Community Mobilisation Monitoring Study



The Avahan India AIDS Initiative, started in the year 2003, is a large and ambitious HIV/AIDS prevention program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the first five-year phase (2004-2009), Avahan successfully built a large-scale HIV intervention program in six states of India namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu that accounted for 83% of the country's HIV infections. Now in the second and last phase of this project whose funding commitment to India is to last until 2014, Avahan aims to hand over the programme to its "natural owners", like the Government of India and Community-based organizations (CBOs) that work locally with these communities.

To understand this process of ‘ownership’ transition to the CBOs, Praxis was contracted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Avahan Programme in October 2008 to conduct a baseline study on the ‘ways and means to strengthen’ the community mobilisation process of the 36 CBGs of Female sex workers (FSW), Men who have sex with men (MSM), Transgenders (TG) and Injecting Drug Users (IDU) working across these six states.

After successful development of a community monitoring mechanism, Praxis carried out a similar study with the CBOs over the next four years. This helped communities strategise addressing issues related to HIVAIDS prevention and vulnerability reduction in a sustained way in the six states. This was done by generating and disseminating timely information on their ‘organisational capacities’ as well as on their ‘capacity to address vulnerability issues’.

The primary aim of the Project was to provide periodic data to State Lead Partners (SLPs), Implementing Partners (IPs) and community based groups to inform refinements to community mobilisation.

As a logical conclusion of this process, Praxis developed self-administrable tools that the community members can use to analyse, plan and monitor their progress along the four bands of progression.

Some resources related to the study can be found here:

From Beneficiaries to Agents of Change: Self-Administrable Tools to Assess Community Preparedness for Vulnerability Reduction




Legacy of Stench



Legacy of Stench is a report on the lives and struggles of sanitation workers in Patna, based on the study conducted by Praxis and Nidan. The study aimed at formulating a draft policy for sanitation workers, for advocacy of the same with the government of Bihar. The National Safai Karmachari Commission was also involved in the study.



Waters of Despair-a film on the floods of Darbhanga



 One dark, sultry night in July 2007, the embankments around the river Kamalabalan in Darbhanga district of Bihar crumbled, yet again. Within a few hours, lives, livelihoods, hopes and aspirations were washed away, leaving the villages in a quagmire of debts, diseases and migration.

For the last 60 years, this once beautiful district of Bihar has been violated again and again by both greed and indifference. Those with power play their might against the might of nature, changing the course of rivers, leaving the poor and the marginalised to face the consequences.

The authorities of course refuse to play referee. Following the floods, a team from Praxis waded deep into the lives of people here.
The result was Waters of Despair, a 30-minute documentary that brings alive on screen the distress that has come to typify the lives of those who stay in the flood prone areas of Darbhanga.

We also published a book Dateline Ghanshyampur on the same issue




Initiative for development of model republics



 Praxis has entered into a partnership with a select number of gram panchayats in Bihar, with the objective of establishing or strengthening inclusive processes at the level of panchayats.


To this effect, Praxis is working towards emergence of representative groups of citizens to (1) monitor delivery of basic services, (2) act as a channel for exchange of vital information between people and panchayats and (3) feed into the planning and budgeting processes of the panchayat by acting as conveyers of priorities and aspirations of citizens based in different development wards.


Elected members of the panchayats, who are divided across different thematic standing committees, are expected to work closely with nominated citizen-representatives in various panchayat processes and in preparation of development plans and budgets.




Training of NREGA functionaries in Bihar



 In November 2007, Praxis facilitated an orientation of a select group of Block Development Officers, NGO representatives and nominated functionaries of relevant government agencies, vis-à-vis issues of exclusion and issues in planning of shelf of projects for implementation of NREGA in Bihar.


The training was organised by the National Institute of Rural Development in Patna in collaboration with the Government of Bihar.






