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National Consultation on Making Social Development Programs Responsive and Accountable: Presenting Lessons from the Ground

Since 2013, community leadership in Delhi, Jaipur, Pune, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Bangalore spearheaded community-centric social accountability program, Strengthening Social Accountability Process by Catalyzing Community Involvement across Six Cities.

The community and in particular women’s involvement is evident in these:

“Since 2014, the Women’s Forum had addressed more than 15 cases of domestic violence and actively stopped 28 child marriages in different settlements in Jaipur.”– Anju Pandey, Jaipur

“Daksh Samuh(CBO) has won several awards and competitions in Pune, wecompelled the men to recognize us as representatives of the slum rehabilitation committee and this has enabled us to monitor and ensure the just implementation of slum rehabilitation schemes in our settlements.”– Neeta Tupare (CBO), from Pune

“We not only help in reaching out to those most in need but also provide timely and concerted support to all concerned stakeholders, thereby enabling them to do everything possible to deliver the schemes.” -Vimla, Founder of Mahila Pragati Manch (MPM).

Across cities, the efforts ranged from understanding exclusion to mapping gaps to enabling increased quality access to various government programs, schemes and entitlements. These programmes include basic services related to right to food, right to education, child care, and social security. Supported by the Ford Foundation, the program evolved processes and strengthened mechanisms for community responsive delivery and enhanced voice, agency and involvement of marginal communities.

The work ranged from legal and social protection, strengthening women’s leadership, addressing domestic violence and child marriage, and building purposeful relationships with various stakeholders to ensure better implementation of programmes.

It was not easy as the women had to address and overcome many structural and systemic barriers, some of it successfully, while others continue to be a challenge. They made diligent efforts to partner with all stakeholders, in particular all city authorities, to ensure timely delivery of services and enable the officials to become more responsive and respectful of community priorities. This also meant intensive efforts to build their own collective understanding and capacities about the many complex and multi-dimensional issues.

Having had such meaningful experiences in diverse geographies, it was now time to hear their story, revisit their journey and collectively work to take the process forward.

To this end, a Consultation was organized on April 25, 2018 bring together community representatives, officials, school principalsand teachers from Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore and PuneThe consultation was unique as it gave each of them an opportunity to revisit their experiences and reflect on what was done and what could have been done better and ended on a high note and determination to continue the struggle with the same level of conviction and passion.

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