Health Awareness and ServicesRural
In an effort to address community health issues in the Rapar taluka, SAMERTH has been providing access to health services as part of its Community Health Programme (CHP). The CHP provides pathological laboratory services through a community health centre, assistance to locals through roaming medical vans, education on health awareness and illness prevention, and linkages for locals with government supported medical programmes/schemes. In an effort to build the capacity of the community, SAMERTH works to prepare Community Health Workers (CHWs) by training locals on how to provide health assistance for minor ailments to their respective hamlets/villages.
The programme works to improve agriculture productivity by constructing micro-water sheds that promotes indigenous knowledge along the Little Rann of Kutch. Over the years, SAMERTH has built numerous ponds, check dams, and dug wells, in addition to treating existing water-channels and harvesting rain water for drinking purposes. In an effort to encourage agricultural sustainability, the usage of bio manure and water conserving technologies such as sprinklers and drips is promoted. SAMERTH supports village level institutions in the creation of seed and grain banks to alleviate the impact of recurrent drought. Capacity building training programmes for families and stakeholders teach techniques of operation and maintenance of water harvesting structures.
Rural and Urban
The formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and their ownership is the corner stone of the livelihood promotion programme. SHGs enable members to set up a savings and credit system as means to supplement ones income and decrease indebtedness. It is through a SHGs accumulation of capital that inter-group lending can take place, thus allowing funds to circulate in order to support micro-entrepreneurs. SAMERTH also imparts various vocational trainings linked to the local market to members of SHGs.
Child Rights and EducationRural and Urban
SAMERTH works closely with the community and government to promote early child care and development. The primary effort engages communities to collaborate with the government in streamlining and providing better education services. The thrust of the work is to implement integrated child development schemes.
SAMERTH runs seasonal hostels for migrant workers children living in Kutch.
In the city of Ahmedabad, SAMERTH runs pre-primary schools and libraries, offers after school coaching classes, engages with parents through Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) meetings.
In partnership with Setu Developmental Intervention Centre, SAMERTH provides speech, special education, and occupational therapy for children with special needs.
Access to Social and Economic Rights
SAMERTH has formed village level committees to train tribals, dalits, and other minority communities on existing constitutional and legal resources. Supplied with information about the various welfare schemes designed for their development, the programme works to empower these excluded and marginalised communities by directly engaging them with Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). We have been able to lobby with various departments to do the following:
- Electricity connection
- Enrollment of children in schools
- Public distribution cards
- Water facilities
- Land entitlements
- Inclusion of poor in Below Poverty Level (BPL) lists
- Death and birth registration
SAMERTH actively engages with various departments of the government in getting people their respective entitlements in terms of food supplies through the PDS system, electricity connections and access to civic amenities.
Research and documentationThe research team within SAMERTH conduct surveys, investigate particular issues, document processes and reflect upon problems affecting a given area.
- A study on promoting livelihood of the Koli community of Rapar was undertaken and completed in 2001.
- An examination on livelihoods status was carried out in the city of Ahmedabad and Vadodara following the communal riots in Gujarat.
- SAMERTH, in association with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai supported renowned anthropologist Dr. J.J. Roy Burman in conducting a study on Hindu - Muslim syncretism and humanistic forays in Gujarat.
- An impact assessment was undertaken for British High Commission, Delhi on the promotion of peace-building work in the North East of India.
- An investigation was undertaken to understand issues of the Baiga community, a backward tribal population living in Chhattisgarh.
- A study on Migration Pattern and Incidence of Victimisation of Trafficking Among Communities was conducted in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh and unveiled that the victims of missing persons and trafficking were in fact allured by different jobs in the cities and towns.
Conflict Resolution and Peace InitiativesUrban
SAMERTH works to develop respect and tolerance in the minds of children from different religions and cultures by conducting peace modules and quiz competitions in schools around Ahmedabad. Moreover, SAMERTHs specializes in providing trainings on conflict transformation and peace building.
Peace education-the way forward
The communal carnage in Gujarat in the year 2002 had multifaceted impact on lives and properties of people- their livelihood, shelter and had severe psychological effects. SAMERTH in this context perceived education as the key issue to be addressed. As children are the future of this country, SAMERTH took a futuristic approach of addressing the issue of peace and secularism by integrating this in classroom lectures for children between ages of 11-13 years. Today we have reached out to 11, 154 children as in 43 schools. We have initiated 33 peace clubs. We have through this initiative developed a cadre of teachers and young students who are keen on devoting their time and effort on spreading the knowledge and information on secularism, harmony, pluralism and are taking initiatives towards the same. While working on the same SAMERTH has developed peace modules for training within the classrooms and this has been shared with other stakeholders. We in all projects and programmes have emphasised on sustainability and even in this project we have trained and build the capacity of peace educators who in turn become the key resource within the schools. The main methodology of integrating peace education is activity based and involves quiz, workshops, puppet training and this ensures sustaining the interest of the children.
