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The Department of Social Work, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore Campus has been selected by the Assistant Director of Rural Development (Panchayat) Collectorate, Coimbatore, to collaborate on the Village Panchayat Development Plan (VPDP). Through this collaboration, the Department of Social Work provided support to prepare the VPDP for three selected panchayats -Mavuthampathi, Pichanur and Palathurai – in Madukkarai block, Coimbatore district. The VDPD collaboration between Amrita and Rural Development (Panchayat) Collectorate provided the opportunity for students to learn about the challenges faced by rural communities and to help identify the specific priorities of the communities served. The areas of need relate to a number of the SDGs including good health and well-being, quality education, clean water and sanitation and partnerships for the goals.
The VPDP brings together citizens and elected representatives in a decentralized planning process. The plan is expected to reflect the development issues, perceived needs and priorities of the community, including that of marginalized sections. The students had the opportunity to participate in a webinar to learn about the VPDP process.
Webinar on VPDP
The Department of Social Work, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore conducted a Webinar on “Village Panchayat Development Plan (VPDP)” on March 8, 2021 from 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm. The resource person for the webinar was Mr. J. Ravikumar, DRP (District Resources Person), District Resource Centre for Panchayat, Coimbatore. He explained all major aspects of VPDP and helped the students to understand the project more clearly. The trainees were able to understand the concept of VPDP in detail and thus benefitted largely from this webinar.
After gaining an understanding of the VPDP project, the students spent two months in the field meeting with local officials and community members to gain an understanding of the challenges faced and to develop questionnaires to gather the necessary information for completing the VPDP.
On April 24, 2021, II MSW Community Development students, along with their field coordinator, Mr. S. Kanagaraj, visited Pichanur Gram Panchayat. The panchayat consists of 9 wards. The team met two ward members and explained the VPDP project to them. After the meeting with the ward members, the team conducted a transect walk in the fourth and fifth ward of Pichanur Panchayat. The transect walk helped the students to identify and understand the major problems of these two wards. It was observed that these wards struggled with water scarcity, poor waste management, lack of educational institutions such as primary schools and lack of emergency health care services.
On April 30, 2021, the team visited the first ward of Pichanur Gram Panchayat, M.G.R colony. Through their interactions, the students developed an understanding of the particular problems the people were facing in this community.
Not only was this collaboration an inspiring learning experience for the students, but it also provided needed assistance to rural communities whose voices are often unrepresented in the governance process.