As they say, ‘Either you provide every meal for a man , or teach him how to fish, and he’ll never be hungry again’.
The dilemma in any social intervention is how long to remain engaged with a community? The longer you remain engaged, the more difficult it is for the community to become self-reliant, while other equally or more-needy communities are deprived of support. Creating sustainable intervention programs is the key. To make this happen, a crucial aspect is to train community leaders and volunteers to take charge of their own future, and empower them to demand services from the government machinery.
When Growth-For-All faced this question at Savda Ghevra, one of the strategies we chose recently was to launch a 18-month long legal awareness program in collaboration with specialist NGO, Multiple Action Research Group (MARG).
As a part of this program, funded by my friend, Kanika Mathur, 16 Para-legals and 45 Community leaders are undergoing intensive legal awareness training within the colony. They will learn necessary information and skills so that they are able to discover answers to most problems faced by them. One of the volunteers, Kamna, speaks about how she was often chased away by various government departments. Now, with adequate information, she is confidently able to articulate her problems, and also makes sure that government officials are accountable to her. Simple things such as keeping a copy or proof for applications filed in government offices, were not something that people from Savda Ghevra were aware of. Getting trained on matters pertaining to Police, their Fundamental Rights, the Constitution, about government departments, etc will help equip them in matters concerning their daily lives.