1. Mid-Day Meal Project
Stressing the need for nutritious diet for the young children, Mr. Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Group says “Children are under weight, almost half of their regular weight. They do not get good nutritious food. We are trying to make sure that through our Bal Chetna Anganwadi Project (Integrated Child Welfare Scheme) and Mid Day Meal programme, the children get their proper diet”.
This programme aims at improving the nutritional value of school going children in government aided schools and encourage poor children, particularly belonging to the disadvantaged sections, to attend schools more regularly. The group is involved in developing centralized kitchens where the food is cooked and sent to the schools. Besides setting the kitchen, Vedanta also bears the cost of transportation. Naandi Foundation, a Hyderabad based NGO, is responsible for cooking and management of the centralized kitchens and also for delivering the food at the schools. The district administration provides ration and other necessary items as per the Mid-Day-Meal scheme of the government.
About 180,000 children of over 2,400 primary and middle schools are being provided mid-day meal by the Vedanta Group Company, Hindustan Zinc in Rajasthan. At present 8 hi-tech kitchens are operating and the Group is already moving ahead to set up 29 more such Hi-tech kitchens in the coming 3-5 years. On an average, setting up of a kitchen costs around Rs 1.25 crore. The target is to serve about 10, 00,000 children and provide them nutritious food and ensure continuity in education.
2. Cancer Project – Hub and Spoke model
Cancer is emerging as a major public health problem. Recognizing the magnitude of problem and poor accessibility of cancer treatment in Chhattisgarh, Mr. Anil Agrawal, (Chairman-Vedanta Group) took the initiative to establish a 300 bed mega Cancer Research and Development Hospital at Raipur, State capital of Chhattisgarh.
The project envisages establishing a hospital under the aegis of Vedanta Medical Research Foundation (VMRF) complemented by tertiary centres in three districts and 6 mobile cancer detection vans. The objectives of the project include treatment of cancer besides increasing public awareness regarding various forms of cancer especially oral, cervical and breast cancers; and to formulate strategies for risk reduction by stressing on the importance of early screening and treatment.
The cancer project has been kicked off by operationalising mobile cancer detection vans at Korba and Kawardha districts of Chhattisgarh State. The vans are fully equipped with ultra modern instruments to screen out suspected patients from remote villages.
This process of education and awareness generation at the community level is carried out in a unique way. A trained cadre of field investigators works in identified areas on pre specified schedule to impart community specific, messages, through interpersonal communication and also using specifically designed literature/graphics. Depending on the nature of the complaint, suspected cancer cases undergo clinical examinations at mobile detection camps organized regularly at concerned Public Health Centre. Some chronic cancer patients have been operated at the Group run hospital facility at BALCO.
The development of the Hospital Infrastructure is at full scale in the capital of Chhattisgarh State.
3. Total Sanitation Campaign - Swachha Gaon Swastha Gaon
Remote location, poverty, poor hygiene, open defecation and high incidence of water borne diseases are common in the remote villages of India. Majority of the people in these villages live in unhealthy and unclean surroundings due to lack of access to sanitation facilities. Poor sanitation facilities may have serious repercussions. Open defecation is the primary factor that contributes to the spread of diseases and infections through the bacteriological contamination of water sources and the transmission of bacteria through the fecal-oral route. The practice of open defecation by the majority of people in this region is one of the most serious environmental threats to public health. Vedanta group Companies - HZL, BALCO and SIIL, acknowledging the severity of the problem, initiated total sanitation programme and constructed 2387 toilets in the operational villages.
Total sanitation campaign was mainly started to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in rural areas by providing them access to the sanitary means of excreta disposal, and thus combating the water borne diseases from which major rural population suffers. The impact of this programme can be seen not only in terms of health improvement but in other indirect benefits also.
The impact of this project has been dramatic. The incidence of outbreak of diseases has reduced significantly in these villages, providing relief from worm infestations, diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid infections.
