Monday, 31 March 2014

Community Based Rehabilitation

In a good move India hosted the First Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) World Congress – the first ever global meeting on community-based rehabilitation for differently-abled persons. The three-day event was  held at Agra from November 26 and adopted a global strategy on CBR and establish a global CBR network.  Around 1,200 delegates from more than 85 countries participated in the Congress.
The theme of the World Congress was “Community Based Rehabilitation: The Key to Realising Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities” and the agenda included Community Based Rehabilitation and Convention on Rights of the People with Disabilities, CBR and Millennium Development Goals, extending the reach of CBR, human rights and development and inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities.
What is CBR
It is promoted by World Health Organization(WHO). Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families, organizations and communities, relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social and other services.
In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s and 1990s numerous pilot projects were launched in developing countries in Africa, Asia and to a lesser extent in Latin America under the aegis of CBR. Than it has evolved to become a multi-sectoral strategy that empowers persons with disabilities to access and benefit from education, employment, health and social services.
Definitely such type of  global meet helps society  to understand the current trends in CBR, share the rich experiences, challenges faced, achievements to influence the future and make new acquaintances for a better world for all, including for persons with disabilities and their families and communities. As in India there are more than two crore differently abled people (NSO data), it become more important for us to understand the new method of their upliftment.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Disaster Management Cycle

Disaster management aims to reduce, or avoid, the potential losses from hazards, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of disaster, and achieve rapid and effective recovery. The Disaster management cycle illustrates the ongoing process by which governments, businesses, and civil society plan for and reduce the impact of disasters, react during and immediately following a disaster, and take steps to recover after a disaster has occurred. Appropriate actions at all points in the cycle lead to greater preparedness, better warnings, reduced vulnerability or the prevention of disasters during the next iteration of the cycle. The complete disaster management cycle includes the shaping of public policies and plans that either modify the causes of disasters or mitigate their effects on people, property, and infrastructure.
The mitigation and preparedness phases occur as disaster management improvements are made in anticipation of a disaster event. Developmental considerations play a key role in contributing to the mitigation and preparation of a community to effectively confront a disaster. As a disaster occurs, disaster management actors, in particular humanitarian organizations, become involved in the immediate response and long-term recovery phases. The four disaster management phases illustrated here do not always, or even generally, occur in isolation or in this precise order. Often phases of the cycle overlap and the length of each phase greatly depends on the severity of the disaster.
  • Mitigation - Minimizing the effects of disaster.
    Examples: building codes and zoning; vulnerability analyses; public education.
  • Preparedness - Planning how to respond.
    Examples: preparedness plans; emergency exercises/training; warning systems.
  • Response - Efforts to minimize the hazards created by a disaster.
    Examples: search and rescue; emergency relief .
  • Recovery - Returning the community to normal.
    Examples: temporary housing; grants; medical care.

Sustainable Development
Developmental considerations contribute to all aspects of the disaster management cycle. One of the main goals of disaster management, and one of its strongest links with development, is the promotion of sustainable livelihoods and their protection and recovery during disasters and emergencies. Where this goal is achieved, people have a greater capacity to deal with disasters and their recovery is more rapid and long lasting. In a development oriented disaster management approach, the objectives are to reduce hazards, prevent disasters, and prepare for emergencies. Therefore, developmental considerations are strongly represented in the mitigation and preparedness phases of the disaster management cycle. Inappropriate development processes can lead to increased vulnerability to disasters and loss of preparedness for emergency situations.
Mitigation activities actually eliminate or reduce the probability of disaster occurrence, or reduce the effects of unavoidable disasters. Mitigation measures include building codes; vulnerability analyses updates; zoning and land use management; building use regulations and safety codes; preventive health care; and public education.
Mitigation will depend on the incorporation of appropriate measures in national and regional development planning. Its effectiveness will also depend on the availability of information on hazards, emergency risks, and the countermeasures to be taken. The mitigation phase, and indeed the whole disaster management cycle, includes the shaping of public policies and plans that either modify the causes of disasters or mitigate their effects on people, property, and infrastructure.
The goal of emergency preparedness programs is to achieve a satisfactory level of readiness to respond to any emergency situation through programs that strengthen the technical and managerial capacity of governments, organizations, and communities. These measures can be described as logistical readiness to deal with disasters and can be enhanced by having response mechanisms and procedures, rehearsals, developing long-term and short-term strategies, public education and building early warning systems. Preparedness can also take the form of ensuring that strategic reserves of food, equipment, water, medicines and other essentials are maintained in cases of national or local catastrophes.
During the preparedness phase, governments, organizations, and individuals develop plans to save lives, minimize disaster damage, and enhance disaster response operations. Preparedness measures include preparedness plans; emergency exercises/training; warning systems; emergency communications systems; evacuations plans and training; resource inventories; emergency personnel/contact lists; mutual aid agreements; and public information/education. As with mitigations efforts, preparedness actions depend on the incorporation of appropriate measures in national and regional development plans. In addition, their effectiveness depends on the availability of information on hazards, emergency risks and the countermeasures to be taken, and on the degree to which government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public are able to make use of this information.

Humanitarian Action
During a disaster, humanitarian agencies are often called upon to deal with immediate response and recovery. To be able to respond effectively, these agencies must have experienced leaders, trained personnel, adequate transport and logistic support, appropriate communications, and guidelines for working in emergencies. If the necessary preparations have not been made, the humanitarian agencies will not be able to meet the immediate needs of the people.
The aim of emergency response is to provide immediate assistance to maintain life, improve health and support the morale of the affected population. Such assistance may range from providing specific but limited aid, such as assisting refugees with transport, temporary shelter, and food, to establishing semi-permanent settlement in camps and other locations. It also may involve initial repairs to damaged infrastructure. The focus in the response phase is on meeting the basic needs of the people until more permanent and sustainable solutions can be found. Humanitarian organizations are often strongly present in this phase of the disaster management cycle.
As the emergency is brought under control, the affected population is capable of undertaking a growing number of activities aimed at restoring their lives and the infrastructure that supports them. There is no distinct point at which immediate relief changes into recovery and then into long-term sustainable development. There will be many opportunities during the recovery period to enhance prevention and increase preparedness, thus reducing vulnerability. Ideally, there should be a smooth transition from recovery to on-going development.
Recovery activities continue until all systems return to normal or better. Recovery measures, both short and long term, include returning vital life-support systems to minimum operating standards; temporary housing; public information; health and safety education; reconstruction; counseling programs; and economic impact studies. Information resources and services include data collection related to rebuilding, and documentation of lessons learned.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Thomas Chalmers

