PROJECT PROPOSAL

PART - A

INFORMATION ON MOTHER INDIA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (MICDA)

 

 LEGAL STATUS

 

 

a.

Registration

 

 

Registered under Societies Registration Act of 1860; Regd.No. 30/1987 dt.24.1.1987

 

b.

Founder

 

     :

Dr. R.Subbaramaiah

c.

Objectives of MICDA

     :

 

 

i.         Empowerment of the poor in general and that of the scheduled castes (SCs), Scheduled tribes (STs) and women in particular through conscientization, organisation, social action, education and asset creation.

 

ii.       Promotion of people’s participation in development efforts; and

 

iii.      Provision of education, health, nutrition community services necessary for       the development of the poor children, the disadvantaged and the aged.

 

In short, establishment of MICDA is an emotional response to the complex problems of poverty, powerlessness, lack of organisation, assetlessness, unemployment, malnutrition, ill-health, illiteracy and ignorance surrounding the vulnerable people in the drought prone Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is, infact, a response of a group of educated and service oriented people led by a medical doctor, namely, Dr.R. Subbaramaiah, Right from his student days, Dr. Subbaramaiah has been fighting for the rights of landless poor in the Puttur and Vadamalpet mandals of Chittoor District in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. That relentless struggle for the landless, subjected Dr. Subbaramaiah to several harships including a series of court cases filed against him by the dominant caste groups. Dr. Subbaramaiah soon realised that a single individual had serious limitations in serving the poor and the landless. Therefore, Dr. Subbaramaiah, in association with a group of service oriented persons established MICDA in 1987. The Memorandum of Association of MICDA is enclosed.

 

II. COMPOSITION OF THE GOVERNING BODY

 

The present Governing Body of MICDA has 11 full time social workers. The Chief Functionary of MICDA is its General Secretary, who is elected by the Governing Body every year. Dr. R. Subbaramaiah, the founder of the organisation has been its General Secretary. The current President of the organisation Mr.K.V. Venugopal is an advocate by training but social worker by practice. The present and the General Secretary of the organisation are jointly empowered to undertake all financial transactions and are collectively responsible to the governing body of MICDA. Of the 11 members, 6 are women. The President and the General Secretary belong to different castes and are not related. Other members of the managing committee are not related to each other either. They represent different social groups and hail from different parts of the Chittoor District. The only thing that unites them is their commitment to the objectives of MICDA. Thus, the Governing body of MICDA represents relatively young, educated and committed social workers representing different social groups.

 

III. F C R A REGISTRATION

 

The MICDA has been licensed by the Government of India to accept donations and other forms of assistance from out side India in pursuance of its objectives. The FCRA Registration Number of MICDA is 010140104 Dt. September 30, 1991.

 

IV. PROJECT ACTIVITIES

 

A. Settlement and Socio - Economic Development of the Landless Poor at Vidyutsadasivapuram.

 

This ongoing project has two objectives:

 

i.         Protection of 720 acres of virgin government land from the land grabbers/vested interest and distribution of the same among 418 landless households drawn from 13 villages of Puttur and Vadamalpet mandals of Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh.

 

ii.      To undertake comprehensive development of the 720 acre land to ensure sustainable development of the new settlers at Vidyutsadasivapuram village. Funded by the district/government, OXFAM, Action Aid and BORDA, the project has no parallel in the district in the area of resettlement of the poor and development of their asset base. Launched in 1995, the following activities have been completed under the project till now.

 

a)      Allotment of 720 acres of land for the benefit of 418 landless households;

b)      Clearing the land of throny bushes, stems and boulders;

c)      Partial leveling and bunding of more than 600 acres of land;

d)      Ploughing and preparation of land for quick yielding corps;

e)      Formation of temporary habitations;

f)        Formation of approach and internal roads;

g)      Location of a temporary school; and

h)      Provision of three drinking water hand pumps

 

 

In the coming years, the project seeks to provide, with the assistance of BORDA, ground and surface water irrigation, further development of land, crop assistance and better market access. The MICDA is looking forward to donor agencies for support to undertake comprehensive development of the children of the new settlers, preferably through a long term sponsorship arrangement. The details of the funding support needed for the integrated development of the children of the new settlers, preferably through a long term sponsorship arrangement. The details of the funding support needed for the integrated development of the children of the new settlers, preferably through a long term sponsorship arrangements. The details of the funding support needed for the integrated development of the children are presented in the following sections.

 

B. OTHER ACTIVITIES

 

            In addition of the above major project, the past and current activities of MICDA include the following:

 

-         Old age home for senior citizens without any socio-economic and family support; (currently operational)

-         Short Stay Home for women in moral danger, familial mal-adjustments and material disputes;

-         Mobile medi-care for the aged and the handicapped in remote and inaccessible villages; and

-         A six bedded hospital designed to promote small family norm and population control

 

Funded by the Government of India, the above activities are located in the Puttur, Vadamalpet and Pichatur mandals of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh state.

 

The MICDA has also been involved in the eradication of the evil practice of dedication girls to Mathammas in the Chittoor District. In collaboration with the district government to MICDA completed a survey of Mathammas in the Chittoor district. Eradicating the uncivilised practice of Mathamma has been the prime concern of MICDA.

