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Karnataka

Samuha Network

The work in Karnataka is being carried out by a regional consortium of 4 organizations led by Samuha. These organizations are:

  1. Samarasa
  2. Ingrid
  3. Samuha
  4. Outreach

The network is active in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Karnataka state where it works in the following districts: 1. Bidar 2. Gulbarga 3. Raichur 4. Koppal 5. Bellary

SAMUHA was founded in 1986 and is working to improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups. It has been active in the fields of HIV/AIDS, disabilities, social justice, public resources, integrated village development, watershed development, micro-credit, sustainable agriculture and appropriate information and communication technologies. SAMUHA is committed to: People’s ownership:

It has already facilitated the setting up of 4 women’s thrift co-operatives, 1 registered community society, 5 village development societies, and 7 watershed development societies.

Quality: SAMUHA’s work with People with Disabilities, people vulnerable to/living with HIV/AIDS, watershed development, community monitoring, micro credit and appropriate technology are at the cutting edge of participative methodologies.

Development and Public Accountability: SAMUHA is administered by a professional Board. In addition, all SAMUHA projects undergo stringent and monthly internal and external financial audits. SAMUHA follows Credibility Alliance practices of good organizational governance.

Andhra Pradesh

WASSAN and Partners

1. Watershed Support and Services Network (WASSAN)

WASSAN has been associated with MGNREGS in Andhra Pradesh (AP) right from the preparation of guidelines by the Ministry of Rural Development. It has drawn from its experience with watershed development projects as well as other land development programmes to contribute to the process of evolving operational systems for MGNREGA in AP.

WASSAN’s role on MGNREGS can be broadly put into two categories.

  1. Continuous research and analysis of different aspects of NREGS and providing feedback to the rural development department in particular and various other civil society organisations and political parties in general: 
    • One specific initiative of this overall approach is facilitation of an action research project in AP, as part of the National Consortium on NREGS with five organizations in 6 districts. The particular role of WASSAN is to coordinate the initiatives at ground level by the respective local organizations and facilitate the sharing of learnings at various levels. 
    • WASSAN also made initiatives in terms of facilitating pilots in NREGS like development of Commons in partnership with the networks like APPS and FES, productivity enhancement in agriculture, and developing approaches for promoting tribal farming systems through MGNREGS
  2. Supporting initiatives and engaging with agriculture labour unions and other organisations to promote and strengthen the rights approach to entitlements under the MGNREGA. As part of this process, the organization is working closely with various agriculture labour unions, network of organisations and state level forums like Upadhi Hami Hakku Amalu committee. It is also an active participant in forums like AP NGO alliance promoted by the government along with various civil society groups like People’s Monitoring Committee. The key interventions in this involve providing need based technical and backup support in their initiatives particularly related to wage rates, demand based work commencement, work site facilities, choice of works, transparency and accountability at all levels etc., and preparation and sharing of IEC material.

2. Rural & Environment Development Society (REDS)

REDS is registered as a non-profit organisation in 1996 to further the well-being of rural communities. Smt. C Bhanuja is the founder President and is actively involved from the inception of the organisation. Bhanuja was awarded “Brave Lady” by Asmitha Network in 2002 and ‘SHE’ Award by Smt. Kamala Narasimhan, State First Lady in the year 2012. REDS has received best NGO award for 4 times by the District collector, Ananthapur

Target Group: Besides concentrating on the vulnerable, marginalized, deprived and oppressed sections of the society namely: dalit, trafficking victims, minorities, women, children and socially and financially backward sections and farming communities, the organization also concentrates on infrastructure development, environmental and agricultural issues.

REDS assists programs that are designed to promote sustainable development at the village level. REDS activities are mainly focused on rural development, sustainable agriculture, child rights and anti- trafficking, empowering CBO’s to gain control over natural recourses. REDS is also an active member of various networks at District and State level to build public opinion. These networks are AP Alliance for Child Rights, Regional Drought Movement, Anantha Paryavarana Parirakshana Samithi, Upadhi Hami Hakkula Amalu Committee, NATSAP, AP Women Network, Campaign Against Child Trafficking, Campaign Against Child Labour. At the district level, it is member of the District Forest Committee, District SC, ST Atrocities Committee , District Legal Services Authority, Service Provider and Uchita Santhi Rajee Kendram appointed by the State Government. At the state level, REDS is a member of the Anti-Trafficking Committee, MGNREGA GO and NGO Collaboration Committee, Member in AP NGO Alliance (APNA) on MGNREGS, Ministry of Minority Welfare, National Consortium of Civil Society organizations on MGNREGA

Key work related to MGNREGS
  • Has been engaged with the program since its inception and even implemented a pilot program before the launch of MGNREGS in the state.
  • Established Tool Bank to help SC/ST wage seekers
  • Improvised and field tested various models of work site facilities
  • Now working in 45 GP’s of four Mandals focusing on providing 100 days work to each family, worksite facilities, women participation and gender equity with minimum & equal wages, in time payments and transparency, proper implementation of the scheme, developing permanent assets and infrastructure which developed cultivation and resulted in preventing migration permanently. As part of this formed and strengthened wage labour groups and their federations. Active participant in the district and state level APNA meetings and processes

3. Action in Rural Technology and Service (ARTS)

ARTS, started in 1993, believes that development is a process of socio-economic progress which is best achieved through the active participation of the people. ARTS’s focus is on building on resources of the people by increasing their knowledge, skills and economic strength thereby enabling them to manage issues affecting their life.