Providing an opportunityUrban
The community of Juhapura in Ahmedabad has been isolated from all development activities after the riots. Through our programme we have provided for 10 mobile libraries which caters to children, youths, women and older persons alike in these areas. We also have computer training/literacy centre for the school children. The presence of this mobile library provides for an opportunity to access books and cultivate reading amongst the community especially children. The library created an external impact where the nearby community also showed interest to access books and read. We have extended it to encompass more number of children through reaching out to 10 different localities/areas since February 2009. We worked intensively with the management schools, both government and private run, and are currently working with 10 schools and this has ensured participation of school teachers, principals and other staff.
Access to education- A need for the Marginalised
Samerth in a span of 7 years has extensively worked in Juhapura, Vejalpur, and Sarkhej and Narol areas which were severely affected by the riot in the year 2002. We have engaged constantly with the economically backward, riots affected, displaced, migrant communities in these areas. There are migrant communities which have been surviving on begging. SAMERTH focussed to address the issues of these communities by providing for pre-primary, primary education and supporting it with other initiatives to empower families to achieve peace and harmony in society. The programme ensures inclusive growth by involving the parent community and the children together for an overall development. SAMERTH has worked in line with the government policies and has been guided by the Special Focus Group (SFG) under SSA; other focus groups include girls, SCs, working children, urban deprived children, children with special needs, children below poverty line and migrating children. We have made individual efforts to focus on all these groups and address the issue of pre-primary education. Through our efforts today we have 15 pre-school classes in different areas which provide education to both Hindu and Muslim children in the age group of 2 to 6 years. The programme has had a positive impact on the children and sharing of food and belonging has been instituted. The children in SAMERTH school have started to take initiatives in the class on their own. Teachers have adopted activity based teaching methodology with special emphasis on peace education. The key to the programme is the involvement of parents as a key stakeholder for successful and increasing learning curve for the children.
Humanitarian support and preparedness
In 2002, after the communal tensions in Gujarat, we worked in the relief camps of Ahmedabad and supported 700 families to restore their livelihoods. During floods in 2006, SAMERTH distributed food kits to 810 families living in low-lying areas of Vejalpur-Juhapura.
SAMERTH focuses its activities on primarily education especially for girl child. The issues related to education are addressed through various projects in a holistic manner within a community. The target group are especially girl children from the underprivileged families within a village, slum or tribal children. The emphasis of the activities is on mobilizing and creating awareness on education, mobilizing the children to attend school, training teachers, awareness generation and to strengthen existing village/tribal institutions for accessing primary education and ensuring quality education is provided for children within these communities. SAMERTH works closely with the community and government to address educational needs of children especially girls within a community. The programme engages communities to collaborate with the government in streamlining and providing better education services. The children in the community lack assistance from their parents in their day to day studies as most of the parents are not literate or are working to earn a living and are unable to attend to their children. SAMERTH also engages with the parents through Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) meetings. SAMERTH ALSO focuses on education on migrant children especially Girls through the residential seasonal schools for Koli tribes. Each of the initiatives in the communities are models that could be replicated across regions.
-Seasonal School for Migrant Girl Children and Impact
Sitaben Nanjibhai was unaware of what she is going to achieve when she came to this school. Though she felt out of place in the beginning soon she found herself at ease. Apart from the classroom education she underwent grooming and changing her life style through proper hygiene and an active school life . Through her stay at the hostel and education at the residential school she feels a positive change in her. Not only does she lead a life with perfect health, hygiene andsystematic schedule, she can also read Gujarati alphabets including vowels, words without and with vowel 'a' and the lesson from the text-book with an ease. She is also capable of working on maths as a subject. In English she is able to speak and write the alphabets as well. After coming to the hostel there has been a lot of positive change in her. She is very comfortable here, and whenever she goes to her home, she comes back on time. She asserts that she wants to remain in the hostel during vacation, and that she would continue her studies for std. 3rd. Sita has passed std. 2nd with 'A' grade. From having no choice to attend any school to being able to attend school at the hostel, Sita has come a long a long way. The impact of this project is that it rekindled the light of knowledge and hope in Sita and her family that she could definitely study and educate herself. She is not just a student but an "Aspirant" now as she aspires to study further and this opportunity has come her way through SAMERTH's engagement with the migrant community
SAMERTH focuses on livelihood enhancement of the communities where we operate through two approaches SHG formations and skill enhancement.
