Community Institution Building
We believe that mobilised communities can question discrimination, and act to overcome it. We see institution building, based on responsible governance principles, as a way to realise this change. Our work has facilitated the creation of community based organisations of female sex workers and sexual minorities, strengthened Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNC) and formation of sex worker cooperatives.
Our decade long work with the marginalised communities, predominantly in India, has reinforced our understanding that three interplaying social factors are systematically pushing specific groups of people to the lower or outer edge of the society:
- power imbalances
- social exclusion arising out of discriminatory practices
- increasing vulnerability of the excluded communities
We are increasingly convinced that we need to work with these communities and help them come together to critically analyse their situations, take action and question subjugation.
We believe institution building, based on responsible governance principles, can help us in achieving it.
How do we do it?
We view all our projects across various issues as opportunities to work with marginalised communities including female sex workers (FSWs), sexual minorities, transgenders, people living with HIV/AIDS, scheduled caste and tribes (SC/ST), adolescent girls from backward communities, migrant workers and frontline health workers such as the ASHA, Anganwadi workers.
Through our projects, we make efforts to represent the concerns of these marginalised groups. We engage with them intensively through building their self- esteem, creating opportunities for personal growth, skill development, capacity building, collectivisation and institution building leading to their empowerment and mainstreaming.
What have we done so far?
Through our work, we have
- established and assisted in building over 33 FSW institutions that have developed into well-defined formal units, with specific vision, mission and plan statements; are prepared to critically analyse their situations and facilitate action, sustained growth and efficient functioning
- been instrumental in making Karnataka the only state, where over 70 per cent of the State HIV/AIDS prevention Targeted Interventions were transitioned to Commuity Based Organisations (CBOs) rather than NGOs
- capacitated and strengthened 1300 Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs) covering 7800 non-functionary members, which include men and women from the SC/ST communities
- built 23 district level institutions of sexual minorities who currently manage and implement projects, apply for funding and effectively represent the needs of the community at the state level through Sarathya – a state level federation of sexual minorities
- helped communities of female sex workers form five cooperatives in the districts of Bagalkot, Bijapur, Belgaum, Dharwad and Bangalore, which have ensured low interest loans for community members thus making these groups financially empowered and secure