25th & 26th March 2015, “Workshop on Strategic approach for Model Panchayat Development” was organized in NEST training centre of Bokakhat for the project called “Developing Model GPs on Children and Women.” in collaboration with UNICEF where Mr. Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, Chairperson, NEST, Mr. Ghanashyam Ozah, Project Manager, Ms. Shabana Hasin Alam, Field Coordinator, Ms. Anobika Saikia, Project Coordinator and other field workers of the respective Panchayats were present. The workshop was facilitated by Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, Chinmoy Debnath from UNICEF and Noorun Nahar, an expert on School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE), briefed the entire participants about the project and the basic essences of Panchayati Raj system.
NEST Chairperson, Mr. Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, Outlining the Objective of the Workshop and the Project underway, mentioned a threefold objective as follows: -
1. Develop some model Panchayats in Assam that could effectively and efficiently bring about a change for the development of health, education, nutrition, child protection, water, sanitation and Hygiene situation of Gaon Panchayts.
2. Create an example of coordinated, concerted and integrated effort of various agencies for the local development.
3. Process documentation of the project for learning and using the outcome of this action research for future use.
The basics of Panchayati Raj System and 73rd Constitutional Amendment with the historical background of the Panchayati Raj as to how it came into existence and of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act and their four tier government in Centre, State, District and Village level respectively were highlighted by Mr Hussain.
Mr. Chinmoy Debnath emphasized the process of formation of Activity Mapping of the State and also introduced 23 subjects of 11th Schedule that are being devolved officially to the PRI system. The outlining of each and every functions, functionaries and funds were also mentioned to the participants. Furthermore he oriented all the participants on the basic information on Women and Child issues of Golaghat district in comparison to Assam and India based on the Economic Survey Report of Assam 2012-13. Herein he gave detail information of the no. of gaon panchayat, literacy rate, maternal mortality ratio, infant mortality rate etc.
Mr. Hussain, through the workshop introduced the proposed Project to be implemented in the Golaghat District of Assam and mentioned that this experimentation will be carried out in 6 Gaon Panchayats in Bokakhat Development Block of Golaghat district, Assam that are been selected for this project. Moreover the theme for intervention i.e., Health, Education, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and hygiene and child protection were highlighted.
Ms Noorun Nahar, an expert on School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE) facilitated in a session of the workshop and emphasised that the vital issue to create healthy environment and to promote health life is ‘Sanitation and Hygiene’. She also mentioned few basic issues that could could change the entire paradigm of Sanitation and Hygiene in Panchayats, these are (1) Use of Sanitary toilet (2) Use of safe drinking water, (3) Safe disposal of solid wastes and waste water (4) Maintaining personal Hygiene (5) Maintaining Food Hygiene (6) Maintaining School / Home Hygiene.Ms Nahar further highlighted of the awareness gap in the Panchayats regarding different things viz., Difference between safe and contaminated water, the ways how transmission of germs takes place from one person to another, the water and faecal borne diseases, maintenance of home, personal and food hygiene, etc.
Mr. Chinmoy Debnath further provided an orientation in brief of the various health and nutrition related issues of children and women. The facilitator basically highlighted the cycle from the pregnant lady to the education of the child which starts from early registration of the pregnant lady, with her ANC and PNC check-up, importance on institutional delivery, Colostrums feeding, PNC, immunization of the children, nutrition etc. Nutrition as referred to as a very essential component for child to increase the life span and proper growth and development of a child mentioned of the importance, consequences of malnourished and emphasized that the foundation for good nutrition takes place during the first 1000 days of human life i.e., Pregnancy + 2 years of life. The key component of optimal Infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and importance on exclusive breast feeding up to six months and complementary feeding with adequate quality, quality and of the frequency for the children from 6-24 months were also highlighted.
Through the workshop Mr. Hussain took an important session for the participants on understanding the issues of sex and gender and discussed of gender discrimination in different age group and also different areas like sexual, mental, physical and emotional violence.
Thus, the two days of orientation programme proved to be a successful and fruitful one for all the participants as they got enough opportunity to gain knowledge and everything became crystal clear for them. The participants gather knowledge not only of the Panchayati Raj system but also in-depth knowledge of the different issues related to the areas of concern. The programme enlightened every individuals present in the meeting which will help to climb further peak and achieve greater success and fulfill the objectives of the projects.