Mr. N.Sanyasi Rao, founder and chief functionary of ARTS is a Graduate in Civil Engineering and post Graduate in management and has been working on Natural Resource Management in the state for several years. Current focus areas of the orgnisation are:

  • Natural Resource Management and IWMP Watershed programmes in Drought prone areas in the District.
  • Empowerment of Tribal communities in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram Districts.
  • Livelihoods support to vulnerable communities.
  • Promotion of Child Labour Education.
  • HIV/AIDS Control Programme and Community Health Programmes with vulnerable communities.

Working on MGNREGS forms part of empowerment of tribal communities as well as natural resource management enegagements. ARTS has been engaging with MGNREGS since inception. Major initiatives have been participation social audit, supporting local communities in identification and planning of works, support in accessing maximum wage employment and lessening the delay in wage payments as well as formation of workers groups and federations.


4. PILUPU

PILUPU (meaning “call” – call for social action) is a grass roots oganization dedicated to the cause of upliftment of the poor and oppressed. It is a small organization working in about 18 villages of Nalgonda District in two mandals. PILUPU has been very actively working at the grassroots level, mobilizing support from local communities and the line departments at the district level. Mr. Janardhan is the Executive Director of PILUPU and is from the same area. He is a commerce graduate with about 30 years of active grass roots working experience in the NGO sector.

PILUPU is registered under Andhra Pradesh Public Societies act 1350 Fasli (Telangana Area, Reg. No. 3912/90, dated 31st December 1990) and works in selected mandals of Nalgonda District in Telangana Area of Andhra Pradesh. The administrative office is located in Bhongir town while the field office is located in Turkapalli (village and Mandal headquarter) which is about 18 km from the administrative office.

The organsiation has been giving utmost importance to social education of the local communities and organizing them to collectively work on their issues and development needs. Key areas of concern for PILUPU are promotion and strengthening of peoples organisations, strengthening of dry land agriculture, sustainable management of natural resources, women empowerment and children’s education particularly education of child laborers. Major activities of PILUPU so far are,

  • In 1993 PILUPU started promotion of women Thrift and Credit groups and now about 1300 women are members in those groups. They have promoted their own MACS named as Swara Bharati.
  • In 1996 child labour rehabilitation programme was started in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, GoI.
  • Watershed development projects were implemented including Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) activities with the support of District Water management Agency (DWMA).
  • Farmer’s organisations have been promoted in the operational villages of PILUPU.
  • Facilitating Comprehensive Land Development Project in villages with the support of Commissioner Rural Development and DWMA as part of a pilot initiative
  • Partnered with WASSAN in the action research initiative on MGNREGS for three years.

5. Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society (APMSS)

Mahila Samakhya (MS) programme evolved as a unique initiative for women’s empowerment during the later half of 1980s. It seeks to achieve the NPE 1986 directive – “Education for Women’s Equality” with the perspective being empowerment of women as a critical precondition for the participation of women and girls in the educational processes. Women’s Empowerment is defined by the programme as enhancing the self-image and self-confidence of women, and education is understood not merely as acquiring basic literacy skills but as a process of learning to question, critically analyze issues and problems and seek solutions. Thus the main objective of this programme is empowering rural marginalized women through education.

In Andhra Pradesh, AP Mahila Samatha Society (APMSS) was evolved as an autonomous body to implement the programme. The programme was initiated in 1992 in 2 districts and scaled up to 14 districts in different phases. At present APMSS has been working in 5022 villages of 121 mandals in 14 districts with 2, 22,378 women and more than 88,420 adolescents as members of Mahila Sangham (Women’s Collective at village level) and Bala Sanghams ( a village level collective formed with adolescents) respectively.

The Mahila Sangham (village level women’s collective) is the focal point in each village, that provides the space where women particularly from poor and marginalized groups meet, come together, and begin reflecting on their position and condition. It is through this process that the programme facilitates discussions whereby they critically analyze reasons behind women’s present status, identify their immediate and long term needs and attempt to resolve them individually and collectively. Education is understood in this holistic perspective and pre-supposes that literacy is an integral part of this process. The programme is basically process oriented, wherein awareness generation, information dissemination and capacity building forms the thrust of the programme.

In the nascent stages of Sangham formation, women have tended to discuss and act to meet needs like pensions, ration cards, maternity assistance, getting street lights, getting drains cleared, hand-pumps repaired, applying for houses, among many others. It is in this process that Sanghams have coalesced and learnt their first lessons on how to deal with power structures. This has often been the initial experiencing of empowerment, of taking decisions and collectively seeking to resolve their problems. While no two Sanghams may address the same issue at the same time, the issues addressed over the years are broadly categorized as the following:

  • Education of women & children especially girls
  • Health with special focus on women’s and adolescents health
  • Women’s Participation in Governance
  • Natural Resource Management & Asset building
  • Social & Gender Equity issues

APMSS has been supporting the sanghams in accessing entitlements of MGNREGA. Entitlements include wage entitlements as well as asset building. It has partnered with WASSAN for three years(2007-10) as part of an action research initiative on MGNREGS which involved close engagement with the program in selected villages. Through this intense engagement, APMSS has become an active member of APNA (AP NGO alliance) on MGNREGS and continuing its engagement at a wider scale with MGNREGS and contributing to strengthening wage workers groups and constant feedback to the state administration.