 Intersectionality Framework to Track Budgets for Transgender Communities in Tamil Nadu

Set against the backdrop of expanding the scope of the intersectionality framework in gender responsive budgeting to include transgender communities, UN women commissioned a study on the Intersectionality Framework to Track Budgets for Transgender Communities. The research study was rolled out with the two fold aim of analysing state and union budgetary commitments for the transgender communities as well as their uptake in India on one hand and to document various forms of discrimination, exclusions and violations of rights faced by transgender communities in the state of Tamil Nadu on the other.  

The draft report can be accessed here.  








 Baseline Study for CREA ‘Count me in! It’s my Body’ Project

The Praxis team visited Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar to set a baseline for
CREA's It's My Body which looks at introducing young girls to sexual and reproductive health rights through the medium of sports.



A study in four districts of Haryana (Rohtak, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat), is being conducted for developing a messaging framework against the issue of sex selective elimination. The study involves identifying different stakeholders, and coming up with triggers for developing an action plan.







Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for DfID-IPAP Supported Programme ‘Promoting Violence-Free Lives for Women in India’

Praxis was involved in developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the DfID-IPAP supported programme ‘Promoting Violence-Free Lives for Women in India’, in which Oxfam India was the implementing agency.


The programme aimed to reduce the social acceptance of violence against women and bring a positive change in the policy and programme environment.


The MIS framework was developed to arrive at a method of participatory estimation of the potential/actual outreach of support centres and the community outreach work; assess the existing MIS and reporting formats from an equity lens; create self-monitoring tools and templates to enable communities to use the existing data to analyse equity gaps.






Maternal Death Review Data Sharing for UNICEF

Praxis developed a standardised data sharing methodology for UNICEF to activate the participatory component of MAPEDIR - Maternal and Pre-natal Death Inquiry and Response.


MAPEDIR is a detailed verbal autopsy questionnaire addressed to the family of women who died during pregnancy, childbirth or soon after to get an idea of the socio-economic and institutional information to study maternal mortality in India.


Facilitating governance and administrative reforms in Bihar

The Bihar Prashasnik Sudhar Mission (BPSM) involves studying the process of issuing certificates of caste, income and residence to citizens from district collectorates and offices of the sub-divisional magistrate, block development officer and collector’s office.


After identifying appropriate reform opportunities for simplification of the processes, Praxis achieved a major breakthrough. Following the recommendations made by the District Collectorate Reforms team, which included representatives from Praxis, a decision was made by the governing council of the BPSM to reform the process.


Henceforth, for all certifications related to the state government, a citizen will not be required to visit multiple offices such as the district collectorates, sub-division offices, block offices and panchayats). Instead, a facilitation window located at the block level would be empowered to issue all such certificates, except those required by agencies outside Bihar, and hence calling for certification by higher authorities.


The reform will make an immediate and perceptible difference to the lives of thousands of seekers of certificates, mostly belonging to socially and economically disadvantaged communities.






 Final Evaluation of ‘Reintegration of platform children into society’ project implemented by Railway Children and its partner organisations

Praxis evaluated the ‘Reintegration of Platform Children into Society’ for Railway Children and its partner organisations – Project Concern International, Bal Sakha, Jeevodaya, Praajak, Bal Prafulta, Saathi, Khilti Kaliyan, Prayas and Ehsaas Delhi, Patna, Itarsi, West Bengal, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Mughalsarai, Samastipur, Lucknow.


The study interacts with the children, outreach workers, families of the reintegrated children, evaluates the infrastructure set up by the organisations at the railway stations and looks at the way the different partner organisations operate to show a way forward to Railway Children.


Facilitating District Planning – Integrated, Decentralised and Participatory

Praxis facilitated the Integrated District Planning in Vaishali district of Bihar in 2009 under the stewardship of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Municipal Bodies. This initiative aimed at facilitating the emergence of the first-ever Integrated District Plan in Vaishali in line with the guidelines of the Planning Commission. 