 

Our organisation is keenly interest in issue-based services for the neglected sections of the society.


V. ADDRESS OF THE ORGANISATION :

 

The current address of the organisation for all correspondents is:

 

The General Secretary,

Mother India Community Development Association,

24-16, NGO's Colony

Puttur - 517 583,

Chittoor District,

Andhra Pradesh,

INDIA.

 

Phone No. (91) - 98577 - 31782

 

 


 

PART - B

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT

 

 

1.

Project Title

:

Eradication of the practice of dedicating young girls to a Hindu diety (THE MATHAMMA PRACTICE) in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh.

 

2.

Project Location

 

:

State : Andhra Pradesh

District : Chittoor

 

3.

Project Area

 

:

23 Mandals in Chittoor District

 

4.

Background of the project

:

 

 

Scheduled Castes who were victims of the uncivilised practice of Untouchability in the past constitute the most disadvantaged social group in the Chittoor District of the State of Andrha Pradesh. The population of the predominantly landless agricultural labour Scheduled Castes constituted 18.4% of the total district population in 1991. In terms of social indicators, such as the literacy rate, infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, morbidity rate and housing condition, the Scheduled Castes are among the most backward and relatively neglected sections of the Society.

 

The Scheduled Castes are however, not a homogeneous social group. There are two principal sub-groups among the Scheduled Castes - The ‘MALAS’ and the ‘MADIGAS’. Between the two groups, the Malas are relatively better placed in socio-economic status. The Madigas are the most backward among the Scheduled Castes. They are treated as the ‘Untouchables among Untouchables’. Traditionally, the Madigas are the leather workers, skin tanners and scavengers. Predominantly landless and educationally most backward, the madigas eke out their livelihood as agricultural labour. Despite the implementation of the National Scheme of Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers, the practice of manual scavenging exists particularly in the small towns and it is the Madigas, who carry the burden of the uncivilised practice of the manual scavenging. The leather workers among this community are extremely poor whose occupation has sufferred a great deal, as a result of the modern leather goods industry. Communally isolated, the Madigas live outside the main village. Equally distressing is the fact that even the Scheduled Caste sub-group of the Malas do not live together with the Madigas. In fact, there are no inter marriages between the Malas and the Madigas, and they do not share water and food between them. Therefore, the Madigas are referred to as ‘untouchables among the Untouchables’.

The recent State wide agitation by the Madigas demanding separate safeguards for them in public employment and educational institution, etc. In proportion to their population in the overall category of Scheduled Castes is a manifestation of the extent to which the community of the Madigas has been neglected and ignored. The community of Madigas in the Chittoor District continues to remain at the bottom of the socio economic development status as most of the programmes meant for the scheduled Castes have not reached majority of the members of these groups for various reasons.

 

The Madigas are estimated to be about 40% of the total Scheduled Caste population in the Chittoor District in 1991. Though they are found in all mandals of the District, the Madigas are concentrated in the 23 mandals in the eastern and central parts of the District. The majority of the Madigas are landless agricultural labours, although some of them are still engaged in the traditional occupation of leather good making, cobbling and scavenging. In a few places, they are also engaged in basket making with bamboos. Even the small number of farmers are dry land agriculturists with very meagre income. The vagaries of rainfall and the consequent failure of dry crops often result in migration of Madigas in search of employment to the near by towns. With a very poor skill base, the migrants do not find remunerative work outside. Most of those who migrate to urban areas eke out their livelihood as rickshaw pullers, head load workers, cobblers and shoe shiners and construction workers.

 

The Madigas constitute the most backward social group in the District. Literacy rate among the Scheduled Castes was 16% in Chittoor District in 1991, while the District average was 42%. Where as, for the Scheduled Caste sub-group of Madigas, the literacy rate among the adult women of this community was even lower. It is estimated that the literacy rate among the |Madiga woemn in 1991, was less than 8%. Thelevel of general awareness among the Madigas in general and the women among them is the lowest. The village surveys conducted by the MICDA indicate that infant mortality rate as well as the under 5 mortality rate are highest among the Madigas. The surveys also reveal that the maternal mortality rate is also higher among this Scheduled Caste Sub-group. The nutritional status of children among this community is also reported to be very low. What is more conspicuous in this community is the widely prevalent superstitions and unscientific beliefs, particularly regarding the health practices.

 

The superstitious beliefs and practices in this community are perpetuated by the system of life cycle rituals on one hand and the traditional caste panchayat system on the other. No other community observes the life cycle rituals so religiously as this community. They observe all the pre and post delivery rituals including child naming, tonsuring, birth pollution and puberty related rituals. Child marriages are very common among this community and most of such marriages take place through negotiations. Consanguineous marriages are also common.

 

The ‘Kula Panchayat’ or the traditional caste council is the Chief mode of social control in the community. The Panchayat is generally headed by three persons known as PINNA PEDDA, PEDDA KAPU AND MANDHADI. The decisions of the Panchayat are final and binding on the community. The Panchayat deals with problems arising out of marriage rituals, divorce and widow remarriage. Sometimes fines are imposed and collected by the caste council. The money so collected, is spent on community festival known as ‘MATHAMMA KOLUPU’ -- a 7 day communal festival, celebrated every year between the months of April and August in every Madiga habitation.