Odisha

Western Odisha MGNREGA Consortium (WONC)

In Western Odisha, home to the chronically drought-prone Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi belt, eight CSOs/CBOs active in Bolangir and Nuapada districts for several years have come together to form the Western Odisha NREGA Consortium (WONC). They are:

1. Adhikar

Adhikar was formed in 1998 to promote participatory and people-centred development, with a primary focus on drought and drought-related distress migration. It wants to ensure that children of the area are enrolled in schools and that the predominantly tribal population of the area get to live a dignified life. Adhikar strives to ensure food security in the region through setting up of grain and seed banks,  Natural Resource Management and Organic Agriculture. It also works on women’s empowerment through SHGs, health, policy advocacy and formation and strengthening of village level institutions.


2. Janmukti Anushthan (JMA)

JMA was established in 1996-97 and works with small and marginal farmers, the homeless, widow-headed households, the disabled and landless, agricultural and unorganized labour. It sees itself as a rights-based organisation that also dabbles in development work.


3. Aanchalik Jan Sewa Anushthan (AJSA)

AJSA is a community-based organisation (CBO involved in sustainable development initiatives. AJSA was formed by residents of Bangomunda Block in the Bolangir District to work towards the social-economic development of small and marginal farmers, landless labour, agricultural labour, bonded labour as well as women, children and other weaker and deprived sections. The vision of the organisation is to draw upon grass root level workers, volunteers, and suppressed people of the society and work with them to create awareness for sustainable development through constructive work and struggles.


4. Shramik Shakti Sangha (SSS)

SSS was formed in Bolangir in 1984. It has worked on sustainable livelihood promotion of the rural poor especially women, SC/ST and the economically weak, by building self-sustained people organisations and micro-enterprise by utilization of existing skill and effective utilization of credit and resources. SSS has worked towards creating community infrastructure (water harvesting structures, tank, ponds, forestry, nursery), ensuring food security, health, checking distress land sales and distress migration from this area.


5. Bolangir Bikash Parishad (BBP)

BBP was formed to promote participatory and people-centred development. It has worked on food security related issues, NRM, advocacy, publication of books, health, women’s empowerment and building village-level institutions.


6. Bolangir Gramodyog Samiti (BGS)

BGS strives to enable poor rural/tribal households and communities to be self- reliant on a sustainable basis. BGS started in the year 1987 and has been working in the field of education, health, and natural resource management. During droughts, BGS has worked to check distress migration and create livelihood opportunities for the poor. At the same time it is organising health camps, coaching centres for poor students and training programmemes on organic farming as well as sanitation.


7. Vikalpa

Vikalpa was formed by a handful of students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, who landed in Nuapada — the then Kalahandi district — in 1981, to do ground research on reports of starvation deaths in the region. Over time, this engagement transformed itself into Vikalpa, which was formally registered under the Societies registration Act. During 1989 to 1996, the organisation mobilised people in the Bangomunda and Turekela blocks of Bolangir district through various movements and campaigns on issues like education (literacy), land and water management, and environment. It has worked, inter alia, on providing alternative livelihood options for the landless poor, management of natural resources through people’s participation, promotion of organic agriculture, women’s empowerment through self help groups, health, lobby and advocacy for policy change, formation and strengthening of village level organisations and research and documentation including visual documentation.


8. Lokadrusti

Lokadrusti works in Nuapada district and aims at sustainable development, women’s empowerment, overall growth in education, health, art and culture. Lokadrusti aims at creating a developed region with the best blend of local resources, traditional methods and modern outlook. It attempts to achieve this with the maximum involvement of youth of the region. The organisation’s main areas of work have been strengthening of people’s organisation through social mobilization, NRM, rights of tribals, education and child labour, food security and health.


9. Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)

Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) carries out activities to promote the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, forests and water in particular, through local self-governance institutions. The crux of FES efforts lie in locating forests and other natural resources within the prevailing economic, social and ecological demands at the level of villages and village conglomerates, and amalgamating principles of conservation and local self governance to safeguard the natural surroundings and improve the living conditions of the poor.

To this end FES:

  • Works towards the ecological restoration and conservation of land and water resources, in the uplands and other eco-fragile, degraded and marginalized zones of the country and to set in place the processes of co-ordinate human effort and governance;
  • Undertakes work either directly, or with and through a range of democratic village institutions, their federal bodies, and civil society organisations, (set up) through initiatives that are ecologically sustainable and socially and economically equitable;
  • Ensures the ecological integrity of all efforts by working, as far as possible, with entire landscapes, and with all the interrelated communities within it, through a range of arrangements on their land and aquatic resources whether Commons, Public or Private;
  • Works for and promote stability of the ecosystems through the protection and restoration of biological diversity, including the diversity of species, age diversity, genetic variability as well as that of structural composition;
  • Collaborates with Panchayati Raj and other democratic village institutions, as well as appropriate civil society organisations, in their efforts to contribute towards the objectives of the society, and to provide technical and financial assistance to them.

