ML Baraiya, Mandvi Director, Vivekanand Training and Research Institute (VRTI)
“I have been in Kutch for 36 years and the director of VRTI for the past three years. CGPL has always understood that partnerships with NGOs reduce corruption and uneven distribution of wealth issues; that we have the legitimacy and accountability in the area and would be able to extend the company’s missions better. CGPL has attached considerable importance to natural resource management, the environment and its surrounding community and stakeholders. It has been a privilege to work with CGPL since they have laid heavy emphasis on consultations and stakeholder dialogues which in the long run is important for projects to be a success. Economic gain has been achieved in the area because of CGPL since roads and infrastructure has increased and investments have been made in Green Belts and environmental initiatives. The main areas looked at in partnership with CGPL are Tragadi and Nana Bhadiya villages. We undertook baseline research, stakeholder mappings, needs assessments, consulted CGPL for interventions and implemented their projects. The Gaushala (animal shed) intervention has had outstanding impact in providing livelihoods and earning higher incomes in beneficiary villages. There are never any caste issues in implementation and devising programs, since CGPL conducts regular Lok Dayro (Cultural Promotion) programs which bridges the gap and increases community solidarity, respect and interactions amongst communities. CGPL has perpetually stressed on sustainable and needs based models and focused on gaining trust and talking to stakeholders. Everyone’s voice in the community is heard in their catchment and vicinity villages- not just the rich and influential. The field and managerial staff of CGPL always stay connected to communities through regular meetings, discussions and dialogue. The company has always respected VRTI’s mission and principles of development and never involved us in petty politics, risk mitigation or legitimacy issues. They have always been forthcoming, enthusiastic and supportive with our developmental plans and activities. They assist us with dedication and firm conviction in our organization’s mission. CGPL supports us with monetary, monitoring and personnel contributions and have paved the way for development at a village and individual level.”
Judy Frater and Lakhabhai Rabari Kalaraksha, Vandh village
“Kalaraksha works for training and promoting local artisans. We have a one year training program, free for women and charged at Rs. 10,000 for men. At the end of the year the artisans have a convocation ceremony and exhibition fair where there is a jury to test their skills and see their work. This is concluded with a fashion show where we get famous models from Bombay to walk the ramp and model these artisans’s work. CGPL has been supporting and sponsoring the fair from the last 3-4 years. The fair increases awareness about design principles, gives the artisans more product options, merges traditional and contemporary art, making it more market oriented and pushes the use of natural fibers. Through the fair and the program, some artisans have got national and international recognition. The market linkages have significantly improved. The fair promotes local artisans and trades since the criteria of enrollment in the program, is that the student should be from the region and he/she should be a traditional artisan. The fair provides a very huge market platform for the artisans as varied buyers come to attend the show and place orders for their designs. Other similar smaller organizations attend the fair, learn about different arts and are motivated to take up such projects. The artisans have grown in their own craft and deal with the market place much more confidently. Women are now very aware and vocal and through this program an out let for creativity is provided. Sponsorship support for local artisans, teachers and students to International fairs in U.S and all over the world, is the instrumental support extended by CGPL in preserving the local art and furthering our mission. CGPL has always been a great support in our mission and interventions.”
Nitin Sharma – Hole in the wall
“Hole in the wall (HiWEL) was started by Dr. Sugata Mitra at Delhi in 1999 as an NIIT subsidiary and later, a World Bank and IFC funded project. The program has been tested and used in rural and urban areas, by state Governments, under the “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” of the Central Government and internationally in places like Cambodia. HiWEL’s main aim is to provide children with an exposure to technology apart from televisions and radios. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems break the barriers to information in education.
The computers under the HiWEL program train and orient children in three areas – English, Computers and Mathematics. CGPL requested us to launch 5 HiWEL learning stations in schools of their surrounding villages. We undertake a baseline study in the area before we start any intervention and the one in Mundra villages was undertaken in July 2011. We learnt that there were high dropout rates, low retention rates, children were very poor in English and Computers and showed tremendous potential in mathematics. The school did have computers but they were inaccessible to students. We launched the project in collaboration with CGPL when the school admissions were on.
An impact study was conducted again in December 2011 with the same sample as the baseline study. Results showed considerable improvements in our content assimilation test which assesses a child on English, computers and math’s learning. The teachers of the school have been delighted with the program since it has also helped in maintaining child’s interest and teacher’s learning. Children have started taking part in the sessions and are able to practice what they learn on these computers. Teachers as well as students have begun to observe, replicate and understand interactive methods of teaching. All this has been made possible due to CGPL’s initiative of launching our program. We aim to reach every student and teacher in the community, creating an ownership in them for the learning stations. CGPL’s focus is on sustainable development. Our focus is on increasing mainstreamed and institutionalized ICT, taking into account local area specifications. Both the organizations have gelled exceptionally well due to their similar goals and principles and have become a strong team.
The faith for CGPL, I have seen in the eyes of its surrounding communities is fantastic. We could not have asked for a better, people centric organization like CGPL, as our partner.”
AG. Maru – Ex Unit Manager, CMSU, WASMO
“WASMO undertakes a participatory rural approach towards water supply and sanitation. The Government passed a program for primary schools to set up RO and UV plants to reduce the high TDS in drinking water. When studies were undertaken in this area, we found that more than 1000 TDS existed in the water creating major health hazards. We approached CGPL to support us in setting up RO plants for 12 schools and they readily agreed. They regularly monitor the programs and hold consultations & meetings with us. CGPL has also formed a water committee of the children in the schools which was an important value addition for the project. CGPL is definitely one of our most forthcoming and supportive partners in Mundra.”
Jagdish Nanda HDFC, Bank Manager, Mundra
“CGPL is always involved in helping rural areas avail of banking extension services. They have continuously taken our help to spread information on the importance of banking and financial inclusion, filling a check, making accounts, bank deposits, money credits, withdrawals, ATM use, etc to their community members. HDFC has a Tunda gram panchayat account, which makes the villagers have more faith in savings and using banking facilities. A person has been appointed in the villages to consult on and solve local banking issues. With CGPL in the area vouching for villagers, we are able to trust them, help open accounts and provide credit. The financial inclusion in rural areas, achieved with the company’s presence has been commendable”.
Prakash Tripathi Dena Bank Manager, Mota Kandagra village
“I have been working in the bank since 1984. In the last few years, Mundra has become a full fledged town with immense development. The bank has managed to increase accounts in rural areas considerably, due to the presence of CGPL. The focused intervention of the CR team for financial inclusion of communities is admirable. CGPL has given a lot of guidance to women in the village to form stronger SHGs. There are usually 10-20 people in a group and they contribute between Rs. 10-50 monthly. They use this money for internal lending for various purposes. It is empowering only if they use the money to generate income, for example, buy a cow which will give them returns. Investing money in income generating activities leads to stronger SHGs. There are regular meetings, trainings and workshops for SHGs through CGPL. Women have become more aware; they attend meetings and trainings and pass on that knowledge to their group. The future looks bright with the company also taking responsibilities of providing job opportunities and increasing the quality of education in this area.”