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) was born in Anstruther on the east coast of Scotland and trained as a Presbyterian preacher (Church of Scotland). He devoted much of his time to mathematics and became assistant to a professor at St Andrews (Scotland`s first university). In 1803, he was ordained as minister the parish of Kilmany. After a severe illness, in 1815 he moved on to Glasgow where he became minister of the Tron Church. His reputation as preacher spread throughout the UK. 
It was in industrial Glasgow that he was confronted with severe poverty which he found deeply disturbing from his rural background. He started experimenting with the organizational structure of the parish, work that continued after September 1819 when he became minister of the church and parish of St John, also in Glasgow. He strongly dissuaded the poor in his parish to rely on the official poor relief organised by the city council, as he strongly opposed public assistance. In fact, he thought almost any kind of help was an disincentive to finding work and using one`s own resources. Chalmers was convinced that local solidarity and mutual support in the neighbourhoods were significantly more effective than the alms given by the government. Those would only be an incentive to increasingly ask for more and hence erode the individuals own responsibility and efforts. 
What was needed was an active link to the community that, according to Chalmers, would address problems through local solidarity. Included in the community, the poor could work and be modest while enlarging their own responsibility. Whenever financial help was needed, this should come from the religious community. Charity had to be preferred, as it generated altruism from the giver. 

Chalmers` systematic mind led him to divide his parish into several districts (proportions) and to link one responsible person (deacon) to each of them. Very frequent home visits were to be made to residents. One of the deacons` tasks was to establish a friendly relationship with the poor and monitor their situation: material context, family ties, friendships and the like. This would be the basis for support and care. At the same time, Chalmers organised decent primary education and weekend schools where children received an extra portion of education, both secular and religious. 

With these principles he translated one of his core concepts into practice: to help the poor to help themselves (which is remarkably similar to Octavia Hill`s motto Help without alms). This was all supported by friendly visiting. The approach of Thomas Chalmers raised substantial interest, and influenced others such as Charles Loch (who established the English Charity Organisation Society), Joseph Tuckermann (founder of the Boston Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, 1835), Mary Richmond (who used it in her Friendly visiting among the poor, 1899). Chalmers` ideas were exported for instance to Germany (the Elberfelder model in Wupperthal, 1853) and to the Netherlands (the `liefdadigheid naar vermogen`, 1871). 

To the present day, Chalmers` concepts are relevant to social work. Key elements of his approach can be found in community care and the current policy developments on Big Society in Britain. His criticism of welfare benefits is remarkably similar to much more recent criticism of social policy

Saul Alinsky

Recently the name of Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) has become more known than ever and a number of new books highlight his work, all thanks to President Barack Obama mentioning him regularly as a source of inspiration. Obama isn’t lonely in his admiration, Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis about Alinsky. But who is this Saul Alinsky, and what kind of inspiration does he have to offer? 

Alinsky was born in 1909 in a poor area of Chicago and grew up in a strict orthodox Jewish family which implies plenty of focus on study, work and religion. Chicago is also the city where Jane Addams established Hull House, and that isn’t the only parallel in their work. Alinsky wasn’t a social activist from the start, as he graduated in archaeology. But the Great Depression implied finding a job in this field was next to impossible. As an alternative and influenced by is involvement with the industrial action of mine workers as well as the Chicago School and its urban sociologists Robert Ezra Park and Ernest Burgess, Alinsky became involved in community organizing in the slums of Chicago. His first major involvement was with Back of the Yards, a poor neighbourhood next to the meat packing industry in the Union Stock Yards in the north of the city. Some time later, his work shifted towards the Woodlawnneighbourhood south of the city centre. He became good at what he did. So good that he started traveling around the USA to support other initiatives of community organizing. 
In 1940, Alinsky established the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a network of local faith- or community-based initiatives. The organisation is still active these days. It later also proofed to be an example for similar networks, e.g. Pacific Institute for Community Organization launched by John Baumann in 1972. Some years after the launch of IAF, in 1946, Alinsky published his first manual for community organizers, Reveille for radicals. This was complemented in 1971 by Rules for radicals. Both have been reprinted numerous times. 

Alinsky can rightly be described as the founding father of community organizing, both through his own actions and publications as well as through the inspiration he was for others. Community organizing was the way to improve living conditions, hence his expression: “to hell with charity. The only thing you get is what you are strong enough to get – so you had better organize.” Alinsky always stressed community organization was about grass roots activity, about offering the poor and powerless the tools to achieve social change. It was absolutely not about getting people to a certain goal, but about encouraging them and giving them instruments to take action themselves. Community organizing is about given the poor and oppressed the power to speak, not about being their voice. 

Alinsky will also be remembered for the creativity in the actions he initiated (or threatened to initiate), such as a rent strike against landlords of slums, a sit-in at the office of the mayor, a piss-in at O’Hare airport (where all toilets would be permanently occupied until talks were opened) and a fart-in at a concert, for which participants would consume a large meal of baked beans in advance. 

1975 Fundamental Principles of Disability

For many centuries, citizens with an impairment were hardly granted a place in society. They were left on their own or killed immediately after being born. In ancient Roman society, it was a legal requirement to eliminate babies with impairments. Aristotle wrote that deaf people couldn’t think, as they had no language. Not much progress was made during medieval times. Early in the 16th century, Luther referred to people with cognitive impairments as massa carnis, a `heap of meat`. Children with impairments were considered to come from the devil, who had swapped his own deformed offspring with those of humans. 
Only in the 18th century did this pessimism about people with impairments begin to change. The French author Denis Diderot (1713-1784) wrote letters about the possibilities of deaf and blind people. And the Abbé Charles-Michel de l`Épée established one of the first schools for deaf children in 1760. With the aid of wooden letters and numbers, Valentin Haüy (1745-1822) demonstrated that blind children could communicate and that being blind does not equal being dumb. Other initiatives soon followed. All marked the transition towards a pedagogical optimism about what children with impairments could learn and achieve. 

