CHANGE_SCAPE : PACS newsletter
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CHANGE_SCAPE : PACS newsletter

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Stories, features, news and analysis on social inclusion

Stories, features, news and analysis on social inclusion

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CHANGE_SCAPE : PACS newsletter CHANGE_SCAPE : PACS newsletter Document Transcript

  • Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 CHANGE_SCAPEAugust, 2013 Selection of stories from partners and socially excluded groups that PACS works with Stories, features, news and analysis on social inclusion Empowering School Management Committees It takes an informed and empowered community to harvest the fruits of educational entitlements, including non-discriminatory access to midday meals... Continued on Page 2 Unique network to capture excluded voices To enable community voices to be heard and their issues, aspirations, struggles and successes recorded and disseminated to a wider audience, Poorest Areas Civil Societies (PACS) programme and Video Volunteers initiated a u n i q u e c o n c e p t o f a C o m mu n i t y Correspondents Network (CCN)... Continued on Page 4 Demanding MGNREGA entitlements Until a few months back, a visit to the remote Nad village that falls in the Kalapan Gram Panchayat of Ranapur block in Jhabua district reflected unfortunate reality of distress migration... Continued on Page 6 On the National map  It is not often that a village makes news. But sometimes there are moments when the seemingly implausible happens in nooks and corners tucked away within the folds of the country... Continued on Page 8 Newsletter for civil society www.pacsindia.org Campaign to ensure livelihood entitlements and participatory planning for excluded groups Access to national health guarantee scheme Community capacity building Gaining momentum  ‘Gaining Momentum’, a multimedia and photo- exhibition was created by Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) captures exceptional stories of courage and struggle... Continued on Page 10
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE2 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 The midday meal tragedy in Bihar has drawn attention directly to the way we articulate and work for educational entitlements, including, of course, the Mid Day Meal Scheme. Our approach can no longer afford to be casual and random. Instead, it has to be systematically embedded in a process that engages the community, parents and teachers. That is why the story of Nazia Jahan is so important. Coming from a community that reflects some of the poorest educational levels in the country, Nazia was hesitant to even visit her children’s school, let alone ask the teachers about the schooling they were getting. She was illiterate, came from the Muslim community, and like most people living in poverty, education was the last thing on her mind. A resident of the Ramteerath ward of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, the 32-year- old has five children. Her husband made small amounts of money to support the family by taking up odd jobs as a cleaner in the city’s neighbourhoods. Nazia’s own journey to find a voice and get it heard has led to the School Management Committee (SMC) in her son’s school getting transformed into a vibrant platform. In the process, she has demonstrated that the functioning of the school and the education it imparts needs to be the collective responsibility of parents, teachers and the school management. In February 2013, Lokmitra – a partner with our organisation, the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme – introduced Nazia to a training model that sets out to build the capacity of the community to understand and engage with issues of discrimination under the Right to Education Act. Accessing entitlements under the Act is also a part of the learning. The young mother then went on to use her new understanding and capacity to engage with the school for provisions that she and others like her had been denied because of general apathy on the part of the school. The Narhi Primary School in Ramteerath ward, where Nazia’s children studied, has seven classrooms. But the paucity of teachers and lack of interest by the management led to different batches of children being made to sit together within the same room. For instance, Class I and Class II would have their classes within a single classroom. What learning went on in such circumstances can only be imagined. The problem was that the members