03Jul2014

Bukharaka Community Prepares Micro Plan for Development

“I have a dream that one day my village will be developed with facilities including water, electricity, hospitals and roads. Just like cities have. Currently, we lack everything,” said Murshida during the Mahila Gram Sabha (all women general body meeting) in Bukharaka village.

Bukharaka is a remote village in the disctrict of Mewat, Haryana, India. The village Mahila Gram Sabha was the first one of its kind. 200 women attended. During the meeting, many of the women spoke about the problems they face due to a lack of amenities in the village. “There is so much water logging and filth that it is difficult to walk through the village streets. We have no electricity and no supply of clean drinking water provided by the government,” Zaida lamented with teary eyes.

Many women complained that they could not send their daughters to the government school. There were no female teachers and no separate toilets for girls. Mr. Ishwar Singh Dagar, from the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) office, assured the women that he would talk with the Sarpanch (village council head). Together, they would figure out what government schemes they could use to address their problems.

The Sehgal Foundation organized the Mahila Gram as part of a four-day micro-planning workshop. The workshop encourages bottom-up village development planning, such as micro planning. Sehgal Foundation found micro planning to be a more effective method for planning development projects. Mr. B. R. Poonia leads the Sehgal Foundation’s Capacity Building Center program. He says, “The essence of Panchayat Raj is governance by the people. Unfortunately, even though Gram Sabhas (village level general body meetings) are mandatory, they hardly take place. To address this complete lack of grassroots governance, micro planning exercises are being organized in villages across Mewat.”

The micro planning team and Panchayat (village council) members visited the village to assess development needs. Village elders were consulted to document the village history. Social and resource maps were prepared in consultation with Panchayat members and villagers. The social map identifies utility information pertaining to households. The resource map identifies facilities available around the village.” These maps are updated as village development takes places. Villagers find the map preparation particularly interesting.

Meetings were held around Bukharaka to identify villagers’ critical needs. In these meetings, villagers selected drinking water and electricity as the priorities of village development. The community would focus on these utilities for the first two days of the micro planning process.

Mr. Pradip Godara, ADC, Mewat, represented the district administration at the Gram Sabha. During the meeting he learned about the water woes of the villagers. He immediately sanctioned the construction of a johad (water pond) in the village using government funds. After the meeting he met with the village Sarpanch to discuss the village’s micro plan in greater depth. The ADC added some ideas to the plan for maintaining village cleanliness. He suggested that the village select a day each month to celebrate cleanliness. On this day, school children and villagers would take brooms out onto the street to clean the village. A resident villager volunteered to lead the cleanliness campaign in Bukharaka.

The ADC also promised that he would sanction funds under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan government program for the construction of latrines in households. After witnessing many promises at the Gram Sambha, villagers are hopeful that they will see great change in their community soon.

Sehgal Foundation has found that, on average, 80% of planned development work is accomplished after micro planning. A recent project achieved construction of latrines in every household of the village. Other projects have focused on constructing soak pits for drainage and paving roads in villages.

According Nasir Hussain, Sehgal Foundation’s Community Capacity Builder, “Our work is to bridge the gap between the villagers and the government agencies, so that government schemes can be effectively utilized to facilitate development work in the villages.”

 

For more information, please contact:
Email: communications@smsfoundation.org