FES has been working in the area of Natural Resource Management since the last fifteen years and its activities have spread to 26 districts in different eco-zones across six states: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Rajasthan of India. FES presently works with 1,402 village institutions and assists the village communities in protecting nearly 1 lakh hectares of revenue wastelands, degraded forest lands and Panchayat grazing lands (Charagah lands), and crafting rules and regulations in managing and governing the natural resources, common land and water bodies. FES implements these project directly through its Spearhead Teams (comprising a mix of professionals and local extension workers) located in each of the project areas. The work in each location is undertaken in a contiguous set of villages and across landscapes so as to build on the social and ecological advantages that working at such scales offer. FES is engaged in helping communities draw up perspective plans for natural resource management and leveraging the MGNREGA to systematically implement their plans. With the expansion of MGNREGA to cover all districts in the country from 1st April 2008, FES is presently involved in facilitating the implementation of MGNREGA in all its project locations. FES works in close coordination with the State Governments. Apart from the Memorandum of Understanding with the State Governments, State Level Coordination Committees comprising of the Secretaries of relevant departments like Forest, Revenue, Rural Development, Cooperation, Agriculture etc. and District Level Coordination Committees have been formed to facilitate the implementation of the projects, assist in convergence of other programmes and also steer policies.

West Bengal

1. Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN)

PRADAN is a voluntary organization registered under the societies registration act, in 1983. It currently works with over 1.25 lakh rural poor spread over selected villages in 28 districts across 7 states in India through small teams, based close to the villages, comprising professionally trained people, with motivation to change the qualities of life of rural poor. There are presently 427 personnel in PRADAN of whom 250 are trained in professions like agriculture, engineering, management, rural management and social work at reputed institutions in India and abroad. The 177 support staffs provide office, logistical and implementation support.

PRADAN seeks to secure livelihoods of rural poor families to enable them to live a life with dignity. Its mission is “Impacting Livelihoods to Enable Rural Poor”. It has a plan to reach 1.5 million rural poor by the end of 2017. PRADAN’s work involves organizing the rural poor into an informal group to enhance their capacities, introducing ways to improve their incomes and creating linkages with various economic services.

In West Bengal, PRADAN started working in the district of Purulia in 1986. PRADAN’s focus in the state has been Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM) for sustainable livelihood promotion among mainly SC (Scheduled Caste), ST (Scheduled Tribe) and OBC (Other backward Class) families. With the success of the watershed programme implemented by PRADAN in Purulia, the district authorities of Bankura invited PRADAN to take up similar work on a larger scale in the district in 2005.

Bihar

Megh Pyne Abhiyan (MPA) Network

MPA is a Civil Society Organization (CSO) and is also the name of a network of CSOs working in the flood-affected districts of Bihar. Other CSO members of the network are:

  • Samta
  • Kosi Sewa Sadan
  • Gramyasheel and
  • Ghoghardiha Prakhand Swarajya Vikas Sangh.

Together the network works in Khagaria, Saharsa, Supaul, W. Champaran and Madhubani districts of Bihar.

The MPA network has been working on strategies for mitigating the impact of floods on the lives of village communities. This has involved creating awareness on issues of drinking water and sanitation in the context of floods and discovery and dissemination of low-cost methods and technologies for safe drinking water and sanitation in flood-prone villages. The villages it works in either fall inside embanked areas or line the boundaries of an embankment, making them all the more vulnerable to the vagaries of nature.

Jharkhand

Vikas Sahyog Kendra (VSK)

Vikas Sahayog Kendra has been part of the National Consortium for NREGA from 2008. It is a rights-based organisation established in 2000 by a group of young activists in the Palamau district in Jharkhand. VSK’s vision is to create a poverty free society and empower the vulnerable and voiceless to assert their rights with respect to food and livelihood security. As part of that mission, VSK is actively engaged in effective implementation of social security schemes such as old age pension, Antyodaya, Annapurna, mid-day-meal scheme and ICDS. It works towards strengthening village institutions such as schools and Anganwadies, and strives to support communities in accessing resources as per the provisions of the Forest Rights Act. VSK also works in the area of health, education and women rights.
Vikas Sahyog Kendra is working on MGNREGS since the inception of the Act/Scheme in the Palamau district from the year 2006. The scheme took another three years to pick up steam. For effective implementation of the programme, the organization has strengthened the existing local community-based institutions and formed a network to initiate social actions for guarding the rights guaranteed under MGNREGS. VSK is working collectively with this network and also independently through ‘NREGA Help Centres’ exclusively established as Resource Centres for addressing the right based issues of the wage seekers.

Uttar Pradesh

1. People’s Action for National Integration (PANI)

The People’s Action for National Integration (PANI), a leading voluntary development organisation in Uttar Pradesh, works in 16 districts of eastern and central regions of the state directly as well as with partner CSOs. Founded in 1986 by some prominent social workers with a Gandhian perspective of integrated development, PANI has promoted integrated and participatory initiatives for community empowerment and development. The network ac cords the highest priority to women, children and the dalits and other marginalised sections
of the society.

Sashakti, a thematic intervention of PANI, focuses on community empowerment with a special emphasis on women by organising them thus paving way for a people-centred development advocacy. The launch of MGNREGA in 2005, became a potent tool in PANI’s endeavour to empower rural women by building their community-based organisations (CBOs) at different levels and developing leadership to facilitate the realisation of right to work, right to food and right to information. To empower rural women PANI has developed a programme for right to work called Empowering Rural Women (ERW).

