Social Equity – To be just and Inclusive: the only difficulty is that this is easier said than done, especially in a world where exclusion is the norm. It runs rife in everyone’s daily life and we take on the role of perpetrators or victims as the situation commands. In a society that is deeply hierarchical, it is not surprising that people tend to form exclusive groups at every level possible- based on caste, class, education, language, ethnicity, etc. This book is an attempt at helping us identify and understand exclusions in our professional work. This book contains a framework and set of tools that help to hold a mirror up to us to show forms and levels of exclusion that might exist in the work that we do. The chapters will guide you through the context, the conceptual underpinnings and the practical steps involved in conducting a social equity audit
This would mean empowering the vulnerable and changing power relations. It is a process that is organisation-friendly and transparent rather than a fault finding or a policing exercise. SEA will not condone any gaps found, nor does it condemn any lapse. It is a rigorous process that is professional and supportive at the same time, is based on mutual respect, is open to learning, and is open towards understanding difficult field circumstances. The SEA process would be participatory. It would be facilitative and not extractive. All those who have a significant stake in service delivery will be actively involved throughout the audit, from the initial stages of design to implementing community-led solutions. It is a proactive tool to understand and address structural, organisational and strategic constraints and bottlenecks that prevent or limit the marginalised and vulnerable communities from equitable participation and benefit sharing in development programmes.
Most often, organisations take on specific mandates and focus their attention on addressing them through designing necessary programmes. The intention is to implement the programmes efficiently and effectively. For various reasons organisations get identified with specific social groups as beneficiary groups. In identity-based social structures and systems, cutting across the existing social barriers does not happen in the natural course of events for both development actors and community groups.
SEA helps identify excluded stakeholder groups and the barriers that keep them out. It helps the organisation to take necessary inclusive steps both within its own set-up and in designing and implementing the programme. Within the organisation, SEA would help identify the absence or lack of equitable representation and participation of excluded social groups like Dalits, tribals, and women in various decision-making and executive bodies. It also helps focus attention on the lack of participation or equity benefit sharing by marginalized groups in the programmes. SEA particularly recognises the exclusionary nature of caste-based discrimination in the NGO context and to address it in the organisational structure, systems, policies, and programmes.
Social Equity Watch is committed to bringing development projects into the framework of an inclusive approach at all levels namely conceiving, planning, designing, implementing, and monitoring. It is expected to build a wider platform to bring the actors of social equity together in order to further the goal of inclusion. It is envisaged to enable the communities to challenge and question the mainstreamed models of development that result in massive exclusions, especially in the context of globalisation. Under this influence, the communities will be able to involve in a perennial process of engagement with systems, power structures and patterns of development in order to bring the equity perspective into the centre stage.
SEW will enlarge the role of Social Equity Audit by providing a wide platform of sharing the equity concerns and to politically engage in the promotion of social equity.
The Social equity watch does not confine it’s focus to the disaster contexts and subsequent emergency programmes, but will also look into the strategic interventions and policy initiatives which may bring about massive exclusions in the longer run.
Social Equity Audit
Social Equity Watch
Tsunami struck the world, wrecking the lives of millions. Even as relief operations and rehabilitation efforts went underway something deeply disturbing and shocking emerged. The most needy and the most deprived became systematically excluded. They included Dalits, tribals, minorities, women-headed families, children, and the aged.
The repetitive pattern of exclusion had become too worrisome to ignore, whether it was the Gujarat earthquake (2001) or the floods in Orissa (2001); they confirmed and reinforced the urgency for addressing the question of social exclusion and discrimination.
The core group meeting held on 5th May 2009 ratified the need for Social Equity Watch (SEW) and it was decided that Praxis would anchor the secretariat for the same. It was also endorsed that a greater political role for SEW needs to be envisioned. Secretariat will be the executive arm, providing the support, management, and coordination for the process. Social Equity Watch (SEW) would be a larger platform in which organisations and people who believe in inclusive politics would be able to come together. This togetherness is likely to generate fresh debates on social exclusion and ignite innovative ideas on inclusion through participatory practices that enable organisations and communities to effectively move from exclusive to more inclusive approaches and processes. In the current context SEW is envisaged to enlarge the role of SEA by providing a wide platform of diverse interests, visions and aspirations with respect to inclusiveness in all facets of development interventions.
In other words, SEW will function as a platform for sharing the equity concerns and to politically engage in the promotion of social equity in all interventions for development. Social Equity Watch does not intend to confine its focus to disaster contexts and subsequent emergency programmes. It will also look into the strategic interventions and policy initiatives that potentially contribute to exclusion in the long run. This course of action is conceived as a political process that critically looks at the power structures, systems and relations at the micro and macro levels that perpetuate exclusion and discrimination.