CYSD’s Inclusive Governance work focuses on empowering community in terms of building their understanding on Government policies, programmes, decentralized planning process, their role and participation in village plan and monitoring of programme/scheme(s). To this effect, CYSD has been striving to strengthen participatory governance, which truly represents the voice of the poor, through its social watch process. This process includes a package of community based monitoring tools for timely access to the quality public services. It enables the community to exact their entitlements and monitor the government programmes for transparent and accountable delivery of basic services. Social Watch framewowrk provides opportunity, to both the demand as well as the supply side, of the institutions of governance, including those of the local government, to be transparent, accountable and responsive.
It also addresses issues related to Child Survival and Maternal Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Child Rights and focuses particularly on women in all intervention areas.
The key strategies to steer the agenda of fostering Participatory Governance are as follows:
In its capacity building efforts in rural and urban local self-governing institutions, CYSD has been engaged in organization building and up-gradation skill of the individual professionals. For this, Information Education Communication (IEC) materials and manuals on various right based programmes and local bodies’ legislation have been used. A pool of experts and specialists at the cluster level is envisaged to be created and retained by collaborating with programmes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme (OTELP). Information hub has been created at panchayat level to strengthen Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras with adequate information and planning to involve people in building their capacity on local area and governance issues. As per the decision of the government of India, Intensive Participatory Planning Exercise (IPPE) will be conducted at village level to ensure the convergence of various flagship programmes, bottom-up planning and linking it to the district planning committee and judicious use of resources. Active community citizens are identified, capacitated and mentored at local level and are linked to other citizens’ leaders and citizen leadership-based organisations/networks at local, district, State and national levels on identified issues.
In order to address the trust deficit between the people and the governance system, demonstration of transparency and social accountability methods/processes of different flagship programmes (i.e. MGNREGS, NFSA, etc.) has been organized. These exercises, being participatory, are aimed to generate citizens’ monitoring reports at State and national levels and then given inputs to national and international advocacy campaigns like e.g. Social Watch and/or other international campaign reports/documents/processes). Institutionalizing the citizen led monitoring facilitates communication between community institutions and frontline government agents. Efforts are on to sensitize the school children on transparency and accountability structures and functions of the country through a well-articulated module. The strategy of institutionalizing citizen-led monitoring and advocacy has also developed collaborative action (and forums) between social and other media persons, citizens and government representatives on monitoring and assessment of development situation.
Capacity building of the local leadership on right to information has been undertaken in order to ensure the rights of the tribal community over land, water and forest in highland region, to strengthen community control over biological resources as per Biodiversity and Bio-piracy Act. Research initiative is being undertaken to build organisational knowledge on coastal commons and rights structure on fishery and Marine resources.
In order to achieve this, CYSD has been doing the following activities. They are: mobilising/making use of relevant government programmes/measures; and initiating collective action to address issues of indigenous origin. Analysing and monitoring of MGNREGS and other social security schemes in collaboration with organised labour groups and PRIs for better generation of assets and optimal access to employment; facilitating access to Public Distribution System (PDS) and ensuring entitlements through institutionalizing a community owned monitoring system and establishing dialogue between communities and implementing stakeholders.
Gendered approach to development has been facilitated by a gender cell in CYSD through community monitoring and network action on issues of domestic and other gender-based violence, discrimination and trafficking which affect women’s dignity and right to work. Capacity building of the women PRI representative about their constitutional space and development issues. Participation in state level debates and forum working on the issues of Girl child education, infanticides, making programmatic inroads for greater economic participation of women by strengthening existing programmatic architecture like NRLM and exploring new innovative domain like women in agriculture etc are some of the strategies of gendered based approach to development.
Odisha Budget and Accountability Centre (OBAC), a unique centre in Odisha has been working for the last 10 years as a policy and budget research unit of CYSD. OBAC has been engaged with numerous activities. They are: i) policy and budget analysis of social sectors like public health, elementary education, Scheduled Tribe & Scheduled Caste Development, women and child development, Water & Sanitation, food security and agriculture & livelihood ii) evaluate the allocation, expenditure and implementation of major flagship programmes in a pro-poor lens and iii) generate information and education materials and educate the citizen/community on policies, programmes, entitlements and participation in Panchayat planning.
The centre has also been striving to influence the policy makers of the state by lobby and advocacy. The centre has been very active in legislative advocacy by reaching out them with questions during the assembly. Media advocacy is also used through featured articles & news. District Budget Watch Group (DBWG) has been set up in 5 districts like Koraput, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Nuapada and Bhawanipatna. These DBWGs are helping the centre to generate charter of demand for the district and those demands are raised at the state level pre-budget consultation in which ministers and officers of the government, media, civil society organizations, researchers and academicians participate. The centre has roped in with various academicians, researchers and civil society activists by forming advisory bodies for different thematic areas of research. These advisory bodies are guiding the centre from time to time for carrying out the research and producing excellent research products for the wider dissemination in the state. The centre has produced a number of research and education materials which have been a resource base for the citizens to understand debate and assert their entitlements. Some research documents like gender budgeting (analysis of budget and policy from women perspective), generation of revenue from potential sources (Coals and Mines) are well recognized by the W & CD and Finance department of Government of Odisha. The analysis of ICDS at tribal dominated districts and budget provisioning for Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) in districts of Odisha have identified a number of issues, which have been communicated to the policy makers of the state. This apart, in order to strengthen the village level community monitoring of development programmes, the centre undertakes capacity building programme for the community and CSOs in the state. Moreover, to make the budget making process participatory, the centre has been undertaking a unique initiative to spread budget literacy on technicalities of budget and state budget making process among the youth, researchers, academic institutions, policy makers and citizens of the state.