The creation of MDG Unions, where through the empowerment and improved collaboration among GO-NGO entities and citizens, would enhance participatory local democracy, and the thematic areas of the Millennium Development Goals would be addressed up to a satisfactory extent, is a three-pronged strategy: social mobilization to build civil society from the ground up, empowerment of women as key change agents in development, and strengthening local democracy. These three elements come together in participatory action research (PAR) by the ultra-poor, and on forming the animators into ward action teams.
Empowering women as change agents begins with the training of women leaders in each ward who then work together in the Union, forming two more social units: the Unleashed Women’s Network and the Girl Child Advocacy Forum.
Strengthening Local Democracy begins with a five-day training for UP representatives, as currently there is only cursory official training, and regular consultation and follow up meetings with UP bodies for implementation of four key provisions of the Local Government (Union Parishad) Act 2009: (1) holding twice Ward Shava in each ward, (2) feeding ward level priorities into UP planning, (3) activating standing committees and providing support to create a Five-year plan, and (4) publishing a citizen charter. These activities are also followed up by regular coordination meetings between the UP members and social (civil society) unit leadership. Though these meetings, social units or civil society groups can ensure effective implementation of the key provisions of the law mentioned above.