Significant further development in thinking about disability and impairments occurred in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century, culminating in the publication of the British Fundamental Principles of Disability in 1975. This document explicitly declared that “it is society which disables physically impaired people”. It introduced the subtle but crucial distinction between an impairment (a bodily function that doesn’t operate as one would expect) and a disability (the difficulties caused by society to a person with an impairment). 
It was Michael Oliver who built on these developments and coined the term ‘social model’, to distinguish it from the medical model. With the latter, help is focused on the individual and his or her impairments. Within the social model, help is focused on society and accessibility. Whether a person has a mobility impairment or not is up to bad luck and health care; but whether the mobility impairment prevents that person from participating (going to school, taking the train, …) is up to society. 
This led to a focus on universal access or design for all in building and product design. It was for example included in the famous section 508 of the US rehabilitation act which obliged all parts of government to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with impairments. As a result, software like Windows became more accessible. 
An additional source of inspiration for this development is the principle of normalization and the closely related theory of Social Role Valorisation as it emerged in the same period in Sweden and the US to spread quickly across the world and to different areas of human service. Important ambassadors were Bengt Nirje and Wolf Wolfensberger (1934-2011). A key element is to make available to people with impairments “patterns of life and conditions of everyday living which are as close as possible to the regular circumstances and ways of life or society”. 

This change of thinking about disability and people with impairments culminated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was adopted in December 2006. 

what is SABLA scheme

With the objective to improve the nutritional and health status of adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years and empower them by providing education in life-skills, health and nutrition, the Government of India introduced the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls – SABLA in November, 2010.
SABLA scheme replaced  the erstwhile Kishori Shakti Yojana (the objective of this scheme was to improve the nutrition and health status of girls in the age‐group of 11 to 18 years, to equip them to improve and upgrade their home‐based and vocational skills, and to promote their overall development, including awareness about their health, personal hygiene, nutrition and family welfare and management)and Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls (under this programme, 6 kg of free food grain per beneficiary per month was given to undernourished Adolescent Girls).
The objectives of the scheme are to:
a) enable self‐development and empowerment of AGs
b) improve their nutrition and health status;
c) spread awareness among them about health, hygiene, nutrition, Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH), and family and child care;
d) upgrade their home‐based skills, life skills and vocational skills;
e) mainstream out‐of‐school AGs into formal/non formal‐education;
f) Inform and guide them about existing public services, such as PHC, CHC, Post Office, Bank, Police Station, etc.
Brief description of the services to be provided under the scheme:
a) Nutrition: Each AG will be given Supplementary nutrition (SN) containing 600 calories, 18-20 grams of protein and micro-nutrients, per day for 300 days in a year. The out of school AGs in the age group of 11-15 years attending Anganwadi Centres AWCs and all girls in the age group of 15-18 years will be provided Supplementary nutrition in the form of Take Home Ration (THR). However, if hot cooked meal is provided to them, strict quality standards have to be put in place. The Take Home Ration as provided to Pregnant & Lactating (P & L) mothers may be provided for AGs also, since the financial and calorific norms of Supplementary nutrition for both is same.
b) IFA Supplementation: Under Reproductive & Child Health (RCH-2) of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), school children (6-10 years) and adolescents (11-18 years) have been included in the National Nutrition Anaemia Control Programme (NNAPP). States will establish convergence with the programme being implemented by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to provide 100 adult tablets of IFA to each beneficiary through supervised consumption. IFA tablets will be distributed to AGs on Kishori Diwas.
c) Health check-up and Referral Services: There will be general health check up of all AGs, at least once in three months on a special day called the Kishori Diwas. The Medical Officer/Auxiliary Nurse & Midwife (ANM) will provide the de-worming tablets to the girls requiring this (as per State specific guidelines). Height, weight measurement of the AGs will be done on this day. Kishori cards for every girl will be prepared and maintained by marking major milestones. The weighing scales provided under ICDS will be used for weighing AG.
d) Nutrition and Health Education (NHE): NHE will be given to all AGs in the AWC jointly by the ICDS and health functionaries and resource persons/ field trainers from NGOs/Community Based Organisations(CBOs). This will include encouraging healthy traditional practices and dispelling harmful myths, healthy cooking and eating habits, use of safe drinking water and sanitation, personal hygiene, including management of menarche, etc. The adolescent girls will be informed about balanced diet and recommended dietary intake, nutrient deficiency disorders and their prevention, identification of locally available nutritious food, nutrition during pregnancy and for infants. This would also include imparting information about common ailments, personal hygiene, exercise/ yoga and holistic health practices.
e) Life Skills Education and Accessing Public Services: Its ultimate aim is to enable AGs in self development. Broad topics to be covered in the training for development of life skills may include confidence building, self awareness and self esteem, decision making, critical thinking, communication skills, rights & entitlement, coping with stress and responding to peer pressure, functional literacy, etc.

