A Quest for Dawn of Change
Prayatn’s vision is a just society in which men and women are equal. We believe that each and every person – irrespective of their sex, age, caste, class and religion – should have a life of freedom and dignity in which they enjoy all their human rights and have the opportunity to fully develop their potentials.
In pursuit of this vision Prayatn works to enable people facing inequality and injustice to help themselves. We aim to strengthen ties in local communities so that people can work together to bring about positive changes in their lives. We particularly encourage women to participate in this process, as they are the most marginalized, downtrodden and powerless social group in India. Prayatn gives them the opportunity to develop their decision-making skills and leadership capacity so that they can address the issues affecting their lives. Playing the role of catalysts, we help to implement sustainable development processes that will make communities self-sufficient in the long term.
PRAYATN was founded in 1992 to enable people to respond to and change their situation of inequality and injustice. We focus on education and awareness, community involvement and collective action as the driving force of social and economic change. Our work is guided by the philosophy that a community should be viewed as a potential resource, that can be honed with the skills and knowledge that will help lift them out of situation of deprivation.
Prayatn has worked in charity mode, development mode as well as rights based mode in past. Through our experience, we learnt that in the country full of diversity, single approach may not be able to provide solution to provide solutions to complex socio-economic issues. The organization, therefore, started experimenting with mix of approaches which gradually took shape of Model Development Approach in which, we try to develop and demonstrate solution for resolving complex social issues by addressing all the dimensions of the problem at appropriate times. To ensure that the model is duly developed, documented and disseminated, we lay high emphasis upon defining the working, planning, implementation and monitoring processes elaborately in written form, abiding by them in strict manner and reviewing them from time to time. We believe that if process of working is not right, the true change that we want to achieve will not materialize. Our innovative system of Stakeholder-wise Milestone based planning, implementation and monitoring, under which quarterly milestones of changes for each type of stakeholders are defined in advance and pursued, has proved to be very effective in achieving the desired change in each of the stakeholders in the long run and ensuring the desired impact in the situation.
- Enhancing local capacity to address developmental needs and ensure appropriate access to entitlements thereby developing community based systems and mechanisms;
- To engage with institutions of accountability thereby developing operational partnership and collaboration to ensure access of partner communities to entitlements;
- To experiment and develop child and women centred development processes for broader replication;
- To develop experience based knowledge management model thereby developing training programmes for sharing of knowledge with development workers, academician, government departments and development professionals.
We enhance local capacity by organizing local communities in the form of community based institutions having proper vision of development, due awareness and indigenously developed community based systems and mechanisms to achieve the same. These institutions include collectives of children, adolescents and adults which are formed at village level and are later networked into federations at cluster, block and district level.
We engage with local service providers and democratic institutions like schools, health centers, government officials, elected representatives, etc., through constructive and innovative ways to strengthen them and bridge gap between them and the community so that their services become available to community in qualitative and effective manner and democratic system at grassroots level is strengthened.
We network with other civil society organizations for mutual sharing of experiences and learning and collectively engage with policy makers for addressing developmental issues at wider level.
We undertake researches and documentation aimed at improving our understanding of situation, learning how to improve the same and sharing the same with others for wider knowledge development and use.
In specific situations in which immediate direct support is necessary to save and protect lives, we render emergency services as well. Relief support during COVID pandemic, running of helplines for women and children are examples in this regard.
Process and Impact Documents
A lot of organizations work well at grassroots level but very few of them have indigenous capacity to document the same and come out with qualitative publications. At Prayatn, we understand the importance of qualitative documentation and publication and, therefore, lay make intensive efforts in this regard. We build capacity of our grassroots level team and encourage the same to document their work as an ongoing process. At the same time, we have developed a cell to conceptualize the documents, guide the grassroots level team for their preparation, translate these documents If required, edit them and design it so that it takes a shape that is felt interesting by the readers and are able to communicate the desired message to them in effective manner. Through this process, we have developed several process as well as impact documents. Of late, we have ventured into video documentation as well.
Research & Studies
Researches and studies are very important parts of social work. They help us in understanding the situation and designing our interventions accordingly. They also help in understanding status of implementation of different laws, policies, programmes and schemes of the government and engaging with the administrative machinery to improve their formulation as well as implementation. Prayatn has, therefore, developed a dedicated cell for the purpose which undertakes such researches by involving internal as well as external experts. Student Interns have also been involved in such processes for their capacity building.
Prayatn has undertaken several researches and studies related with its thematic areas of intervention including women empowerment, child development, health and nutrition, livelihood development etc. Major researches and studies among them are summarized below:
The organization has undertaken two comprehensive researches in relation with the implementation of the PCPNDT Act which directly related with the issue of gender based discrimination and violence which is leading to decline in child sex ratio. The two researches were aimed at wider impact in the civil society by influencing changes at administrative level.
Research on Status and Effectiveness of PCPNDT Act in Rajasthan
Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Misuse) Act, 1994 has been implemented in India to stop sex selection that takes place because of gender based discrimination. Since, child sex ratio was continuously declining and adequate social and administrative action was not visible, Prayatn undertook a comprehensive research on status and effectiveness of the Act across the entire state of Rajasthan. The research, which was funded by IFES-USAID was first of its kind and involved study across all the 33 districts of the state and involved visits to more than 300 medical diagnostic facilities; interactions with members of bodies formed under the Act like State Supervisory Board, Appropriate Authority, Advisory Committee; and representatives of civil society organizations. The report of the study was disseminated by Chairperson of Women Rights’ Commission in Rajasthan and several actions were taken by the State Government in accordance with the recommendations of the research.