of the SMC were neither aware of their responsibilities nor power, nor were they motivated to do something about the education that was being imparted to their children. It was here that Nazia could make a difference. “I did not have confidence or information on how to approach the school on the way my child was being taught. I did not even know that there is a committee and parents can be part of it,” she recalls, highlighting one of the biggest challenges in implementation of the Right to Education Act’s provision of participatory and shared accountability on the functioning of the school. The law envisages a powerful school-community interface through SMCs to address the realities of exclusion and discrimination. Empowering Nazia to talk to parents and the local community, mobilise them and inspire them to take up the issue with the school principal was Lokmitra. The organisation has adopted a model – evolved in partnership with PACS – that trains socially excluded groups through the SMC and enables them to monitor school activities and functioning; prepare and recommend a school development plan; become involved in grant utilisation planning and follow up on the attendance of both teachers and students. The MDM scheme and enrolment of children in the age group of 6-14 years is an important element of SMC’s scrutiny. Under the model, intensive training of SMC members takes place in batches of 40 members or so, to build perspective on entitlements under the Right to Education Act. The need for such an intervention can be gauged from the fact that in a large number of cases the SMC members are not even aware that they have been selected as representatives. Nazia's case was similar. It was only after she received training along the lines outlined, followed by a period of hand holding, could she become an active SMC member. Minding the Mid Day Meal Scheme HOW A MOTHER MADE A DIFFERENCE
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE3 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 The model also trains parents from socially excluded groups on ways to lobby with schools. This is done through interactive exercises and sharing of experiences through role-playing. In this way, SMC members learn how to pitch an issue to the school authorities. They also understand the various forms of discrimination that manifest themselves in schools. Going by a most cursory reading of newspapers, and the testimonies of many children, it is clear that discrimination along caste and communal lines is very much a reality in most schools these days. A path breaking working paper, entitled ‘Exclusion and Discrimination in Schools: Experiences of Dalit Children’, brought by Indian Institute of Dalit Studies and UNICEF in 2009, observes: “The discrimination in school continues in both active and hidden forms. One of the most important spheres within the school where exclusionary practices continue to flourish are those that are concerned with water and food, which have been traditionally potent sites of caste based discrimination… Where ‘running water’ is not available in schools through taps (and hand pumps) and drinking water is ‘stored’ in earthen pots, jars or served in glasses, Dalit children are likely to continue to face caste prejudice reflected in discriminatory practices such as not being allowed to take water themselves.” Given this unfortunate reality, the principle of social inclusion constitutes a very crucial element of this model that Lokmitra has promoted. Through a multi-pronged strategy of empowering communities, children from socially excluded backgrounds are also being together in groups known as Bal Panchayats. Information and understanding on various entitlements are then imparted to them. These Bal Panchayat children, in turn, become vital links to parents, helping to prod them into discharging their responsibilities as members of SMCs. After these trainings are completed, Lokmitra's cluster managers assist the SMC to conduct regular meetings, speak to school authorities, monitor school budgets and supervise the Mid Day Meal Scheme. India’s Mid Day Meal Scheme reaches 120 million children in over 12.65 lakh schools and nutrition centres across the country. The idea behind it was to provide two fundamental entitlements guaranteed by the Indian constitution – namely the right to food and the right to education. The availability of a warm lunch in school has helped to arrest the phenomenon of children from poor communities – especially those that are discriminated against like dalits – dropping out of school.
