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Citizenship Programme

Being a responsible, active citizen is much easier than we think. Taking initiative and action is something that few of us tend to do because we come across three major roadblocks: lack of knowledge, lack of skill and disempowering beliefs.

The citizenship programme builds capacities on these specific areas and provides basic training for all citizens to educate them on their rights and responsibilities. It brings together information on governance (constitutional rights, duties and structure of the State), tools for citizen action (complaints, the RTI Act) and an inquiry into our own beliefs. It is applied in the context of issues that citizens want to engage with and act upon.

Focusing on ownership and responsibility, the programme facilitates learning by engaging in action on the ground. Since it combines reflection, information and action, by the end of the programme, the participants have reflected deeply on their role and values as citizens and understood the framework of governance and the structure and functions of the State. They would also have learnt to use tools, like the RTI Act and complaints, by working a on a real governance issue that concerns them. Thus the programme combines the WHY, WHAT and HOW of responsible citizenship.

Here again, in keeping with our focus on youth and the poor, the CPs have been facilitated mainly through educational institutions and CSOs. Over the last six months, we have continued to follow up and work on CPs initiated last year, introduced CPs with new groups of citizens with the same partners and also introduced CPs with new partners. In the period Feb to July 2015, we have reached over 2200 citizens through 38 CPs with the help of 108 anchors.

In the west Secretariat, the second half of the year is marked with great success stories and remarkable civic action projects in the 15 citizenship programmes that are being conducted in Maharashtra. To the former list of CP institutions like Mahatma Phule Vidyalaya, Jawahar Vidyalaya at Majalgaon, Dist. Beed and Learning Home, Pune , 12 new educational institutions have got added under a state funded project given to us by Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute, Pune (BARTI).

In the North Secretariat, apart from strengthening our partnerships with Heritage and Literacy India schools in Gurgaon, we have initiated new partnerships with schools in NCR. For e.g., Heritage School in Rohini, New Delhi and Colonel’s Central Academy School, Gurgaon and integrated CP curriculum into their existing Social Sciences syllabus. Another such integration has happened at the Gurgaon based School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) where the CP curriculum will become part of the Management course for students in mid February.

Citizenship Programme – Highlights

  • Jawahar Vidyalaya in Kesapuri Camp in Majalgaon, is our other partner. This school has shown interest in understanding how the various schemes of the government come down to the lowest unit of governance that is Grampanchayat and how are they executed. A group of students at school visited the nearby village where currently under Swachha Bharat “हरघरमेंशौचालय is being executed. A Panchayat member had meeting with the students and gave them information about how this scheme is being executed.
  • As part of the regular Citizenship Programme in Literacy India, Bajghera, one day session was conducted with Class 8 students in November. The session started with a talk about the meaning of Preamble followed by basic fundamental rights and duties and was followed by discussion on the pillars of democracy: The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and the hierarchy of the courts. The students were divided into groups based on their place of residence and asked to come up with the civic issues they are facing within their localities. The main issues identified were poor condition of roads, garbage and poor drainage. The students were then told to research about these issues, the exact location of the issue, find out the related laws and acts, and try to gather other relevant information in the context​. The civic action projects are in process and the students are going to represent the issue to the respective authorities in the month of February.
  • 40 aadivasi women were part of a Citizenship Programme at Betul, Madhya Pradesh in association with PRADAN in the month of October. In this 3 day event, the women participated actively and engaged into enriching discussions. The answer to one of the questions by a lady was quite enlightening when she said “Baba Ambedkar ne dalit ke aadhikaro ke liye aawaz uthai, issliye ab hum unke saath bhed bhav nahi karte, unke saath khana khaate hain“.

You can read about real cases in Mumbai, Gurgaon and Hyderabad here.