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Sustainability through Participation Empowerment and Decentralization

SPED III programme is focusing to create a systemized process of capacity building that will equip communities to ensure the comprehensive development of a village through participatory analysis and coordination of various development agencies working in a specified area. This programme tries to ensure overall development of the selected village through community participation and mobilization of local resources and the use of various possibilities available through different projects and programmes. As part of this programme a team under the leadership of ward members and key persons were organized in each ward. This team analyzed the needs and resources of the village through participatory Rural Appraisal Method. The information collected through the rural appraisal were prioritized and compiled as a need based development master plan of the village. This master plan may be updated according to the fulfillment of the prioritized need.

As a result of the project activity the Grama Panchayath is able to prepare a comprehensive development master plan for the village. The GP is also able to seek financial support to complete a particular project, which ensures the development of the whole area. Thrikkadavoor Panchayath in Kollam district is selected as the project area of Quilon social service society. Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA) is the financial supporters of this programme through Save A Family Plan India. The programme has been implemented for five year.

Panchayathi Raj Institution acts as the key factor for community mobilization and project implementation. The beneficiaries of the project are selected irrespective of caste, creed, religion or social status and on the basis of their interest and dedication to be the part of the local development initiatives and need. By networking all the existing Community Based Organization the project team had set up a Village Action Team. Ward members acts as the president of the team and the members are the key persons in the community. To identify the pertinent need of the community the VAT team members were provided with training on PR tools and conducted village level PRA at every project area. The PRA helped the project tem to create a critical consciousness among the community towards the identified issues. The prioritization of the identified needs led to the village level planning which finalized the issues and strategies for intervention. An apex body of VAT committee was formed for supervise the project activities and made collective efforts for local resource mobilization. The project team had networked with various government departments to strengthen the project activities and for find out local resources. As a result of this networking and advocacy the project had received wide acceptance and appreciation from different corners of administrative system and community. The first year Progarmme activity helped the community to recognize their developmental needs and possible solution with in the community by using internal and external resources.

MUKTHI – anti intoxicant campaign among the youth and adolescent and SUDDHI -the waste management campaign are the two major components of the programme. All other activities are the supporters for preparing platform to address the main issue. The major issues are selected by the community itself. 8 villages address the first issue and the remaining 12 address the next one. Through the first year activity we were able to lay foundation for the development of the deprived section by self initiated efforts and wise use of local resources.

BASELINE DATA COLLECTION
To confirm the authenticity of the issues identified through PRA and avoid biased assumption the project team had conducted an issue based base line data collection. The data collection helps the project team to get a clear picture about the level of awareness of the community about their standard of living and issues that they are facing. The team had covered all households in the project area and filled up a questionnaire on the basis of issues identified in the PRA. People’s response to the questions reveals the intensity of the problem. The baseline data collection leads to village level planning which paves basement for village level activities
VILLAGE LEVEL PLANNING
Village level planning is the basic tool which is used to design the activity plan for each village to address the prioritized issue. VAT at every village is the expert committee who designes the activity schedule for the project. Mr. Jamal, officer in Planning board, Dr. Susan Mathew, Medical Officer, Thrikkadavoor PHC Mr. Bal Raj, HI Thrikkadavoor PHC, Mr. Balagopal, HI Thrikkadavoor PHC, Mr. Sunilkumar, HI Thrikkadavoor PHC, fisheries officer, ICDS project Officer, CDS,ADS members and ASHA workers are the experts who contributed to the village level planning. The issues identified in the Participatory Rural Appraisal have been incorporated with the eight sectors described in the SPEDIII programme and designed village level development plan. Concerned sectors are Economic Growth, Food Security, Promoting Basic Primary Education, Improving Health Status, Gender Mainstreaming, Environment Consciousness Building and Good governance. The major activities planned under each issues depend on the nature of the issue. Awareness creation through seminars and workshop, formation of youth and children’s club, training for skill development and gender mainstreaming and observance of days of importance are the common components of the prioritized issue. Issue specified activities are also carried out by the team for sustainable development. The remedial measures for the issues take place under two banners such as “MUKTHI”- Anti intoxicant Campaign and “SUDDHI”-Waste management programme.

