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Using mobile technology to empower rural communities in India by tracking livelihood entitlements

Requested by

Voluntary Integration for Education and Welfare of Society (VIEWS)

Who are you trying to help? What issue are you trying to address?

The poor have suffered as they have little knowledge of their rights and entitlements and lack the collective strength to raise their voices. The outreach of the social protection schemes are quite limited due to lack of correct information, optimum community ignorance, lack of accountability of public servants, very little political will to perform and proactive monitoring by the both the civil society and governance functionaries.

Livelihood entitlements of poor households are not monitored regularly which results in widows, differently able persons and the elderly not getting the pensions they are entitled to receive. Public officials are also not providing responsive service delivery at G.P level. It was found that fake PDS cards issued and closing stocks are matching with sales report of rice under the public distribution system.

The project will focus on informing the marginalized about their rights and entitlements and empowering them through a regular interface with government. Since 2008 livelihood entitlements provisioned under the Public Distribution System, Pension schemes and Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee scheme has been tracked on real time basis in Rangailunda block of Ganjam district in Odisha by using mobile phones. Project will implemented by VIEWS in Rangailunda Block.

What is your project and how will it help?

Project objective : To inform and empower the marginalized rural communities to claim their entitlements for livelihood security.

Expected Outcomes :

-Efficacy of Livelihood entitlements of 2,500 households in 10 coastal villages will be monitored every month by local volunteers and thereby qualitative outreach of social protection schemes will increase in project area

-Poor and socially excluded households will gain access to public distribution by citizen track report and will come under the food security safety net.

-More households will avail of their full quota of kerosene.

-Widows, differently able persons and old age people will get pension regularly.

-More households will get proper and timely employment and appropriate wages under MGNREGS.

-Public officials will become more responsive in service delivery at G.P level and will maintain proper information to beneficiaries, timely distribution, quantity and voluntary disclosures of entitlements details.

-Fake PDS cards will be identified and create impact at macro level for policy level changes for mandatory reporting of closing stocks along with sales report of rice under public distribution system.

Citizen tracking mechanism will establish community initiatives and will impact on smooth sailing of health and education programmes.

The potential gains will massive; the technology may help to ensure the efficient functioning of the system and ensure livelihood gains will be met. There will be significant benefits to governments in terms of efficient management of their social security schemes. The flow of resources and funds will be easier to manage and leakage will be reduced and inefficiency will be removed. Under performers would not able to hide and government can monitor its personnel more effectively. Given the relative simple framework there will be a great potential that pilot will be adopted by the government and scaled across the whole state of Odisha and other states in India for monitoring the health and primary education programs. Factors like community empowerment, sharing the concept with the Government at the beginning, constant engagement with elected representatives and will share the progress indicators with the community needs to be done strategically.

How can other people partner with you on your project?

People can support the project by volunteering as well as through funding and donating material resources.

Livelihood entitlements data base along with mobile phone enabled MIS will be developed with primary data of 2,500 households of 10 villages in Rangailunda block through census 2011 and will put on Server. Two volunteers will be placed at all the ration distribution points in the project area. These volunteers collect information of actual Public Distribution System takes place in paper based records on 5th, 6th, 7th, 21st and 22nd day of every month and sending the delivery acknowledgement to central server through mobile.

Similarly pension will be given on 15th of every month. In case of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MNNREGS) volunteers will be trace the process will start from job application to wage payment along with work place facilities. At the end of the distribution day volunteers upload the Households wise information on mobile handset and will send the through SMS to a server placed at Gopalpur on sea ( Project Office).

Every month actual update reports ( Block, GP and Village level) will generate and will compare with distribution records at Panchyat / Block / District level and send back to community for validation on monthly basis. Track reports of actual updates and field validation will share with local administration and panchayat for correction measures.

Target Beneficiary : The project will cover 2500 household in Rangailunda block of Ganjam district. The target beneficiary will be poor people, BPL
holders, old age (60+) people, widows, differently aged persons, affected with HIV and AIDS and mentally retarded persons covering under pension schemes.

Local volunteers dealing with technology, interference of corrupt people and reluctance of district administration to recognize the tracking process will be the biggest challenge in the project implementation level. Government may be defensive when the the gross irregularities would revealed by the community compare to government recognized entitlement list and actual uptakes.

Please detail the resources that you need.

Qualified and experienced manpower will be recruited as per the project requirements and HR manual.

1. Project Manager: He/She overall responsible for project planning, implementation, motoring and evaluation. Coordination with program staff members & other stakeholders, Reporting and documentation of project activities

2. MIS Coordinator: He/She is responsible for data management and generate qualitative reports regularly. Support to Project Manager and Community volunteers updates livelihood entitlement data base and server management including all IT related trouble shooting.

3. Accounts cum Administration Officer: He/She responsible for overall management of accounts and administration matters at project level and timely reporting to donors.

4. Field Coordinator: Each Field Coordinators responsible for 3-4 volunteers and supervise field level operations. He/She support to community volunteers for collect formation of actual PDS updates and network with G.P level stakeholders.

5. Community Volunteers-10: Volunteers have placed at ration distribution points in the project area and collect information of actual updates and sending the delivery acknowledgement to central server through mobile. Overall field coordination with PDS distributors, Govt official and targeted beneficiaries.

Capital Assets Requirements:
Computer system and Laptop: 2
Computer system for Server, One for Project Manager and reaming one for Accounts and other project operations.
Server with UPS-1: Central server with UPS required for data base management of livelihood entitlements.

Printer-2: Printer required for generating uptakes records and one for project finance, administration and operations.

Mobile Phones-10: Mobile phones required for community volunteers. Volunteers upload HH wise information on the mobile hand set and send those through SMS to a central server.

Office Furniture: Almira, cash box and other office furniture for smooth flow of office work

To achieve the above objectives, the funding need is approximated at Rs. 131,600 (US$ 29,244).

Further information

Contact details

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Partnership types

Advocacy of global issues; Doing business with the poor; Standards and all (5)

Regions / countries / territories

Asia: India


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