 

The low literacy level and awareness status, and the still lower health status among the Madiga community, coupled with the widely prevelent superstitious and unscientific beliefs have perpetuated an uncivilised and despicable practice, popularly known as the Mathamma practice in Chittoor District.

 

 

THE MATHAMMA PRACTICE

 

 

The practice of dedicating girls to Hindu Dieties, ideels, objects of worship, temples and other religious institutes or places of worship exists in several parts of the country. It exists in certain parts of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The practice leads many of the Women so dedicated to degradation and to evils like prostitution.

 

In Chittoor district the eastern part of 23 mandals, this practice of dedicating girls is widely prevalent among the Scheduled caste sub group Madigas. The practice involves dedication of young girl children to Goddess ‘Mathamma’ -- the incarnation of Adi-Shakti. The girl children dedicated to the Goddess Mathamma are known as the Mathammas - the servants of Goddess Mathamma. Once dedicated, the girls have to spend rest of their life in the service of the Goddess.

 

The dedication of girl children to the Goddess takes place for a variety of reasons. It often takes place even before the girl child is born. Most commonly, the dedication takes place before the girl child attains puberty. Illness of the pregnant mother could lead to dedication of the female child to be born to the Goddess Mathamma. If the pregnant mother suffers from any chronic disease, then the family decides to dedicate the child to be born (if female) to the Goddess Mathamms. The second reason is the health problem of any family member which is perceived incurable. If the family perceives that the health problem of any of its members is incurable, then the family decides to dedicate a female child of their family to the service of Mathamma. Third and most important reason is the prolonged illness of girl child in the family. If the family considers the illness of the female child as some thing serious, then the sick child is dedicated to the Goddess Mathamma, to appease her. The prolonged illness among girl children is considered as something ordained by the Goddess |Mathamma and only she can cure such illness in her service. Some times female children born with certain features such as ringed or curly hair or with moles are treated as a devine indication to dedicate such children to the service of Mathamma. Further, parents without a male issue dedicate a daughter in a simply ceremony with a hope that the Mathamma would bless them with a male child. It is also believed that Mathamma can cure all incurable diseases and ensure the well being of the family. Further, the Madiga community also believes that unless the girl children are dedicated to Mathamma, the village community would incur the wrath of the Goddess in the form of floods, droughts, epidemics and such other natural hazards.

 

DEDICATION

 

The girl children are invariably dedicated to the service of Mathamma in a ceremony at the Mathamma temple in the village, in the presence of the community elders. Once a girl child is dedicated, she is renamed as Mathamma. When the dedicated girls attains puberty, there will be another ceremony in the Mathamma temple. The dedicated girl is symbolically married to ‘Thrisul’ (the sacred sword of the Mathamma). The second dedication implies that the girl Mathamma cannot enter into marriage with any person. And no body would be permitted to marry a girl dedicated to the service of Mathamma. A dedicated girl generally leaves her parental home after puberty. However, many dedicated women live with their parents. But all the dedicated girls are required to serve Goddess Mathamma by participating in the week long annual Mathamma festival popularly known as ‘Kolupulu’. The dedicated girls are expected to dance in ecstasy during the festival. Apart from dancing, the dedicated girls participate and lead the religious festivities as they are treated as the first servants of Goddess Mathamma.

 

CONSEQUENCES OF MATHAMMA PRACTICE

 

Debarred from social marriage, the poor Mathamma girls depend for their livelihood on the gifts given by the villagers while dancing with males during Mathamma Kolupu. They collect the coins thrown at them by the audience who come to watch the group dance performed with males by the Mathamma. The village community accepts them as Mathammas though with manifest contempt. But the dedicated girls cannot survive only on the small gifts and coins thrown at them. Therefore, they are compelled to resort to sexwork. The village community also treats the Mathammas as some kind of a common property over which every body has a right. Thus, Mathammas become objects of sexual assault by virtually the entire village community as well as others. Through out their life, they remain as degraded commercial sex workers. The status of these women is not comparable to Devadasies who are culturably trained. Mathammas, on the other hand, are illiterate and belong to very low socio-economic strata and are exploited in many different ways.

 

The Mathammas are denied the right to marriage and family for ever, but they can have children. These children do not have social father. The children of Mathammas are totally neglected and uncared for. The community treats them with a contempt. Denied of parental support and without any property, the Mathammas have to work only as commercial sex workers to support their children. Even in their sex work, they are subject to discrimination. The dominant persons in the village treat them as free sexual objects. But their sex-work have limited longeity. Eventually, the Mathammas eke out their livelihood as low paid agricultural labour. Thus, the practice renders them as destitutes without any social support. What is bewildering is that they are highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted disesases, including AIDS. In addition, their poor nutritional health status exposes them to several other diseases. During their old age, Mathammas lead a life of penury any destitution. The Mathamma experience a painful llife of destitution undergoing the trauma of being a Mathamma every day. They loss of their self respect and self confidence. The practice of Mathamma is a violation of the basic human rights to which the women are naturally and constitutionally entitled to.