MUKTHI-ANTI INTOXICANT CAMPAIGN
The word MUKTHI means liberation of the senses from the clutches of the mind. Its general definition is enlightenment or a state of self-realization. In SPED III programme we bannered the anti intoxicant campaign under MUKTHI with an aim to release the human being from the evil and disastrous effects of drugs and other related substances. We believe that we are able to nurture a healthy generation with creativity and national integrity for development. The Participatory Rural Appraisal conducted in Thrikkadavoor Panchayath reveals the fact that the rate of addiction towards alcohol and other substances among the adolescents are increasing in number. The children are at the age of 11 or 12 are exposed to pan masala and other tobacco based substances due to the easy availability of the same at school premises. On the other hand due to unawareness, wrong social notion and peer group pressure the adolescents are easily addicted to intoxicants. Majority of the younger generation considers alcohol consumption as a part of social life. They start the habit in the early ages and become the victim of fatal diseases. Slowly the younger generation of the village become diseased and ultimately prevents the development and wellbeing of the society. A number of cases were reported from the schools about the alcohol consumption and misbehavior of the secondary level students. On the other hand most of the school premises are congested with petty shop where tobacco based intoxicants are abundant. The community demanded a wide spread grass root level awareness creation among the community as well as the adolescent to prevent the disastrous situation and protect the younger generation from the mouth of death. 8 villages selected drug abuse among the adolescent as the prime issue and anti intoxicant campaign as the goal of the first year activities. To achieve the pre determined goal the project team carried out a series of awareness creation programme and net work programmes at various level.VAT apex body and VAT committee at villages took the lead of the activities.

AWARENESS PROGRAMMES TO MOTHERS
The first and foremost target groups for anti intoxicant campaign are the mothers. The basic reason behind this priority is that the mother is the first recipient of each and every change occurred in the behavior of a child. By close observation they are able to understand the drastic changes and help their child to recover from the web of intoxicant with the help of proper treatment and psychological care. Keep this factor in mind the SPEDIII team conducted a series of awareness programmes for mothers. Through this programme they are able to identify the strange behaviour and bad habits at initial stages. This identification helps the mothers to correct their children at the right time and help them to escape from its clutches. Moreover the programme help the mothers to change their mind set towards alcohol consumption. A large number of them consider alcohol consumption as a part of social life and they are not aware about its dangers. The trainings help them to be clear about its dangers and to identify the ugly face of the substances wrapped in beautiful packets and advertisement. Excise and police department are the technical supporters for this awareness creation activities. The use of visual media helps the children to easily digest the message against intoxicants and encourage them to pass it to their peers very easily.

AWARENESS CREATION TO PRI AND ASHA WORKERS
As part of creating positive relation with the PRI and various institutions in the community and to provide a clear picture about the programme the project team conducted awareness class to the PRI members and ASHA workers. Through this programme we were able to resume a positive atmosphere for project implementation.

AWARENESS PROGRAMMES TO CHILDREN AND YOUTH
The prime victims and the witness of this disaster are children and youth. Right knowledge and awareness help them to skip this bad habit and identify their friends who are addicted to it and save them from it. To educate youth and children about the health hazards caused by intoxicants and social degradation, the SPEDIII team conducted awareness classes with the support of posters, medical charts and documentaries.

FORMATION OF YOUTH CLUB AND CHILDREN’S CLUB
There is a wide spread opinion that the adolescent and youth consider the alcohol consumption and substance abuse as a leisure time activity. If they are provided with arts and sports materials to spend their leisure time they will be engaged in the leisure time and will not be addicted to the habit. Taking this suggestion into consideration the SPEDIII team formed 16 children club and 8 youth clubs in the eight villages (villages selected anti intoxicant campaign as the prime issue)altogether. The SPEDIII team also formed men SHGs to strengthen the project activities.