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE4 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 The initial impact this network created was seen in a short film ‘Change Whisperers, which was screened at the launch. It depicted the journey of the ten community correspondents who were recently trained, some of whom have already started making videos. It relates the journey of community activists who now feel empowered with a camera to make a difference. Speaking at the start of the discussion, Director of Inclusive Media for Change, Vipul Mudgal spoke about the need to effect change in policy. He applauded the CCN initiative and said though they were able to ensure a more inclusive media they were not yet influencing policy. He said, “We need to ensure that we have the right to communicate and the right to be heard. Air waves are being auctioned but we have seen in recent Supreme Court judgments, that airwaves are public property. It is the right of the people of this country to communicate with each other.” “It is the right of the people to be heard and those who cannot be heard individually can aleast be heard collectively. Also we have the right to public hearings where collective voices can be heard.” “There are 16 English daily newspapers published from Delhi, the only city in the world to have so many English newspapers published from one place but two top newspapers Times of India and Hindustan Times account for 70 percent of the total publication”, said independent journalist, media commentator and author Paranjoy Guha Thakurta explaining main stream media and its dynamics. He said, for mainstream media, profit making was the main motive and you are the consumers”. Elaborating it further, Mr Thakurta said, “The suicide of Jiah Khan is big news, but the suicide of a farmer does not make news”. He did add a hopeful note. He said, “Things are changing. Today your news does not get covered but one day the mainstream media will have to come to you. They will be forced to recognize you and I hope for that day”. Talking about the massive scope of communication in a dynamic media scene in India, Mr Thakurta said, “There are many new channels of communication. There are 90 crore Sim cards in India and there are 70 crore mobile phones in a population of 120 crore people. So there are new ways to disseminate news. There is immense power in this but one needs to also ensure that this power is not misused”. The only woman on the panel, Director of Women’s Feature Service and columnist Pamela Philipose was thrilled that there were lots of women in the community correspondents network, because often the story of the woman is not told. She said, “It is so difficult to get the mainstream media to hear and to see our stories. They have over a period of time begun to speak more and more to the advertising world. In the process of speaking to the advertisers, they are losing the larger picture.” She urged PACS and VV to keep in mind the importance of bridging the gap between media and correspondents. We have stories that are happening and it is important to know what stories to see. Also there are now opportunities to tell your stories using emerging technologies, Ms Philipose said. The community is directly affected by Hindi media so it is more influential there but when it comes to policy the English media is more powerful stated Outlook Hindi editor Neelabh Mishra. He said that though it was true that caste based exclusion was evident in media as in other professions and caste dynamics were far greater in the rural areas, still grass-root correspondents reporting about their communities can be more effective since they know the dynamics and local issues better. Change whisperers SOCIALLY EXCLUDED COMMUNITIES GET A VOICE
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE5 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 Local stringers who are grassroots activists are an important key to news gathering’. Explaining this he said, ‘It was the Hindi media which had video footage of the recent Uttarakhand floods moreover the Maoist attack on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh atleast one day before the English media had any video footage of these incidences’. ‘Though social media is a good tool for disseminating news, it is not an unmitigated medium either. It has its own limitations’, Mr Mishra pointed out. Finally, founder director of Video Volunteers Stalin speaking at the end of the panel discussion said, “There is definite correlation between the absence of issues of excluded communities in mainstream media and the absence of correspondents from excluded communities and religious minorities in the mainstream media.” He said content in mainstream media was not reflective of Indian desires, aspirations and realities and so it is important to change the content. ‘We saw that it was important to see who produces the content and so in India Unheard, we made a conscious decision to take not just rural correspondents but to ensure that they comprise of tribals, dalits, sexual and religious minorities’. He said all these people have a right to be heard since they have not been heard historically. About community media, Stalin said the very ethos of it was local. ‘Hyper local is central to community media. Reporting about issues is just the beginning for us. It is about using the content proactively to show evidences of violations to communities and officials to ultimately impact change on the ground’. Earlier, Head of DFID, UK, Sam Sharpe began with brief address with this encouragement, “This collaboration with Video Volunteers is the most exciting. We have so many windows of knowledge but so many windows are not open. Caste, gender and other forms of discrimination are not shown on our media. So it’s a new way of seeing things”. He said, “Change agents are changing their communities in all sorts of ways. But they are making an impact only in their own communities at present. Just think what impact they would be have if they were able to share their stories more widely. That is what VV and PACS will do for us. We hope it will help us understand the more subtle forms of discrimination”. He hoped that these videos made by community correspondents will get shown on main stream media.
