The Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project, also locally known as JEEViKA, aims for social and economic empowerment of rural poor in the state. Aided by the World Bank, JEEViKA is managed by the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS), an autonomous body under the Department of Rural Development of the Government of Bihar (GoB). Excerpts from an interview with Shri Arvind Kumar Chaudhary (IAS), CEO-cum-State Mission Director:
When we started the work of JEEViKA, we saw that a major component of the household income is spent on treating illnesses. We realised that it’s important to work on health and nutrition simultaneously. If we want to address the impact of poverty, I think that’s where the Gram Varta approach of the Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH) programme is useful. The experience has been that one should focus on health, nutrition and sanitation. If better behaviour gets ingrained in the fabric of the SHG movement, it would have a long lasting and sustainable impact. The results can be remarkable. So, with the support of BTAST and through the Gram Varta intervention, we are giving health messages in meetings of SHGs. Since this is happening in a very systematic manner, I think it will help in a big
Some evaluations were also done through trials in different settings. In the first block we had SHG and good health messaging. In the second block, we had no SHG and no health messages. In the third block, we had both SHG and health messaging. The outcome was the best in the block where we had both SHGs and health messaging. In the second place, we expected to see the block or village with health messaging but no community platform, but it did not happen. So, it was realised that a community platform is needed for spreading messages on health, nutrition and sanitation. We focussed on using the
Gram Varta strategy, weaving it into the basic fabric of JEEViKA. So, creating awareness on Health, Nutrition and WASH through the SHG platform within JEEViKA is the way forward for Bihar. That is how we are going to scale up the open defecation free (ODF) initiative and expand it across the state. The aim is to make the state ODF in the next five years. I know it’s a Herculean job, but I am sure it will happen.