DISTRIBUTION OF SPORTS KIT

To encourage the participation of the youth club and children’s club in the project activities and improve their interventions in socially important events the VAT apex body suggested to support them with sports materials needed to spend their leisure time. The sports material helps them to spend their time fruitfully and overcome peer pressure and gets de-addicted to the substances that adversely affect the life and health of the coming generation

OBSERVATION OF ANTI TOBACCO DAY

Tobacco in various forms is the most used and easily available intoxicant to students and children. The low cost and easy availability of pan Masala encourage the younger generation to get addicted. They consider the consumption of tobacco and allied products as a symbol of masculinity or make them leader in their peers. The false messages given through advertisement also act as a pressure factor to get addicted to these substances. To create awareness among the younger generation as well as the community about the dangers of Tobacco consumption the SPEDIII Team in coalition with PRI and a number of institutions working for a Tobacco free Panchayath conducted observation of Anti Tobacco Day on 31st may 2012.

PAINTING COMPETITION TO STUDENTS

To inculcate the message against the intoxicant consumption and to make them aware of the dangers of substance abuse the SPEDIII team conducted a painting competition on after effects of intoxicant consumption on various aspects of social life. By using their creativity the participants were able to provide a clear picture about the sales and consumption of intoxicants in their atmosphere. The competition was conducted at three levels. The winners were appreciated with cash awards.
Programme conducted under this banner were anti tobacco rally, public meeting, pledge against tobacco and allied product, prize distribution to winners of painting competition and distribution of Sports materials to children’s and youth club. Flag hoisting of the rally was done by Rev. Fr. Rajesh martin, Director, QSSS. Mr. Aman, President Thrikkadavoor G.P presided the public meeting. Shri P.G Thomas IAS, District collector inaugurated the public meeting. Dr. Shaji, DMO delivered the anti tobacco pledge. The participants vowed the pledge with lighted candle.

OBSERVATION OF INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING

Students are the most vigilant group and vibrant messengers against substance abuse. At the same time they are the most vulnerable to these disastrous habits. To make the children aware about the signs of substance abuse and it’s disastrous after effects will help us to identify the victims in the early stages and prevent the spread of the web to the coming generation. To instill this message in the mindset of the students the SPEDIII team has observed international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Dr. Rajasekharan, PTA president presided the function. Shri. P.G Thomas IAS inaugurated the function. Shri Sam Christy Daniel IPS delivered the key note address and Ms. Divya Devaki managed the session about how we should identify the evil notion of others and escape from the vicious clutches of substances. In this programme the team also conducted a documentary show on consumption and its bad effects of pan masala. This programme would help the students to vigilant in their atmosphere and prevents the spread of this disaster

OUTCOME OF THE PROGRAMME
Through this initiative the whole community was alarmed about the disastrous aftereffects of substance abuse and become vigilant to check the incidents by which the students became the victim of the same.