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE6 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 Madhya Pradesh's Jhabua district is home to a sizeable population of Bhil adivasis even though their large numbers have never given them a strong voice when it came to demanding their basic rights or accessing government schemes. For years, these tribals continued to face rough times, plagued by extreme poverty, illiteracy and the ill-effects of forced seasonal migration. Until a few months back, a visit to the remote Nad village that falls in the Kalapan Gram Panchayat of Ranapur block in Jhabua district would have clearly reflected this unfortunate reality. Today, however, it is an altogether different scenario. People here now know their rights and entitlements, they no longer have to move out for months on end in search of work, and their children have a more stable life. How did they manage this seemingly impossible feat? Well, this success story starts around the time when the Adivasi Chetna Shikshan Seva Samiti (ACSSS), a local civil society organisation, decided to launch a campaign to raise awareness about the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the region in partnership with the Poorest Areas Civil Society Programme (PACS). Nad is certainly not your average idyllic rural hamlet - one has to cross a mountain and a river to access the single mud track that leads to the village. Due to the severe lack of livelihood opportunities, migration was a part of 'normal' life. Reveals Benedict Damor, Secretary, ACSSS, "It was common for entire families to move out with bag and baggage and go to cities in Rajasthan and Gujarat for six months at a stretch. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that every year around 70 per cent of the village would migrate for work." Of course, while it was evident that migration had given this community the means to earn money - on which they survived for the remaining six months - it had also taken away a great deal from them. Their children were deprived of secure home, illiteracy was rampant and health indicators were extremely poor. Malnutrition levels were high, and consequently the maternal and child mortality rates. The lack of information meant that they were unable to access healthcare schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yogana (JSY) and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Activists of ACSSS, therefore, felt that if these people were empowered to seek employment nearby their village, it could potentially be a transformative process for them. The implementation of the MGNREGA could turn things around - after all, the employment guarantee legislation had been envisioned as a strategy to end out-migration from rural areas by providing deprived households with 100 days of work. Trouble was that even though these people had heard of this flagship government initiative, they had no idea of how to obtain work under it and, therefore, had simply stayed away from work sites. So, as part of their campaign, the first thing the ACSSS activists did was to organise regular community level meetings where the tribals were informed about their rights under the Act. This was followed by the setting up of a women's Self-Help Group (SHG), the Dashama Mahila Swam Sanstha Samuh. Recalls Damor, "We gave them all the necessary information regarding MGNREGA and explained to them that they had every right to demand work. Moreover, in case work was not given they could ask for an unemployment allowance." Once they understood this, the tribals formed a group and approached their Kalapan Gram Panchayat for work - 17 women and 15 men asked for 45 days of work on December 4, 2012. When they were told that there was none available at the time, they confidently demanded their unemployment allowance. Indigenous communities show the way COMMUNITY DEMANDS AND GETS WORK ENTITLEMENT UNDER MGNREGS
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE7 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 It was then that the villagers decided to directly approach the district collector, Jayshree Kiyawat. With placards in hand, they reached the collectorate office at Jhabua and raised slogans demanding work under MGNREGA or the payment of the unemployment allowance. Even the local press was invited to cover the demonstration and add to the pressure. Their effort had the desired result as the collector not only heard their complaint but promised prompt action. Such was the power of their collective intervention that the very next day government officials from Ranapur block visited Nad to survey the area. Within 24 hours, the construction of eight wells was sanctioned under the MGNREGA at an estimated cost of Rs 7 lakh. Work on the wells took off from February 10, 2013 onwards and workers have been paid regularly on a weekly basis. According to Damor, "This victory was possible because the villagers remained united and raised their voice collectively, despite threats and hurdles from various quarters." Significantly, the overjoyed villagers have discovered the influence they can exert on officials while demanding their rights under MGNREGA provisions and armed with the Right to Information Act. They are now looking forward to further developing Nad by securing their entitlements under various other government schemes as well. Nad is not the first village to have witnessed a positive multiplier effect of this kind. This trend has, in fact, been documented in different scholarly works that have investigated the impact of work done under MGNREGA on agriculture productivity and the income of the farming community. One study, an independent evaluation of MGNREGA, jointly conducted by Institute of Forest Management, Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) and Institute of Social Science Research (ISSR) and released in 2012, on small and marginal farmers in Madhya Pradesh has revealed that due to projects taken up on individual land there was an increase of around 15 per cent in the cultivated area of the sample households. This also increased their food security - in fact, the availability of food went up from six months to nine months (Source: MGNREGA Sameeksha 2006-12).
