Funding Line 2

Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation

Project Name Social Mobilsation for Resilient Livelihoods during and beyond Disasters
Commisioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country India
Implementing Organisation Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF) – www.hrf.net.in
Duration November 2021 – October 2022

The Challenge

Lack of Social Security for Socially Excluded Vulnerable Communities: Due to historical and structural reasons, many social security schemes of the government do not reach socially excluded vulnerable communities (SEVC). Many of those communities have, for example, a high share of nomads and migrants. The basic problem is that people from SEVCs do not have proof of eligibility, or do not meet standards of eligibility (like no bank account or no titled land), hence the government system does not fulfil their entitlements.

Missing Access to Protection Measures: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these gaps. Lockdowns and protection measures severely hit life and livelihoods of SEVCs. Village presidents with close links to the community are out of the loop in disaster management protocols and cannot advocate for their community’s rights and demands. Civil society organizations are of increasing importance in trying to fill in the gap, by providing ad hoc last mile linkages for relief and community feedback.

The Objective

The project aims to promote access to emergency relief, all entitlements, and social security benefits for SEVCs in remote areas. In doing so, the communities can recover better with sustainable livelihoods and full government supported schemes and facilities.

The Target Group

The beneficiaries are from the most deprived households; women, girls, and people with disabilities are prioritised. The project reaches out to 150 villages in 30 districts, covering up to 60,000 beneficaries from 15,000 households, in coordination with the 150 village presidents. The presidents and the beneficiaries are from the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, or from the most backward classes – the most underserved and deprived sections of Indian society.

About HRF

The Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF) is a non-profit, civil society institution working for the promotion and protection of human rights in India since 1993. The Foundation enables socially excluded communities and vulnerable sections of society to exercise their constitutional rights, amplifies their voice, and enhances their participation in decision-making.

Website: www.hrf.net.in

The Approach

Building Capacities of Elected Representatives: The focus of the project is building capacity of village presidents and Civil Society at the village level. Also, their awareness about entitlements of their community members in terms of social security coverage, pensions, insurance, subsidies, etc. is strengthened.

Support in Accessing Entitlements: Each district will have an animateur who works together with the village presidents. They bring the communities together for the village assemblies, inform them of the schemes, eligibility, procedures, and documentation. The animateurs provide support with filling out application forms and submit them to the respective authority at the village or sub-divisional level and follow up on the application status.

In doing so, beneficiaries get critical documentation to claim welfare schemes and pandemic relief like certificates of birth, death, marriage, community, disability, school, income/ poverty, or title deeds.

Establishing Platforms for Networking: In quarterly district meetings of the presidents with the district administration, the needs of the community members are addressed and the application processes for entitlements are followed up. Simultaneously, forums for networking village presidents with similar interests are established to strengthen their ability to access entilements and social security for the community.

The Results

  1. 60,000 people get critical documentation such as certificates of birth, marriage, community, disability, poverty, or title deeds
  2. 15,000 households receive at least one social benefit or emergency relief
  3. 150 elected community leaders receive capacity building and awareness raising on accessing entitlements for their community
  4. 600 quarterly meetings of village assemblies to inform and support beneficiaries in application and documentation

I am Palani, aged 50. Five years ago, I lost both my legs in a road accident. […]. Unable to walk, I crawled, begged for food, sheltering under trees during the rain and hot sun.

Six months ago, a few people from HRF enquired about me. I told them I didn’t have any identification to access entitlements. They took me to the Directorate for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, got me registered and got me a differently abled identity card. Now I get a disability allowance.

For the future I would like to see a world in which people with disabilities are automatically given all these entitlements, so that inequality is reduced and they can be self-reliant and productive citizens.”

Palani