Sampark Madhya Pradesh
Organisational Beliefs and Strategy
The organisation believes
- in the essential worth of traditions and culture, and the dignity of life
- that the present social order is unjust and inequitable and that certain communities have been unfairly marginalised
- that despite the deprivation they may have suffered, the people have the inherent ability to assert their position in the society and determine their future
- that Sampark can only facilitate their efforts. And it is to this end that Sampark strive to bring in changes by promoting traditional life styles based on simplicity and collective living, by promoting traditional systems of medicine and ways of healthy living, by brining alternative systems of learning, by facilitating access to alternative livelihood means, by facilitating access and control over common property resources, and by mobilising the people towards asserting their rightful position in society
Towards these goals, Samark follows a strategy, which combines Sangharsh and Nirman:
- Sangharsh to create critical consciousness and mobilise the people to question the existing social order and struggle for a just position in society.
- Nirman to support the endeavours of the people for the development of their resources and for improving their resources and for improving their state of well being.
Sampark's vision provides to it a continuous sense of direction. Its mission shows it what it is trying to do through its endeavours. But it is through its strategy that it reflects on 'how' it is to actually go about working with the people and operationalising its objectives.
Sampark's strategy has been evolving itself over 20 years of field experience. It has kept itself in touch with the pulse of the people, thus accommodating their 'felt' needs while keeping their 'actual' needs in mind.
Initially Sampark gets involved in the time taking process of forming a relationship with the people. The discussions resorted to for this help it understand the people and win their trust. Based on issues of concern, it organises street play campaigns. These help it to make the people better understand the problems they face and their root causes. Elaborate discussions are held to raise their consciousness levels and to motivate them to do something about their situation.
Once the people agree over the need to address the issues, Sampark makes a formal entry into the village. Regular visits are made by Sampark workers to further mobilise the people. Men's and women's self-help groups are formed, initially as thrift and credit groups. Sampark formally registers these when it observes that they have been regular and responsible. Capacity building measures like workshops and exposure visits are regularly undertaken to make the people more aware and confident of themselves.
The self-help groups promote developmental activities in the village. Night schools are opened for working children where they demand the same. Health awareness and primary health services are also promoted. The groups, now having gained experience, are encouraged to take up activities to enhance their income levels. These are undertaken through on-farm and off-farm activities.
All along Sampark encourages the people to take over the management of these activities. Thus the stage of intensive facilitation that develops with an increase in the level of activities of the people, gradually gives way to a phase out of our contribution.