All these programs can bring great benefits to the people but in a lot of cases it fails to deliver. People can be unaware of their rights, there can be lack of interest from the authorities to accommodate the people, corrupt officials divert capital streams into their own pockets, instalments are not being paid and sometimes honest mistakes are made but nobody cares to follow them up. In a sense people lack the acquaintance, knowledge and confidence to take up these problems. Many things can be blamed here. A shortage of awareness, a society that is solidified in hierarchy and an unwillingness to perceive one’s own problems all contribute to a certain apathy that needs to be curbed. As for now there are no institutes that take on awareness and empowerment building in an overarching way, one that brings the Community Based Organisations (CBOs) together and looks at the different problems the community faces. For all these problems solutions can be worked out by connecting them to the answers offered by governments and NGOs. It is important to understand that a community is just as strong as the level of participation of its members. For this the MFC must provide the answer.
For many years SEDS has been delivering facilities and trainings to the CBOs. Now SEDS is trying to phase itself out in the field of delivering these direct services to the community and it wants her members to pick up where it has left off. However, in the process of building up the MFC it became clear that the CBOs, mainly the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Village Organisations (VOs) are a bit stuck at the village level and have a great difficulty transcending this. Yes, there are the Mandal Samakyas who bring the VO leaders of the Mandal together but these government institutions do not take up empowerment roles for the larger community. They just train their own members and divert government funds in different projects.
So SEDS came up with the plan to facilitate the SHGs and VOs to set up a body that would rise above the village level and tackle the issues collectively. In a first stage, as mentioned before, it was necessary to inform the CBOs about all the options and prospects that are out there. Now we have arrived at a point that we know that the community is ready to take it to the next stage, the actual start up of the MFC.
During VO meetings the concept of the MFC was explained to the women. We wanted them to understand that the MFC will be an independent institute run by them and will provide information, services and advocacy for their benefit.
o On development programs of government and private institutions
o Possibilities of training
o Education / health / environment
o All other matters that are deemed important for community development
o Delivering trainings to the SHGs
o Follow up on micro credit scheme
o Facilitate all kinds of services towards government schemes and private institutions, eg. Bank linkages, insurance applications, infrastructure requests etc.
- Lobbying and Advocacy
o Use of free legal services
o Legal advice
o Issues with implementations of schemes
o Issues with the government
structure and functions of the MFC
Selection of the Executive Committee Members
On the 6th of August the Executive Committee members came together for the first time in Penukonda. In their first meeting SEDS discussed the features of an institution and the roles and responsibilities of the office bearers. In the afternoon the women selected a president, a vice president, a secretary, a joint secretary and a treasurer.
The Executive Committee Meeting
SEDS will be providing the starting capital for the MFC and give a full year of financial backing. Also In the following three years SEDS will be standing next to these women and guiding them in all aspects of the three main functions of the MFC. The hand over of the MFC as a people’s function will then start taking place facilitated by SEDS.