Mission Convergence: Ensuring services and entitlements to urban poor communities
CFAR has been working with issues concerning the urban poor since 2005 and it was the sharing of experiences and evidences from the ground with the Delhi government that led to the introduction of the Mission Convergence program in which the government redefined the criteria for identification of the urban poor and brought nine line departments and 45 social assistance schemes under a “single window” scheme, at the district level. The aim being to provide easier access to social welfare schemes and entitlements to people below poverty line, single women headed households and children in urban poor settlements of Delhi.
Two mechanisms were also created to ensure access to entitlements and empower urban communities District Resource Centres (DRCs) based in the Deputy Commissioners Office to serve as the single window at the district level and the Gender Resource Centres (GRCs) which serve as the first point of contact for community. Besides assisting in availing entitlements, the GRCs also work for the social, economic and legal empowerment of women through various local interventions.
Gender Resource Centre (GRC)
In the initial phase of 2009, the main activities of the GRC was that of identify vulnerable pockets in the catchment area, verification of vulnerable pockets and mapping and survey. Presently, the GRC is working to empower women through social development, skill development training and financial inclusion activities and also assisting vulnerable families and entitlement holders through various service delivery and cash entitlement schemes of the State and Central Governments. Till date 75,434 beneficiaries reached out to through various components and schemes of GRC-CFAR. Key intervention areas of GRC programme activities –
- Health Services through health clinics and health camps.
- Functional literacy through Non Formal Education courses.
- Legal awareness and legal aid through awareness camps.
- Awareness about low cost nutrition demonstrations and awareness camps.
- Creation of health champions/groups through Water Sanitation and Hygiene awareness programs.
- Formation of groups to raise voices on all forms of violence against women through the Awaz Uthao Campaign program etc.
- Skill development through vocational training courses.
- Social Empowerment through Self Help Groups, micro credit and micro finance information dissemination and facilitation through the GRC Help Desk Centre
District Resource Centre (DRC)
CFAR has been appointed to act as the link between community structures (GRCs) and the Deputy Commissioner, South District, who has been mandated to head Mission Convergence in the district. CFAR’s role is to ensure that the government-community convergence is facilitated and outreach with the community is supported in as many ways as possible.
In South District, there are 18 NGOs working as Gender Resource Centres (GRCs) spread over 257 slums. In Phase-I of the initiative, 8 of these GRCs identified the vulnerable and most vulnerable section of society in their catchment areas. In Phase-II, 9 GRCs (7 new and 2 old) surveyed their catchment areas.
In the ongoing Phase-III survey, 3 GRCs were selected in September 2009. Surveys are being done of households and areas that were left out of the earlier surveys.
The District Commissioner conducts monthly meetings to strengthen the District Convergence Forum. 11 District Convergence Forum meetings have been held in the district. Of the 11 meetings, 9 meetings were chaired by the DC. This ensured that the programme received timely guidance and support and much needed direction and command.
District Convergence Forums function like a programme review mechanism. They also serve as a platform to strengthen dialogue and exchange between the government, the community and civil society structures
In the initial phase, most of the decisions were aimed at strengthening the administrative convergence.