This project has major impact on women. Earlier women-folk were compelled to practice open defecation in the absence of proper toilet facilities; they suffered from lack of hygiene, privacy and dignity and had to walk long distances to find a suitable place for defecation. Even men folk suffered from vulnerability of unseen problems like attack from wild animals. However post the project implementation these six villages have reported improved health & hygiene, a sense of security, privacy, comfort and dignity. It has also ensured comfort and safety especially for the pregnant women and adolescent girls.
4. Project Neerdhara
In an equal cost sharing partnership with NABARD, BALCO had set up a Watershed Development project in Parsakhola; wherein BALCO had teamed with SROUT (an NGO partner) to set up a Water User Committee (WUC) with 20 members from the villages. Pond bunding was the initiation of the watershed project. Over 100 hectares of arid land have been brought under this project and around 2,360 fruit species have been planted. The next phase will cover 900 hectares of land bringing the total coverage to a thousand hectares!
All this has been achieved by creating and involving Self Help groups (SHGs) in the construction of watershed structures. The village of Parakholanow now has a water body of its own! Additionally, the wages of the workers in the SHGs were deposited directly in the bank accounts that helped them save money, earn pride and dignity and has shown them the value of enterprise.
An additional 25 hectares of land has been brought under cultivation. The GoI-sponsored NREGS scheme has also been brought in for water management and conservation.
The project has a strong focus on animal husbandry through breed improvement; setting up 216 bio-gas plants to generate clean fuel; and coupling bio waste with vermi compost to produce organic fertilizers.
5. Sharper Pencils, Sharper Minds
The eldest in the family of six children from the remote village in Tamil Nadu, 13 year old Karthika’s biggest battle in life has been to continue her education. With girls in her impoverished community dropping out from formal education and meager family earnings, she had to overcome many obstacles in her quest for learning. A few visits to the evening study center conducted by Sterlite at Tuticorin changed her life.
The Evening Study Centers support children with their regular education. The children are given intensive coaching, individual tutoring where need be and vocational guidance. The older ones are paired with the younger ones to ensure continuity of support beyond school and the center. These 24 centers at Sterlite reaching out to 1,761 students are proving ideal as bridge schools and remedial centers in the region. ‘It was so interesting’, she said. ‘I knew then I had to continue my education’. Her first hurdle was convincing her parents. But Karthika understood that if they were ever to improve their situation, she had to study. Despite the odds she now attends regular school.
6. Sesa Goa Technical School & Football Academy
The Sesa Goa Community Development Foundation (SCDF) has been conducting a technical school and football academy for junior and senior students in Goa, since 1998. The residential Sesa Football Junior Academy and the Sesa Technical School are situated at Sanquelim on reclaimed mines and the recently inaugurated Sesa Football Senior Academy is situated at Sirsaim. These two institutions have become aspirational in their own right with students vying for placements as trained technicians
The Nicola Corvo Memorial Sesa Technical School offers fitter, welder, mechanic, draughtsman and electrician courses. 56 merit based students receive Sesa Goa scholarships every year and on graduation are absorbed within the company. Till date, more than 700 students have passed out from the school and all of them are well placed.
The Sesa Goa Football Academy is a residential facility for 30 students who are trained for a period of four years in the rigours of football apart from regular scholastic education. Students passing from the Academy have been well received by professional clubs at the National level
7. Sterlite Matrimangal Post Graduate Girls College
Set up in 1938 and located at Ringus in Rajasthan, the Sterlite Matrimangal Post Graduate Girls College today imparts educational, vocational and professional opportunities for rural girls pursuing higher studies. The college is a unique story of women empowerment, covering girls from 65 neighboring villages. Started as a centre offering skill development courses, the center today functions as a residential post graduate college.
Average enrollment every year is over 850 girls in the three disciplines of Arts, Commerce and Science, of which around 45% are from the rural areas of Rajasthan and the enrolments increase every year.. Equipped with state- of- the-art laboratories and library, sports and culture facilities, debates and festivals, the college offers opportunities for all round development of the girls. Post graduation most of these girls have obtained skilled jobs as academicians or administrators. Going forward, the Group has plans to introduce new age job oriented professional courses.
