Perhaps the greatest strength of the DD project is the confidence we have earned of the village community. In practical all the villages where we have been working for more than a year rural people have become our real partners - willing to involve themselves in activities which would have been difficult to imagine without the intensive work done by DD field workers.
Methods of work: The most important method is for the workers of DD to identify them with the people – they go and live in the villages, eat the food which the village people eat and often stay with them on straw or worn out durries. It is this simplicity of conduct of DD workers which changes the attitude of the local people. This initial approach is followed by identification of some youth and village women. Women showing inclination to work for their sisters form into women’s groups. Training is provided to them and a beginning made with building of an organization. Once organizations of adolescents /youth and of women come into being, they begin to play an important role.
Adolescent forums and women’s groups: Right from the beginning DD personnel have known that formation of community groups is a pre-requisite of movement of the people. Therefore, even after an initial contact youth and women are motivated to view themselves as members of an organization. Adolescent persons, in particular whose who receive either 4-month residential training or short duration life-skills training, are oriented in the course of training itself to form their organization after return to villages.
Members of Adolescent forum in DD:
· The adolescents those who are age group between 10 to 25 years;
- They may be direct participants(the adolescents those who are passing out from our 4 month Residential camp and continuously we are doing follow up with our other methods of DD program like Vigyan Mela, Kala Jatha, Continuing education(Ikhvelos, GVK, liabary),other training etc.);
- Indirect participants (the adolescents those who are connected with our other training program like Vigyan Mela, Kala Jatha, Continuing education(Ikhvelos, GVK, liabary)
- Cadres (those adolescents who can be distinguished as harbingers of Change and who actively work on community issues for the benefit of public voluntarily).
Why DD works with Adolescent Forums and Women Groups:
DD believes that young people gain more from an experience when they are actively involved is a core premise of peer education and youth development. Direct youth involvement offers potential benefits to the young people—both those who help to develop the program and those served by the program—and also to the organization. To name but a few benefits—youth gain experience and confidence; organization gains a fresh perspective on youth culture and organizations develops more effective outreach.
Peer education can support young people in developing positive group norms and in making healthy decisions about self. Aother objective is to develop leadership skills among the youth.
As regards, creation of these organizations, the observations of Denzil Saldanha* are significant. "Through its adolescent and women's groups in villages and their collectives at the block level, DD has been able to make significant advances in the process of sustainability. This has been all the more relevant in the situation of Rajasthan where ecology and caste-gender relations determine the present quality of survival to a greater extent than in most other states" The project has also been successful in translating adolescents' learning into community action through formation of forums at village and block level.
Jagrit Mahila Sangathan(JMS)/ Yuva Shakti Sangathan(YSS):
DD is working with youth groups and women groups at village level and every Block level one JMS is formed for women and one YSS is formed for Youths. Jagrit Mahila Sangathan/ Yuva Shakti Sangathan is constituted at block level with active members of Adolescent form and Women group.
The process of formation of youth forums in the later half of second year evolved into the shape of a collective. A beginning was made by Kishanganj block. One boy and a girl were selected from each of the Adolescent Forums to form "Yuva Shakti Sangathan" with the objective of:
- Providing an institutional base to adolescents to fight for their rights, such as right to work, right to information, right to live with human dignity and equality;
- Enabling youths to take action against incidences of caste, class, atrocities and exploitation of women;
- Empowering these persons to initiate joint efforts to remove the obstacles in development;
- Gaining programme ownership in the hands of youths in the long run;