MSF has chosen to work in rural areas as one of the five missions. A truly democratic society can emerge only when the majority of the people value the meaning of democracy and aspire for it. In India more than 70% of population still live in villages. One finds many laudable examples of village level democracy in the history of India. One also can not fail to admire the grit and determination shown by the masses of India against colonialism and feudalism during India's freedom struggle. There have been many efforts in the post-independance era for universalisation and formalisation of Panchayati Raj System in 7 lacs villages accross the country. However, this could be significantly achieved only in 1992, when 73rd & 74th constitutional amendment bills were passed and regular elections for Panchayati Raj institutes became a statutory responsibility. In undivided Madhya Pradesh, elections for PRIs were duly held in 1994, 1999 and 2004. Yet there is a wide spread concern that the three-tier Panchayati Raj system in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has neither been able to explore its full potential, nor has it been able to put in place an effective delivery system.
Against this background and towards working for its cherished mission, MSF decided to launch a programme to sensitise and train Panchayati Raj representatives in selected villages. In the year 2004-2005, MSF in partnership with (NFI) National Foundation for India organised 6 workshops. The details are as follows -:
|S.No||Place||Date||Villages||Registered Trainee/ Panch/ Sarpanch/ Former Panch etc.||Gram Sabha members (approx.)||School Students (approx.)||Teachers|
|01||Sarkhi Dist. Raipur||27, 28 & 29 Sept. 2004||5||46||100||150||20|
|02||Kathiya Dist. Durg||17, 18 & 19th Oct. 2004||6||38||400||135||15|
|03||Pathri Dist. Raipur||20,21 & 22nd Nov. 2004||9||58||220||250||24|
|04||Bhimbhouri Dist. Durg||28,29 & 30th March 2005||4||39||150||225||20|
|05||Piparia Dist. Kawardha||15,16 & 17th April 2005||15||111||300||240||20|
|06||Kumardha Dist. Rajnandgaon||29,30 & 31st May 2005||10||48||350||160||12|
Each workshop was for a three - day duration spread over 9 working sessions. The subjects discussed were.
Each workshop was originally planned for 20 elected representatives. However, number of effective participants were always much more in each workshop. This was perhaps due to the fact that the workshops were always held at an easily accessable Public place and entry was never restricted.
We feel that this open door policy was helpful in sensitising the village people in a better way.