Community Based Institutions
Chirag works closely with community based institutions and a large part of our activities are directed through these institutions. Building capacity so that they can fulfill their responsibilities and demand services from the government is an important aspect of our work with them.
Van Panchayat: The Van Panchayat is an elected body of representatives at the village level and is responsible for managing the common forests. While in most cases, this common land is well managed by the van panchayat, they face many issues that include, a growing population, a breakdown of traditional forest-dependent agriculture, and lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities on the part of the Van-panchayat. Chirag engages with the van panchayat and has actively sought to build capacity of the committes through trainings on its roles and responsibilities (as documented in the Van Panchayat rules of 2005), technical aspects such as soil and water conservation and community forestry, record keeping, exposure tours to other van panchayat areas and building awareness through education and community mobilization. Creation of micro-plans that chart the steps for community forest management are an important part of the van panchayats responsibilities. Chirag assists the committees in drawing these plans.
Village Education Committee: The government mandates that every village form a village level education committee that is chosen by the gram pradhan and the village teacher. Through the education committee, the village nominates a balshikshak and determines his/her pay as per village contributions. The balshikshak is also responsible for running the village library that is housed in the village school.
Health Committee: Health Committees are formed in every village as a requirement of the National Rural Health Mission. Their responsibilities include drawing up action plans along with village members to address issues related to drinking water, ante and post natal care, and relevant public health issues. Chirag has been active in facilitating these health committees to demand services and medical supplies that they are entitlied to, draw action plans at the village level, and train health workers.