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE8 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 It is not often that a village makes news. But sometimes there are moments when the seemingly implausible happens in nooks and corners tucked away within the folds of the country. One such moment was when the predominantly tribal village of Khijri, in Jharkhand, was awarded the President's medal - the Utkrist Rashtrapati Samman - on February 3, MGNREGA Day. As mukhiya Nandlal Hansda stepped forward to receive the award from Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, it marked the end of an important journey. How Khijri panchayat in Teesri block of Giridih district, populated largely by Santhals, came to occupy pride of place on the national map makes an interesting story. This nondescript village proved to the country that it was possible to successfully provide employment to a large numbers of workers within a short span of time. Employment opportunities in a relatively remote village like Khijri are generally hard to come by, and many of the young, able-bodied people here have had to travel to distant places in search of work. In fact, Giridih is known for its high levels of out-migration. It is precisely in such contexts, that a government programme like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) could potentially be a game-changer, which was why the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme chose Khijri as one of the locations to stage its MGNREGA Abhiyan (movement). The idea was to assist the rural poor to take advantage of a flagship government programme, and access work under the MGNREGA. The campaign was launched in the presence of Diprava Lakra, the district collector of Giridh, on August 23, a few days after Independence Day last year, with over 1,500 people attending the event. On that day itself, 300 new job cards were filled out. Through this campaign, 480 forms demanding work were collected and submitted to the Khijri Panchayat. On the basis of these demands, the Panchayat, in turn, put forward proposals for undertaking various projects, including digging wells, building mud roads and making trenches to hold water for irrigation, under MGNREGA. Shortly thereafter, the villagers, much to their delight, were informed that they would be given the employment they had demanded. PACS MGNREGA Abhiyan had a three-fold objective: to create awareness of the scheme; to generate demand for work; and to conduct social audits using the lens of social exclusion in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, through community mobilisation and with the help of its civil society partners. It aims to generate 100,000 work demands and conduct social audits in over 100 panchayats in both states. The Abhiyan, which is a work in progress, will continue until April 2013, making its presence felt in 25 districts. While launching the MGNREGA Abhiyan in Khijri, district collector Lakra had some praise for these efforts. "I am happy to share with you that PACS, along with its local partner Naya Sawera Vikas Kendra, is performing a commendable job through the MGNREGA Abhiyan in mobilising people to take part in the rural job guarantee intervention, by demanding work and undertaking social audits and other initiatives," he stated. Hansda, speaking in his capacity as the head of the Panchayat, noted, "We ensured that all those who worked under MGNREGA were promptly paid according to the work they had undertaken." He said he was hopeful that PACS would continue to work in tandem with his panchayat to spread awareness about MGNREGA. This approach, he believed, would go a long way in preventing the migration of people from this region which resulted in great social stress and the separation of families. Community ushers new chapter USING CAMPAIGN ON MGNREGS, IDEA OF ENTITLEMENT TAKES GROUND
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE9 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 The challenge really was to motivate the villagers to sign up for the jobs. According to Hansda, everybody in the village initially felt that it would be a self-defeating exercise because MGNREGA payments are notorious for getting delayed. It was only after he made an assurance that he would do his best to ensure that payments would be made on time that the villagers started signing up. Handsa knew that he had to allocate work as per demand generated and make payments promptly. He also knew that he had to ensure that all worksite facilities mandated under the Act are provided - information that he had gained from the advocacy drives of PACS' partner in the area. Fortunately, Hansda could keep his word. Payments were indeed promptly made. Moreover, all the facilities mandated under the Act, like drinking water, a shed for resting, as well as crèche and medical facilities, were provided on the MGNREGA project sites administered by the Khijri Panchayat.