8. Towards sustainable development: 2004–2008
In 2004, VAL, Lanjigarh rehabilitated and resettled 118 families from three villages keeping the fabric of their tradition and culture intact.
Post ITI training, 76 youths from the displaced families were employed with the Company, earning approximately INR 1, 80,000 per annum, 3–4 times their income before the advent of VAL.
53 villages of Lanjigarh Block have extensive CSR interventions.
MHU provides primary health service to 32,000+ people in partnership with the District Health Department.
38 Child Care Centres, 105 VBCA’s with an enrolment of 12,000+ children.
2 villages electrified under project Ujala.
Livelihood witnessed shift from subsistence farming to cash crop and multiple cropping.
What People Say
Impact Assessment report of AISD states quality of life has vividly improved.
During the period:
IMR reduced from 200 to 75 per thousand live births.
Child malnutrition down from 58% to 31%.
Immunisation increased from 35% to 71%.
Malarial death dropped from 80% to 20%.
School Drop-out rate down from 70% to 20%.
School attendance increased from 45% to 95%.
Farm man day's employment increased from 120 to 250 days.
Surface irrigation increased 35% through stream diversion method;
More than 750 acres of land under vegetable cultivation.
Crop failure reduced nearly 50% due to improved cultivation techniques, plant protection.
Roads, drains, tube-wells, enabled communication, hygienic sanitation and potable water for 50,000+ people.
Anganwadi project extended to 646 centres,covering 35,000 children.
Wadi and Watershed Project with NABARD to cover 1,000 tribal families.
Mid-Day Meal with the State Government and Naandi Foundation, to cover 18,000 students.
Three new health centres to be initiated under the 4 ‘P’ model.
Supporting ancillary industries like fly ash brick making and food processing units.
9. Women Empowerment
Inception at Copper India 1997, 6 NGO partners, 775 SHGs, 10,884 women, combined savings of US$0.74 million across 25 villages, 50 groups linked to income generating activities, 300 groups affiliated with the Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Corporation, 200 women availed of Revolving Fund, through the SHG forum, women address personal and social issues, undergo trainings, avail government schemes. Ms. Dhanalaxmi, one of the members is the recipient of the CII Women Exemplar Award 2008 for mushroom cultivation.
What the women say…
According to Department of Social Work, Loyola College assessment, 82% of beneficiaries said that the SHGs had improved the quality of their life.
51% of respondents did not save before joining the SHG. 50% see the main benefit as access to loans, the other half see it as inculcating a savings habit
61% women had obtained a bank loan
66% of respondents wanted more vocational training
75 groups to be linked to micro enterprises and a SWEP shop to be established, like a one stop shop for all goods produced by the SHG’s.
10. Kadru Manjhi and his strawberry crop
‘The VAL Lanjigarh team along with Asian Institute of Sustainable Development came to our villages for identification of suitable fields for strawberry cultivation. They marked the fields taking into consideration its soil type, irrigation facility and other technicalities. Mobilising and convincing us was a tough task for the VAL team, as we were sceptical about growing strawberries in Lanjigarh and did not want to take the risk.’ ‘I am happy I listened to them as today we know much more about the benefits of organic manure and have profits to the tune of INR 75,000 per acre’, comments Kadru.
This farmer from Rengopalli village is part of a farmer SHG run by VAL, Lanjigarh. He is the highest producer of strawberries in the region and sells on an average 3–5 kg per day during the season. A kilogramme of strawberries sells at INR 200, fetching him INR 600–1,000 per day during the season. This being the first year, the farmers have complete subsidy on the inputs. In the second year, the subsidy would be 50% and in the consecutive year 25%.
There is a ready market with most of the produce including vegetables, being consumed by VAL and its employees.
