Mahila Manch is group of women that is invariably called Community Based Organization (CBO) formed in each targeted Gram Panchayat. The women group members belong to socially excluded groups (SEGs) mainly SC and Muslim. Women itself are one of the primary target beneficiaries under PACS project. The purpose of CBOs formation was imparting knowledge on our focused thematic areas i.e. MNREGA, Health, Education and Nutrition related govt. schemes benefits and Developing the leadership capacity of socially excluded communities especially among women and encouraging them to raise their voices strongly for their entitled rights.
In Chitrasenpur village, Mahila Manch is formed like in other target villages. Manju Devi is leader of Mahila Manch in the villages. This group is quite active in the village and raise demand on the identified local issues time by time. Once, the Mahila Manch members realized that they are facing difficulty in getting MNREGA works through Gram Pradhan at the Gram Panchayat level. After several round of follow up about it, they got no result.
Finally they decided to use MNREGA Toll Free no. get employment. This resulted that their application got accepted and work was to be allotted ultimately through Gram Panchayat as local body for the purpose. Rojgar Sewak is female in this village and she belongs to upper caste people. Total 14 days of MNREGA work demand was accepted. So, first 7 days of the work was given by the Gram Panchayat in their village. But next 7 days of work was allotted to the Mahila Manch member far from the village above 5 km. away so as to discourage them for not taking such initiative again in future.
But, Mahila Manch members were determined on their decision that whatsoever it may happen; they would work under MNREGA even beyond 5 km. distance limit. They were also firmed on their opinion that they would not sign on the muster roll until Rojgar Sewak visit at the work site that had never before in the village that a female, belonging to upper caste visited at the work site to get the laboure’s signature/thumb impression on the muster roll. Observing the Mahila Mach women’s collective strength, she visited at the work site and took signature/thumb impression on the record.
It was the perhaps first time for Chitrasenpur village that is dominated by Patel people come under OBC caste category, women members of Mahila Manch from the socially excluded group challenged to the existing system and panchayat functionaries related to MNREGA and bound them to provide works and they did it in a collective manner with firm decision that was taken.
Again, Mahila Manch members demanded for MNREGA work after completion previous 14 days work. They again used Toll Free No. This time, work was allotted to them at a fenland (Mire) and it was not appropriate to work by anyone. As said before that this was due to the reversal effect of their initiatives to demand work through use of Toll Free no. and challenging the existing Panchayat works. But they faced this challenge & submitted an application to BDO by Gramya team support to change the work place.