Lok Manch (People’s Forum) is envisioned as a movement of and by the dalits, adivasis, women, minorities, urban poor and the other marginalized communities. About 100 organizations form 12 states have formed “Lok Manch’ together with likeminded partners, to strengthen the dignity and expand the rights of the priority communities, by capacitating them to become informed citizens, using access to entitlements as a tool.

The focus is on accessing entitlements enumerated in the National Right to Food Act (NFSA), educational scholarships by the students of dalit and tribal communities through the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), household and community schemes available under Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and other State and Central government welfare schemes. About 2,70,000 households are reached out to, through a mass awareness campaign and training of select representatives from local communities. These trained persons will serve as leaders and monitors voluntarily in each village, facilitating access to household and community entitlements. The process will be led by community leaders, 50 per cent of these being women.

In Bihar under the leadership of Patna Jesuit Society and BDVS, eight units of Lok Manch are active, basically ensuring that the people have access to their entitlements. With this programme many from the marginalized communities have been able to have access to various welfare schemes of the government. Of late there was a state level public hearing as part of this programme where former Speaker of Bihar Assembly- Shri Unday Narayan Choudhari was the Chief Guest.

(Photo by Sr. Shola, a unit partner at Masauri-Holy Cross Sisters’ Society).

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