At present, the PANI network comprises 32 partners working in 9 districts of Uttar Pradesh


2. Vanangana

Vanangana, a rural community based women’s’ right collective, located in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, has been operating from Chitrakoot since 1993 and Banda since 2003. It is registered under the Societies Act.

The formidable geographic condition coupled with rampant influence of dacoits has had an adverse effect on the Dalits as well as those belonging to other marginalized communities. Those with political clout subject the Dalits to physical and mental oppression so as to maintain a social, political and economic stronghold in these areas. Vanangana through its efforts is endeavoring to bring about a change in this status quo by increasing awareness among women with regard to their rights and also providing the requisite support to them, in their battle against oppression. The organisation also conducts extensive research on issues concerning women and has launched several programs focusing on the same.

  • Vanangana strives to work with women whose rights have been abused and helps them take independent and informed decisions. Its primary objective is to challenge social norms which suppress women on the basis of gender, class and caste.
  • Vanangana, through its programs has tried to impart skill based training and inculcate leadership qualities among the Dalit women as well as among those belonging other marginalized communities.
  • The organisation has also tried to ensure an equal and undifferentiated access to natural resources among all members of society-a .right which often denied to the Dalits.

Vanangana has initiated several programs which work towards bringing a positive change in society. The objective of each of these programs is to work on specific areas that ensure the empowerment of women:

  • The Human Rights group working on violence against women strives to enable them in a manner such that they lead a life free from violence and discrimination on the basis of gender. The group provides legal support, shelter, mediation and counselling for survivors of violence. Vanangana supports 300 cases of violence annually.
  • The Guftugu Manch is a platform for dialogue that promotes discussion among women so that they can find an effective solution to their problems and also collectively demand for their rights. Intensive skill based training and computer training is also a part of this program. The Guftugu Manch had also launched an initiative called ‘Larzish’ for the male youth. It aimed at equal caste representation of boys in a cricket team, so to strike at the roots of discrimination on the basis of caste.
  • Community based campaigns on issues concerning gender, domestic violence, caste and religion based differentiation is communicated through the medium of theater and film.
  • The organisation has also successfully formed a collective of 4000 Dalit, Adivasi and Muslim women. These women raise their voice against untouchability, discrimination on the basis gender, caste and religion and demand for their rights. This sangathan also nurtures leadership skills among the marginalized women.
  • They are now repairing hand pumps and have emerged as the first female hand pump mechanics in the country, having repaired over 10 000 hand pumps.
  • The women increased their participation in MNREGA in the district and stormed a male bastion by undertaking the construction of a tank. They were also involved in the planning and managing of the same while a lady technical supervisor managed the labour.
  • The women have also tried to earn a living by establishing an all womens’ catering unit. A step in this direction is the ‘Apni Rasoi’, where women run a canteen and tiffin service. A total of 20 women are working as cooks as a part of this initiative.
  • The Education group’s primary objective is to empower women by educating them. The group’s target audience is those women who were unable to access formal education. Over 264 women have benefited from Bharat Saksharta Mission, which rewarded them with certificates stating their educational qualification.

3. Aarthik Anusandhan Kendra (AAK)

Arthik Anusandhan Kendra (AAK) was established in 1968 by Dr. Kripa Shankar, an economist, and Justice P.N. Sapru. In its initial years, AAK’s activities were centred on research on poverty and policy advocacy. The organisation studied and analyzed several government schemes aimed at the weaker sections of the society and took up policy advocacy with the state government of UP and to the Planning Commission of India.

The goal of AAK is ‘to build an exploitation-free soceity’ with an objective of social and economic development of dalits and marginalized sections by creating mass awareness and self-reliance amongst the people through participatory processes. The organisation is building capacities of such communities for collective decision-making and self-independency.
The organization works in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. MGNREGA was launched in Mirzapur district in 2006 itself, and from June 2008, the organization has been active on this front in 21 panchayats of Hallia Block.

Rajasthan

Civil society organisations and community-based organisations (CBOs) working in the Jaisamand catchment area in Rajasthan focus on the various aspects of natural resource management at the basin and sub-basin level, and strive to bring synergy between various NGOs, activists and CBOs. These organisations came together to form the Jaisamand Consortium and are working collectively for better implementation of MGNREGS in their respective project areas. Partner organisations of the Jaisamand

1. Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development (SPWD)

Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development (SPWD) started working in the Jaisamand catchment area since the 1990s with its partners Prayatana Samiti (PS) and Hanuman Van Vikas Samiti (HVVS). Initially the work was centred on Joint Forest Management and development of pastures but they slowly moved towards watershed development. SPWD provides backstopping support to all the 3 organisations on various aspects of Natural Resource Management and coordinates activities related to MGNREGS.


2. Prayatna Samiti

Prayatana Samiti (PS) has been active since 1989 in 60 villages of 18 Gram Panchayats of the Girwa, Bhinder and Salumber Tehsils of Udaipur District in Rajasthan. It works for the welfare of poor, tribal, and labour communities and helps empower them to assert their legal rights over forest land. PS is also working on various aspects of natural resource management like pasture land development, improvement of agricultural productivity, soil and water conservation activities, vermicomposting and collection of NTFP. It has also organised the local community into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and facilitated the group to collectively take up livestock rearing activity, encouraged purchase of buffaloes, goats, and fodder. Prayatana Samiti believes that, people have great power and strength to change their lives when they are organised.


