By Anjali Makhija
India Development Coalition of America (IDCA) has launched an “adopt a village” initiative in October 2015. It envisions securing pledges from people from Indian origin in America to adopt villages and develop these villages for a period of five years. IDCA states that a person who is committed and dedicated to the cause can choose his or her own village, a neighboring village, or any other village in India. Development of a village will mean that every citizen in the village is able to meet his or her basic needs of water, food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, livelihoods, education, energy and sanitation.
One of IDCA’s charter partners, S M Sehgal Foundation, works in three districts of northern India: Mewat district, Haryana; Alwar district, Rajasthan; and Samastipur district, Bihar. The team at Sehgal Foundation can facilitate identification and adoption of villages by IDCA members in the districts where the foundation is working. Sehgal Foundation works on three broad programs – good rural governance, water management, and agricultural development – with overarching themes of community media and gender equity. We can implement funded projects within our programs, and will also create linkages with other organizations for IDCA sponsors inclined to work or contribute to other thematic areas.
Projects which Sehgal Foundation can implement in villages adopted by IDCA sponsors will focus on the following interventions which are interlinked and complement each other:
- Strengthening village-level institutions and awareness in communities to enable villagers to play an active role in the development process by ensuring accountable, transparent and responsive institutions
- Water management to improve water access, availability, quality, and awareness,
- Sanitation and hygiene to promote clean and healthy villages, and
- Agricultural development to improve agricultural productivity and increase agricultural income.
Community media will be used to meet the project goals. A proactive approach will be used for active and meaningful participation of women in our activities.
These projects will emphasize on enabling villagers to lead a dignified life, focusing on knowledge sharing, skill and confidence building, participation, and developing leadership for promoting community-led development. It is based on the premise that dignified life is a product of empowered citizens, functioning local institutions, well-managed natural resources, and sufficient earning opportunities.
Basic information on the three districts:
Mewat is one of the 21 districts of Haryana. It was carved from erstwhile Gurgaon and Hathin sub-division of Faridabad district and came into existence on 4 April 2005. It is predominantly inhabited by Meo Muslims. The primary occupation is agriculture, which is rainfed. Mewat is the most backward district of Haryana and is one of the minority concentration districts in India. The farthest point of Mewat is no more than 145 kilometres from the National Capital.
Alwar is one of the 33 districts of Rajasthan, and the third most populous district in the state, after Jaipur and Jodhpur. It is in the foothills of the Aravalli range. The primary occupation in villages in this district is agriculture. The district also has industrial estates in Behror, Neemrana and Bhiwadi. Alwar is about 163 km away from Delhi airport and 150 km north of Jaipur.
Samastipur is one of the 38 districts in Bihar. It is bound on the north by the Bagmati river, on the west by Vaishali and some part of Muzaffarpur district, on the south by the Ganges, while on its east it has Begusarai and some part of Khagaria district. It is one of the 250 most backward districts declared by Ministry of Panchayati Raj. Due to its fertile land, the area is rich in agriculture. Samastipur is situated at a distance of about 91 km from Patna airport.