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» Change loving Rijhan, a story of Social Mobilizer from Dhanusha

Mar 21, 2012
Change loving Rijhan, a story of Social Mobilizer from Dhanusha
Rijhan Karnataki, a resident of Jhatiyahi VDC, is a social mobilzer at District Development Committee, Dhanusha and has been applying himself day and night to facilitate the poor, excluded and deprived communities in Majhijhitkaiya VDC, a village which has conditions similar to his own VDC, to improve their socio-economic conditions.

Rijhan Karnataki, a resident of Jhatiyahi VDC, is a social mobilzer at District Development Committee, Dhanusha and has been applying himself day and night to facilitate the poor, excluded and deprived communities in Majhijhitkaiya VDC, a village which has conditions similar to his own VDC, to improve their socio-economic conditions.

As a dedicated social mobilizer, he has mainly been facilitating seven community organizations that poor formed in Majhijhitkaiya, motivating the poor and underprivileged people to undertake various income generation and community infrastructure development activities- something which could enable them raise income and access basic services and opportunities. His works has benefitted members of Jay Maa Bhagawati CO, Puja Women CO, Jay Maa Janaki CO, Sundarpur Women CO, Ram-Janaki Women CO, Jay Maa Laxmi CO and Shiva Baba CO. He has been facilitating them to hold monthly meetings of COs regularly, encouraging their members to speak out their needs and perception to affairs happening in the social and development sphere, supporting them to formulate subprojects, maintain book keeping (records of financial transactions) and enhance their capacity to monitor and evaluate the income generation and community infrastructure subprojects run by them, among others.

“Though shy in the beginning, poor people by virtue of their needs and circumstances are pretty eager to learn new things and create opportunities to get out of poverty trap,” says Rijhan. People discuss with him their aspirations and subprojects they wish to pursue, and also share with him their very personal family affairs, matters related with their children’s education and health. Such sharings happen not just during formal meetings, but also during informal talks. As a resut, he has built a strong rapport and bond with the poor communities.
“This makes social mobilization not just a ‘task or duty’, but much more than that. The bond developed in the process makes you attached with the poor and motives you think like: how could I contribute more for uplifting their socio-economic conditions,” he adds. Such formal and informal interactions enable Rijhan to get feedback and suggestions to the programs being implemented in the communities. “This job is very pious; it gives meaning to your living, adds value to your being in the society,” he states.
Rijhan started working as a social mobilizer in PAF programs only since 2009 when Local Development Fund (LDF) of District Development Committee, Dhanusha was selected as PAF partner for the district. For the last 15 years, he has been actively participating in various programs with a motive to bring about socio-economic transformations in the lives of the poor and deprived communities “My education background, interestingly, is completely different. In fact, the very circumstances which disabled me from pursuing tertiary level education drove me into the field of social mobilization,” he relates to Jeevika, PAF's Newsletter, disclosing that following the completion of school level education, he had joined I. Sc. Rara Multiple Campus in Janakpur, aspiring to be a doctor or engineer.

However, he had failed to continue education even though he passed out I.Sc.with a good grade due to poor financial conditions of the family. “I could not study more despite being a good student. My parents were eager, but we had no money to finance further education,” Rijhan says.
This deprivation fundamentally lighted a fire in him to work for larger social cause. “Hence, social mobilization not mere a job for me,” he says. “I feel if managed to contribute in creating an environment whereby children could attend schools and fulfill their educational goals, it will be a great achievement in itself.”

Rijhan believes that socio-economic transformation can be achieved in the communities by placing local people on a driver’s seat. The confidence that PAF beneficiaries have managed to win over the two years of its program has only bolstered his belief. “It feels pretty good to watch women, earlier limiting themselves behind the veil, participating in public debate, expressing their opinions on how they can make difference in overall development of society,” he states.

Moreover, community members that used to rely heavily on local lenders to eke out their livings in the past are now becoming self-sufficient, utilizing CO revolving fund provided by PAF to start various income generation activities, making cash and kind contributions themselves and pushing the concerned service providers to serve them in a better way and in a manner they deem necessary. “PAF programs have significantly empowered the community. Though communities still have distance to travel achieve the ultimate goal of poverty-free society, the transformation seen in them have raised confidence that the goal will be achieved one day,” Rijhan says.
 


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