Women Lead the Way: Monitoring and improving government services and facilities in Delhi

Nazdeek has partnered with communities in Delhi to develop effective and accessible strategies for monitoring essential services that they are legally entitled to, seek redressal of individual right violations, and, at a collective level, advocate for systemic improvements in the delivery of services. 

Women from poorer sections of society, and particularly Dalit and Muslim women, are routinely deprived of access to essential services that they need the most. many areas in Delhi, particularly informal settlements, still lack adequate access to critical services such as food, clean water, sanitation facilities, and essential healthcare. This is particularly true for Dalit and Muslim women who bear the burden of a deeply patriarchal society, divided along caste and communal grounds and economic status. 

Women also lack access to effective channels to communicate their grievances and seek improvements of service delivery. Existing grievance mechanisms are too often inaccessible to marginalized citizens, who, as key recipients of government’s social policies, are the ones most in need of a channel of communication with agencies in charge of providing services. Moreover, community members often do not have the means and capacity to effectively monitor and document violations of their rights to legal entitlements, or to identify systemic gaps in service delivery.

The lack of monitoring mechanisms and avenues to seek redressal can push communities into further marginalization and deprivation, exacerbating their already dire living conditions. Therefore, engaging women, and more broadly community members, in monitoring government services is a crucial step to guarantee a more dignified life, and start breaking the cycle of marginalization.

This report describes the findings and lessons learned from the work with four communities in Delhi between January 2017 and February 2018 in monitoring service delivery and using existing grievance redressal channels to address violations of legal entitlements on health, food, water and sanitation. The report also suggests concrete actions and steps needed to ensure that rights and entitlements enshrined in laws and policies become a reality for more marginalized communities in Delhi.

Click HERE to access the report in English.