 

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ‘MATHAMMA PRACTICE’

 

Superstitions, myths, and ignorance about human health constitute the primay factor responsible for the uncivilised Mathamma practice. Lack of awaeness about common diseases and their causes is the most important reason. The illiterate and ignorant Madiga parents perceive even a common fever as an incurable disease if it persists say for a week. The parents do not also understand what causes these common diseases and what kind of precautions can prevent such diseases. Secondly, lack of adequate access to the basic health and medical facilities is another important reason for the perpetuation of the Mathamma practice. The limited outreach of the primary health centre adds to the woes of the community. When the children are sick, the poor Madiga parents do not either understand the importance of giving them proper medical care or they do not have good access to the basic health care delivery provided by the government. The poor access could in turn be due to the low awareness on the part of the parents and poor delivery system on the other. The poor economic status of the community in general severely limits their access to the private medical treatment.

 

There are certain social reasons too for the perpetuation of the Mathamma practice. The strong caste kula Panchayat system or caste council in the Madiga community is also to be blamed for the evil practice. In order to continue their dominance over the community, the caste leaders use the annual festivals and participate in the dedication ceremonies. It is these leaders who assualt the dedicated girls sexually.

 

 

Education status of the community, particularly of its women members, appears to be the most important determinant of the practice. With less then 10 per cent literate women, the practice has taken deep roots in the community. The non-formal and the adult education programme have not been specifically targetted at this community, which is at the bottom of the social heirarchy. The poor economic status of the community only reinforces its social backward-ness.

 

THE MATHAMMA PROHIBITION ACT

 

The government of Andhra Pradesh enacted a legislation in 1988 (Act 10 of 1988) which prohibits the evil practice of dedicating women to the Hindu dieties. The salient features of this Act are:

 

1.      The dedication of a girl as Mathamma is unlawful and void, even if such dedication take place with the consent of the women;

2.       Such women, therefore, can marry and lead a normal life;

3.      Participation of the dedicated women in dancing performance in the course of any procession, is declared as illegal;

4.       The dedicated woman can legally contract a marriage and beget children; and such marriage shall not be rendered invalid by reason only of such woman being a Mathamma and, therefore, the children of such woman shall not be treated as illegtimate.

5.      Any person who promotes the Mathamma practice shall be punishable with a Jail term ranging from 2 to 3 years, besides a fine of Rs.2,000 to 3,000.

6.      Further, if a parent or guardian dedicates his or her daughter, he/she shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term ranging from 2 to 3 years besides a fine of  Rs.2000 to 3000.

7.      The dedicated girl victims, however, are not punishable.

8.      The offences are made cognizable and non-bailable.

9.      Powers duties and offences conferred.

 

(A)      POWERS CONFERRED ON THE DISTRICT MAGISTRATE/ COLLECTOR :- The government has conferred on the District Magistrate/ Collector all powers necessary to ensure that the provisions of Mathamma prohibition Act are effectively implemented.

(B)      Duties of collector and other officers:-  The District Collector and other officers specified under Section 7 are required to inquire whether after the commencement of this Act, the Mathamma system is being practiced and if as a result of such enquiry any such practice is found to exist, he is required to take such action as may be necessary to put an end to such practice.

 

 

 

(C)      OFFENCE TO BE TRIED BY EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE:- The Government has conferred on the Executive Magistrate, the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of first class of the Second Class for the trial of offences under this Act;

 

Despite the enactment, the deep rooted evil practice.

 

SURVEY OF MATHAMMA GIRLS/WOMEN

 

In pursuance of the provisions of a survey was conducted by the District Government ( SC Corporation ) and the applicant organisation namely MOTHER INDIA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (MICDA) in 1995-96. The survey identified nearly 332 Mathammas in 19 mandals in Chittoor District. The salient features of this survey are as follows:

 

CHITTOOR DISTRICT MANDAL WISE NUMBER OF MATHAMMAS IDENTIFIED

 


S.No.

Name of the Mandal

No. of Mathammas identified by age group

1-12          13-21       22-34         35-45        Above    Total

                                                                        45

 

 

35-45

Above 45

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

B.N. Kandriga

4

2

4

1

0

11

 

2.

Chandragiri

0

2

2

2

0

6

 

3.

K.V.B. Puram

9

4

7

0

0

20

 

4.

Karvetinagar

0

0

1

1

0

2

 

5.

Nagalapuram

9

11

14

4

1

34

 

6.

Nagari

2

8

5

1

1

17

 

7.

Narayanavanam

1

0

0

2

0

3

 

8.

Pichatur

13

7

4

0

0

24

 

9.

Puttur

4

3

0

3

0

10

 

10.

Ramachandrapuram

1

2

0

0

0

3

 

11.

Renugunta

3

3

2

0

0

8

 

12.

Satyavedu

9

11

4

2

1

27

 

13.

Srikalahasti

6

6

7

2

0

21

 

14.

Tirupathi (R)

1

24

9

5

0

39

 

15.

Tirupathi (U)

3

9

4

1

0

17

 

16.

Vadamalpet

2

4

12

0

0

18

 

17.

Varadhaipalyem

4

1

1

0

0

6

 

18.

Vijayapuram

4

16

12

8

1

41

 

19.