3. Hanuman Van Vikas Samiti (HVVS)

Hanuman Van Vikas Samiti (HVVS) began its work in 1986 in Kargate village of Girwa Tehsil. In order to stem illegal tree felling by the resource-rich living adjacent to the forest area, the tribal community was organised into a Van Suraksha Samiti, which was later registered as Hanuman Van Vikas Samiti (HVVS). The organisation also promotes the SHG concept in its operating area and has so far organised 208 women SHGs and their clusters. HVVS has also organised a Jan Sangharsh Manch with 35 CBOs to take up issues like right to education for children, pollution in the upper catchment of Jhamri due to the tailing dam of Jhamar Kotra Mines, issues pertaining to MGNREGS and labour issues related to mining activities. Apart from these, HVVS is also working on various issues of natural resource management like pastureland development, watershed development, vermicomposting and joint forest management.


4. Jagran Jan Vikas Samiti (JJVS)

Jagran Jan Vikas Samiti (JJVS) has been working in the Jaisamand catchment area for the last 23 years. Its major work involves reviving the traditional health practices as practiced by the Gunis (traditional medicinal men), watershed development work and resistance against polluting factories in the upper catchment area of Jaisamand. JJVS has also developed Gram Kosh in every village and is exploring the possibility of federating them. It has so far organised 125 SHGs in Jaisamand Catchment area.


5. Samarthak Samiti

Samarthak Samiti is a resource agency for the Jaisamand Consortium, with expertise in the collection and marketing of NTFPs. The organisation is spread across the Udaipur Division comprising Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, and Chittaurgarh and also in Sirohi and Jhalawar.

Gujarat

1. Area Networking and Development Initiatives (ANANDI)

ANANDI is a non-political secular organisation working with women’s organizations and partner NGOs to promote an empowerment approach and gender mainstreaming in development activity. ANANDI works with the poorest women of the tribal and other marginalised communities in Saurashtra and Panchmahals-Dahod districts in Gujarat and also networks with other national and international NGOs. ANANDI was founded in 1995 by five young women development professionals who had worked for several years in various parts of India. Since then it has been involved in a number of programmes:

  • A large field programme to facilitate and support women’s groups and form self- managed women’s federations addressing health, food security, livelihoods, savings and credit and capacity building of women panchayat members. In Panchmahals-Dahod over 3,000 women are members of these sangathans, which now plan and manage some of their own activities. In Saurashtra, this work is done through partner NGOs.
  • Relief and rehabilitation: ANANDI has been promoting a clear focus on women’s needs in relief and rehabilitation in the context of drought, earthquake and communal strife
  • Area networking of rural women leaders and NGOs which is done by way intensive support of organisations based in 5 districts of Saurashtra to enable them to engage in dialogue with the state and civil society.
  • Research studies on gender equity issues within different arenas/fields.

2. Manav Kalyan Trust

Manav Kalyan Trust (MKT) has been working since 1984 among the most marginalized and ignored communities and supporting them in achieving sustainable livelihoods. The organization’s focus has been women’s empowerment in the poorest and most deprived tribal belts of Sabarkantha, Banaskantha and Kutch districts of Gujarat. MKT has worked with pastoral communities, salt workers and charcoal workers in Kutch district and has a long history of awakening and motivating the tribal community towards attaining their rights, and organizing protests against exploitation and injustice. It has organised innumerable advocacy campaigns for this purpose and has challenged inadequate and inappropriate state policies. MKT is integrating these campaigns with work on the ground to significantly improve livelihoods, natural resource base, health and overall status of the rural communities, through their meaningful involvement in planning, implementation and management of development activities.

Madhya Pradesh

1. Niswarth Sarthak Prayas Evam Parivar Kalyan Samiti

Niswarth has been formed and is led by a very senior activist of the Chambal region who has devoted over two decades to the service of the Sahariya primitive tribal group. The sahariyas are perhaps India’s most fragile and vulnerable tribal group, whose livelihoods basis is so severely undermined and whose nutritional status so severely threatened that they are now teetering precariously on the edge of extinction.

Niswarth believes in mobilizing these tribal groups to get what is their due while at the same time sees itself as engaged in development work on the ground. It engages with PRIs, works with women and children on issues of health, nutrition, education, and empowerment. It hopes that through its work a strong, empowered, self-confident and self-aware community of Sahariyas is established.


2. Gram Sudhar Samiti

Gram Sudhar Samiti (GSS), with around two decades of association with the Sidhi, Satna and adjacent areas, has a which vision encompasses a synergy between efforts of social reconstruction and democratic mobilistion for justice. This has created the basis for a potentially rich participatory development programme. A major mobilisation effort of the Samiti has related to the displacement of tribal people on account of national parks. Sidhi district is heavily forested, particularly in the areas bordering Sarguja district, such as the Kusmi Block. In its project area, the Samiti actively mobilised the village people to resist displacement from their homes and fields due to one such national park project. This resistance met with the approval of the gram sabha, the gram panchayat, the Janpad and Zila Panchyats and their resolutions to this effect were forwarded to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, the Human Rights Commission and the Council for Tribal Self-Rule. The pressure due to this process led to the recommendation that the displacement should be stopped.

