Facilitating Campaign to Influence Political Parties on PESA and Decentralised Water Management

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Information about Facilitating Campaign to Influence Political Parties on PESA and...
Government & Nonprofit

Published on July 17, 2014

Author: PRIAIndia

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Practitioner's Note

Publication under PRIA Project 'Action Research on Implementation of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), 1996 in Chhattisgarh (with special focus on water).'

Context: The root of this campaign was the grassroots campaign on PESA and water issues launched by PRIA in collaboration with Arghyam and four CSO partners during April-June 2013, and the district consultations held during August –September 2013, as part of the Action Research intervention in Chhattisgarh on water management issues. As a precursor to the Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections held on November 11 and November 19,2013 a political commitment campaign was launched on 24 August 2013,and continued till the second week of November 2013, in nine districts of the state. Campaign Focus: The campaign aimed at ensuring that all political parties made a commitment to strengthen implementation of PESA provisions, especially in relation to the recognition of the rural tribal communities' rights to control and manage water resources in the Schedule V areas. Campaign Audience and Coverage: The campaign's primary audience were the representatives and members of the different political parties. It included: members of political parties, state and district officials, state election incharge, spokespersons, candidates for the assembly seats, especially in PESA constituencies, government advisors, sitting MLAs, and all party MLCs. The political parties included national parties like the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), CPM and regional parties like Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch, and the Gondwana Gantantra Party. Further it was also aimed at influencing the officials of the water related line departments (i.e., PHED, and the Water Resource Department) and the Panchayati Raj Department. The campaign also focussed on creating awareness and mobilising support among the PRI members, CSOs, tribal community members and leaders and media to build a countervailing force for engaging with the political establishment. It was strategically designed as a two phase intervention. During Phase 1 of the campaign, nine districts representing Bilaspur, Raipur, Durg, Bastar and Surguja Division were covered. During Phase 2 of the campaign the coverage was narrowed to focus on the 17 VidhanSabha(VS) constituencies of the PESA areas of the ninedistricts. These included 12 Scheduled Tribe (ST) reserved seats, which was 40 percent coverage of all ST Vidhan Sabha seats reserved in Chhattisgarh. Campaign Partners: The Chhattisgarh Jal Kendrit PESA Jagrukta Manch (Chhattisgarh Water Centred PESA Awareness Forum) spearheaded this campaign. The Manch is a forum of tribal leaders, Facilitating Campaign to Influence Political Parties on PESA and Decentralised Water Management practitioner notes Campaign Overview

elected representatives, NGOs and social activists from 10 districts in Chhattisgarh (majority being under Schedule V areas) which includes Raipur, Korba, Kanker, Rajnandgaon, Surguja, Surajpur, Balrampur, Koriya, Durg and Balod. The Campaign had three distinct phases: the preparatory phase, the implementation phase and the follow up phase. (a) Campaign Planning Constitution of the Chhattisgarh Jal Kendrit PESA Jagrukta Manch: The planning of the campaign was undertaken during August 2013 and included consultations with CSOs, social activists and PRI members of 15 districts during the district level consultations held at Kaker, Rajnandgaon and Surguja between Aug 24-29, 2013. A collaborative campaign strategy was evolved, wherein the participating NGOs and PRI members agreed to come together under the Chhattisgarh Jal Kendrit PESA Jagrukta Manch and run the campaign under the banner of the Manch. Formulation of the Citizen's Charter of Demands: The district consultations provided space to develop a Citizen's Charter of Demands (Nagrik Mang Patra) on PESA and water issues. The core committee of the Manch representatives finalised the same. The Citizen's Charter lists 10 key demands based on the experiences of tribal community members, elected representatives and CSOs in Chhattisgarh on the issues of water and the implementation of PESA, 1996. The Charter of Demands was then printed and widely circulated, to cover general citizens as well as targeted areas. (b) Campaign Implementation The intensive campaign was run between September-November 2013. First Phase Strategy (September 2013) Engagement with Political Party Representatives: In the first phase of the campaign, the Citizen's Charter of Demands was shared with key representatives of political parties at the state level and across nine districts to ensure inclusion of the Citizen's Charter in the election manifestoes of the parties. It included meeting the representatives of the political parties, explaining the citizen's demands to them and getting their assurance that the Citizen's Charter of Demands would be included in the manifesto of the party. In addition a memorandum of demand was prepared by the Manch members and given to key political leaders at the national and state level. Wide dissemination of the Citizen's Charter of Demands: In addition, about 6000 copies of the Citizen's Charter of Demands was shared with panchayat members, tribal leaders and tribal community members of the nine districts so as to engage them in building pressure on political parties. The distribution strategy included undertaking individual discussions, holding village level meetings in identified panchayats with the 2 Facilitating Campaignto Influence Political Parties on PESA and Decentralised Water Management Participatory Research in Asia Campaign Design