Yerpedu

9

9

6

1

0

25

 

                                                  79          122          94            33               4      332

 

 


It is evident from the above that out of the 332  Mathammas 79 fall in the age group of 0-12 years, 122 in the age group of 13-21 years, 94 in the aged group of 22-34 years, the 33 found in the age group 35-45 years and while 4 were found to be over 45 years. It is clear that more than 50% of these woemn are below the age of 21 years. This is an indication of the fact that the practice is still widely prevalent in the district. In other words the enactment of the aforesaid Act has not had any impact evil practice. The survey further reveals that most of the Mahtamma women are illiterate. Again it is to be noted that majority of Mathammas have children who have no social treatment. The female children of the Mathammas are vulnerable to greater insecurity and sexual assualts. These children are looked down upon and suffer from all kinds of social discrimination.

 

The residential status of the Mathamma women, also exposes them to a great deal of social insecurity. It can be observed that the number of Mathamma women living independently along with their children is relatively small when compared to those woemn living with their parents. Socially debarred from marrying and economically deprived, the Mathamma women have no other avenue except to live with their old parents. The study also reveals that almost all the Mathamma women do not have any worthwhile assets including agricultural land, milch cattle, sheep or goats. Besides, most of the women are unskilled without any access to training. It may be noted that the survey conducted by the District administration in collaboration with the applicant  organization was not exaustive.  While every attempt was made to identify all the dedicated Mathamma Girls/Women.  In the District, the survey failed to identify all the dedicated women for various reasons.  Some dedicated girls/ women did not report to the investigating team fearing adverse publicity.  A good number of them did not come forward to enroll themselves under the false belief that they would be culturally and socially excommunicated.  And a few feared that the Godess Mathamma would be displeased if  they were to leave the practice.  Further, the survey was  confined to only 19 mandals ( Sub district administrative units ).  The mandals  of  Thottambedu, Nindra, S.R.Puram and Veduru kupam where the practice is equally widespread was not covered under the survey.  Therefore, there is need for conducting the a more comprehensive survey encompassing all the 23 mandals before undertaking the action programme for the eradication of the practice from all the Madiga habitations in the 23 mandals in numbering about 20 per mandal.

 

 

THE REHABILITATION OF THE DISTRICT GOVERNMENT FOR MATHAMMAS

 

After the completion of aforesaid of aforesaid survey in 1995-96, the Distritct Government has released an amount of Rs.27.38 lakhs for the rehabilitation of Mathamma women by (I) making fixed deposits in commercial banks on behalf of the child Mathammas below the age of 12 years; (ii) financial assistance for some to establish petty shops/provision shops; and (iii)financial assistance for others to set up domestic dairies.  The economic rehabilitation package has not had the desired impact either on the economic status of the Mathammas or on their social status.  Inadequate assistance, leakages, diversion of funds for consumption purposes, misappropriation by family members, lack of required orientation and training, and poor backward and forward linkages for the petty businees and household dairy projects assisted have minimised the impact of the assitance on the economic status of Mathamma women.  On the other hand, the rehabilitation package is not designed to eradicate the social roots of the mathamma practice.  Nor does the rehabilitation provide any package for the improvement of the social status of these women.  On the contrary, the economic assistance has acted as an incentive to a few poor parents to declare their girl children as Mathammas in order to be eligible for assistance.  Therefore, the proposed project seeks to eradicate the evil practice of Mathamma by a comprehensive strategy involving community organisation-health, education and paediatric medical care with community participation and effective implementation of the Matamma prohibition Act with community support.

 

PROJECT AREA

 

The Proposed Project area covers 23 out of 66  mandals  in the Chittoor District.  The mandal is an intermediate,  subdistrict administrative unit covering Geographical area of 175-225 sqr. K.m. Each mandal having 15 to 20 Revenue Villages.  Each Revenue village consists of 5 to 10 small habitations.  For each  Revenue village in the 23 mandals there is atleast one Madiga habitations.  For each mandal, the number of the Madiga habitations ranges between 15 and 20.  The average number of households for each Madiaga habitations  is about 50.  Thus in a geographical area of 175-225sqr. Km. The average distance between any two Madiga habitations is about 5Km.  Not all the habitations have good road connectivity and public transport facility.  Therefore, it would require the services of atleast one social worker to reach out to all the habitations and to facilitate community Organisation and the implementation of the Programme.

 

The socially backward Madiga community has an average household family size of over 6 persons.  The average number of children per family varies between 3 and 4.  The Madiga have a strong preference for male children.  The adoption of family planning in this community is very low.  The average number of female children per family is about 2, numbering about 2000 female children per mandal scattered over different habitations, to implement the health components of the strategy out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Objectives

 

1.      To save the innocent girls of the community from this contemptuous evil;

 

2.      To eradicate the superstitions, unscientific beliefs and myths promoting the Mathamma practice among the Madiga community by undertaking a comprehensive community organisation health, education and pediatric health care programme;

 

3.      To eliminate the role of  the traditional caste council (kula Panchayat) in promoting the mathamma practice and dances during festivals, etc., by undertaking social awareness campaigns.

