The trainings are meant to provide specific information, knowledge and skills for practical application and use concerning the need of the learner. School for Democracy conducts specialized training programmes on several rights-based legislations such as the Right to Information, MGNREGA, Social Audit, and Right to Hearing etc. The attendees come from a broad cross-section of rural and urban India. The format of the training programmes includes theoretical session in the campus and field visit for practical application. The trainings are also tailored to address targeted needs of the learners.
- Right to Information
The RTI Act enacted in 2005 is one of the most widely used legislation in India. However, much needs to be done to improve awareness and enable ordinary citizens to exercise their right to information. The two-day activist training module on the Right to Information Act (2005) is a training of trainers. The target group is grassroots activists who have been engaged with RTI activism, and express interest in using the Act more effectively. The objective of the course is to inform activists about the key provisions of the RTI Act, and train them to frame questions that will allow them to obtain as much information as possible from various government agencies.
The training also seeks to inform activists about the importance of the proactive disclosure or section 4 of the RTI Act, and ensure effective monitoring of this important provision at the block and district levels. Effective implementation of section 4 could ensure that basic information related to day-today government functioning is made available without an RTI application, and build a culture of information sharing between government agencies and ordinary citizens.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, aims at enhancing the livelihood security of the rural poor in India by guaranteeing 100 days of employment in the unskilled sector. The MGNREGA has been the biggest employer of the rural poor in recent times.
The School for Democracy organized a two “NREGA MIS: hands on training” on the 13th and 14th of August 2016. The NREGA Management Information System (MIS) has been the most data driven and transparent, in terms of access to the general public. Hence it is all the more important that this is leveraged for the maximum benefit in the service of the community. The course aimed to provide basic computer knowledge to the participants as well as to provide hands on training on using the MIS for extracting various NREGA related information so as to facilitate the formation of NREGA Sahayata Kendra in various parts of Rajasthan.
- Social Audit
“A social audit is a process in which the citizens participate with the government to monitor and evaluate the planning and implementation of a scheme or programme, or indeed of a policy or law.” Under Section 17 of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), independent social audits have to be conducted for projects undertaken under the scheme at the Gram Panchayat level every 6 months, carried out by a third party.
The Social Audit training is intended to inform activists, students or keen learners about the role of social audit in holding public officials accountable. This will be done through an increased awareness in the society at large. The effective implementation of the social audit under NREGS and in other social welfare schemes promises to play a crucial role in maximizing benefits to the targeted citizens.
By the end of the training, the aim is that the cycle of self-learning is initiated and is kept alive by providing a fundamental understanding of social audit and to equip the participants with necessary resources and knowledge to be able to spread awareness, discuss and ask correct questions to the authorities, at least in his/her own neighborhood.
By the end of the training, participants should:
- Understand the concept of social audit and its difference with other audit process
- Understand the principles, stakeholders and phases of a social audit process
- Be able to conduct a social audit of different social schemes
- Youth training
The School for Democracy organised youth training (Feb 2013) concerning political awareness and activism. Youth from the surrounding areas of the campus attended the training. The training was designed to deliberate responses from youth about the current economic, social and political scenario of our country. The elements of training included understanding the need for a constitution, meaning of democracy, knowing fundamental rights and duties, directive principles of the state to formulate policies, understanding geo-political ramifications of Indian polity, analysing the role of caste, religion and class in our politics and society, learning about social policies such as MGNREGA, Right to Information and Right to hearing. Critical discussions were held on social movements, its need and the politics within them, social issues such as gender based violence and Dalit atrocities were also discussed. During the training, trainees were taught how to use puppets, songs and theatre to disseminate information about government schemes, politics and social issues.
- Basic computer training
School for Democracy (SFD), in partnership with Digital India Foundation (DEF) has started a basic Computer literacy programme in its campus in Badi Ka Badiya for the village children, students and youth. The idea was to attract young people to the SFD by organising programmes that cater to their immediate needs and introduce alongside learning capsules on other fundamental subjects like the Constitution, RTI etc. Later on computer training programme was extended to nearby government schools benefiting children from poor rural households.