11. Nsungeni early childhood care education and development KCM
KCM adopted a multi-sectoral approach where the Chililabombwe Municipal Council, Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative, an NGO and the market committee were engaged right from the inception. The centre is community driven; has 30 trained caregivers who volunteer their time from their businesses in the markets to offer child care. The centre has 160 children enrolled in the age range of 4 months to five years. The centre caters for the nutritional needs by providing three meals to the children and medical care in collaboration with the nearest government clinic. It also provides preschool education and day care, leaving the parents and guardians of these children to trade to their full ability without worrying about their children. The community in Chililabombwe particularly at Lubengele and Buntungwa markets have taken ownership and responsibility of the project, as a result, the parents and caregivers offer their labour voluntarily and security to the property.
The project has been successful in addressing the needs of the community; we will be expanding its reach to Chingola in the next financial year.
12. Nothing Succeeds Like Success
‘My name is Lalita. I always had many dreams and ambitions. My mother educated my sister and me up to the 10th grade; and then got us married. I wanted to study further but my husband was against it. Finally he divorced me and I ended up back at home. When I heard about the vocational course through the HZL cluster coordinator I was initially apprehensive. But then I thought, maybe this was the opportunity I was always waiting for. With great difficulty I sought my mother’s permission to attend the class. I chose the hospitality trade along with learning about computers. My confidence gradually enhanced through personality development classes. After the successful completion of the course, I was selected by the HR Department of Rajputana Resort through an interview and I now earn INR 4,000 per month. It gives me great pride to be able to support my family. My mother is proud of me and happy that I defied her to join the training.’
13. KCM – Community Medicine
KCM has enhanced the quality of its community services by providing a comprehensive health service which is easily accessible and has brought KCM closer to its employees and their families. The KCM health services introduced ‘door to door’ family health checks which commenced in December 2007. The service aims to provide basic health information and counselling in addition to health checks, conducted in the privacy and comfort of each employee’s home. Information about the project was disseminated through notice board messages, brochures, intranet notices, meetings with union representatives and the Human Resources department. A meeting was held with community leaders who represented the respective Resident Development Committees (RDCs) through the Chingola city council office and permission to carry out the exercise was granted by the Chingola District Health Management team (DHMT). Training was provided to the team of eight nurses and four community volunteers. Home visit activities include general health assessment; and health education on HIV and AIDS, hypertension, cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other common diseases. Each household is provided with an Insecticide Treated Net (ITN) to facilitate malaria protection. Comprehensive health checks were provided to 1,019 households from January to March 2008. 4,267 adults and children were examined during these home visits. 3,013 miners and their dependants were provided with HIV counselling and testing.
The improved awareness levels made employees and their families more conscious about their health, which in turn has led to reduced medical expenditure.
KCM ’s Integrated Approach to HIV /AIDS
One of our strategies in meeting the HIV/AIDS challenge was to establish partnerships within the community and other stakeholders. Partnerships within the community have been made through applying home based care and support groups to encourage community acceptability of the programme. Other partnerships include a USAID supported programme called the Global Development Alliance (GDA) that seeks to promote HIV programmes within the mining and the agricultural sector. The programme is coordinated through the Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Management Programme (CHAMP) that provides technical support in implementing programme activities. Grant support for the programme was $215,109. Achievements through this partnership include improved monitoring and evaluation of programme activities, training in areas that include psychosocial counselling, palliative care and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT). It has resulted in an increased uptake of individuals accessing counselling and testing services, HIV treatment care and support. The Zambia National AIDS Network (ZNAN) is another partner supporting our HIV/AIDS programmes. It provides support in the area of clinical and diagnostic services through the provision of antiretroviral drugs, laboratory equipment and consumables, training in antiretroviral management and in the provision of nutritional supplements. The impacts of this partnership include improved health, longer life and wellbeing of clients accessing this treatment for free. More employees and members of the community are now accessing this service. The programme received a grant support of approximately $750,000.