what is Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched in the year 2000 and has the objective of providing all-weather connectivity to all unconnected habitations with population of 500 persons and above 250 persons and above in hilly states, desert areas (as identified under DDP), Tribal Schedule-V areas and 82 selected tribal and backward districts as identified under Integrated Action Plan in rural areas of the country.
According to latest figures made available by the State Governments under a survey to identify Core Network as part of the PMGSY programme, about 1.67 lakh Unconnected Habitations are eligible for coverage under the programme. This involves construction of about 3.71 lakh km. of roads for New Connectivity and 3.68 lakh km. under upgradation.
Grameen Sadak Yojana enhances movement between villages and towns. Thus increases the pace of rural development as follows:
• New business opportunities will emerge due to better transport.
• Transportation cost of agricultural goods will get reduce.
• This will increase connectivity to schools and hospitals.
• This will provide employment to poor and unemployed people.
• This will increase penetration of government assistance in inaccessible areas too.
• This will enhance the better implementation of government schemes.
Farmers now find it easier to take their produce to market in time, school enrollment is on the rise, and families’ access to health care has improved. The Rural Roads Project has also brought about a paradigm shift in the way rural roads are mapped, designed, monitored, and built.
  The Union Cabinet has given its approval to for the upgradation of the scheme. The new norms include:
A. Revision of the Core Network by including:
I. 2,687 left-out unconnected habitations (as per the 2001 census) in Tribal (Schedule-V) areas (other than 82 Integrated Action Plan (lAP) districts already included) and blocks adjoining the international border under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP). It was also approved to provide new connectivity to these habitations and allowing  upgradation of certain roads measuring about 2,000 km in these areas at an estimated cost of Rs.1,000 crore (at 2012-13 prices), based on a road condition survey which will determine an upgradation priority list;
II. 1,410 left out unconnected habitations with population of 250 persons and above (as per the 2001 census) in the 10 Hill States and desert areas (as identified under the Desert Development Programme (DDP)) to provide new connectivity to these habitations;
III. 9,112 left out unconnected habitations with population of 500 persons and above (as per the 2001 census) in plain areas to provide new connectivity to these habitations, at an estimated cost of Rs.13,850 crore (at 2012-13 prices).
B. Extension of the cluster approach from international border blocks to international border districts of the State of Arunachal Pradesh,  by clubbing the  population within a path distance of 10 km, and treating as a cluster for eligibility and to provide new connectivity to 126 habitations at an estimated cost of Rs.1,200 crore (at 2012-13 prices)
C. ‘In principle’ approval for covering unconnected habitations with population of 100 persons and above (as per the 2001 census) in the Left Wing Extremists affected blocks (identified in consultations with the Ministry of Home Affairs) with a limited provision to complete missing links, to form closed loops from through routes of the core network at an estimated cost of Rs. 8,000 crore (at 2012-13 prices).
The net number of total eligible unconnected habitations are 1,64,849. This is likely to increase to 1,78,184 habitations on account of this relaxation.

Integrated Watershed Management Programme as new flagship porgramme

In order to make Centrally-sponsored programmes condensed, the Cabinet has approved Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) as a flagship programme of the government.
Around 60% of cultivated area across India is rain-fed. Besides, these areas are also blighted by poverty, water scarcity, low productivity, malnutrition and prone to severe land degradation. The watershed development programme has been adopted as a tool to address problems of the rain-fed or degraded areas in the country.
 Key Points of IWMP:
  • Launched in 2009-10 by the integration of various area development programmes of the Department of Land Resources, including the Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), the Desert Development Programme (DDP) and the Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP).
  • The 12th Plan allocates the programme an additional Rs. 29,296 crore.
  • Cost sharing ratio of Central Government : State Government = 90 : 10
  • 9% of the project cost is earmarked for development of livelihoods for asset-less people
  • 10% of the project cost is for productivity enhancement and development of micro-enterprises for small & marginal farmers.
  • An average size of project under the IWMP is about 5,000 ha which is cluster of micro-watersheds.
  • A portion of institution &capacity building (5% of the total project cost) has been provided to set up institutional mechanism at State, District, Project and Village levels and to build capacities of stakeholders.
  • It also entails involvement of primary stakeholders in the form of grassroots community organisations.
Integerated watershed development programme
Expected Benefits of IWMP:
The benefits include increase in availability of surface water & groundwater, changes in cropping pattern from one to two crops annually, increase in fodder availability and increase in milk yield, increase in agriculture
What are Flagship Programmes:
Flagship programmes derive their origin from the term flagship which is the main or most important ship of a country’s navy and is symbolic of the main thrust of the nation’s developmental policy. Major Flagship programmes of the Government of India are:
Bharat Nirman: The objective of the Bharat Nirman Programme is to give top priority to rural infrastructure by setting time-bound goals under various schemes to develop rural housing, rural roads, irrigation, rural drinking water and rural electrification. The Programme imposes a responsibility on sub-national governments to create these facilities in a transparent and accountable manner.
National Rural Health Mission: The main aim of NRHM is to provide accessible, affordable, accountable, effective, and reliable primary health care, especially to poor and vulnerable sections of the population. The programme sets standards for rural health care and provides financial resources from the Union Government to meet these standards.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme: The Act was notified on 7 September 2005 and is aimed at providing livelihood security through employment for the rural poor.
Sarva Siksha Abhigyan: This programme was started with the objective of providing elementary education for all children in the age group of 6–14 years by 2010.
Mid-day meal Scheme: The MDM Scheme launched in 1995 aims to give a boost to universalization of primary education by increasing enrolment, retention, and attendance and simultaneously impacting upon nutritional status of students in primary classes.

