Poverty & Human Development Agency (PHDMA) has a tagline that reads, “Governance initiatives impact people’s lives. Prosperity is not in numbers. It is in the stories that we see and will tell.” Therefore, in order to build an institutional and contextual knowledge of poverty and human development in Odisha, PHDMA has adopted the approach of creating knowledge products from successful prosperity stories from the field.
In order to strengthen this, a network of 6700 active field functionaries across all Gram Panchayats of the state have been onboarded and trained to document positive stories of individual beneficiaries.
They are called the Voice of PHDMA (VoP). PHDMA ra Swara.
They are literally PHDMA’s voice on and voice from the ground. VoPs are primarily from the GRS, PEO , AWW , VAW , Teachers , individuals from local community … a cadre whose mandate is to capture stories of beneficiaries all government welfare schemes whose lives have been impacted . They are our connect at the last mile. They come with a deep understanding of on ground implementation challenges as well as relationships with people and communities forged by supporting them in availing benefits.
PHDMA’s VoPs have been trained to search and screen for significant stories of change at an individual beneficiary level, in their Panchayat. While documenting, they capture the historical nature of “Before” & “After”, plot the process of availing government benefits from the system perspective along with the beneficiary’s own struggle and efforts. Process documentation is a key part of the entire change narrative that VoPs capture.Till date, 8000 + individual stories have been documented by VoP across the themes from education , to farm , entrepreneurship and health .
One flagship and current initiative is our “Happy Faces Project” wherein VoPs have embarked on an ambitious target of documenting 6700 significant stories of change, one each from each Gram Panchayat of the state. Each district has a VoP Nodal Officer who is in charge of their continuous capacity building, screening quality of stories and maintaining consistency of reporting in terms of facts, processes involved, first-hand aspect of the story etc…
Given that PHDMA has a mandate to be able to conduct independent evaluations and recommend policy inputs to Government based on on-ground situation, it gets its’ institutional strength from this network of active Voice of PHDMA (VoP).
I am VoP . I tell stories
-Member Secretary, PHDMA