The exercise sought to strengthen the District Planning Commission of Vaishali and the elected local governments at various levels (wards, gram panchayats and panchayat samitis, zilla parishads, nagar panchayats and nagar parishads) to formulate and consolidate plans with respect to the mandates given to them under relevant legislations or government orders. The exercise focused on reviving the institution of gram sabhas by constitution of ward-level committees of village residents to voice the development needs of each ward in gram sabha meetings


Citizens’ Right to Public Financing Project, Malawi

Action Aid and Plan Malawi were funded by DfID to build capacity of local communities and civil society organisations to demand government accountability on public funds by promoting citizen participation in the national budget cycle and encouraging the collection of evidence about the performance of service delivery from communities.

Praxis led a team of civil society and government representatives in the design of a methodology and framework for monitoring citizens’ rights to public financing.


The process included:


  • Review of the range of civil society and government data collection tools and the data bank system
  • Recommendations on how to improve their performance notably
  • Clarifying how effective triangulation will take place
  • Identifying how tools will address gaps in data from the district data bank
  • Establish which tools should be used and which should not
  • Refining existing tools where necessary


This project holds the potential of emerging as a model for Africa, even the rest of the world, equipping and enabling communities to hold governments to account






Rapid Appraisals of Vulnerability of Workers to Bondage Situations in several sectors in Tamil Nadu

The series of studies assessed the living and working conditions of workers in four sectors – brick kiln, rice mills, stone quarry and hand loom – through a process of participatory inquiry covering almost all stakeholders. The focus was on the primary stakeholders, namely the workers and their families. The study was conducted by Praxis for the International Labour Organization as part of a broader assignment for the Government of India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment to up scale interventions for vulnerable groups in these sectors in select districts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. 


Participatory Need Assessment for Comprehensive Health and Development

The participatory need assessments were carried out on behalf of The Leprosy Mission in Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh and in Pondicherry to give direction to their Community-Based Rehabilitation South India Project.


Manual on Child-Centred Micro-Level Planning
The Praxis developed the manual for Plan (India) to help front line staff and development partners of the organisation to incorporate child rights into micro level plans. The manual and its contents were developed based on the needs of stakeholders within Plan who are currently involved in implementing projects involving participation of child.


The study recognised the shift to a rights-based approach to children’s lives and welfare and sought to fill gaps by making space for participatory learning and action among children. 






Civil Society & Governance in Bihar – Issues, Prospects and Programme Implications for AKF

The study was based on a rapid assessment of organisations in Muzaffarpur, Samastipur and Patna. In Bihar, the Government assumes the most pervasive and critical role, particularly for the socially and economically disadvantaged sections.


It occupies a substantial space in the sphere of service-delivery and remains the principal guarantor of social justice, affirmative action and fundamental rights. Praxis has carried out a study on how the civil society organisations (CSOs) in Bihar had demonstrated their role in ensuring better governance. While CSOs cannot replace the state, they have a role in holding the state accountable for lapses in performance of vital roles, and in plugging gaps in service-delivery in effective and sustainable ways.


Participatory community baseline needs assessment study of two settlement urban colonies; Right Track in support with Goal India; 2007

PRAXIS carried out the baseline and need assessment study in the slums of Khalbari and Coal Berth in August 2007, focusing on child health and livelihood interventions.


Praxis, Right Track, and community members from both localities conducted the study. The main focus was to understand the complex relationship between health and livelihood. The study analysed the current scenario of livelihood options and prospects of need specific promotion of the same.








Participatory Study of Community Aspirations in Noamundi, Jharkhand

A participatory aspiration study was conducted in Noamundi for Tata Steel as part of its corporate social responsibility role. Praxis did an in-depth and issue-based assessment of the existing situation in Noamundi. The aim of the study was to guide policy-framers on the needs and aspirations on the community towards the ultimate goal of poverty reduction and provided insights into future projects in the area. 

Land mapping in Bihar

Land has been at the crux of inequity ever since it has been equated with power. Since Praxis feels strongly about landlessness and its impact on the lives of the poor and the marginalised, it undertook a land mapping exercise along with Ekta Parishad in the districts of Western Chamaparan, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui and Patna.