Summary of Integrated Child Development Scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved a plan to bring about substantial strengthening and restructuring of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS).
What is ICDS?
ICDS is a centrally sponsored flagship scheme for holistic development of children and was introduced in 1975. It is implemented through the concerned States/UTs with the funding by the Government in the ratio of 50:50 for supplementary nutrition (90:10 in NER) and 90:10 for other operational components between the Centre and the States.
ICDS today is the world’s largest community based outreach program for early child development, reaching out to over 9.65 crore beneficiaries of which 7.82 crore is children under 6 and 1.83 crore is lactating mothers. ICDS has been universalized largely post 2005-06 and finally in 2008-09 through 7076 approved projects and 14 lakh AWC’s across the country.
ICDS acts as a critical link between children and women and with the primary health care and elementary education systems. It also provides a protective environment for young children- including care and protection of the young and adolescent girl child.
Why Restructuring?
The expansion of the scheme did not commensurate with the resources both human and financial as a result of which number of gaps/shortcomings crept, which were essential to be rectified. There was a need to address these gaps/shortcomings through restructuring and strengthening of the scheme.
These related to enhancing nutritional impact, reaching the child under three years in the family and community, changing caring and feeding behaviours in the family, reaching the most deprived community groups, responding flexibly to local needs for child care, responding to community demand for early learning, increasing ownership of Panchayati Raj Institutions and achieving an optimal balance between universalization and quality.
A major challenge was in implementation gaps that arises out of inadequate resource investment, inadequate funding, lack of convergence, lack of accountability of those managing and implementing the programme, especially, at the level of anganwadi centres and supervisory level, lack of community ownership and the general perception about ICDS being a “Feeding” program and not an Early childhood development program.
The issue was given highest priority by the Government at the level of Prime Minister’s Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges, NAC as well as by the Planning Commission.
The Restructuring:
The strengthening and restructuring of the scheme consist of programmatic, management and institutional reforms which includes repositioning the AWC as a vibrant ECD centre, construction of AWC buildings, improved infrastructure, strengthening package of services, improvement in nutrition programme, management of severe and moderate underweight, strengthening training and capacity, decentralized planning, strengthening governance and MIS, using ICT, adequate human resource, putting the scheme in a Mission Mode, introducing APIPs and MoUs, revision of financial norms, etc.
Some Features of Restructured ICDS:
For the first time, construction of AWC buildings has been introduced, a provision for construction of 2 lakh AWCs @ Rs. 4.5 lakh per unit has been provided under the scheme during the 12th plan period.
Converting the AWCs into Crèche for the benefit of working mothers in the urban and the rural areas in the beginning 70,000 AWCs will be converted into AWC-cum-Creche during the XIIth Plan period.
Other changes include, revision of cost norms for SNP, focused attention on children in the 200-high burden districts where a provision for an additional AWW-cum-Counsellor has been made, organizing Sneha Shivirs, focused attention in the monthly VHND meetings, etc.
The Ultimate Aim:
  1. The aim is to prevent and reduce young child under-nutrition (% underweight children 0-3 years) by 10 percentage points.
  2. Enhance early development and learning outcomes in all children 0-6 years of age.
  3. Improve care and nutrition of girls and women and reduce anaemia prevalence in young children, girls and women by one fifth by the end of 12th Five Year Plan..

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Social Work Intervention with Communities and Institutions

