Peoples Action for Development (PAD) – Its Core Vision, Strategic Goals, Objectives& Achievements
About the Organization:
The organization, Peoples Action for Development (PAD) was formed on 25thDecember, 2001 at Mission Baligaon in Gogamukh, which is a small town of Dhemaji district in Assam. This organization was formed with the aim of socio-economic development of socially backward classes, mainly Adivasis and tribal. The organization was registered in the year 2002 under Societies Registration ActXXI of 1860.It has registration under 12A and 80 G of Income Tax Act. It is also registered under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) under Ministry of Home Affairs, in year 2008.
PAD is a non-profit making and socio-economic development society involved with the tea garden workers and Adivasis/Tribals for enhancement of the working class who are in penury, social exclusion and experiencing countless discrimination every moment, everywhere.
In the background, it is scary misfortune of social exclusion of the working class especially in Adivasi communities resulting in penury, violence and poor livelihoods. Lack of life-skills as well as resource scarcity has increasingly been causing unemployment and chronic food insecurity ultimately results on vulnerability excess. Lack of community adaptation mechanisms as well as unawareness of their rights always keep this people at pennilessness, transmigration and awful violence where womenfolk and children of the community are usually being the victims of numerous threat, the physical and verbal abuse by the employer at tea gardens, criminal trafficking and compelling to sex trade, child labour and the like are every next day occurrence. Unawareness and illiteracy makes this community almost innocence. They could not realize the intricacy of rights and empowerment nor could they seek remedies for protecting their denials which extravagantly led to social exclusion and insecurity. The more such exclusion and insecurity the larger is the victimization eventually making livelihoods a major challenge.
Public sector service entities are not so instrumental to address the needs of the section or seldom respond lukewarmly due to an incommunicable context in Adivasi communities resulting in deprivation and impasse livelihoods. They are not merely deprived from rights based services and opportunities but also stereotyped as social outsider as not having civic engagement. Their rights and empowerment are always narrowed due to unjust social context subsequently being the victims of injustices, oppression, conspiracies, violence and trespassing. No Government institutions are thinking of ways or measures to reduce such malaise, no community institutions are developed to mainstream them into development moves and civil society groups are always keeping their eyes rolled.
Core Vision of PAD
The Core Vision covers different aspects/issues which are highlighted below under different headings.
- Ensure access to Education Rights, Nutritional Entitlements, Child Care and Health Care to children.
- Educate, Capacitate, Strengthen and Engage the community to minimize Child Trafficking and Child Labour as well as to monitor various rights and entitlements of the children.
- The Student Forums/Organizations would be made more functional with an aim to ensure better enrollment of children and quality education in the schools.
- The organization will put special emphasis on achieving basic needs for complete development of the children by engaging various collectives of the community.
- Within tea gardens the promised facilities of education, health care etc. will be demanded and ensured under the RTE Act and PLA.
- Discussions on quality of education, need for higher and appropriate education will be held with communities to ensure an effective education for children that will prepare them to participate as equals in life at a later stage.
- PAD’s ongoing activities like Mother Tongue Based Multi Lingual Education (MTB MLE) schools will be enhanced and promoted to make education accessible to children.
- Children’s groups will be formed and various cultural and social activities will be taken up to engage the children beyond school curriculums. These activities will also have a focus on increasing the children’s understanding of their various rights and entitlements and will help them envision and work towards a future of their own.
- Exercise and ensure child rights as per UNCRC –
- Best interest of the child
- Non discrimination
- Freedom of expression
- Respect for child opinion in matters affecting him/her
- Participation of the child
- Capacitate, Empower and facilitate Women forums/collectives/organizations to actively take up issues related to Women Rights.
- Establish a “Women Cell” to facilitate Women Forum and take up/address women related issues effectively.
- Work towards addressing issues like child marriage, trafficking and violence against women and girl child through activisms of women collectives.
- Ensure access to entitlements and schemes for women like Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS), National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS), Widow Pension and under National Rural Health Mission.
- More than 100 women to be trained and engaged on various skill building and income generating activities with an aim to not just enhance their family income but more importantly to set an example so as to pave way for other underprivileged women of the community and the society at large to follow the footsteps for betterment of their future.
