The Synodical Board of Social Services is the development and justice board of the Church of North India. It works with Dalits, adivasis, women and children to promote and facilitate socio-economic transformation.  CNI SBSS with Diocesan Board of Social Services (DBSS) is involved in the struggles of the communities with the mandate given by CNI Synod based on the Nazareth Manifesto (Luke 4:16-19).

The Eleventh Five Year Plan recognizes that: “A major weakness in the economy is that growth is not perceived as being sufficiently inclusive for many groups, especially population belonging to the SCs, STs, and minorities. Gender inequality also remains a pervasive problem and some of the structural changes taking place have an adverse effect on women.”  

In the growth process the Dalits, Adivasis and minorities have lagged behind. Income and Wealth inequality has increased. Keeping in line with India’s commitment to justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as mentioned in Indian Constitution; several Acts, Policies and Schemes were launched since Independence. In the last decade not only the number of such initiatives from State has increased but also the approach has changed more towards recognizing these not just as mere service doling instruments but as instruments for ensuring due entitlements/ rights of people. The government of India has adopted a right- based approach in its policies like MGNREGA, FRA, Right to Access of Food, Rights to Education etc. However unaccountable governance and weak implementation because of hastily designed implementation strategy, lack of capacity at the lower administrative/ governance level on the supply side and uninformed users at the demand side has resulted in the impact being much below the anticipation.

CNI SBSS works to change the above mentioned paradigm by 1) creating demand among the deprived on issues like education, livelihood etc. 2) Helping deprived to understand policy provisions. 3) Strengthening supply by helping government functionaries and elected representatives to understand their role in policy provisions and 4) build capacity of functionaries and elected representatives to deliver their roles. CNI SBSS implements its programs through 15 Diocesan Board of Social Services spread across eight states of India.

CNI SBSS’s program focuses on the following that in turn contributes to the country’s growth:
•    Ensure education, health, drinking water and sanitation rights of dalit and tribal communities.
•    Ensure entitlements of communities over government’s Social Security Schemes.
•    Access and control over productive livelihood resources.
•    Promotion of sustainable livelihood options.
•    Empowering people for participation in Governance.
•    Building models of Church Mission engagement.
•    Local Capacity Building for peace to address issues of rising conflicts.
•    Undertake research and studies and disseminate knowledge.

To address these issues, a Decadal Perspective plan ‘Resistance and Hope’ was introduced in 2005. The plan was divided into three phases and each phase had Strategic Plan for three years.
Phase I: ‘Let Justice Roll’ (2005-2008)
Phase II: ‘Speaking Out..’ (2008-2012)
Phase II: ‘See…a reign in righteousness and rule with justice’ (2012- 2016)
CNI SBSS will soon commence new phase ‘Re-building Walls and Re-building Lives’ (2016-2019)

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