Civil 20’s Working Group for Sustainable and Resilient Communities has been spearheading C-Chaupal initiatives across rural India.
Chaupal (चौपाल) is a word in the Hindi language which refers to a common area in a rural village where community members gather for discussions. Drawing inspiration from this, the Civil 20 working group on Sustainable and Resilient Communities – Climate, Environment and Net Zero Targets launched the concept of Compassion-Driven Chaupals (C-Chaupals) to organise inclusive and participatory meetings of all sections of rural communities without discrimination of age, gender, caste, class, and income levels.
Volunteers from the student and staff communities of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham visited several villages from across the country to interact with the villagers and live amidst them to understand their problems first-hand.
The volunteer team then organized C-Chaupals in these villages that were attended by the Sarpanch (the head of a village), panchayat (village council) administration members, health workers, Self Help Group members, farmers, and women folk, among many others. The villagers were encouraged to share their thoughts and concerns, to bring out the challenges faced by them and highlight key areas that required government intervention.
The C-Chaupal initiative has been taken to several communities across India to bring out the voices and concerns of rural populations, that can now reach C20 and G20 leaderships. In February 2023, C-Chaupals were conducted in 18 villages of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttarakhand. The C20-SRC volunteer team has interacted with over 800 villagers in the process.
C-Chaupal is a community-based approach to empower marginalised voices, that otherwise go unheard.