- Capacitate, Empower and Facilitate the Youth Forums/Collectives/Clubs to take up and address various issues of the community at large.
- Streamline and integrate the Youth Forums/Collectives/Clubs with the State Level Community Based Organization led by the Youths of the community to be a part of the broader issues at State Level.
- Identify and link up more than 100 youths to be part of various skill building and other employment opportunities with an aim to enhance their skill, capacity and interest towards alternative and better livelihood options and thereby set example for others to follow.
- Introduce “Counseling & Career Guidance Cell” to be followed by Job consultancy in the consequent years.
Labour Rights & Tea Garden issues:
- Ensure access to entitlements of the tea garden labourers as enshrined under the Plantation Labour Act, 1951 and under other relevant acts too.
- Initiate discussion on PLA, 1951 for necessary amendments to change the conditions and practices of bondage and discrimination.
- Initiate discussions and form collectives within tea gardens to demand access to entitlements due from state and tea garden authority.
- The community collectives formed will demand proper implementation of the PLA to ensure basic facilities like child care, nutritional inputs, health care, education etc. The Trade unions and local political players would also be approached and convinced in joining hands to address the issues.
- A review of the research and documentation on PLA, 1951 will be done to initiate further discussion with an aim to form alliances and networks and develop a road map for further intervention. These discussions will review certain ambiguous parts of the Act like child labour and equal wages. The need for a separate Act for plantation labourers in the purview of international labour standards will also be discussed. Organisations and experts working on labour issues will be brought in as partners in this process.
- Labourers/ Communities to be well aware about their rights with an aim to minimize exploitation.
- Prepare the communities as well as the organisations/community forums towards increasing understanding around access to resources, including land.
- Importance of acquiring land patta, understanding various acts like land revenue act and forest rights act under which the community can demand land allotment will be focused.
- Capacitate, strengthen and facilitate the community to work and strive towards addressing land related issues as well as for taking up activities for development and proper utilization of land for enhancing productivity and benefitting families dependent on agriculture/farming. The Community organizations would be motivated to look into the matters of linking farmers with Agriculture Department, Krishi Vigyan Kendra(KVKs) and identify and introduce sources (like banks) to apply for loans.
- The community must be well acquainted with Revenue and Circle offices.
Income and Livelihood promotion:
- Research and consultations will be done with strategic partners like agriculture department, KVKs and other agencies working on promoting sustainable agriculture to increase productivity and explore alternative food based alternative products to increase food security as well as income.
- Form Farmers Forum or Clubs/ Field Management Committees to ensure and avail facilities from the Government departments and institutions.
- To free the community from the dependence on tea gardens for livelihood and for greater economic freedom alternative income options will be sought. Concerned government and non-governmental players will be consulted for finding suitable alternatives.
- Training on Basket making(Tokri used for collecting tea leaves while plucking), Carpentry, Masonry, Welding, Plumber, Mechanical, Driving etc. would be facilitated.
- Support for initiating and establishment of business/income activity would be facilitated.
Ensuring Entitlements through Govt. institutions, projects and schemes:
- Ensure effective functioning of PRI and participation of communities in PRI processes.
- Ensure that communities have access to public services and universal social security benefits.
- Ensure exact access of entitlements and benefits through Job Cards, Ration Cards etc.
- Ensure availability of Job cards, Ration cards and other related documents, if any, meant for availing of entitlements and benefits for the community.
Language, Culture, History and Identity:
- Emphasize and focus on popularizing and promoting of Assam Adivasi Vision 2020 (AAV 2020) among the community within the state.
- Complete and review the research work/document on Adivasi History in Assam and initiate discussion to popularize and promote the same among Adivasis and others to establish proper understanding of Adivasi history and their true identity in Assam.
- Promote more Mother language schools.
- Promote cultural dances, music, songs, festivals and attires to enrich and uphold culture and identity.
- Popularize Adivasi heroes, legends and martyrs to reawaken, sensitize and motivate the community to organize and unite to ensure their rights and live a dignified life.
- Equip and build up a capable Emergency Response Team to respond and engage during emergencies and havocs caused due to natural calamities and other man-made disasters.
