The forums, that were created for advocating on the rights of urban marginal population, have lived up to its purpose with members participating, initiating and even leading actions to reach out to the most vulnerable amongst themselves.
In Bhubaneswar, forum members are involved in the local monitoring cells such as in VEC, Mothers Association’s in local primary school and Mothers Committees in ICDS centres and schools and are supervising quality and quantities of the mid day meals supplied in schools and anganwadi centers and the distribution of Take to Home foods provided under the Supplementary Nutrition Programs pregnant, lactating and toddlers at anganwadi centers.
Forum members of Bhubaneswar advocated with the BMC, for regularizing 17 (Integrated Child Development Service) ICDS centres located across the 5 operational slums.
In Kolkata, the forums through repeated complaints, applications and follow ups succeeded in getting two 1000 feet tube-wells installed in water starved Kamalgazi and Ukhila bringing respite to over 15,000 people,. The members also succeeded in getting concretized roads and repairs for the drainage system leading to the Kamalgazi Government High School; which came as a respite for 1500 odd students of the school.
In Kochi, forum members are not far behind with 6 of the forum members being part of the Jagratha Samitis (Vigilance Committees), under an initiative of the Kerala Police Department. The primary role of these samitis is to ensure speedy follow-up of complaints registered by women with specific focus on cases coming from weaker sections, create awareness about the Domestic Violence Act and other legal provisions around harassment of women, make police stations more women friendly and keep violence and other kinds of gender based violence in check.
In Bangalore with the use of RTI, Bassappan Katte Forum Members got the stipulated quantity of ration for BPL Card holders after a month long struggle. They were also successful in getting KFCS to replace 25 kg of inedible ration from shop no. 75 in their area. Similarly, an intervention by members of Jagriti Mahila Vedike (Laxmi Devi Nagar) forced KFCS to withdraw an APL card that had been issued to a widowed woman and replace it with a BPL card. While in Laxmi Devi Nagar the community hall that was in a dilapidated state for almost two years was repaired and renovated for use of the residents following a long and persistent struggle by the members.
In Bangalore we also have facilitated women to form Mahila Arogya Samitihs at Settlement level to act as monitoring body at Primary Health Centers and Maternity homes. The selected members of these Mahila Arogya Samithis are also part of Arogya Raksha Samithis and the whole programme of NHM is being supervised and monitored by these Arogya Raksha Samithis.
We have formed 26 such samithis and each samithi has 10 to 12 members. They are playing vital role in implementing the NHM programme. The ASHA’s are the Secretary of Mahila Arogya Samthis and they bring the issues and concerns of the community to the hospital authority and Arogya Raksha Samithis in terms of strengthening health services.
As MAS have been constituted in Rajasthan under National Urban Health Mission in each and every slums so ICDS and health have converge and MAS members are monitor the AWC services at local level and share the gaps in monthly meetings. In Jhalana Kunda one health kiosk also establish under NUHM where ANM and ASHA will be posted and provide medical services for the community.
As its mandate that community level monitoring bodies (Janch & Mothers) committees will be formed at each AWCs, on this context CFAR was associated in the community meeting for proper process of the committees. As a result both committees were formed unanimously and members were imparted the capacity building training on their role and responsibility for effective functioning of AWCs. Regarding proper selection process the initiative was taken by ICDS personnel and coordinated with CFAR for ensuring sustainability of the community based monitoring bodies through fair selection and capacity building of the committees.
A model anganwadi centre has been created at Sootmill Colony. The centre has proper facilities for immunization, nutrition and documentation. The centre provided information not only on the issue of child marriage, but also on cleanliness, life skill education, health, better nutrition, care and safety for new born along with care for the mother.
Forum Members in Pune advocated with media, civil society organizations and government agencies on issues of Public Distribution System, and set things right.
Taking matters into their own hand Forum members of Bhimnagar visited 7 ration shops. They prepared a detailed report of status of fair price shops highlighting the malpractices. The report was signed by 163 women and submitted to the Food and Civil Supply officer. The media carried 5 reports of this rally.
Forum members in other areas followed a similar procedure. Members of Shramik vasahat visited 2 ration shops and lodged their complaints in complaint books and 7 women filed RTI on stock availability of their respective ration cards. Women from Bansode chowk visited 5 ration shops. Similar Meetings were held in Samarth Nagar and Mahadevnagar respectively. Forum members of Yerawada region went a step further and lodged a complaint against 7 shopkeepers in the vicinity and approached the Food Distribution Officer (FDO) to take action against them.
FDO (Food Distribution Officer) takes note and Responds
These interactions bore fruit with the FDO agreeing to display information on the number of the ration shop, name of the shopkeeper, how many BPL/APL/Annapoorna cards he has and how much quota he has lifted from the godown across all eight zonal offices. The FDO also conceded to the request of distributing the APL quota of ration to those in real need of it. The FDO has also proposed that the organizations can nominate a team of 7 volunteers from the community to set up vigilance committees.