Improving the quality of life of excluded and marginalized communities is the overall objective of the overall program and the development of the targeted villages is essential for the progress of the program. Take the case of the village of Gangaldai in Bihar, where perseverance helped transform the destiny of its inhabitants and the village.
The Bhagalpur Social Service Society (BSSS) selected this village for the global program in 2018. The BSSS attempted to meet with Ward, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the Village Chief of Gangaldai, but did not succeed.
The team made inroads with Mr. Sikender Mandal from the village to share the purpose of their visit and briefed him on the overall program. Convinced of our intentions, he took the team to the community square in the village where everyone could gather. People gathered expecting something, but when the team presented the program, many started to leave. The team gathered information about the village from a group of people. A group of people came again and began to share the benefits, the economic situation, politics, etc. There was rudeness in their tone, with no cooperation or understanding of each other. They even threatened the team to leave the premises. The team has decided not to return to this village where people are not ready to listen or work for their own benefit.
In July, the team contacted the villagers to inform them of the launching ceremony of the program and the distribution of food kits for 20% of the inhabitants of the village of Pakartala, Saint-Joseph school. Only 5 selected members came from Gangaldai in the launch program. It was a small but sure success.
Determined to commitment, the team again invited the villagers in August for the distribution of food kits and medical kits that took place during COVID-19. Meanwhile, the team briefed them on the August meeting which they said we weren’t getting any benefit from. The team constantly called them for a Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) activity, but very little information about the village was collected, which was not enough. Gradually, the participants began to realize the importance of the program and the work of BSSS. They started attending meetings.
The cooperation of the villagers helped the Global Program team to share the goal and message of resilience and formed the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) committee group, the task force, the SHG members and the group of children.
Now, the global program team holds a monthly meeting with DRR committee members and working group members, while a bi-monthly meeting with SHG and weekly meetings with the children’s group.
Participation and acceptance of the villagers, 80% of the participants in this village understood the program and learned a lot through the PDRA tools, the responsibilities of DRR and Task Force members and Good Leadership.
The villagers also received several types of equipment to reduce disaster risk namely life jackets, life buoys, torches, audio early warning information system, vegetable garden and mushroom seeds, a net for the protection of the vegetable garden, a boat in case of emergency, warning systems and register to record the discussions. Villagers are now equipped with task force training, vegetable gardening, mushroom cultivation, surf powder making and public awareness through rallies, street games.