The persistence of a feudal ethos with its strong
socio-economic discriminatory context has meant
that lower castes, women and poor remain silenced,
victims of brazen violence and atrocities almost on an
everyday basis. The situation is compounded by the
high levels of illiteracy among low caste, muslims
and especially women. Social evils and conservative
customs that sanction subjugation of poor by rich,
forced unaffordable rituals of community feasts
leading to indebtedness of poor, perpetuate caste
and gender inequality in these interior regions. Most
of benefits of the state welfare schemes are grabbed
by the nexus of politician-contractor-bureaucrat and
majority of poor are left to earn daily wage by
participating in employment generation programmes
that mostly involve digging ponds, uprooting bushes,
leveling tracks, etc. Most of vulnerable dalit
communities survive as subordinated voicelessgroups
having extremely low levels of awareness
about basic govt. welfare schemes.
It is in this context that the Food Security project with the support of Dan Church Aid was started in the beginning of 2007. SURE selected 10 villages from Barmer Block that were comparatively nearer to the district headquarter and 11 villages from Chohtan Block that were interior villages.
Some of the key activities have involved coordination meeting with PDS, MDM, ICDS workers; block and district level advocacy on ICDS, MDM, PDS, MGNREGA, Pension, other Govt. schemes and food security issues. In addition to this, the VLFSC members participated in national networks for advocacy on food security.
Lok Adhikar Network is a common platform of 22 social organizations of Barmer district. Focusing on 2 Gram Panchayat (Ramzan ki Gafan & Bawarwala) the project aimed at the following:
Advocacy on MGNREGA There have been different issues relating to the implementation of MGNREGA in many villages. To prevent these, village food security committees advocate on fair and proper selection of the workers, and for ensuring that all facilities and arrangements are provided at MGNREGA sites. In 2009 transparency in scrutinizing applications, equal group work distribution and timely payment were ensured in Hathama, Segari, Daruda, Genhun, Soamniyon. In Ghonia, 120 people, 80 in Hathma, 105 in Dhok, 80 in Daruda got job opportunities in MGNREGA.