GSS is working on formation of women’s SHGs, and is running non-formal education centres in the villages for working children in the 6-14 years age group, RCH programme and the DPIP. It has been an implementing agency in various watershed development programmes, including the CAPART watershed programme and the GoMP’s Rajiv Gandhi Mission on Watershed Development. For its various efforts for the tribal, dalit and neglected people of the area, the Gram Sudhar Samiti has received the prestigious Thakkar Bapa Smarak Trust Award, Bharat Excellency Award from Forum India and Red and White Bravery Award.


3. Samaj Pragati Sahayog

Over the last two decades, Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS) has grown to be one of India’s largest grass-roots initiatives for water and livelihood security, working with its partners on a million acres of land across 72 of India’s most backward districts, mainly in the central Indian Adivasi belt. It takes inspiration from the life and work of Baba Amte who rejected charity and successfully empowered even the most challenged. SPS is headquartered in a drought-prone, tribal area in the Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh, which typifies the most difficult problems of the country. It concentrates all its direct interventions in about 220 villages and towns of this area. This work is not so much a model as a living laboratory of learning for others to adapt to their own areas. To facilitate this mutual learning, in 1998 SPS set up the Baba Amte Centre for People’s Empowerment in tribal village Neemkheda, where it started its watershed work.

Samaj Pragati Sahayog is also anchoring the National Consortium of Civil Society Organizations on MGNREGA


4. Parhit Samaj Sewi Sanstha

Parhit has been working in Madhya Pradesh for more than a decade. The first few years of the organisation were largely spent in Datia district but it has extended its activities to Shivpuri district also. The organisation is committed to a development process, which is based on the principles of equality, fraternity and empowerment for weaker sections of society. They are currently working on community organisation in Pichhor and Pohri tehsils of Shivpuri district under the DPIP (District Poverty Initiatives Programme/Indira Gandhi Gareebi Hatao Yojana). Its core areas of work include Panchayat Raj and Local Self-Governance, Natural Resource Management and Women’s Empowerment and Right to Food.


5. Spandan Social Service Organization

Spandan have been working for dalit and adivasi empowerment in the Dhar and Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh for the past eight years. The dalits and adivasis, especially women wage earners, are organised and mobilised to demand their right to work and wages. Spandan has worked to make PRIs and administration more sensitive to the needs of the local communities and to highlight their issues. It has gone through several struggles based on these issues of entitlements and achieved a positive impact. It has been active in issues related to food security and employment guarantee, particularly in keeping an eye on irregularities and malpractices that may have crept in in the implementation of NREGS schemes.


6. Sambhav Social Service Organization

Sambhav Social Service Organization has been working for more than twenty years in the districts of Gwalior, Morena, Shivpuri and Tikamgarh. watershed development programmes, right to food, education, health and sanitation. Its work focusses on empowering the poor, especially the Sahariya tribal community of the region. While working intensively in the region on issues of health, credit, education, land and water management, mother and child care, it has retained a clear focus on issues of people’s organisation, mobilisation and empowerment for justice and equity. Sambhav runs many Non-Formal Education Centres. These schools, which function for 265 days in a year, have a drop out rate of only 5%. In the health sector, the NGO is working on immunisation of mothers and children, training of dais and support to traditional dais, nutrition and reproductive health on a large scale. It is also running curative and referral services.


7. Nirman

Nirman is an organisation dedicated to the development and empowerment of the extremely poor, marginalised and most backward Baiga (a primitive tribe) and Gond tribes in Mandla and Dindori districts of Madhya Pradesh. Their work mainly focuses on development activities, community organisation and awareness generation. The organisation has worked to provide employment to Panika Bunkars (weavers) who have lost their traditional employment over the years. Nirmaan is also actively involved in working on issues related to the Right to Food.


8. Holistic Action Research Development (HARD)

HARD is based in the Kotma block of the newly formed Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh. It is also working in Shahdol district. The organisation has been in the area for the last decade, working on the issues of food security, women’s empowerment, local self-governance and water conservation among the tribal communities. Development based on equity is the main thrust of their work. They are working in close co-ordination with the district administration.


9. Foundation for Ecological Security

Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) carries out activities to promote the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, forests and water in particular, through local self-governance institutions. See profile

Chhattisgarh

1. Lokshakti Samiti

Lokshakti Samiti was formed in 1996 and has been active for the last 13 years in more than 400 villages of Jashpur and Raigarh districts of Chhattisgarh. The genesis of the organization can be traced back to the Total Literacy Campaign, which brought together several like-minded youth who resolved to work beyond the campaign on issues of empowerment and sustainable development. The campaign helped Lokshakti make mass contact with several thousand people in the rural areas. Lokshakti Samiti has since worked on a 3-fold agenda of compassion, mobilisation and development. Its experience ranges from running a home for old women to working with mentally challenged persons to development and mobilization work. It has mobilized people in its rural, tribal areas of operation for justice and organized them for collective action. It has taken up cases where tribal lands have been alienated from the tribals through improper means and mobilised both the village community and the administration to redress the grievances of the local people. In addition, its development activities in Raigarh district range from formation of self help groups for credit, to watershed development under the erstwhile Madhya Pradesh government’s Rajiv Gandhi Mission for Watershed Development and CAPART’s wateshed scheme. Lokshakti has spearheaded the literacy campaign in Raigarh district. As the implementing agency for the UNDP sponsored Lokshakti project, it has placed central emphasis on capacity building for its activists, in particular, its village-level animators. Lokshakti Samiti is also a partner in the prestigious IFAD supported Chhatisgarh Tribal Development Project being implemented in Sarguja and Raigarh districts of Chhatisgarh. Under the project, it is taking up several activities on natural resource management and sustainable livelihoods in its tribal areas of operation.

