Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (SKMS) is a people’s movement in Sitapur District of Uttar Pradesh in India, and a key site of collaboration, co-learning and co-creativity for Richa Nagar. SKMS emerged from the collective writing and reflections of Sangtin, a group formed by rural women to enable them to shape the processes of development at all levels. The SKMS saathis or members are mainly marginal farmers or landless laborers in rural Sitapur. More than 90 percent of the approximately 8000 voluntary saathis identify as Dalit, with women and men being equally active in the Sangathan. The overall planning is done by a 45-member core group.
Working through collective action, SKMS has led many struggles in the District, e.g., reviving and repairing canals, ensuring employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), obtaining pensions for the economically vulnerable, and realizing compensation during natural and other disasters. SKMS saathis were the first in Uttar Pradesh to win unemployment benefits under MGNREGA. In January 2009, almost 15 lakh rupees were paid to 826 families in Mishrikh and Pisawan blocks of Sitapur District. Since then, SKMS has expanded its work to health, agricultural, and livelihood issues and spread across half the blocks in the District. SKMS is active in various state-level and national campaigns and networks. SKMS saathis have also created Sangtin Kala Manch, a platform to create plays and songs, and to share stories and lessons from their movement.