Bihar, with its semi-feudal make-up, is an unfortunate example of severe land-based disparity. Up to 70% of the rural poor in several districts are landless, working on leased land and handing over more than half their gross output, almost double of what is normally paid elsewhere.

There is little scope to question the system since


  1. Most land records date back to the pre-Independence era
  2. The bureaucracy consists of the land-owning gentry
  3. The system itself is informal. There is therefore very little scope of legal protection of tenants. Moreover, they have been subjected to centuries of exploitation and acquired heavy debts over generations.


The situation underscores the need for political will to implement and enforce land reforms that exist on paper. Despite the Bhoodan Yagna Committee, the Bihar Zamindari Abolition Act and the Land Ceiling Act, the lives of the landless majority depends on the whims of the few landowners.

This was done to identify specific issues relating to land distribution and prospects relating to allotment of land to the huge number of landless households in the state. The factual records unearthed during this exercise are expected to help in effective campaigning for land rights of the poor.


Praxis has published ‘Landlessness and Social Justice’ based on the experience of undertaking land mapping in Bihar. The report can be accessed here.






 Living on the Edge; an Appraisal of Livelihoods in Rural Jharkhand

A participatory assessment of livelihood alternatives of the poor in Jharkhand was undertaken in 2005 by a collective of 31 civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in Jharkhand under the aegis of the ‘Poorest Area Civil Society Programme’. The largescale exercise, undertaken across 18 of the 21 districts of Jharkhand was facilitated by Praxis through provision of design, capacity-building and synthesis support.


A Participatory Vulnerability Assessment Study for the Aga Khan Development Network, Jammu & Kashmir
On the October 8 2005, a massive earthquake shook the valley of Kashmir to its core and destroyed the lives and livelihood sources of many. Praxis conducted a Participatory Vulnerability Assessment Study to understand how well-prepared the communities and the service providers were, in terms of responses and management, to handle a disaster.


The study was carried out for Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Jammu and Kashmir, one of the key organisations involved in the long-term rehabilitation process. Seven of the 17 villages in which AKDN had their programme were covered by Praxis team. It was an intensive project in which we mapped the history of disasters in the region, traced the traditional methods of coping with disasters and assessed the vulnerability of each habitation.






Participatory Poverty Assessment for the Governments of Assam, Chhattisgarh and Sikkim

In line with the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) overarching goal of poverty reduction, Participatory Poverty Assessments were carried out in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim and West Bengal with a view to identify priorities for development action, emerging from in-depth poverty analyses involving the poor, in 2004.






Assessment of Underlying Causes of Malnutrition status, Poor Reproductive and Child Health - Across Five States

The aim of the assessment was to understand underlying issues related to ill health, poor nutritional & reproductive health status among the target populations of the RACHNA programme. The assessment aimed to identify issues that lead to increasing disparities in incidence of poverty across various social, economic, gender and age groups.


It also probed the social relations, power equations, access and control over resources and rights that relate to or result in poor nutritional & health status. Another key area of exploration for the study was to understand the nature, quality and depth of relationships that the target groups have with service providers, decision makers and institutions that are working in the area of health, nutrition and HIV/AIDS prevention. The 2003 project was undertaken for Care India.






Participatory Assessment of the Government of Orissa's Delivery of Services

The Government of Orissa has set up a Task Force to take forward strategic thinking within the state on strategies for poverty reduction. As part of its support to Public Sector Reform and assistance to the Task Force in achieving its objectives, this study was conducted by Praxis between October 2001 and March 2002 in 40 locations drawn from six districts of Orissa. The study was supported by DFID.

Development Audits
Praxis conducted the development audit of the District Poverty Initiative Programme (DPIP), Rajasthan, a large-scale poverty eradication project implemented by the Government of Rajasthan with support from World Bank in 2002.

Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) Study in Madhya Pradesh, India
The study was conducted from September 2001-March 2002 across 123 locations (92 Rural & 31 Urban) for feeding into poverty reduction policies of the state government. The primary objective of the study was to understand poverty from the perspective of the poor and their priorities in terms of actions to improve their lives. The study was commissioned by Asian Development Bank.








