Sunday, January 31, 2010

PACS - Poverty Alienated Community Sucks!

Since the second week into the new year, most voluntary organizations and non-profits in West Bengal and Orissa have been busy preparing Concept Notes for applying to DFID (Department for International Development of U.K.) under the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Program. The idea is to give lots of money to non-profits, strengthen their capacities in order to help them work with the poorest communities, so that the poor, specially women and other socially excluded communities can have non-discriminated access to livelihood and basic services of education, health and nutrition.

But how poor are some these districts... I was wondering. I looked into the education index for the State, and the districts within the state. Birbhum district takes pride in proclaiming that among the tribal communities living in that district, females have 5.63 % of basic education! Oops! If this is what independence and development have done to the country, this is time to re-think on our approaches to development. It can not be reasons of high cost, because primary education is free. Then what? Sheer social exclusion of vulnerable communities, tribals, poor, and women. Shame! These communities alienated by poverty, ill-health and exploitation by the moneyed and powerful in society, is sucking! A society built on principles of violence and basic inequality, injustice and corruption cannot aim high. We need change.