SUDDHI – WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME
The word SUDDHI derived from Sanskrit which means complete or comprehensive cleanliness or purified atmosphere. In this present scenario this is the right word for waste management efforts. Through this initiative we are able to lay the foundation for purified environment and atmosphere where each and every one respects others rights and live in safe and clean habitat. Solid waste management and proper method for it are the crucial issue discussed by the modern society. Presently the methods used by the state government and various PRIs created wide spread opposition and public agitation. People are in search of viable and low cost models for systematic waste management
PRA conducted in the Thrikkadavoor Panchayath reveals the fact that most of the villages consider Ashtamudi Lake as a waste dumping yard. It is the easiest way for them to dispose their waste. The continuous dumping of non degradable waste and plastic materials polluted the lake and adversely affects the estuary. As a result of the continuous waste dumping the traditional fishermen lost their catch and livelihood. A series of indigenous and rare species have disappeared from the lake. 12 villages in our project realized the severity of the issue and selected waste management as the prime issue that needs immediate attention and action.
To answer the call of the community the SPEDIII team had introduced SUDDHI- waste Management programme in 12 villages. The need of the community is awareness about the after effects of improper waste dumping in the lake. On the other hand they need low cost and viable methods for systematic and proper waste management. Stick on these objectives the SPEDIII team conducted a two way programme to instill a habit of proper waste management in the life style of the people. The basic and prior activity is awareness creation.
AWARENESS CREATION
Awareness creation for proper waste management is conducted for two populations. The first respondent was the key persons of the Panchayath including PRI members. The other group was house wives and women. Priority should be given to the women group because they are the first person who met with this issue. Through this session the project team tried to educate the people about the importance of proper waste management and various method.
AWARENESS CREATION TO PRI AND AHSA WORKERS
To inculcate the concept of proper and systematic waste management in the mindset of the community we need a liaison in the village. We used PRI and ASHA workers as the liaison for this purpose. To strengthen them with adequate knowledge base in the concerned subject we had conducted awareness programme for PRI and ASHA workers. This programme helped the project team to create a positive atmosphere in the community for project implementation.
HARIRHAMUTTOM-PIPE COMPOSTING AND KITCHEN GARDENING
Even though the community is aware about various systematic bio methods for waste management, reluctance to adopt these methods is the non viability and other practical difficulties. Most of the indigenous methods are not cost effective and need large volume of land. People with limited area or land holding are not able to follow this method. The SPED III team introduced pipe composting as a solution to this issue. Pipe composting is suitable for bio degradable waste only. In this method we are using PVC pipe having one meter length as the medium for making compost. This PVC pipe dig on earth.30 centimeter of the pipe in under earth and the remaining 70 centimeter is only visible above the land. The pipe has an end cap which is used to prevent the spreading up bad smell due to decaying of waste. A household will use this pipe to fill their wastes up to 45 days. After each filling the pipe has bunged with the end cap. After 45 days the pipe is pushed up from the pit and we collect the compost by using a stick or a steel bar. Normally a house hold needs two PVC pipes for continuous and proper waste management. This reporting period48 family in 8 villages supported with a pair of PVC