In all its project villages, Lokshakti Samiti attempts to check alcohol abuse by men by involving women in creating a suitable atmosphere in the village against the practice. This campaign has been a major factor in bringing women out of their homes and organising them in support of the VO’s activities. The VO now enjoys firm support base among women.

2. Sarguja Grameen Vikas Sanstha

Sarguja Grameen Vikas Sanstha was set up by social activist P.N. Singh (or Pratapbhai, as he was popularly known, who passed away in February 2009). Pratapbhai’s engagement with the poor and marginalised of our country began when he was very young. He worked as a close associate of the respected Gandhian Prembhai in the Vanwasi Sewa Ashram, Sonebhadra district, near Varanasi, UP. Prembhai himself is often remembered as one of those who championed and initiated the concept of the Lok Adalat. Pratapbhai worked on issues related to acquisition of land rights by the tribals and was also involved in the struggle for the rehabilitation of the oustees of the Rihand dam. After nearly 15 years of intensive work with Prembhai as a leading activist of the Vanwasi Sewa Ashram, he moved to nearby Wardrafnagar in Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh towards the beginning of the nineties. There he set up the Sarguja Grameen Vikas Sanstha (SGVS) to work on issues which had a direct bearing on the lives of the poorest communities of the country.

The villages of Wardrafnagar block are inhabited predominantly by tribals belonging to the Gond, Karwar, Pando and Korva groups. Large scale seasonal and permanent outmigration is a key feature of the area. Working in an area with very low irrigation, high gradients, drastic reduction in forest cover and heavy soil erosion, he saw NRM and watershed related activities as a possible way forward. He also constantly sought to draw public attention around the country to some of the critical problems of malnutrition, drought and hunger in Sarguja district. SGVS was a partner in the CAPART watershed programme and has implemented other watershed programmes as well.

Taking forward this work on watershed development, SGVS also launched a Jal Biradari Campaign in the most drought-prone 40 villages of its work area. Under this, each village would have a committee named Jal Biradari, which would lead the community on the prime issues of rainwater harvesting and management, regeneration of forest resources, functioning and activation of the gram sabha, rural employment, proper health and education amongst the women and children, awareness of and utilization of provisions of various government’s schemes and so on. The organization is currently working on following thematic areas:

  • Watershed conservation and sustainable development with innovations
  • Empowerment of local-self governance and the community
  • Biodiversity conservation/sustainable agriculture/horticultural practices including promotion of bio-fertilizers
  • Child labour abolition, welfare, education and nutrition
  • Women’s Empowerment and development
  • Promotion of social forestry
  • Technical training and consultancy
  • Promotion of Income Generating Activites
  • Facilitating the execution of government programmes such as NREGS, Nawa Anjor and so on

3. Vardan Samajik Sanstha

Vardaan has been active in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh for more than a decade now. It has been involved in both development and mobilization issues since inception. In its initial years, it carried out an innovative programme of Bal Chaupals aimed at creating environmental awareness and the spirit of nation-building among children aged 10-16 years in 100 villages of 4 blocks of Rajnandgaon district. This has also become a medium of carrying the problems of the village to the tehsil and district headquarters. The process has led to the creation of a well-motivated cadre of rural development workers in each village. Vardaan’s efforts have also been towards mobilization of public opinion against against issues such as corruption and irregularities in the appointment of shiksha karmis.

Vardaan has been involved in implementing several NRM projects including watershed development activities with support from CAPART, CASA, NABARD and also under the state government’s Rajiv Gandhi Mission for Watershed Development. It has been a partner in the PACS programme and worked intensively with gram panchayats in disseminating information and creating awareness. Indeed, working with panchayats at different levels and creating partnerships with them may be seen to be a unique strength of Vardaan’s work.

4. Margdarshak Sewa Sanstha

Margdarshak Sewa Sanstha (MSS) works in the tribal areas of Sarguja District of Chhattisgarh, among the tribals of the area – the Gonds, the Pundos and the primitive and protected Pahari Korbas. The interventions of the organisation primarily concentrate on formation of groups at the village-level. These groups become centres of action, which meet regularly, discuss the problems of the village, take decision on what is to be done and execute these decisions. Formation of such groups has helped to build a cohesive grass roots platform from which all development interventions of MSS can be effectively launched.

Maharashtra

1. Pragati Abhiyan

Pragati Abhiyan is committed to fighting rural poverty. Pragati Abhiyan works with rural poor to develop solutions that enable them to overcome poverty themselves.

Government programmes meant for the poor do not reach them. Designing good programmes and schemes is pivotal to the delivery of good policies. Pragati Abhiyan’s purpose is to engage with this process. We are involved in advocacy of better design and systems of existing policy interventions and also try to impact the discourse and design of policy-in-the-making. Focusing efforts in terms of applied research, media advocacy, legislative advocacy, engaging with the executive for improving implementation of programmes for the poor especially related to their livelihoods in rural areas.