 

4.      To ensure effective implementation of the Mathamma prohibition Act with community support.

 

5.      To facilitate and promote economic support programmes for the rehabilitation of Mathamma women and their children;

 

6.      To facilitate and promote education and training of relatively young Mathamma women; and

 

7.      To liase with the government for effective delivery of public serivces for the development of the Madiga community.

 

PROJECT COMPONENTS AND METHODOLOGY

 

As pointed out earlier, the Mathamma practice is a manifestation of the widely prevalent superstitions, unscientific beliefs and myths regarding health and well being of children and adults in the Madiga community. The poor economic and educational status of the community further reinforces the superstitions. The dominance and vested interests of the caste leaders have promoted the evil practice of Mathamma. Finally the manner in which the Mathamma prohibition Act has been implemented without enlisting the community support has perpetuated the Mathamma practice. Lack of effective organisation and political power base have rendered the community the most backward among the backward Scheduled Castes.  The project strategy has the following five components:

                  

1. Comprehensive survery of all dedicated  girls / women in 23 mandals                                         

2. Community Organisation mandals in all Madiga habitations in 23 mandals

3.  Effective implementation of the Mathamma Prohibition Act   with

     community support.

4. Health Education and Awareness;

5. Maternal and Child Health care;

6. Economic Rehabilitation of Mathamma women and their children.

1.      COMMUNITY ORGANISATION

 

The Madiga community is spread over 23 Mandals in the district (Map). In every mandal, the community is widely scattered in small homogenous of isolated habitations. The average size of each habitations, ranges between 50 to 60 households. On the average there are about 15 such habitations in every Mandal.

 

It is proposed to appoint one social worker cum  Health Worker for each Mandal. The social worker is expected to organise the community taking habitation as the unit. If the habitations are geographically closed, then, they would be treated as one unit for the purpose of organisation. As part of the organisation a broad Village level committee would be constituted with the Pinapedda, the Peddakapu, the Mandadi, All elected Panchayat Raj functionaries from the community, DWCRA Leaders, Youth Leaders, Any educated or employed persons, would be made members of this committee. This committee will act as a guide and council its efforts to eradicate the Mathamma practice. In addition a Mandal level committee consisting of  MRO, MDO, SI of Police ,selected VAO’s and activists  would be facilitated to oversee the implementation of the Mathamma prevention Act and to under take other measures for the eradication of the practice. The Mandal level committee would meet atleast once in six months to review the progress of the implementation of the Mathamma prevention  Act and to identify the required additional interventions needed for the community participation required.       

 

 

The social worker and the health worker who are expected to facilitate and form the village committee would identify the overall task of eradication. Among other things, the committee would undertake with the help of social worker and health worker, as well as the older Mathammas who have suffered the practice. The committee would meet at least once in a month to deliberate on the major socio-economic issues affecting the community in general and the Mathamma practice in particular. The special task of the committee would be to educate the entire community against the Mathamma practice and to ensure that no new dedications of girls take place. The committee would also bring to the notice of the competent authorities if there are any new dedications or religious festivals or processions involving the Mathamma women. Thus, the committee would act as a vigilance and watch dog at the habitation level. The role of the social worker would be to facilitate the formation of this committee, educate the members and orient them towards the higher goals.

 

The health worker would undertake mobilisation of women and children for health awareness, counseling and guidance. The social worker and health worker would facilitate the effective implementation of the Mathamma Prohibition Act besides, acting as liaison between the various governmental agencies and the habitation. The worker is expected to identify the major problems faced by the habitation and work towards their redressal. For example, the social worker and the health worker would be expected to do the following:

 

 

-         To Prevent initiation of any Madiga girl into the Mathamma Practice.

-         To bring back the dedicated girl children into normal life before they attain puberty.

-         To facilitate renaming the children from their dedicated name of  ‘Mathamma’ to a name of their choice.

-         To Prevent the dedicated girls from dancing and participating in the annual Mathamma festivals ( Kolupu ).

-         To Promote normal social marriage of the dedicated women.

-         To Promote the school going habits among the children of the Mathamma women.

-         To facilitate grant of pensions and other social security to the old destitute and the handicapped Mathammas.

-         Ensure total enrolment of all eligible children including girls in the primary school.

-         To educate the community about superstitious and unscientific beliefs.

-     To reduce the expenses and duration of the Kolupu festival

   

 2. HEALTH EDUCATION AND AWARENESS PROGRAM

 

The most important component in the proposed strategy is the promotion of health awareness among the community in general and the women in particular. It would be the task of the Health worker to undertake these campaign and awareness programme at the habitation level by regular visits, health counseling and inter - personal interaction, and educate them on the causes of various diseases and the preventive and curative practices. The health worker would be expected to monitor the health status of the female children in particular and provide curative assistance and facilitate referral services wherever needed. In addition the health worker would be expected to do the following:

 

¨      Provide health, education and awareness to women in the reproductive age group, and others in the community, about common diseases as well as STD, HIV and AIDS and also motivate the eligible couples to adopt small family norm and population control.

 

¨      Identify maternal and paediatric cases which require immediate attention and facilitate provision of the required medical services/referral services.

 

¨      identify and follow up pregnant, lactating mothers, infant and under-five children and follow up their nutritional and health status in co-ordination with government health  and medical staff.

