Building Collectives

Building Collectives

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.

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 those 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.

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 (Retired Professor of Sociology Mumbai, Maharashtra, India,) 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;