DISTRIBUTION OF VEGETABLE SEEDS FOR KITCHEN GARDEN

To encourage the households to implement systematic waste management system the beneficiaries of pipe composting is also provided with vegetable seeds to set up garden in their premises. The aim of the seed distribution is encourage the beneficiaries for systematic waste management and create new habit of production and consumption of organic vegetables. To ensure the proper use and maintenance of the newly introduced system the beneficiaries were provided with training on pipe composting and home stead farming. The pipe composting and kitchen gardening is named under the banner of HARITHAMUTTAM. Shri P.G. Thomas IAS District collector Kollam inaugurated the distribution on pipe for composting. Smt. Hemalatha Principal Agriculture Officer inaugurated the distribution of vegetable seeds for kitchen gardening
VILLAGE CLEANING DAY AND PLANTING OF SAPLING AT PUBLIC PLACES
To aware the people about the importance of cleanliness and proper waste management the SPEDIII team with the support of PRI observed GANDHIJAYANTHI and village cleaning day. The village cleaning day is ward level programme. Under this banner the VAT team with the support of MNREGP workers cleaned the public places. On the other hand as part of the observance of Gandhijayanthi the Grama Panchayath as a whole was engaged in cleaning. The ward members and Vat members took the leadership of the programme. The MNREGP workers, CDS,ADS Members, Kudumbasree workers, Ash workers, Anganwadi workers and other people voluntarily working as the service renders of the PRI actively participated in the cleaning programme. They cleaned the Public places and plant saplings at these places
DISTRIBUTION OF COAT TOMNREGP WORKERS
As a token of appreciation and recognition to the active participation of MNREGP workers in SPEDIII
programme as well as in the developmental initiatives taking place in the Panchayath the VAT Apex body suggested to provide an overcoat to the MNREGP workers as a uniform. This suggestion was approved by the VAT committees in all villages and the Panchayath committee. Owing to this suggestion the SPEDIII programme distributed uniform to the MNREGP workers
WASTE BIN TO ANGANWADI
The SPEDIII team strongly believes that systematic and proper waste management is a habit and part of culture. It will inculcate in our behaviour trough repeated action and training. It is more effective to train the younger generation in this direction than delivering hours long lectures to the elders. Owing to this factor the SPEDIII team distributed waste bin to the Anganwadi in 12 wards. This will help us to nurture the younger generation in a right direction. Programmes under the banner of SUDDHI helps to sow the seeds of systematic and proper waste management in the behaviour pattern of the people Introduction of pipe composting becomes a practical and viable model. The Panchayath committee took up the concept and included it in the next year project for replication Kitchen gardening helped us to change the present food habit of the people to a new style.
PRINTING OF IEC MATERIALS
IEC materials are inevitable part and strength of the community based activities. Through this medium the projects interacts with the community and convey these concepts and ideas to their conscience. To ensure the easy and fast communication of the project concepts with the community the project team had printed a series of IEC materials like notice, brochures, posters, notice boards and information boards at public places. All these materials act as the triggering factor for effective implementation of the programme.
GENDER MAINSTREAMING
Gender mainstreaming is a vibrantly speaking and attention seeking issue in the present Indian society. Even though Kerala is occupying first place in literacy, health care practice and in service sector, women are considered as second grade citizen in the social order. Because of this, we are following the patriarchal nature in the social set up like the general atmosphere in our country the women are facing a series of atrocities in various forms. Even though the country had passed a number of laws for the protection of women, she is attacked by fellow men in her house, workplace, school, and vehicle and even in public places. A limited number of cases in this series got public attention and among them most of the culprits are escaped from the capital punishment by using the loophole in law. In most of the cases the victim are not able to respond or raise their objection against these atrocities. Unawareness about the law favorable to them, hesitation and fear to react against the harassment, lack of moral support from family and community, fear about dishonoring of the victim and family are act as the hurdles to women to come forward to the main stream of the community To eliminate this discriminatory situation and emancipate the women from the present degraded status we need awareness creation among the women on the one side and accumulate community support on the other side. To strengthen the women group in the Thrikkadavoor GP and to make them vigilant about the atrocities against women we had conducted a series of activities in the reporting period
AWARENESS CLASS ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
The aim of the programme is to create awareness among the women about the present socio cultural traits and challenges they are facing in the social life. Through this training they are provided with information about how to manage issues that become a threat to their fundamental rights. They are also provided with information about laws and structures that are favorable and supportive to them in time of crisis. Through this awareness programme they are able to maintain proper communication with their daughters and capacitate them for a healthy response to the present situations and issues. Ms. Divya Devaki is the technical supporter for this awareness creation with her interesting and simple lecture.
POSTER PASTING FOR OBSERVATION OF ANTITOBACCO DAY
To provide a psychological support and motivation to women who are ready to come to the main stream of the society the SPEDIII team take initiatives to conduct poster painting for Anti Tobacco day by women team. A group of women including SPEDIII team members, CDS and ADS members, Kudumbasree workers, VAT members under the leadership of ward members pasted posters in various places. This act has attracted by the public as well as the media. This activity increase the confidence of the women who are working in the public arena of the Panchayath
TRAINING ON ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD
The SPED III team believes that economic empowerment and independence is the basic pillar of women empowerment. Unemployment is one of the crucial issue and reluctant factor to women to be a part in the decision making bodies. As a solution to this issue SPEDIII team had conducted a series of income generating training progarmmes to the beneficiaries of the SPEDIII project. Major skill trainings provided to the beneficiaries are training on saree painting, star making and jewellery making. All these trainings were act as a foundation stone for livelihood programme to the beneficiaries. Through this livelihood they are able to find and additional income and support to their family.
ACHIEVEMENTS
As a token of recognition and acceptance to the dedicated work carried out through the SPEDIII project the Panchayath committee allotted a permanent office space for the SPEDIII team in the Panchayath office. This office space will be used by the project team until we are leaving from the Panchayath. This acceptance may act as a booster to the further programme activities took place under SPEDIII
CONCLUSION
Sustainability through Participation Empowerment and Decentralization is a sensible idea in the decentralized planning and development scenario of the society. From the experience of first year activities took place under the banner of SPEDIII in Thrikkadavoor GP reveals the fact that realization of genuine need by the community and peoples participation to development activities are the key factor for decentralized planning and development. Through the initiatives under the SPEDIII programme we are able to increase peoples participation in the developmental activities took place in the GP and lit a light of hope about a sustainable development in the heart of the people. This hope itself will act as acceleration for future programmes under SPEDIII