Why Sayukti?

Several parts of the Indian State and its population remain agonized from some of the most basic problems of lack of education, lack of livelihood and access to information. The access to the information with regards to its laws and policies made to uplift its population from the vicious cycle of poverty and related concerns stops the people from questioning the State and its inaction. Further, the population becomes unable to take the benefit of schemes and policies that come into action for them. One of the states which is in acute distress due to lack of awareness, is the state of Bihar. Two of the examples of schemes of which the people of Bihar have not been able to take the advantage of due to lack of awareness, are the Ayushman Bharat Scheme (Nidhi Sharma, Economic Times), and MNREGA (Paheli Report, ASER, Pratham). The existing power dynamics, non-implementation of schemes, and little
to no knowledge about the policies and schemes lead the people of Bihar to exploitative gates of judicial platform, which still lingers on with more than 15 lakh pending cases due to several reasons (National Judicial Data Grid, 23 Jan 2023). The most oppressed of all the population receive the end of the stick and experience ‘unfreedoms’ along with no agency or voice in any kind of decision making process. The challenge now lies in building accountability structures that can facilitate a real change in action on the ground (Aiyar, Dongre, Davis, 2015). It has been time and again suggested by an abundant amount of literature that there is a need for awareness (Gupta, Birner, 2017)(Golder, Oxfam, 2017). The inclusion of people in policy making and decision making processes takes into account the realities of the ground and helps people understand the benefits that are available for them. State intervention is no longer limited to technocratic tasks like building infrastructure, hiring staff and implementing schemes. Rather the state is expected to protect socio-economic rights of citizens by guaranteeing an array of public services (Aiyar,
Dongre, Davis, 2015).
Sayukti Collective is a legal research team that aims to work on community mapping and capacity building interventions. These interventions will be done along with members of socially excluded groups. It will enable them to exercise their agency and demand justice from the State by training them to become a part of the discourse. The Collective designs interventions with respect to research, awareness, and upskilling to address one of the critical impediments to our vision – lack of information and capacity.

To create a world with accountable state, actionable policies and aware citizens.

Designing research and upskilling training programs along with community participation, to create leaders, researchers, mobilizers, practitioners who pursue action research.

Theory Of Change:
In order to realise our vision and mission its crucial for us to have our framework in place. This framework has been illustrated below as our Theory of Change. It delineates the activities which we are going to undertake for achieving certain intermediate objectives- as illustrated below. The fulfilment of these objectives will be the initiation of the change that we aspire for.

Key For Above Chart

Path forward to the Goal:

  1. Identification of communities through the lens of social exclusion. To begin with we will be relying on the idea and concept of social exclusion, since it provides a broader lens to view policies which are deficient and are not in reach of the people, who lack basic requirements such as livelihood, education, food, healthcare due to their social exclusion. The European Union defines social exclusion as “Social exclusion refers to the multiple and changing factors resulting in people being excluded from the normal exchanges, practices, and rights of modern society. Poverty is one of the most obvious factors, but social exclusion also refers to inadequate rights in housing, education, health, and access to services. It affects individuals and groups, particularly in urban and rural areas, who are in some way subject to discrimination and segregation; and it emphasizes the weakness in social infrastructure and the risk of allowing a two-tier society to become established by default.”
  2. Secondary Research on the problems existing in the community. We will further work to identify problems which are present by means of existing literature.
  3. Field Research to understand the problems currently existing within the community.
  4. Choosing the problem which forms the roots of the broken system. Through the conversations with the community, we will identify the problems that the community face at large and have become an issue leading to systemic failures.
  5. Planning and designing trust building activity ( A1), which intervenes with the above identified problem and also provides space for deeper conversations, focus group and policy discussions. Such sessions will take us step further towards engaging with the community on the existing policies and creating awareness about them.
  6. Identification of individuals who are leaning towards the research; and designing tools along with these individuals to conduct nuanced participative research. We will introduce and expose these individuals to secondary education (A8), report making, designing research tools (A7), community outreach (A3) and primary research(A6). This will happen in a time span of 8-10 months of fellowship. Activities (A2, A3, A4, A5, A7, and A8) will be conducted to develop the capacity of individual within the community to become researchers. Hence, allowing the community to engage with the State independently without depending on any organisation as an intermediary between them and the State.
  7. Conducting Policy Discussions (A4) and Focus Group Discussions (A5) with the members of the community are inclined towards research and/or advocacy. This aims to develop an understanding of the applicable laws and policy in the specific context of the problems faced by the community. Experts in concerned areas of law and policy will be included in these discussions to ensure a thorough understanding of the government enactments being engaged with.
  8. Capacity building of the individual mentioned in points 6, 7, and 8 will help these individuals to pigeon hole the problems of the community within law and policy parameters. Thus, the individual will map the community along with the laws and policy (A3) in order to understand the gaps which are leading to problems within their community.
    These individuals will be Research Fellows of Sayukti Collective for the training period. After the completion of the training fellows can design and conduct their own research and advocacy work within their own community. This training will also enable the fellows to join organizations, initiatives, institutes, which take their interest level to next level. All the aforementioned 9 points will thus work towards our Goal of building capacity within the community to conduct law and policy analysis.