Social Action: Concept and
In professional social work, six methods of working
with people have been identified. Among them three
are basic or primary methods. They are: casework,
group work and community organisation. In day-today
 practice, social workers use these three methods
of working with people – casework with individual
clients, group work with small groups and community
organisation with sociologically definable communities.
In addition, there are three secondary or allied
methods of social work. They are: social action,
social work research and social welfare administration.
Social action seeks the betterment of masses through
social legislation, propaganda and appropriate action
programmes. When there is a need to bring about
some change in the social structure or to prevent
the negative change from happening, which may
influence the general population or a large number
of people, social action comes into play. Narmada
Bachao Andolan is one of the finest examples of social
action carried out for the betterment of the masses.
Let us look into the concept of social action in some
Concept of Social Action
Social action is considered an auxiliary method of
professional social work. As one of the methods of
working with people, it has remained a debatable
issue among the social work professionals. Social
action is a method of social work used for mobilizing
masses in order to bring about structural changes
in the social system or to prevent adverse changes.
It is an organised effort to change or improve social
and economic institutions. Some of the social problems
like dowry system, destruction of natural resources,
alcoholism, poor housing, health, etc. can be tackled
through social action.
As a method of professional social work, social action
has remained an issue with wide ranging of opinions
regarding its scope, strategies and tactics to be
used, its status as a method and its relevance to
social work practice. Mary Richmond was the first
social worker to use the word ‘social action’ in 1922.
She defines social action as “mass betterment through
propaganda and social legislation”. However, Sydney
Maslin (1947) limits the scope of social action by
considering it as a process of social work mainly
concerned with securing legislation to meet mass
problems. Baldwin broadens the scope of social action
by emphasizing on bringing about structural changes
in the social system through social action. Baldwin
(1966) defines social action as “an organised effort
to change social and economic institutions as
distinguished from social work or social service,
the fields which do not characteristically cover
essential changes in established institutions. Social
action covers movements of political reforms, industrial
democracy, social legislation, racial and social justice,
religious freedom and civic liberty and its techniques
include propoganda, research and lobbying”. In the
same line Friedlander (1977) defines social action
as an individual, group or community effort within
the framework of social work philosophy and practice
that aims to achieve social progress, to modify social
policies and to improve social legislation and health
and welfare services. Similar views are expressed
by Lee (1937) who says “social action seems to suggest
efforts directed towards changes in law or social
structure or towards the initiation of new movements
for the modification of the current social practices”.
According to Coyle (1937) social action is the attempt
to change the social environment in ways, which
will make life more satisfactory. It aims to affect
not individuals but social institutions, laws, customs,
communities. Fitch (1940) considers social action
as legally permissible action by a group (or by an
individual trying to promote group action) for the
purpose of furthering objectives that are both legal
and socially desirable. A broad outlook has also been
given by Hill (1951) who describes social action as
“organised group effort to solve mass social problems
or to further socially desirable objectives by attempting
to influence basic social and economic conditions
or practices”.
Further, social action is a term applied to that aspect
of organised social welfare actively directed towards
shaping, modifying or maintaining the social
institutions and policies that collectively constitute
the social environment (Wickendon, 1956). Solender
(1957) states that social action in the field of social
work is a process of individual, group or inter-group
endeavour, within the context of social work philosophy,
knowledge and skill. Its objective is to enhance the
welfare of society through modifying social policy
and the functioning of social structure, working to
obtain greater progress and better services. It is,
therefore, evident that social action has been viewed
as a method of bringing about structural changes
along with social legislation.
Let us see some of the viewpoints of Indian social
work authors about the definition and scope of social
action. Moorthy (1966) states that the scope of social
action includes work during catastrophic situations
such as fires, floods, epidemics, famines, etc., besides
securing social legislation. Nanawati (1965) views
social action as “a process of bringing about the
desired changes by deliberate group and community
efforts. Social action does not end with the enactment
of social legislation, but the execution of the policies
was the real test of success or failure of social
action”. The institute of Gandhian studies defines
social action as the term commonly applied to social
welfare activity which is directed towards shaping
or modifying the social institutions and policies that
constitute the social environment in which we live.
Similarly, Singh (1986) maintains that social action
is a process in which conscious, systematic and
organised efforts are made by some elites and/or
people themselves to bring about change in the system
which is instrumental in solving problems and
improving conditions which limit the social functioning
of weaker and vulnerable sections. It is, on the
practical plane, nearer to social reform than to social
revolution, which aims at smashing the entire existing
social structure and to build up a new social setup.
 It is conflictual in nature but at the same time
The objective of social action is the proper shaping
and development of socio-cultural environment in
which a richer and fuller life may be possible for
all the citizens. Mishra (1992) has identified following
goals of social action:
1) Prevention of needs;
2) Solution of mass problems;
3) Improvement in mass conditions;
4) Influencing institutions, policies and practices;
5) Introduction of new mechanisms or programmes;
6) Redistribution of power and resources (human,
material and moral);
7) Decision-making;
8) Effect on thought and action structure; and
9) Improvement in health, education and welfare.
Thus, we see that social action is seen as a method
of professional social work to be used to bring about
or prevent changes in the social system through
the process of making people aware of the
sociopolitical and economic realities that influence or
condition their lives. This is done by mobilising them
to organise themselves for bringing about the desired
results through the use of appropriately worked out
strategies, with the exception of violence. Some
examples of social action are socio-religious movements
in the medieval period targeted against superstition,
orthodox religious practices and various other social
evils. The underlying philosophy of these social actions
was humanitarian in nature based on the principles
of justice, equality and fraternity.
Principles of Social Action
Considering Gandhian principle of mobilisation as
a typical example of the direct mobilisation model
of social action Britto (1984) brings out the following
principles of social action:
The principle of Credibility Building: It is the task
of creating public image of leadership, the organisation
and the participants of the movement as champions
of justice, rectitude and truth. It helps in securing
due recognition from the opponent, the referencepublic
and the peripheral participants of the movement.
Credibility can be built through one or many of the
following ways:
1) Gestures of goodwill towards the opponent: To
exemplify, when Gandhiji was in England, World
War I broke out. He recruited students for service
in a British Ambulance Corps on the Western
Front. These gestures of goodwill towards the
opponents projected the image of Gandhiji as a
true humanitarian personality. His philosophy
of non-violence facilitated the credibility-building
process among his opponents, the British.
2) Example setting: Dr. Rajendra Singh, the Magsaysay
award winner of 2001, had set examples of water
conservation in many villages of Rajasthan, by
making check-dams, through mobilisation of village
resources (manpower, cash and kind) before
starting water-conservation movement at a much
larger scale.
3) Selection of typical, urgently felt problems for struggles:
The leaders gain credibility if they stress on
the felt-needs of the people. Scarcity of water
has remained one of the pressing problems of
the people of Rajasthan. When Dr. R. Singh
initiated his intervention on this issue, his
credibility was automatically established.
4) Success: Successful efforts help in setting up
credibility of the leader and the philosophy he/
she is preaching. Seeing the successful work of
Singh in certain villages of Rajasthan, State
government also came forward to extend its support.
Local leaders from various other villages and
NGO professionals also approached him for help.
Principle of Legitimisation: Legitimisation is the
process of convincing the target group and the general
