotion initiative by the core group members in Mushkinagar village in Masauli block of Barabanki District and in Hamirpur village of Malihabad block of Lucknow district during which monetary and logistics resources were mobilized for construction of household Latrines; laying pathways construction in Gangapur (Nawabgunj Block of Bahraich District) and Channeni Village (Bankashi Block of Bahraich District) where community contributions of cash, materials, and/or labor were channelised for the construction of road and path; mobilizing young women for education, skills and livelihood in certain villages(Talbehat, Barar and Jaswara blocks of Nawabgunj District) ; helping in humanitarian ways by saving the life of a young girl (Gularia village in Mihinpur Block of Bahraich District); mobilization and sensitization of communities on the issue of trafficking and HIV/AIDS, so as to prevent women and girls getting trapped in the trafficking nexus.
The following detailed narratives clearly demonstrate that the Core Group approach is the best practice for facilitating exchange of ideas and good practice and convergence of resources.
Educating Girls: Enlightening Tomorrow
Village Chaneni situated in Bankashi block of District Bahraich has a dominant population of Muslim community. The community thinks pessimistically about girls' education, practices purda and also has frequent outbreak of violence within the group. The lack of education in girls' in the village can mainly be attributed to lack of school in the village and also lack of motivation among parents.
Core group members mobilized community members to send their daughters to school. One core group member volunteered to teach the girls at a centre. The Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme provided an extended opportunity for mobilizing the community for educating girls and also strengthening core group for sustainability of the project. Mr. Noor Mohammad a core group member started teaching girls at the centre, through active support by the core group members and the community. The core is responsible for running and maintaining the centre. A group of around 30 girls are receiving education at the centre being run under the PACS programme.
Humanitarian Responses: Saving the Life of a Girl
There was no cohesiveness among villagers of Gularia in Mihinpur block (Bahraich District) and Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB), police, government and non-government department. The villagers believed them as an intruder in their security.
The establishment of an Alternative Learning Centre by BETI Foundation under project 'Samajh' supported by UNODC helped in building confidence of the villagers towards the support structures. BETI Foundation liaison with the villagers and tried to develop a cordial relationship with all the players. It also formed a Core Group, so that community needs are effectively redressed and their is efficient use of support services. Sanju Shukla, an orphan in the village but a very active student at the ALC was one day bitten by a snake in her arm. The villagers on seeing this immediately tied a rope in her arm to prevent the poison from spreading, in the meanwhile some core group members rushed to the SSB check post and requested for a vehicle for emergency help. The officer on duty responded fast and the girl was shifted to the district hospital in Bahraich.
The girl recovered after a month long treatment. The instantaneous response of the core group and support from the SSB helped in saving the life of a minor girl.
Janakpur village is situated 4 kms away from the Indo-Nepal border, 45 kms from the District Headquarters and 17 kms from Gaysadi Block. The village enjoys the support Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB), Government officials, non-government organizations and has also a strong core group. But a heinous act of one SSB officer shook the entire gamut of trust of the villagers.
A student of ALC was one day retuning from the field when suddenly a drunken SSB officer tried to rape her. The girl raised an alarm, on hearing her villagers gathered for help. When the crowd saw the SSB officer, they started beating him. However some older members of the village rescued the officer and controlled the crowd. The act restrained the villagers from moving out of their houses and also sending their daughters to ALCs. The instructor took up the case and informed the Core Group about the case and its aftermath.
The core group members along with Gram Pita, Shiksha Mitra and other members took the matter to higher officials. Through multiple meetings and constant advocacy, the SSB officer was legally punished. Girls have started going to the ALC and have been seen frequenting other places in the village. The Core Group regularly holds meetings and addresses local issues of the village and ensures peace and safety.
Subsequently with the consistent efforts of core group the Gram Pradhan, the BLCC and DLCC, a government Primary School was sanctioned and has been built in this densely forested remote border village bringing hope and the light of knowledge for future generations.
Together We Make the Difference…
This story is of Odahi Gram Panchayat, block Jamunaha of Shravasti district. The village is surrounded with forests and is very backward in terms of development. The Beti Foundation worked towards the development of Odahi and formed Core Group in the process. The Core Group was provided training on government schemes along with other things.
The villagers, seeking help from the Foundation planned for road construction here. Thus, the people themselves constructed a road from Odahi to Naideeh School (1.5 kms.) through volunteering labor (Shramdaan).
Motivated by this, the villagers did advocacy for their rights at local administration level. As a result, today Odahi has a pucca road and is equipped with electricity. For educational development of the children, a Primary School has also been approved now.
Mandvi Devi who has completed her Junior High School and lives in Mutehera Village of Balrampur district, took up the challenge of educating tribal girls of the Tharu Community of her area, through the ALC established by BETI. Observing her relentless efforts to help the girls to learn in difficult circumstances, the district authorities forwarded her name to the State Government for consideration of being recognized for her extraordinary work. It was a matter of great pride for the local community and BETI when on International Literacy Day, 8th September 2003 Mandvi’s efforts were felicitated. She received the President Award for Exemplary Work in Educational Services.