Chaupal Gramin Vikas Prashikshan Evam Shodh Sansthan came into being when four people’s organizations working mainly on Right to Food in tribal areas decided to come together and form this organization. These people’s organizations had history of collaborating with each other from 2003 onwards. Representatives of these four organisations are part of Chaupal’s Governing Board and participate in the collective decision making.
It got registered under Societies Act in 2006 and received FCRA registration in 2010.
The common feature of all the four organizations is that all of them are predominantly tribal people’s organizations. All four organizations have significant focus on working with particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs). Other than Abhujmaria, all PVTGs in Chhattisgarh are covered substantially in their programmes. All the organizations have demonstrated strengths in community mobilization and organization aspects and have strong grassroots character. They have been very active in the Right to Food campaign for at least ten years and this is the aspect that has catalysed the coming together of these like-minded groups.
The flagship intervention for Chaupal from its very inception has been on improving access of the poor to food and nutrition services. Later, mobilising communities to demand access to health and healthcare became another key intervention. Working on these entitlements helped Chaupal in creating strong organizations of the poor and marginalized. These people’s organizations then have also taken up struggles to demand employment through NREGA, health rights, prevention of deforestation and for implementation of the Forest Rights Act.
In its experience of mobilizing marginalized groups at village, Panchayat and block level around issues of access to a range of entitlements especially food security, Chaupal adopted the strategies of forming community level groups, training them to monitor basic services and in engaging with government. Chaupal focused on nurturing community level action and advocacy on basic entitlements. Its community level action has helped people to access entitlements like rations from Public Distribution System (PDS), ICDS services and maternity entitlement, Mid-day meals, health services and work under NREGS etc. Its advocacy efforts have led to more decentralised and community controlled structures of implementing food and nutrition programmes and has completely transformed the way systems like PDS function in the state.
Chaupal has facilitated in the awareness as well as organisations of the above excluded groups. One example of such a community organisation facilitation by Chaupal is the ‘Pahadi Korwa Mahapanchayat’ an organisation of the highly marginalised Pahadi Korwa community in Surguja and Jashpur districts. Another example is Adivasi Adhikar Samiti in Koriya which is completely run and led by tribal women. Chaupal along with such organisations of the ‘excluded’, has attempted to create awareness on entitlements of work, nutrition, health and social security. It has created capacities and mechanisms of collective action through which the ‘excluded’ can secure their access in operational terms. Work on forest rights has been integral to all the organizations due to demands and needs of the constituent communities.
Apart from grassroots action, Chaupal has supported state level campaigns and advocacy initiatives on nutrition, work and health. Engaged with the state officials in order to influence the state policy in favour of the poor and excluded. Currently Chaupal also supports the Adivasi Jan Van Adhikar Manch, a network on tribals and their forest rights.
Chaupal has been working with government ashramshalas on providing tutions to Pahari Korwa Children.
Chaupal has established ‘Jan Adhikar Sahyog Kendras’ for generating awareness on laws and basic entitlements of people and extending support in addressing grievances.