public that the movement-objectives are morally right.
The ideal would be making a case for the movement
as a moral imperative. Leaders of the movement
might use theological, philosophical, legal-technical,
public opinion paths to establish the tenability of
the movement’s objectives. Legitimisation is a
continuous process. Before launching the programme,
the leaders justify their action. Subsequently, as
the conflict exhilarates to higher stages and as the
leader adds new dimension to their programme,
further justification is added and fresh arguments
are put forth. Such justification is not done by leaders
alone. In the course of their participation, followers
too, contribute to the legitimisation process. Following
are the three approaches to legitimisation:
1) Theological and religious approach to legitimisation:
Gandhiji, used this approach during freedom
movement. He appealed to serve dharma by revolting
against injustice of Britishers.
2) Moral approach to legitimisation: People associated
in the Campaign Against Child Labour, through
peaceful rallies, persuasive speeches, use of media,
organising, drawing competition among school
children, have helped to create an environment
against child abuse in the country. As a result
employing children in any occupation is considered
morally wrong and it becomes moral obligation
to all conscious citizens to make sure that all
children below the age of 14 years go to school
instead of earning a livelihood.
3) Legal-technical approach to legitimization: People
engaged with the ‘Campaign for People’s Right
to Health’ have based their argument on the
human rights issues, fundamental rights and
government’s commitment to ‘Health for All’. It
gives credibility to the movement.
Principle of Dramatisation: Dramatisation is the
principle of mass mobilisation by which the leaders
of a movement galvanize the population into action
by emotional appeals to heroism, sensational
 newsmanagement, novel procedures, pungent slogans and
such other techniques. Almost every leader mobilising
the masses, uses this principle of dramatisation.
Tilak, Marx, Guevara, Periyar and the Assam agitation
leaders, resorted to this principle. Some of the
mechanisms of dramatisation could be:
1) Use of songs: Catchy songs, which put forth the
cause of a movement, create a dramatic effect.
During freedom struggle, at Bardoli, local talent
was tapped to compose songs to stimulate the
enthusiasm of the people. Several choirs were
trained and they travelled from village to village
in a bullock cart to sing satyagrahic hymns at
numerous meetings.
2) Powerful speeches: This is also a crucial way of
motivating the masses and creating drama-effect.
Gandhiji’s appeal to sacrifice and martyrdom was
thrilling and it had a special appeal for the youth
to work for this cause.
3) Role of women: Making prominent women lead
marchers was a technique which gave a dramatic
effect to the movement. At Rajkot, Kasturba Gandhi
herself inaugurated the civil disobedience
movement by courting arrest first.
4) Boycott: Boycott is also an effective way of
influencing public opinion both when the effort
is successful and when it is crushed. Picketing
and ‘hartals’– voluntary closure of shops and other
organisations, were used by Gandhiji to dramatise
the issue.
5) Slogans: Bharat chodo, Jal hi Jeevan, Say no to
Drugs, HIV/AIDS– knowledge is prevention, etc.
are some of the slogans used to give dramatic
effect to various social movements.
Principle of Multiple Strategies: There are two basic
approaches to development: conflictual and nonconflictual.
 Taking the main thrust of a programme,
one can classify it as political, economic or social.
The basket principle indicates the adoption of a
multiple strategy, using combined approaches and
also a combination of different types of programmes.
Zeltman and Duncan have identified four development
strategies from their experience of community
development. These have been framed for use in
social action. They are:
1) Educational strategy: In this strategy, the prospective
participants are educated at the individual, group
and mass level. This is one of the basic
requirements of social action. People or target
groups are given necessary information about
the issue. By creating awareness people are
motivated and persuaded to participate in the
movement. During campaign against child labour,
a network of NGOs working with children was
developed and these NGOs in tune created
awareness in their respective areas through
educational strategy. Education by demonstration
is an important aspect of this principle.
Demonstration has deep impact on the knowledge
retention of the target population.
2) Persuasive strategy: Persuasive strategy is the
adoption of a set of actions/procedures to bring
about changes by reasoning, urging and inducing
others to accept a particular viewpoint. Gandhiji
used this strategy by constantly seeking
opportunities for dialogue with his opponents. At
every rally, stress was laid on winning new
converts by oratory and gentle presentation of
3) Facilitative strategy: This refers to a set of procedures
and activities to facilitate the participation of
all sections of society in the mass movement.
The programme Gandhians devised was often so
simple and devoid of any risk that even illiterate
children could imitate them and participate in
the National Liberation Movement. In salt-
satyagraha, Gandhiji did not go into the
technicalities of salt making. He simply asked
the followers to make consumable salt by boiling
the sea-water. Its simplicity did facilitate greater
4) Power strategy: It involves the use of coercion to
obtain the desired objectives. The forms of coercion
may vary. Gandhiji used social ostracism as one
of the techniques of power strategy.
Principle of Dual Approach: Any activist has to build
counter-systems or revive some unused system, which
is thought to be beneficial to the mobilised public
on a self-help basis without involving the opponent.
This is a natural requirement consequent upon the
attempt to destroy the system established/maintained
by the opponents. Gandhian constructive work
programme performed such a function, in a small
measure, together with conflictual programmes of
satyagrahis. This cooperative effort indicates that
Gandhians adopted or attempted to a dual approach
in their mobilization.
Principle of Manifold Programmes: It means developing
a variety of programmes with the ultimate objective
of mass mobilization. These can be broadly categorized
into three parts: Social, Economic and Political
programme. Dr. Rajendra Singh has taken up the
issue of water conservation as a composite of manifold
programmes. His water conservation helped the
villagers, particularly women, who had to go miles
to fetch water. It helped in better development of
crops, better animal husbandry, implying more
economic benefits. During the movement, there were
direct and indirect conflict resolutions with the local
leaders, panchayat bodies and state government.
Skills Involved in Social Action
After understanding the concept and principles of
social action, let us take a look at the skills needed
by social workers for social action. These skills are
no different from the general skills; professional
social worker uses these skills by combining the
ethics and principles of professional social work.
However, a social worker using social action, as a
method of social work, requires certain skills; the
more important among these are briefly described
Relational Skills: The social worker should have
skills for building rapport with individuals and groups
and skills for maintaining these relations. He/she
should be able to develop and maintain professional
relationship with the clients. The social worker should
have the ability to identify the leadership qualities
among the clientele and should be skillful to harness
these qualities for social action. Along with this
working harmoniously with the established local
leaders is also needed. He/she should be able to
deal with intra-group and inter-group conflicts
effectively. The ability to diagnose problematic
behaviour among the clients and providing counselling
is needed to develop and maintain integration within
the community. The social worker should identify
tension-producing situations and diffuse them before
they become serious. Developing and maintaining
cordial relations with other agencies and NGOs working
in the same geographical area and those working
for similar causes is also required.
Analytical and Research Skills: The social worker
should have the ability to objectively study the
sociocultural and economic characteristics of the
community. He/she should be able to find out the
pressing problems and needs of the clientele. He/
she should be able to analyze the social problems,
the factors contributing to the social problems and
its ramifications on the social, economic, political,
ideological, cultural, ecological aspects of life. He/
she should be able to conduct research and/or
understand the likely impact of research studies
in a functional sense. Added to this, the social
worker should be able to facilitate the community
people to speak out their own felt needs and prioritize
them. The social worker should never try to impose
his/her own understanding of the social situation
and problems on the community.
Intervention Skills: After need identification, the
social worker should have the ability to help the
clientele chalk out practical intervention strategies
to deal with the problem. The social worker should
provide various options to the clientele and help
them in analyzing pros and cons of each option for
taking up proper steps. Social action may require
‘confrontation’ with authorities. The social worker
must inform the community about the consequences
