Mukti’s “Amplifying Community Voices” or ACV project is supported by the “Oak Foundation”.There are farmer’s groups, women’s groups, and miscellaneous other groups that represent various communities as part of this project. Mukti conducted four meetings with a few such groups between 27th February to 2nd March 2023 at Kuyemuri, Herembogopalpur, Purba Surendranagar and Dakshin Kashinagar villages. 10-15 participants were present in each of the meetings, which were on the identification and prioritization of issues for the teams to work on.
The team members were introduced to the definition, timing and importance of community-led advocacy. They were told that the community-led advocacy process goes through multiple steps such as issue selection and prioritization, evidence collection, stakeholder matching and venue selection. By understanding these steps, the community itself can advocate for any local issue that is affecting a significant number of people, and take action accordingly. A vision of how the community will work to solve its own problems was presented. The roles of the community, the NGO, and other stakeholders were explained in a step-by-step process.
In the initial stage of issue selection and prioritization, the participants were asked to present common issues in their area that they think are affecting the daily lives of many people. As part of the issue selection criteria, they were asked to identify whether any fundamental rights were being violated. Out of the issues that came up in this way, some were prioritized by using participatory tools, and the team was asked to explain the reasons for the prioritization.
These were introductory meetings on the initial steps of community-led advocacy. Further steps of community-led advocacy will be discussed in detail in future meetings.