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GoodWeave utilizes non-rented, village spaces for Motivation and Learning Camps (MLCs) in Rajasthan

On the path towards systemic change, it is necessary for development practitioners to ask what makes a village-level, educational program truly participatory. GoodWeave’s Child Friendly Community (CFC) project has relied intensively on its young Community Facilitators to perform the dual role of teachers and community representatives, thereby initiating local participation. The Motivation and Learning Camps (MLCs) are symbolic of the long-term effort towards proliferating education among children in weaving communities and not an ‘educational deposit’ or donation from GoodWeave to the communities. In light of the broader goal of handling the reigns of the initiative to the target community, an attempt is consistently being made to prevent reliance on rented facilities for they imply operation only as long as the project strives.

Ensuring sustainability and participation

The approach found its roots in Rajasthan where GoodWeave team in every intervention village, has tried to borrow community places from the communities themselves for running MLCs without any rent or commercial deposits. The beneficiary villages were always told that project- as the name implies- is a community responsive project for their children and only they can ensure its sustenance. The idea here is to impart both sustainability and initiative to what can very well become a long-term educational resource.

Reliance on existing government institutions

CFC project in Rajasthan is running its MLCs in 14 villages in three districts, Jaipur, Alwar and Dausa. Three MLCs are running in the community owned premises like temples. Two MLCs are running in Government Panchayat buildings - Atal Seva Kendra and Community Hall. The remaining 10 were not easy to establish as the rest of the villages did not have any space in the community to run. One option which was live in front of the team was Government School premises. The schools were then approached and the usual bureaucratic process unfolded as permissions were acquired at the District Education Officer level who directed the Block Education Officers who further directed the school-principals to grant spaces. With remarkable support from the government department, the 10 MLCs are now running in the government school premises. Through a step that strengthens existing educational structures, GoodWeave aims to not put a time lapse on the education of children vulnerable to child labour.  This step has also been much appreciated by the community members as they often put their faith in government run facilities for they provide a feeling of familiarity. 

Villagers to the rescue 

While the move towards government premises was welcomed, one of the government school facilities in village Med had posed a problem for it was devoid of electricity supply, ventilation and seating space. After a thorough consideration, the facilitators identified another hall owned by few community members which they used to rent out occasionally. The team contacted the owners, shared the purpose of the project and asked if they’d like to utilize the property for the children of their village. The property-owners soon gave their nod and the hall is now GoodWeave’s 15th MLC in Rajasthan.

The 15 running Motivation and Learning Camps (MLCs) in Rajasthan form only a part of the broader social program operational in India. Every beneficiary village, facilitator, MLC, school, dedicated centre, health camp in the program represents a shift towards community self reliance- a pre-requisite for social transformation.

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