IRCS initiative in Community Participation & Mobilization
Salah Chandan, Salah Belsanti and Salah Buzurg are the Panchayats located in the Samastipur District of Bihar which are economically backward, underdeveloped and with no proper roads or electricity facilities.
There are approximately 40,000 villagers residing in these panchayats and their main source of income is farming. It is quite unfortunate to see that this part of the country is still not a witness to the overall growth and development as seen elsewhere post independence. There were no health facilities or schools in the vicinity till a few years ago. The villagers have been the victims of devastating floods every year.
In the year 2002, the District Secretary of the Samastipur Red Cross Branch visited the panchayats for the very first time for the relief distribution. That became the turning point for the area. The Indian Red Cross penetrated into these communities. They were adopted under the Department for International Development (DFID) Phase-II, 2005-2007 project of IRCS, funded by the British Red Cross. The project aims to make disaster prone communities more aware of risks they face, to reduce vulnerability and to cope up with the fury. Moreover, under the Bihar flood mitigation component, in 2007, provision of raised tube wells was also implemented.
Salah Chandan, Salah Belsanti and Salah Buzurg are experiencing positive developments. The IRCS negotiated with the Government on behalf of the panchayats and as a result four schools and a health center have been opened. Under the DFID Phase-II programme three raised tube wells have been installed for all the communities and through folk songs and street plays awareness has been spread about disaster preparedness, risk reduction, health and hygiene. Life members of IRCS have also been enrolled.