Research and Review of Court Cases filed under the PCPNDT Act
The organization also undertook and research and review of court cases filed under the PCPNDT Act to find out reasons for low conviction rate in court cases filed under the Act. The research was a part of larger research commissioned by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), New Delhi, for 18 states which in turn involved Prayatn for undertaking the same in 5 states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana – where child sex ratio is very low. The research involved study of formation and functioning of implementation structure as well as review of court cases filed under the Act to understand gaps in prosecution that affected conviction rate. A team consisting of legal and social experts was involved in this process.
Prayatn has undertaken multiple researches in the context of child development which include aspects like education, child protection etc. While some of these, like child rights situation analysis were aimed at developing understanding of situation for designing our own interventions others like studies on laws and schemes related with child protection were aimed at changes at wider level through subsequent engagement with child development and protection machinery.
Status of Legal Framework for Child Protection in Rajasthan
In 2017-18, Prayatn research on status of implementation of laws related with Child Protection like Juvenile Justice Act, Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, POCSO Act, Child Marriage Restraint Act. Under the study, status of formation and functioning of child protection machinery was studied across all the divisions of the state. On the other hand, some of the cases filed in court under the Act were also studied to understand how effectively the laws are being implemented and victims of child protection violations are getting justice. The research revealed gaps at both the levels and suggested ways to address the same.
Study of Child Protection Schemes in Rajasthan
Besides studying legal framework, Prayatn also undertook research on status of different Child Protection Schemes being implemented in Rajasthan to draw a more comprehensive picture. Details of different schemes being implemented by the state government in this regard were studied to understand their provisions, how they are being implemented and gaps in the same that need to be plugged. At primary level, it involved interactions with beneficiaries of different schemes and public servants responsible for their implementation. At secondary level, it involved review of budget allocation and expenditure incurred by the State government for the implementation of the same. This research too was undertaken in 2017.
Child Rights Situational Analysis:
The organization has undertaken Child Rights Situational analysis in different locations to understand status of children in the context of child protection and other aspects of Child Rights. The study was undertaken in Dhaulpur district of Rajasthan in 2007, in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh in 2008. The studies helped us in understanding issues related with child development and protection like poor education of children, child labour, child marriage, child abuse, etc. and designing our interventions accordingly
Study to assess Child friendly status of government schools in Pratapgarh District of Uttar Pradesh State
Enrolment, retention and academic performance of children in education depends heavily upon how friendly is the environment of the school in which they are able to study. This friendliness is in terms of infrastructure as well as staff behavior. Children belonging to socio-economically backward classes are able to access education in government schools only. Prayatn, therefore, designed and undertook a study of government elementary schools in 24 villages of Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh to find out how child friendly is the school environment and made subsequent efforts at community as well as school level to address the issues that are found in the same. The study was conducted in 2013.
Prayatn has also undertaken several studies related with food security, health and nutrition, particularly, in the case of tribal communities. While some of these studies were aimed at developing in-depth understanding of the community and designing our own intervention in the context of the issue, others, like assessment of status of public facilities were aimed at inspiring administrative action.
Traditional versus Current Food Practices: A Study of Changing Food pattern among Sahariyas
This study tried to understand how food practices of Sahariya primitive tribe has changed over last few decades after settlement of the tribe in villages and their restrictions on their access to forest produce. This was undertaken in the backdrop of high incidence of malnutrition in the tribe, especially its children. The Study was undertaken in 2013 in Shahabad block of Baran district of Rajasthan and reflected relation in change in food practices and malnutrition in the children. Subsequent to the study, the organization made efforts to restore some of the traditional food practices that were better in terms of nutrition.
Status of and Access to Food Security Schemes: A case of Sahariya community
Absence of Food Security is one of the key issues that Sahariya tribe was facing in Shahabad block of Baran district of Rajasthan. This was in spite of enactment of several dedicated schemes of the government for them. The study conducted by Prayatn in 2013 covered multiple schemes including Public Distribution System, Midday Meal programme, MGNREGA, ICDS, Mawadi system etc. and helped us in understanding gaps in the implementation of the same. The study was followed by efforts to fulfilment of the gaps through community awareness building and institutional development on demand side and strategic engagement with the public machinery to plug gaps in the service supply side.
Assessment of Public Health and Nutrition Services
In 2016, Prayatn also undertook detailed assessment of health and nutrition related services like CHCs, PHCs, SHCs, MTCs, Anganwadis to see whether their infrastructure, human resource deployment and services are in line with guidelines of National Rural Health Mission or not. The gaps found in this process were shared with the government authorities and joint efforts were made to bridge the same.
The existing status of Malnutrition and identifying the gaps in it – a Study in Pratapgarh District of Uttar Pradesh
In 2013, Prayatn undertook study in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh to understand status of malnutrition in children in 0 to 5 years age-group as well as pregnant and lactating women, analyse corresponding causes and recommend remedial action to address the same. The helped us in designing our further intervention on the issue in the district.
The objective of studies related with livelihood was to explore livelihood related avenues available in the region and understand how these avenues can tapped through awareness and skill development of youth. Opportunities of wage as well self employment were explored in this process.
Assessment of the skill gaps and exploration of avenues for employment and skill development for youth
The study was undertaken in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh in 2013. Under the study, both demand, as well as, supply side of employment was studied. On supply side, opportunities of wage as well as self employment were studied while on the demand side aspirations and skills of youth were analysed. Accordingly skill development of youth was planned.
Need Assessment of STEP Programme in Jaipur
In 2011, Prayatn thought of initiating computer and other skill development center for under-preveleged youth living in sub-urban outskirts of Jaipur district. Before initiating the programme a need assessment was undertaken under which interest of youth for such courses and their aspirations were surveyed and analysed.