- Engage actively in Environment related issues and work for promotion of clean environment.
5 important Strategic Goals of PAD
- Ensure cent percent enrolment of children from the community through an education drive involving all sections and forums of the community.
- Emphasize on Research and Documentation, Consultation, Advocacy, Lobbying and Legal Aid support to address various tea garden, land rights and labour rights issues with an aim to benefit more than 30 lakhs population in Assam.
- Build up an effective legal support network with an aim to arrest trafficking and child labour; address land and labour right issues; minimize violence against women and violation of human rights as a whole, ensure women and child rights, etc. The legal support would deal and address these cases and issues.
- Initiate, promote and support intellectual groups/forums of the community at State level for developing of plans, policies and strategies; for monitoring of its implementation/execution as well as for bridging the gap and loopholes for overall growth and development of the community.
- Capacitate and empower CBOs, build up teams for each districts and identify/establish infrastructures as “Information and Facilitation Centers” with an aim to serve the community in a better way.
Strategies to Achieve the Goals
The strategies to achieve the above mentioned 5 Strategic Goals are as follows-
Goal: Ensure cent percent enrolment of children from the community through an education drive involving all sections and forums of the community.
- Awareness and discussions on importance and need of quality education, need for higher and appropriate education would be continued along with the Community forums.
- Related IEC materials would be developed, distributed and displayed in all the villages and T.E’s to sensitize the community.
- Local community forums would be given responsibilities and engaged in conducting education drive. They would be assisted as and when necessary. Use of visual aid during this programme/activity would be a part of the strategy.
- All the community forums would be given responsibilities and engaged in monitoring and ensuring of sending all the children of the village and tea gardens to schools. However, local Students Club/organization, if would be given special responsibility to look into and constantly monitor and follow up the matter to ensure cent percent enrolment of children from the community.
- PAD, with the help from respective district teams, would keep in constant touch with the community forums to monitor and follow up the matter with an aim to achieve the above goal.
Goal: Emphasize on Research and Documentation, Consultation, Advocacy, Lobbying and Legal Aid support to address various tea garden and labour rights issues with an aim to benefit more than 30 lakhs population in Assam.
- The research work on PLA study would be reviewed and a state level consultation would be organized with different stakeholders, organizations and experts working on labour and tea garden issues.
- Various campaigns, including for wage of tea garden workers, would be launched to intensify and put pressure on the service providers.
- Stress on formation of alliances and networks at various levels would be initiated and a road map for further intervention on the tea garden and labour issues at the state level would be developed.
- Consult and seek legal aid and intervention to strengthen and justify the initiatives, activities and actions taken in favour of the tea garden labourers and their families as well as to ensure their rights and entitlements.
- Highlight the findings of research work and other related issues at the state level through media and popularize the same among CBOs, concerned NGOs, CSOs and community forums with an aim to reach, aware and sensitize the community for joint action towards addressing their issues and problems.
- Initiate discussions and form collectives within tea gardens to demand access to entitlements due from state and tea garden authority.
- The community collectives formed will demand proper implementation of the PLA to ensure basic facilities like child care, nutritional inputs, health care, education etc. The Trade unions and local political players would also be approached and convinced in joining hands to address these issues.
- Approach and lobby with concerned ministers, authorities, departments and top level Trade Union officials/authorities to ensure and seek moral support and action to work in favour and benefit of the tea garden labourers and their families.
Goal: Build up an effective legal support network with an aim to arrest trafficking and child labour; address land and labour right issues; minimize violence against women and violation of human rights as a whole, ensure women and child rights, etc. The legal support would deal and address these cases and issues.
- Identify, approach and link up with different legal bodies, groups, agencies and experts/personnel at district, state, national and international level for establishing networks with them.
- Explore possibilities to make use of these networks to address the problems and issues so as to achieve the above mentioned goal.
- Train up community leaders and representatives at various levels as Paralegal workers/activists.
- Inorder to supplement the above mentioned initiatives and strategies, create awareness on issues related to trafficking, child labour, labour rights, land rights, women rights, child rights, violation against women and human rights as a whole.
- Organize district and state level legal consultation on the above issues with various stakeholders.