 

3. MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH SERVICES

 

Apart from providing health education awareness, the project is designed to provide essential preventive as well as curative health services to the pregnant and lactating mothers and children. The root-cause of the Mathamma practice is the prevalence of unscientific beliefs and myths. Therefore, the emphasis would be on excommunicating these beliefs. While doing so essential non-specialist curative services would be provided by trained health worker. The health worker would be trained to administer emergency relief and distribute drugs. In addition, the health worker would facilitate provision of referral services to the needy.

 

4. ECONOMIC REHABILITATION OF MATHAMMA WOMEN AND

    THEIR CHILDREN

 

The fourth component of the strategy is to facilitate economic rehabilitation of identified Mathamma women through governmental and non-governmental support. The required economic relief package would be identified on the basis of the preferences of the Mathamma women and their training and other circumstances. The required assistance would be then be provided through the district government and other support if necessary. The progress of utilisation of the assistance already provided by the government would be monitored and evaluated by the social worker and the health worker. The habitation development committee would be fully involved in the implementation of the economic rehabilitation package. Similarly rehabilitation package of the Mathamma children would be dedicated on a case by case basis and the government would be required to provide assistance for education, marriage and economic development of these children.

 

The focus of the entire programme would be on the relatively young Mathamma girls who can be sent to school, reformed, trained and married in the normal way. As far as possible, the entire rehabilitation programme would be community based. However, for the old Mathamma women without any family support as well as the handicapped institutional support would be provided. The MICDA would find suitable placement for the handicapped and the destitute Mathamma women who need special support in the old age homes and day care centres.

 

As pointed out earlier, continuous monitoring will be an important ingredient of the proposed project.

 

·        As part of the health awareness campaign, the community would be educated in sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and AIDS;

 

·        Periodical meetings of officials  and other committee members including Youth leaders, DWCRA Leaders and the traditional caste leaders would be conducted at Mandal level to promote co-ordination among them and to monitor the progress of the programme.

 

The social worker would co-ordinate with the Mandal Officials like M.R.O., Sub-Inspector of police, VAO, etc. The project co-ordinator would ensure the implementation of the programme.

 

The Secretary MICDA would oversee and co-ordinate the District Magistrate/Collector, Superintendent of Police and Executive Director of SC corporation and other official for successful implementation of the programme .

 

OUTCOMES EXPECTED

 

·        The Following out comes are expected from the Project.

·        Erradication of health related superstitious, unscientific beliefs and Practices in the Madiga habitations.

·        Enhanced Community Participation in the Prevention of Mathamma Practice.

·        Total Prevention of new dedications /iniations in to the mathamma Practice.

·        prevention of dancing of the Mathamma women in public places and festivals.

·        The Madiga community in which no young girls or women is dedicated either by force  or by  consent to Mathamma or any Goddess.

·        The Madiga community purged of the evil practice.

·        the Madiga community with enhanced self-respect esteem and dignity no longer believing in surreptitious and effectively working against all unscientific practices.

·        Madiga community free from some girls/women being forced into a life of con-cubinage and prostitution.

·        The community in which all children of Mathammas are prevented from joining the practice of their mothers.

·        Increased community organisation in the Madiga habitations.

·        Social and economic rehabilitation of the Mathamma women.

·        Enrolment of all Madiga girls in the Primary school.

·        Substantially reduced incidence of STD and awareness about HIV/AIDS among mathammas.

·        Social marriages of all young Mathammas.

·        Reduction of expenses and duration of the Kolupu festival.

 

SIZE OF INTERVENTION

 

The Project is proposed to be  implemented in 23 mandals of the district which constitute a homogenous, socio-cultural zone for the Madiga community.  The community has extensive socio-cultural relations cutting across habitations and Mandals.  The wide spread social evil can not be eradicated unless the practice is attacked at the micro social setting.  Further the district Government has been implementing the rehabilitation programme for the Mathammas  in the entire district. It  would therefore be easy for the MICDA to enlist the co-operation and support of the district Government for the implementation of the project.  Therefore the project is designed for the entire Madiga community of the Chittoor District comprising 23 mandals.            

           

A two wheelers would be essential for the project co-ordinators and field workers to visit and monitor the entire programme and liaise with the Government officials in all these 23 Mandals. 

           

A Pilot Project covering four mandals, viz. Vadamalpet, Naryanavanam, Puttur and Vijayapuram has been implemented during 1999-2000. In these mandals, only an overall review of the situation is needed which can be covered by the required staff below with minimal aditional budget items.

 

The Project would be for a two years duration.  The  following personnel would be required for the effective implementation of the Project :

 

à        Project Co-ordinator                                                     2

à        Social Workers (also health worker)                            19

(Graduate in social work related discipline

 with 2 years field experience)

à        Accountant-cum-Computer Operator                           1

à        Attender                                                                        1

 

OTHER FACILITIES REQUIRED

 

à        Computer, Furniture, Essential Medicines


DETAILED 1 YEAR BUDGET ESTIMATES

 

RECURRING

 

 

Sl.No

Item

Amount in Rs.