3 tribal community, their leaders and PRI members and sharing and discussing the Citizen's Charter and the need for and ways to engage with political party representatives. To ensure wider outreach the Citizen's Charter of Demands was also circulated via the local newspaper vendors. Engagement with Media: An essential component of the campaign was engagement with the state and district media to enhance the outreach of the campaign, and build sustained pressure on the political parties as well as the water and Panchayati Raj related departments. In addition to individually sharing and briefing the district and state level media (both print and electronic) about the political commitment campaign, structured interaction was also planned through press conferences. In all two press conferences were organised at the district level at Korba and Rajnandgaon District and one press conference at the state level. Second Phase Strategy (October-November 2013) In the second phase, after the political parties had declared their list of candidates, the Forum members facilitated dialogue and interaction with the potential candidates in 17 selected Vidhan Sabha constituencies on the issues listed in the Citizen's Charter of Demands. Five panchayats were identified in each constituency and from each selected panchayata few panchayat elected representatives and tribal citizen leaders were mobilised to engage with their Vidhan Sabha constituency candidates on the Citizen's Charter of Demands in the five divisions of Surguja, Bilaspur, Raipur, Durg and Bastar Divisions. (c) Post Campaign Post the State Assembly elections, the manifestoe of the political parties, especially those of the BJP, Congress and the Third Front were analysed at the state level to study the inclusion of PESA and tribal communities control over water resources. The analyses and findings were also shared with the local media. Further information sharing and discussion with the Forum members is underway and efforts are being made to continue engagement with the elected political representatives of these 17 Vidhan Sabha constituencies on the issue of ensuring the community's control over and management of water resources. Making PESA implementation and rights over water management an election issue: The wide dissemination of about 6000 copies of the Citizen's Charter of Demands in 13 districts helped to create awareness among the diverse groups on the key campaign message and include it as an important election issue. Nearly 20 media news items related to the political campaign and the Citizen's Charter of Demand shave been published in various media at different locations. An environment to press for the effective implementation of PESA and to recognise the rights of the rural tribal communities to control and manage water resources in Schedule V areas thus was craeted. • Practitioner Notes Key Outcome of the Campaign

• • • • • • decentralised water management: Of the total 986 candidates contesting elections for all 90 constituencies of the legislative assembly, around 100 political leaders/contesting candidates, across party lines, were contacted and sensitised during the various activities of the political campaign in the 17 constituencies of Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly. In a number of constituencies, especially in Surguja District, the contesting candidates gave an assurance that they would work on the demands made in the Citizen's Charter of Demands if they win the election. Inclusion of campaign demand in party election manifesto: The Chhattisgarh Sanyukt Morcha (an alliance of 6 political parties) has clearly mentioned in its manifesto that it will ensure the proper implementation of PESA and will provide safe drinking water. The BJP has also mentioned in their election manifesto that they will enhance the powers of the excluded community over the Jal, Jangal and Jamin (water, forest and land) and will strengthen the PRI system. Get the campaign message, target group, coverage, and timing right: For this a clear and planned strategy is required. For example in Phase 2 of the current campaign focus on 17 constituencies helped to structure the campaign activity. Use diverse and innovative influence tools to get your campaign message heard and addressed: Influence tools in the political campaign case included the Citizen's Charter of Demands, signed memorandums, media, press conferences, individual meetings, delegations of platform members etc. Apply pressure at each level and use all influence spaces: To make an impact, it helps to create pressure from all sides and at each level. For example to influence the manifesto building process, pressure was applied at all levels with the political party-district, state and national. Use all spaces, including the online space, to get your message across. Use media strategically: The media play a vital role in creating awareness and raising issues so the media needs to be involved strategically. At the time of preparing for the campaign, there should be a separate media strategy for their involvement. Sensitisation and assurance of political party candidates on the issues of PESA implementation and Supported by : Participatory Research in Asia PRIA is an International Centre for Learning and Promotion of Participation and Democratic Governance Author Mr Mahesh Dhandole is Sr. Programme Officer at PRIA. © PRIA, March 2014 This publication has been brought out under the PRIA programme titled “Action Research on Implementation of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), 1996 in Chhattisgarh (with special focus on water).” Head Office : 42, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110 062 India Phone: (+91-11) 2996 0931/32/33 Fax: (+91-11) 29955183 Email: info@pria.org Web: www.pria.org State Office : House No. 52, Sector-1, Geetanjali Nagar, Raipur - 492 007 Phone: (0771) 2442 180 E-mail: raipur@pria.org Tips for Practitioners

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