The approach is formation of SHGs for empowerment of women. SAMERTH works with marginalized women in communities where the projects operate and has a special project with the tribal women as well. The SHG formation and training is conducted by SAMERTH as we see economic development as a means to social development. Women through these SHGs are able to save and access loans from banks for their household needs. Through these groups they have an access to understanding their rights-social and legal and are provided with adequate information on government schemes and benefits that they could access. Women SHG's with the tribal community has been a land mark success as these women over a period of time have been able to mobilize themselves together to access their rights and enhance their incomes through skill trainings and income generation activities.
The approach is skill building for social and economic empowerment. The organization focuses on women especially the extremely marginalized like the tribal women in Chattisgarh for strengthening women groups to access their rights and for enhancing their incomes through technical training. The focus is to build the capacities of the community and with their participation SAMERTH has built numerous ponds, check dams, and dug wells, in addition to treating existing water-channels and harvesting rain water for drinking purposes. To ensure agricultural sustainability, the usage of bio manure and water conserving technologies such as sprinklers and drips is promoted. The farmers and the locals are trained on these technologies. SAMERTH supports village level institutions in the creation of seed and grain banks to alleviate the impact of recurrent drought. Capacity building training programmes for families and stakeholders teach techniques of operation and maintenance of water harvesting structures. Across the region where we have livelihood programmes there is increased awareness and discussion on the following trades provide as an opportunity for income enhancement. SAMERTH provides skill enhancement for various trades like sewing, embroidery and weaving, preparation of utensil of bamboos, fish rearing, poultry farming/rearing, preparation of pickles, Papad and spices, dairy farming etc. Apart from this wide range of trades training SAMERTH mainly focuses on providing assistance for market linkage as thats the key for completing the cycle of income enhancement for these households within the communities.
SHG Formation and Skill Development among Women of the Baiga Tribe
Impact of income generation activity on Shubham Self help group in Chhattisgarh.
This formation of the Shubham SHG had the objective to provide additional income generation for women members of the Group and in the longer term to make them self-sufficient. The group is engaged in income generation activity such as making of Dona-Pattal (leaf-plates and bowls made), household utensils made from bamboos, carry-bags and brooms. SAMERTH provided them with SKILL ENHANCEMENT trainings to produce jute-carpet making, which they found to be easy to produce through a mechanised (machine) process and training for about a week. During the trainings carpets were produced demonstratively, which the trainee participants found not only easily manageable but also visualised that it would give them an extra income. They have been enthusiastic about this income generation activity and have shown interest in it. From not being able to earn and enhance income to having an aware knowledge of increasing income efficiently- the SHG group has achieved what it set out for. Now the need is to make provision for financial support towards purchase of the machine, raw material (jute), so that they can get financial benefit from the activity for a long time. The recent success being the group has approached the Bank and they have shown willingness to support for the raw material. The women of these groups see themselves as moving from economic independence to social independence as through these groups the women have become conscious of savings, have an idea of what business to deal with, and aware of their rights and government scheme to empower themselves in a sustainable way.
SAMERTH provides access to health services as part of its Community Health Programme (CHP) through mainly awareness generation and health camps.
SAMERTH has been providing humanitarian support adhering to the international aid-giving guidelines provided by SPHERE during emergencies. In 2001, following the earthquake in Gujarat, SAMERTH provided relief to 6215 families in Kutch, constructed 967 semi-permanent shelters and supported construction of 600 permanent houses, provided agricultural implements, and distributed tools and equipments to artisans to restore their livelihoods.
Community Health Awareness-Urban
to ensure holistic development within communities where SAMERTH operates, we provide for pathological laboratory services through a community health centre, assistance to locals through mobile medical vans. The aim is to create awareness on health education and adopt a prevention first approach. SAMERTH emphasizes this aspect through conducting health camps and organizing these with the participation of the community and the Primary Health Centres.
Training health workers
SAMERTH focuses on building capacity within the communities to address the health needs of households/tribals with whom we work. This we approach by identifying people from the communities and builds their capacities as Community Health Workers (CHWs), who form linkages with government supported medical programmes and schemes. The CHW becomes the health agents of the village and addresses the health issues within the community or link the people with the local Public Health centres.
Working with the Baiga tribes in Chhattisgarh SAMERTH addressed the issue of lack of access to health services and lack of awareness among the tribal group on health and hygiene. With efforts of the SAMERTH team and community participation the tribal people were able to access government health facilities of which 135 are men and 104 are women. From non- availability of information and lack of access to now tribal women and men accessing health services is a significant achievement. This was possible through heath camps that were organised in Khurdhar, Thatidhar, Aamadob and Lamni panchayats. One of the principal elements in organising these health-camps was that through our insistence and rapport with the health system of the region, we got the participation of doctors and other health personnel of the Primary Health Centres. Through these efforts the tribal people are on a sustainable basis access Primary health care and treatment.