Institution building is the creation of governance capacities. It entails the reformation of old organizations and institutions, the improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of existing institutions, the restoration of destroyed institutions and the enhancement of authorities’ professionalism. It entails structural reforms as well as capacity building and strengthening of existing institutions. Active community participation is the key to build an empowered community. Strong institutions enable community participation which is critical to community success.
At Mundra, the Village Development Advisory Committee (VDAC) and the Community Information Center (CIC) have ensured community participation by building and strengthening democratic and people centric institutions.
Mammadbhai, 40 years old, Modhva village Fisherman Member of the VDAC
“In order to advocate support and empower the fishermen community in Modhva village, the Village Development Advisory Committee (VDAC) has been set up.
This VDAC was formed after the existing cooperative in the village became defunct and non- existent. Interestingly when the formation of this institution was discussed among fellow villagers, they opposed this concept but after a series of discussions and a participatory and consultative approach, the community members understood the importance and relevance of VDAC and the present VDAC took steps in the direction of setting up. The prime objective for the formation of the VDAC was to create ownership among the community for development of the village. It works to coordinate with different agencies for self sustainable models and activities. In addition to assessing the needs of the village it helps in addressing the same in a timely manner so that the dependence syndrome on the company may decrease one day. Earlier we could not have had the faith and confidence in the company but now a lasting bond has been created and cemented. VDAC is a committee parallel to the Panchayat which mainly looks after the planning and execution of development work in the village. This initiative provides a forum to discuss issues and then prioritize them and work accordingly. Earlier people were very scattered and did not have the strength and voice of a group. VDAC has given us this power of unity. VDAC deals with various organizations like the Government, various NGOs, etc. working for our overall progress and development. It substantiates and supports the panchayat in developmental work and also works in collaboration with CGPL company to undertake various initiatives. The VDAC gives us a better bargaining power to avail of Government schemes and it has helped in getting investments to start the 8th standard in the village school, the construction of road sanctioned and various other subsidies, loans and grants. VDAC has quicker decision making, as our village is in the interiors and not much Government/NGO support is extended and hence VDAC works as a tool to push development in the area. This intervention was strongly recommended and suggested by CGPL to the village, to undertake the application process and form the committee. The committee got legal registration and was founded a year ago. We are a 15 people team with one person from each fadia (cluster) as part of the team. After having participatory discussions it was expressed to CGPL that something needs to be done for the transportation of fishermen for fishing and they have decided to handover fiber boats to VDAC so that all the fishermen can travel much more for fishing in the sea. These boats are managed by VDAC and also registered in the name of the VDAC. VDAC has now taken the shape of a formal body and registered as a co-operative so that it may further broaden its scope of work. I would like to mention that since the Mundra UMPP’s inception, there have been glaring signs of progress with better roads, solar lights, availability of non saline water, and better availability of fishing equipments, among many others. Our village has always been in the hinterlands and ignored, with no other organization having done any work here and am certain the company shall always maintain this level of commitment to the village and us, fishermen folk!”
Paresh Rajgor, 46 years old, Tunda villageProvision Store at village
“Community Information Center (CIC) is a sort of drop box for the community where they come and write applications for their needs and grievances on any program. There is also a soft board where the CGPL company puts up details of any open tenders that the community can apply to. It is located in the area of a provision store which is very central to the village and a lot of people visit the area frequently. The company puts up the contracts pertaining to plantations, RO water plants, canteens, job openings, etc. Programs like these are very important as it is easy to communicate about opportunities available to the community. Being at a frequented location, it reaches out to many people. Earlier only influential people in the village would know about the different contracts and job openings at the company. Now the information is available to everyone and people can make good use of it. It has also increased interactions with the company. Information about government programs like Gobar (bio-gas) plants and others are communicated by the company through CIC. With Mundra UMPP there are more job opportunities in the area. Migration has decreased. I now know that the future will be better and brighter with the facilities and opportunities provided by the company, on a long lasting and sustainable basis”.