14. Dhanalaxmi – the CII Woman Exemplar for 2008
28 years old, a mother of two from Tutiorin, eldest among three sisters, Dhanalaksmi dropped out of primary school. “Married young to a husband who was earning just about enough to sustain us; it was extremely difficult to run the household and provide basic amenities for my two children. I started my own business of cultivating mushrooms with very little knowledge and family opposition. In a twist of fate, the debut year yields were extremely poor. The venture was a failure! Then I heard of Sterlite’s SHGs. In 2003 I got trained in mushroom cultivation, restarted my business and simultaneously started training other women interested in cultivating mushrooms. Borrowing Rs 25,000 from Mahalir Thittam, a Women’s Development Cooperative supported by Sterlite gave wings to my business. It started scaling up.”, says Dhanalaxmi. Today each member of Dhanalakshmi’s group earns Rs 2,000 per month from the sales proceeds. The recognition by CII for the Woman Exemplar award 2008 has encouraged the entire group. Dhanalakshmi now plans to establish a mushroom centre in every village- from a micro- enterprise to an enterprise, the journey has been satisfying. Ms Dhanalakshmi is now serving as key trainer in the district on Mushroom cultivation. In recognition of her service the M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai has honored her by presenting the National Virtual Academy Fellowship Award in 2009 for her contribution in spreading the knowledge revolution in rural India.
15. Laying Foundations at VAL
We started our 1st Child Care Centre (CCC) in collaboration with Vedanta Foundation for children in the age group of 2.5 to 5 years in a community owned building in 2005-06. The response from the community was overwhelming. Parents were thrilled that the Company was not only willing to educate but also take care of their children while they were both at work. The enrollment percentage in the CCCs has been above 80% ** consistently. Most of the children enrolled are first generation learners, whose parents had never been to a school. Their eagerness in anticipation that their children will be able to read –write and have a better life was apparent in their curiosity and active participation in setting up the CCCs. Initially the Child Care workers had to go around the village to get the children to the centre. Today the attendance in the centres is 95% with children coming on time. The children learn through the play way method, sing and enact action stories. Coupled with nutritious food, regular health check up and quality pre-school education besides extracurricular activities; the CCC’s are a huge success. From 35% Grade 4 malnourished children (highly mal-nourished- grading as per govt. norms) in 2006, the numbers stands at 5% in 2010.
One of our key achievements has been 0% drop out rate in the CCC’s since inception. Children have moved on to study in the DAV Vedanta International School at Lanjigarh, NVN Primary school and other government primary schools. 223 children have graduated from our CCCs till date and currently 1,256 children are studying in 42 CCCs.
"There has been a remarkable change in the behaviour of the kids and their parents coming to the childcare centres. It was very difficult initially to run the centre as the villagers were unaware of the importance of their child's education in such a tender age of 3 years. The children are performing very well. We also feel very happy to be involved in such a noble cause." - Mamta Dash (Teacher childcare centre- Harekrushnapur1)
16. MALCO Vidyalaya: 40 years of educating the society
Malco Vidyalaya (school) is committed to serving the society as an institution of excellence that integrates knowledge and learning in a continuous process. The school has been rated as one of the best schools in Salem District. Some facts:
Instituted in 1969
Children groomed so far – 4,500
Staff strength – 132
Classes from Nursery to XII
Real time student strength – 3,022, with 76% from the local community
Average pass percentage – 95%
Families directly linked - 3,000
Malco Alumni - Global presence
17. Mamta- improving mother & child health
The Anganwadi Centers were divided into 10 clusters supervised by coordinators of BALCO in Korba. The role of a cluster coordinator was to monitor each and every expectant and nursing mother. The Anaganwadi workers ensured steady supply of food supplements, the auxiliary nurse mid wives ensured routine immunization, and the mid wives took care of institutional delivery. In a village set up, opinion makers like Sarpanch, elders and school teachers also play pivotal role in mobilizing the community towards education and addressing the issues of the village. This is done through “Gram Sabhas” (Village Meetings) where the issues ailing the community are discussed and debated. Our team utilized this forum to accord the requisite seriousness of mortality rate and mal nutrition among women and children.