Mid-Term Review of Dalit Mannurimai Koottamaippu, a network of NGOs and community organisations in Tamil Nadu

Dalit Mannurimai Koottamaippu, a net work of development organisations was established in 2001 by 16 NGOs and community organisations in six northern districts of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. These NGOs, facilitating development initiatives in their respective areas, came together recognising the need for collective action only through which they could be able to bring changes in the lives of Dalits. The mid-term review process had been expedited by Praxis, initially by orienting the participants from all the partner organisations of DMK on the purpose and methodology of the review. They had been trained by the expert team of Praxis to analyse and assess the efforts made till date and to prepare future plans in line with the findings and learnings. They are also trained in reviewing the direction, strategies and activities of the organisation to make the interventions effective and relevant.

MTR of Southern Collective for New Initiatives on Childhood (SCNIC)
Southern Collective for New Initiatives on Childhood [SCNIC] is a consortium of three NGOs - Victory Trust, Navajeevan Educational and Welfare Society (NEWS) and Centre for Education, Development Action and Research (CEDAR). Formed in 2001, SCNIC operates in Virudhunagar, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu, South India. Praxis was called upon to conduct a mid-term review to analyse and assess the efforts made, and share the findings to enable a future plan and review the direction, strategies and activities of the organisation to make the interventions effective and relevant. The areas reviewed were programmes and performance, human resources and organisational development and partnership relationships.

'Consultations with the Poor’ for the World Bank
Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network – The study had been carried out across ten locations in the country (drawn from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh). The study discerned poor people’s perceptions of well-being, problems in achieving a better quality of life, their assessment of existing institutions and changes in gender relations over time. Carried out over a period of two months, the outcomes of the study have been fed into the World Development Report 2000-01.







Participatory monitoring and evaluation for the Cochin Urban Poverty Reduction Project.

CUPRP is undertaken by the Cochin Urban Poverty Alleviation Department (UPAD) and supported by the Department for International Development India (DFID India). In early 2000, the project team envisaged the need to introduce a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) component into their project and Praxis was commissioned to do the same. In a one-year engagement, Praxis gave adequate training to selected number of representatives and a few key project functionaries, including the M&E officer appointed by UPAD in using PRA tools to collect, synthesize and analyse data.


Himachal Pradesh Rural Profile Study
A Rural Profile Study of Himachal Pradesh was carried out by Praxis during March–April 2000. The study was commissioned by the Rural Development Group of DFID India, which provided the technical and financial assistance to the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department. The study displayed the poverty profile of the Himachal Pradesh districts by collating quantitative and qualitative information from various sources, including field-research carried out in villages in Kullu and Mandi districts.

Participatory Poverty Assessment in 5 Class-1 towns of Andhra Pradesh' for DFID India
Undertaken across nearly 50 locations of five Class-1 towns as part of the DFID-supported 'Andhra Pradesh (AP) Urban Services for the Poor' project, it was aimed at facilitating identification of the urban poor and inclusion of their voices in formulation of town-level urban development plans in AP.







Participatory Gender Impact Assessment Study in Uttar Pradesh, for World Bank, November 1999.

The Gender Impact Assessment Study was carried out across fourteen locations drawn from five districts of Uttar Pradesh, two of which – Nainital and Sitapur – are directly covered under the UP Basic Education Project. Comparable locations from three other contiguous districts not falling under the project, namely Almora, Baageshwar and Lucknow were also included as counterfactuals, to assess the net impact of the project on the lives of women, and on the education status of the girl-children in particular.






'Participatory Poverty Profile Study in Bolangir' for DFID India was held in drought-prone western Orissa region (Bolangir district) in India, with a field investment of 549 person days, covering all 14 administrative blocks of Bolangir. The project involved working with a large number of stakeholders, including the state government, NGOs, CBOs and prominent local bodies. The poverty dynamics and livelihood issues were examined using participatory tools, which furnished interesting observations on issues of migration, indebtedness, land alienation, coping with disasters, untouchability etc.




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