 

1

Project Co-ordinator - 2

(Rs.5000x2x12)

1,20,000-00

2

Social Workers – 19

(Rs.3000x19x12)

6,84,000-00

3

 

Accountant-cum-Computer Operator -1

(Rs.3000x12)

36,000-00

5

Attender – 1

(Rs.1000 x12)

12,000-00

6

Other Items

 

 

a) Office Rent – Rs.2500x12

30,000-00

 

b) Electricity & Other Contingencies

     (Rs.1500x12)

18,000-00

 

c) Telephone Charges

     (Rs.1500x12)

18,000-00

 

 

d) Stationary, Documentation & Postage

     (Rs.1000x12)

12,000-00

 

g) Mandal Meetings 2 each mandal @ Rs.3000

   each    Rs.3000x2x19

1,14000-00

 

f) Fuel & Maintenance

  for two bikes Rs.1000x2x12   Rs.    24,000

  for mopeds    Rs. 500x19x12   Rs.1,14,000

                1,38,000-00

 

h) Monthly staff meetings  @  Rs.100x19x12                                       

22,800-00

 

i)        Pamphlets, Banners @ 2000 per mandal per year            ( Rs.2000x19)

38,000-00

 

 

j)        Field Workers Training by Resource Persons

    Training Sessions                   Rs.20,000

    Preparing Material Aids         Rs.10,000

    Resource Person Honoraria   Rs.20,000

50,000-00

 

Mainstreaming Mathammas (marriage, admission to schools, etc.)

50,000-00

 

Emergency Medical Aid

50,000-00

 

j) Audit Fee

5,000-00

 

k) Unforeseen Expenses

10,000-00

 

 

Total

 

14,07,800-00

 


NON-RECURRING

 

 

Sl.No

 

Item

 

 

Amount in Ruppes

1

Two Bikes (@ Rs.42,000)

84,000-00

2

Mopeds (@Rs.20,000) for 19 fieldworkers

                 3,80,000-00 

3

Computer Maintenance

8,000-00

 

Total

4,72,000-00

 

Recurring Rs.             14,07,800-00/-

Non-Recurring Rs.      4,72,000-00/-

Grand Total                18,79,800-00/-

DETAILED II YEAR BUDGET ESTIMATES

RECURRING

 

Sl.No

Item

Amount in Rs.

 

1

Project Co-ordinator -- 2

(Rs.5000x2x12)

1,20,000-00

2

Social Workers -- 19

(Rs.3000x19x12)

6,84,000-00

4

Accountant-cum-Computer Operator -- 1

(Rs.3000x12)

36,000-00

6

Attender -- 1

(Rs.1000 x12)

12,000-00

7

Other Items

 

 

a) Office Rent -- 2500 p.m.

30,000-00

 

b) Electricity & Other Contingencies

     (Rs.1500x12)

18,000-00

 

c) Telephone Charges

     (Rs.1500x12)

18,000-00

 

d) Stationary, Documentation & Postage

     (Rs.1000x12)

12,000-00

 

f) Fuel & Maintenance

  for two bikes Rs.1000x2x12   Rs.   24,000

  for mopeds    Rs.500x19x12   Rs.1,14,000

1,38,000-00

 

g)Mandal meeting 2 each mandal @ 3000 each

        Rs.3000x2x19

1,14,000-00

 

h)Monthly Staff meeting @Rs.100 x 19x12 )           

                                      

22,800-00

 

i)  Pamphlets , Banners @ Rs.2000per mandal per  year Rs.2000x19                                             

38,000-00

 

k)      Field Workers Training by Resource Persons

    Training Sessions                   Rs.20,000

    Preparing Material Aids         Rs.10,000

    Resource Person Honoraria   Rs.20,000

50,000-00

 

Mainstreaming Mathammas (marriage, admission to schools, etc.)

  50,000-00

 

Emergency Medical Aid

50,000-00

 

j) Audit fee

5,000-00

 

k) Unforseen Expenses

10,000-00

 

 

Total

 

14,07,800-00

 

 

Total Estimated Budget for two years : 32,87,600-00

                                   

 

MONITORING AND EVALUATION

 

Monitoring and evaluation are essential components of the Project. Internal monitoring is proposed to be undertaken by the Project Staff. It is proposed to have quarterly review meetings to monitor the progress of the Project in terms of its different components. Besides, there will be regular day to day monitoring by the Project Co-ordinator. The technique of financial sanction and release funds will be used to assess the progress of the project. The external monitoring is expected to be carried out by the funding agency at frequent intervals convenient to it. In addition periodic quarterly meetings with village committee will be organised go get a feed back from the field level workers. Mid wourse corrections, if found necessary on the basis of monitoring, will be made in consultation with the approval of the funding agency.

 

It is proposed to have annual evaluation of the project internally by the project staff and by an independent agency. The agency would be identified on the basis of its track record. In addition the funding agency may also have its own evaluation. The evaluation report will also be used to bring about changes if any in the Project implementation strategy in the subsequent phase.

 

AUDITING

 

All the accounts and financial transactions of the Project will be subject to independent audit by a reputed licensed Chartered Accountant or any other Auditor as stipulated by Agency on an annual basis. The lapses or objectives or deviation pointed out by the auditor will be reconciled and resolved as per norms prescribed by the funding agency and the Executive Committee of MICDA.