Community Based Organisations

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90 Civil Society Organisation (CSO) partners worked with 23,206 Community Based Organisations (CBOs) in 90 districts, 517 blocks and 22,404 villages across the seven PACS States. These CBOs – rooted in local communities - were instrumental in helping PACS to effectively reach and interact with socially excluded communities in order to support them to claim their rights and entitlements more effectively.

Strengthening CBOs

The overarching aim of PACS was to enable CBO members to understand and be confident in their rights, working together to demand and secure these entitlements. CSO partners did this by:

  • Training CBO members about their rights under our key thematic areas: employment rights under the MGNREGA scheme, land and forest rights, the Right to Education Act, the RSBY health insurance scheme, the JSY maternal health scheme, the Integrated Child Development Services scheme and key legislation.
  • Supporting CBOs to lead public information campaigns and advocacy events in their communities, such as mass rallies, interactive meetings and public hearings, to teach others about their rights.
  • Helping CBO members to carry out community-based monitoring of services and to speak out to the relevant authorities when service providers are not meeting their service obligations.
  • Strengthening the confidence of CBO members to participate in meetings with local governance at village and Panchayat (local self-governance system) level to advocate for their rights and for more inclusive policies and practices.
  • Working with CBO leaders to develop their leadership capabilities, specifically through our Leading Together programme and our series of CBO conclaves.

Including socially excluded groups

PACS was especially committed to increasing the number of people from socially excluded groups who are members and leaders of CBOs. Typically, people from socially excluded communities are excluded from decision-making processes and many do not know the rights that they are entitled to.

PACS therefore believed that it was vitally important to ensure that these groups were represented in CBOs, that they understood their rights and that their voices were heard so they were able to highlight when government policies and programmes are not reaching them, or not being delivered to a satisfactory standard.

In total, 93.3% of the 23,206 CBOs that PACS supported were led by a person from a socially excluded group. In addition, out of the 351,926 CBO members, 95.2% were from socially excluded groups.

Different types of CBO

PACS partners supported many different types of CBO. Some were already established before the PACS programme started whilst others were newly formed under the programme.

Some of the groups were linked to specific government schemes, like Forest Rights Committees (formed under the Forest Rights Act) or School Management Committees (formed under the Right to Education Act).

Other CBOs were thematic, but not formally created under legislation. For example, Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees, Health Action Groups and Water Sanitation Committees all worked on the issues of health and/or nutrition, whilst MGNREGA Worker’s Unions and Employment Collectives just focused on the issue of employment under the MGNREGA scheme.

In addition, there were also CBOs for specific socially excluded groups, like Women’s Self-Help Groups or Collectives, Baal Panchayats (Children’s Parliaments) and Disabled People’s Organisations. 

In total, PACS supported:

  • 5548 Self-Help Groups
  • 4459 Village Monitoring/Development Groups
  • 3488 Common Interest Groups
  • 2384 Women's Groups
  • 2015 Groups working specifically on Human Rights, Dalit Rights or Tribal Rights
  • 1846 Groups working on Forest Rights or Land Rights
  • 1325 Labour Unions/Groups
  • 694 Children's Groups
  • 675 Other Groups
  • 385 Youth Groups
  • 367 Farmer's Groups
  • 20 Producer's Groups/Cooperatives

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