- Capacitate and link up community forums/organizations with the legal networks to take up legal steps and actions towards addressing these issues.
Goal: Initiate, promote and support intellectual group/forum of the community at State level for developing of plans, policies and strategies; for monitoring of its implementation/execution as well as for guiding the overall growth and development process of the community.
- Identify and approach intellectuals from the community, share the above goal and know their views and opinions about the same.
- Initiate discussion with like-minded intellectuals, plan and call for a state level meeting of intellectuals from the community.
- Share the purposes and concerns of the initiative; discuss, clarify and propose for formation of an intellectual forum at state level with an aim to achieve the above goal.
- Distribute and share about the research works and documents on PLA and Adivasi History in Assam as well as stress on the importance of popularizing and actualization of the Assam Adivasi Vision 2020 (AAV 2020) with an aim to supplement and develop effective plans, policies and strategies for holistic growth and development of the community.
- Positive response from majority of the intellectuals would lead to formation of an “Intellectual Forum”, else alternative strategies would be developed to achieve the goal.
- The Intellectual Forum would develop and share plans, policies and strategies with all the CBOs and Community forums and play the role of an analyst, guide, mentor, facilitator, mediator, coordinator and an examiner. The Forum would also play the role of a watchdog to monitor implementation of government plans, policies and schemes meant for the benefit and development of the community.
Goal: Capacitate and empower CBOs, build up teams for each districts and identify/establish infrastructures as “Information and Facilitation Centers” with an aim to serve the community in a better way.
- Aware, train up and capacitate all the CBOs/community leaders of each districts on issues and problems associated with the community and ways to address them.
- Focus on capacitating them with knowledge, skills, principles, values, tools and techniques on Working with Communities, Community Organization and Community Development.
- Organize and prepare community leaders as a “TEAM” to facilitate the people and address the issues and problems of the community under their respective districts by themselves.
- Develop and promote district cells as information and facilitation centers by promoting and popularizing the same among the community forums and the community in general, so that people can have access to all its services without much difficulty.
- Constant field visits, monitoring, follow ups and evaluation would be conducted to enrich and supplement the District Team with an aim to ensure quality service to the people of each districts.
Objectives of PAD
- To ensure child rights and work for the best interest of the child.
- To promote Feminism and ensure women rights.
- To ensure cent percent enrolment of children in schools.
- To empower women, youths and community forums to address issues and problems of the community.
- To train up and create employment opportunities for women and youths.
- To promote sustainable agriculture to increase productivity and explore alternative food based products to increase food security as well as income.
- To ensure rights and entitlements for labourers of tea gardens in Assam.
- To identify and introduce alternative livelihood options for tea garden dependent families.
- To empower community forums and leaders to ensure land rights and land patta for the community.
- To ensure entitlements and benefits for the community through government institutions, projects, schemes and other related sources.
- To promote language, culture, history and identity of the community.
- To respond to emergencies caused by natural and man-made disasters.
- To generate and promote awareness on environment.
- To build up legal support network and other form of alliances and forums at district and state level for ensuring rights and addressing various issues and problems of the community.
- Community in few districts have been organized into various collectives/ forums.
- Around 8 Mother Tongue Based Multi Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) schools and 1 community run English Medium school have been promoted, facilitated and running successfully.
- The education drive and campaigns have boosted up and motivated the parents and students to enroll in schools and pursue higher education. Comparatively, the percentage of school enrollment and passing out of students in Class X and XII have drastically increased.
- For the 1st time complain to Compliance Advisory Ombudsman(CAO) at United States has been lodged in PAD’s letter head, with an aim to ensure rights of the tea garden labourers.
- IFC had approached PAD for discussion based on the complaint lodged to CAO.
- Member of Right to Food Campaign
- Member of Peoples Right Forum
- Member of Inter Agency Group
- Member of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA)
- PAD is registered under PADOR (European Commission) and is one of the Co-applicants as well as the implementing partner of a project funded by European Union.
- PAD is registered as an observer under World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO)
- PAD presently holds 4 major projects, supported by ActionAid, ECHO, Oxfam and Save the Children.
- The strategic initiation and intervention of PAD in wage campaign for tea garden labourers had made a huge impact locally, nationally and internationally as well.