of taking up hard steps like sit-ins, boycotts, strikes,
etc. The social worker should be able to maintain
the desired level of feeling of discontent and emotional
surcharge to bring about the necessary change,
enthusiasm and courage among the community people
for a fairly long time so as to minimize the possibility
of failure of mass mobilization before the set objectives
are achieved. The social worker should be able to
maintain patience and composed behaviour as he/
she has to deal with emotional balance of the clientele
in a rational way.
Added to this, the social worker should have the
ability to create the environment wherein individuals
and groups can actively participate. The interventions
should be developed keeping in mind the pressing
need, resources (human and material) and
 sociocultural milieu of the community. He/she should
be able to improvise situations for targeted
Managerial Skills: The social worker also needs
the knowledge and ability to handle organisation,
which may be the outcome of the institutionalization
of people’s participation. He/she should be able to
coordinate and collaborate with various groups and
local leaders so as to unite the clientele for the
required intervention. He/she should be skillful
enough to make policies and programmes, programme
planning, coordinating, recording, budgeting and
elementary accounting and maintenance of various
records. He/she should be able to mobilize internal/
external resources in terms of money, men, materials,
equipment, etc. The social worker also requires the
skills of supervising human and material resources
and its effective utilization for the welfare and
development of the targeted community.
Communication Skills: These skills are highly crucial
for social action. The social worker should have the
ability to develop effective public relations with local
organisations and leaders. He/she should be able
to effectively communicate verbally (including public
speaking) and in writing as well. The social worker
should be able to deliver or identify people who can
deliver powerful speeches. He/she should be able
to devise indoor/outdoor media for effectively
communicating with the target audiences. The social
worker should be able to evaluate and use folk and
mass media suited to diverse groups. These skills
are used for developing slogans and motivational
songs, speeches and IEC materials for mass
mobilization. The social worker should have skills
to educate, facilitate, negotiate and persuade for
necessary actions at needed places.
Training Skills: The social worker should be able
to train local leaders and identified leaders for taking
up the charge of mass mobilization and confrontation
with the authorities. He/she should be able to train
selected people at the local level aimed at imparting
knowledge about the social issue taken up for action
and the modalities of carrying out the intervention
including the ‘confrontation process’. These people
should be trained for creating public opinion for or
against the social issue taken up and identify and
involve people in social action. They should also be
trained to utilize social action strategies and tactics
(confrontation, persuasion, negotiation, boycott, etc.)
without the use of violence.
Critical Issues
Let us now take a look at some of the critical issues,
which influence the success of mass mobilization
and in turn, the achievement of set goals through
social action. As mentioned earlier social action
uses a number of strategies and tactics (details of
these would be given in subsequent units) and
envisages the active role of many of stakeholders.
This multiplicity of strategies and involvement of
different stakeholders demand meticulous planning
and careful implementation. If not addressed
beforehand, these issues may lead to disruption of
the process and sometimes failure of planned
interventions. The issues that a professional social
worker needs to keep in mind are:
Empowerment of the Clientele: The central theme
behind any social issue for which social action is
being carried out is the ‘empowerment of the client
group or the community’. In the process of social
action, the group whose cause is being advocated
must get empowered and develop the skills and
strengths to gain access to common resources for
the development of the community. The end result
of the social action should be equitable partnerships
between the interested stakeholders, allowing
democratic decision-making and actual access and
usage of denied resources. The social worker must,
from time to time, evaluate and monitor the progress
of social action in relation to the overall goal of
empowerment. Any deviation from this goal may lead
to failure of the philosophy of social action and
accumulation of power and resources in the hands
of a few selfish people. It would mean injustice to
the entire group or community for whose cause social
action is being carried out.
Dealing with Groupism: Social action questions the
unjust power equations and unfair distribution of
resources. It implies confrontation with those having
power and resources. In the process, certain groups
may develop having members with vested interests
which might not be apparent. These groups may try
to take lead and influence the social worker to be
on their side. Any opposition may raise inter-group
tensions and conflicts. Depending upon the situation,
the counter attack can be very fierce and challenging.
At the level of planning itself, the social workers
must foreseen this possibility and handle the situation
very judiciously and tactfully.
Accountability: The professional social worker has
to ensure that there is consistent and continued
communication amongst all stakeholders and a process
of clear accountability and transparency is maintained
in order to give the cause positive legitimacy. Any
miscommunication or negative communication may
result in losing the credibility, and in turn, may
affect the entire social action process.
Building Right Alliances: Social action process calls
for participation of various stakeholders for the cause
or issue. It is essential that the social worker uses
skills to understand the perceptions of these
stakeholders and their levels of interests in social
action. Only then the social worker will be able to
utilize their capabilities and skills in the social
action process effectively. While doing so the social
worker may have to form alliances and partnerships
with several people and organisations to further
the cause. Therefore, he/she needs to be careful
in guarding against those who may use the activities
for their own gain and may even dilute the cause
and thereby defeat the goal of social action. Indeed
giving chance to those who may jeopardize the cause
may legitimate them as genuine social actionists,
when in reality, they would be fostering their personal
rather than the group cause.
Balancing Micro-Macro Issues: Social action often
entails a shift from the micro to macro in addressing
policy change and also legislative alterations. This
can be illustrated by the example of an organisation,
which has been working with street children providing
them with education. However, as the work progresses
the organisation shifts towards developing coalitions
with several such organisations with regard to
formulation of and change in child related policies.
Remaining Apolitical: Social action entails a clarity
and understanding of political environment. However,
politics does not mean party politics or formal politics.
Any kind of political affiliations of the social worker
will on the one delegitimize the activities and at
the same time jeopardize the real cause by ensuring
the selling out of the cause for the promotion of
one party interest rather than group interest.
Social action is a secondary method of professional
social work. It is used for mobilizing masses in order
to bring about structural changes in the social system
or to prevent negative changes. Certain social problems
like ecological balancing, bonded labour, child labour,
women empowerment, substance abuse, etc., can
be tackled through social action.
The primary objective of social action is to bring
about solutions to mass problems, improve mass
conditions and redistribute power and resources
(human, material and moral).
Principles of social action are: a) principle of credibility
building; b) principle of legitimization; c) principle
of dramatization; d) principle of multiple strategies;
e) principle of dual approach; and f) principle of
manifold programmes.
A social worker using social action, as a method
of social work, requires certain skills. They are: a)
relational skills i.e. to relate effectively with the
people to build rapport and credibility building; b)
analytical skills i.e. ability to analyze the social
situation and social problem objectively and
scientifically; c) intervention skills are needed to
help the clientele chalk out practical intervention
strategies to deal with the social problem; d) managerial
skills are required to coordinate and collaborate
with various groups and local leaders so as to unite
the clientele for the required intervention; e)
communication skills to educate, facilitate, negotiate
and persuade for necessary actions at needed places;
f) training skills i.e. the social worker should be
able to train leaders for taking up the charge of
mass mobilization and confrontation with the
Some critical issues which influence the success
of social action are: empowerment of the clientele
which is the inherent goal of any social action,
dealing with intra and inter group conflicts,
accountability and transparency, building alliances
with the ‘right’ people and organisations, shifting
vision from micro to macro problems and avoiding
political involvement.