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE10 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 Women and girls affected by caste and community discrimination are particularly vulnerable to various forms of sexual violence, forced and ritual prostitution, trafficking, domestic violence and punitive violence when they seek justice for crimes committed. To feature their stories, an exhibition, ‘Gaining Momentum,' by Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme was launched on International Women’s Day at the British Council in New Delhi on 8 March 2013. This photography and multimedia exhibition, which remained open throughout March, aims to build a deeper argument on the systemic violence against women and its linkage to social exclusion. The stories depicted underline how building community leadership by women from the excluded groups challenges various forms of discrimination and subjugation that sustain violence against women. The exhibition featuring the works of photographers Srikanth Kolari, Nilayan and NoLogo depict stories of community leaders like Munni Begum. She was married at 12 years of age but she did not let this end her dream to learn more. She educated herself by devouring her siblings textbooks under a lantern covered with her stole to avoid waking up her mother-in-law at night. Munni Begum has since then blossomed into a community leader. She obtained a Masters in Social Work with the help of Tarun Chetna, PACS partner in Uttar Pradesh to help her leadership qualities to flourish. Munni Begum has formed several groups to motivate other women to get educated and free themselves from oppression. Many such other stories of leadership and personal struggles are depicted at ‘Gaining Momentum’ which was inaugurated by British High Commissioner Sir James Bevan in the presence of PACS Director Rajan Khosla, ChristianAid India’s India Director Anand Kumar and Head of Region, South Asia Belinda Bennett. PACS also joined Breaththrough, DFID and UN Women to host a high profile event at the British Council on March 8, which included a social media storm and performances by well-known artistes including famous sitarist Anoushka. The social media storm was organised to raise awareness of the varying forms and causes of violence against women in India. It will aim to inspire one million men to make one million concrete actionable promises to create a safer world for women and girls. Women leadership to challenge gender and caste discrimination
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE11 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 Lack of access to assets, credit and markets severely limit livelihood options for Socially Excluded Groups (SEGs) trapping them in poverty even while opportunities exist for participation in emerging markets and associated livelihood opportunities. Though the challenge of sustainable and marketable livelihood options is universal for the poor, yet the situation is worse for the excluded communities that have historically been landless and discriminated. Under its livelihood theme, the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme is partnering and supporting interventions that can demonstrate impact through increase in household income, skill enhancement and linkage with sustainable market demand. Livelihoods programme launch A daylong workshop was held at Bhubaneswar recently announcing the launch of three such interventions in the state of Odisha – partnered with Landesa (Rural Development Institute) and ACCESS Development Services. Titled ‘Innovative Livelihood Approaches in Odisha’, the workshop saw presentations by Landesa on land and livelihood convergence model that is targeted at single women and by ACCESS on interventions in the state and the broader framework of their livelihood models. The presentation by PACS included a comprehensive overview on a twin approach to its thematic work around livelihood. These include, work on ensuring non-discriminatory access to livelihood entitlement through various government flagship schemes and partnering innovative livelihood interventions. The livelihood interventions announced on 17 May 2013 are based in eight districts – Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Jharasguda and Kandhamal. These are focused on: Livelihood enhancement through land transfer and package of services to vulnerable women headed households; Mainstreaming and Inclusion of SEGs and Market Oriented Value Enhancement. The project will directly benefit around 20,000 socially excluded households. Inclusive livelihoods programme launched in Odisha Rhoncus tempor placerat.
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE12 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 Selection of recent IEC This training course on Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is designed for participants from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). PACS in association with the state nodal agencies has developed a set of two posters for generating awareness on the benifits under RSBY scheme. These posters have been generated in Hindi for greater outreach among the targetted communities under PACS intervention.
  • CHANGE_SCAPE! PAGE13 PACS National Office, 14-B Jangpura Extension| Mathura Road | New Delhi | 110014 Read more www.pacsindia.org https://www.facebook.com/ PACS covers 90 districts in seven Indian states - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.