Social re-engineering key to improving social mobility, fostering inclusive growth among marginal communities
We, as human beings , are conditioned to live and interact within social hierarchies. Social hierarchy is the socioeconomic classification of human beings on parameters like race, gender, ethnicity, education and income among others.
Social hierarchies also lead to the creation of class systems among different sections of the population. These systems are often rigid and control all aspects of the socioeconomic life of people within a given population group.
When we talk of social stratification, we need to analyse the glaring inequities that have been created class structures in existence for generations. Policy-makers will need to take into account the hardships faced by marginal populations and their families who live at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
Working in the informal sector of the economy, these populations do not have a sustained income and often suffer from inadequate health and education outcomes.
While formulating the necessary policy framework for providing the requisite relief and rehabilitation to these populations, it becomes essential to analyse how the society has been engineered to function.
It leads us to understand that a bottom-up approach is the most appropriate response mechanism to drive a transformative impact on the lives of underprivileged populations.
Social re-engineering is essential to driving transformation initiatives for economically weaker sections and changing their lives for the better. For a better understanding of the term, we may ask what ‘social re-engineering’ implies.
To put it simply, it means creating facilitative mechanisms for bolstering the social mobility for vulnerable populations and enabling them to advance beyond the confines of their economic and social class existence.
Conventionally, donor programmes or philanthropic initiatives in the country have relied on doling out giveaways or charities to populations from vulnerable communities. Often, such charities do not reach the intended beneficiaries and even if they do, in some cases, they do not have the desired impact.
Governments and other concerned agencies also formulate policies with the intention of maximising benefit outreach to affected populations. However, such policies suffer from a fundamental flaw. They consider the recipients of such benefits as mere objects.
There is a need to create a blending financial mechanism, where we combine the grants to the financial products for better impact.
They will clearly need to take into account the fact that the intended beneficiaries of such programs could be assets with productive capacity and have the potential to become key stakeholders in their own growth and development.
The mandate of any community-centric social policy intervention should be to foster an inclusive development model. The success of any social impact initiative will depend on how key stakeholders are engaged and their concerns are addressed effectively.
Any social re-engineering programme cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Its scale and outreach will have to differ periodically depending on the needs assessment and profiles of specific groups and communities.
The impact of varied social intervention programs also needs to be assessed and mapped on a periodical basis to create an economically sustainable and equitable development blueprint.
It is rightly said that when you educate a man, you educate an individual but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation. The role of women as change agents and catalysts in any social impact initiative cannot be undermined. In fact, women need to be at the core of any social change or transformation.
Any social re-engineering programme should focus on empowering women socially and financially and building resilience in them. Increased social mobility of women is a sign of a vibrant community and a strong nation.
Strengthening women is key to transforming communities and paving the path for their long-term economic recovery and growth in a post COVID-19 world.
A well-planned and implemented social re-engineering plan is key to uplifting marginal communities from the bottom of the pyramid and building security and resilience in them. It is pivotal to liberating them from the clutches of debt and extreme poverty and enabling them to live better lives thus helping in addressing the long-term sustainability in terms of social mobility.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)