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The Annual CSR Report for 2017-18 published by the Infosys Foundation, shares their experience with Shivganga. The relevant extracts from their report are reproduced below.
It is not often that one comes across a social service organization that hesitates to accept funds for fear of disrupting a developmental model based on self-respect. Shivganga Samagra Gramvikas Parishad (SSGP), which works in the predominantly tribal areas of Jhabua and Alirajpur districts in Madhya Pradesh, is one such partner of Infosys Foundation. The Foundation also encourages sustainable development and the creation of economic value for beneficiaries so that they can become independent over time. SSGP works for the development of 1,300 villages in Jhabua. Most of these villages are made up of local tribes such as Bheels and Bilalas. Among Jhabua’s many problems, the most pressing ones are related to the lack of groundwater and water resources. Although the region receives around 1,000 mm of rainfall every year, most of it is drained off because of the hilly terrain and rocky soil. Given the acute water shortage, the people of Jhabua, who are mostly dependent on small-scale agriculture, can only cultivate one crop a year. Lack of alternative sources of income causes large-scale migration that, in turn, keeps the region economically backward.
Skills hold the key
SSGP has made inroads in trying to impart alternative skills – and later, entrepreneurial skills – to the Jhabua youth. The aim is to facilitate a diversification of the economy, supplement income and tap the potential of tribal youth. The projects also focus on inclusive development. Infosys Foundation has helped SSGP set up libraries in 900 locations to enlighten the curious young minds while the skill training and development facilities cater to almost 7,000 people. The training centers also work to identify the problems of the villagers and focus on leadership and organizational abilities to unite villages A call to arms to fight poverty Halma to resolve a common problem. A great example of this was seen when the Foundation helped the SSGP to host a Halma (an annual rainwater harvesting community effort) in March 2017, where more than15000 volunteers from 350 villages came together to build multiple water harvesting structures. This one-of-a-kind movement was witnessed by around 700 guests from various parts of India. Following the Halma, a Gram Engineer Training Camp was organized in Indore, where 210 Jhabua youths were trained for construction and repair of check dams. They then built 10 check dams in the district in a record 45 days’ time. Together, the 10 check dams can conserve up to 150 crore liters of water per year.
No looking back
The Foundation has lent its support to various projects of SSGP. These include : • A three-day youth empowerment training camp for village development, where 1,500 volunteers have been trained till now. • A five-seven day camp for advanced skill development in animal husbandry, organic farming, and bamboo work, which saw participation by more than 300 people. • Two camps, each involving 32 youths, for entrepreneurship development. Three potential entrepreneurs were short-listed from these for support and incubation. • Two camps for model village development. • Matawan project where afforestation is done with community participation. In partnering with SSGP, the Foundation reinforces its belief in sustainable development and building a society that can stand on its own.