400 Anganwadi centers in 500 villages of Korba
16,000 children between 0-6 years covered
A three tier approach - sensitization of community; training and capacity building of Anganwadi workers/health workers/SHG’s; and individual/family counseling where the expectant and lactating mothers are explained in detail the importance of food supplements and medicines during various stages of pregnancy; and post natal care like breast feeding, routine immunization and maintaining hygiene during delivery through midwives.
Family members counselled against social taboos like not feeding the mother’s milk for one week to a newly born child, non administration of food to the mother for three days after delivery etc.
Innovative education and mass awareness programmes for mothers through street plays and Nacha (traditional folk dance)
Food supplements and preschool education imparted, infrastructural renovation carried out including construction of 78 child friendly toilets, dress code and toys for fun learning.
Reduced Mortality Rate of Infants from 85/1000 to 42/1000
Mortality Rate for Mothers reduced from 115/1000 to 60/1000
18. HZL’s Vocational Training to Unemployed Rural Youth
HZL initiated a vocational training programme for the unemployed rural youth, in four districts of Rajasthan.. The Training Programme was specifically meant to provide job opportunities to the unemployed rural youth who could not and did not want to get involved in farming. Young men and women between the age group of 15 and 35 years were targeted under this programme. The minimum qualification to enroll under this scheme was kept as eighth grade.. The Training programme was further linked with government and non-government organizations having similar goals. The Rajasthan Mission on Livelihoods, SANKALP, Aide et Action, Jatan Sansthan were the other partners of this training programme.
The Training was given in nine vocations with job placement assistance through NGOs partners and district administration post successful completion of the course. The candidates were assessed on their caliber and counseled on the vocation best suited for their skills and the available job opportunities, before enrolling them for the programme. Employability was the key criterion of this programme. At the end of the term, 1,700 rural youth passed out with flying colors and full of confidence. Today over 85% of the trained youths are employed or run their own enterprise, with monthly incomes ranging from INR 4,000 to 12,000.
19. Barefoot Agriculturist
‘Rice and Mandia is our staple food and agriculture our livelihood’, say the people of Kalahandi and the Kondhs residing in this area. Agriculture in the area was predominantly rain fed, with low productivity and no technical inputs.
VAL initiated a livelihood program – Commercial Vegetable Cultivation. The activities were planned, after studying the existing livelihood pattern, culture, attitudes, and skills & life-styles.. Farmers were trained on better agriculture practices for paddy and vegetable cultivation, benefits of commercially viable sustainable agriculture, organic farming, managing irrigation by diverting the streams or by using water lift method, and integrated pest management. Soil-testing camps were organized in the villages and 1,142 soil samples were tested and customized soil treatment measures were suggested.
The project involves supporting the farmers with agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and technical assistance. Farmers have become more professional in their farming approach and now practice remunerative modern cultivation techniques. This has lead to increase in number of employment days from 120 to nearly 250, and the net sown area has increased by 200% making double cropping the trend.
Irrigation systems like lift irrigation points, check dams and motor pumps were also integrated to support the initiative and get better results. These efforts have increased the area under surface irrigation by 35% through stream diversion method and surface water harvesting strategy. The farmers, initially only self sustained, are today linked to the market.
Cultivation of vegetables has also enriched their own nutrition levels. Vegetables have become the source of rich vitamins and various minerals for the household members, which were dearer earlier.
The risk of crop failure has reduced by nearly 50% due improved cultivation techniques, plant protection measurement and other support services. ‘Potato Cultivation’ – is another step taken by VAL towards diversification of the project. 30 farmers are cultivating potatoes in 7 acres of land. Potato is commercially viable and occupies a permanent space in the market thus leading to sustainability in the livelihood of farmers. To add value to the farm produce, Vermi-compost structures have been developed to encourage Organic Farming in the area and get quality, hygienic and organic produce. The initiatives by VAL have helped reducing the agriculture lean months from 6 to nearly 3.
Formation of farmers’ SHGs has increased social solidarity and mutual help among the members. Members have started saving; with spend on alcohol gradually declining. The same is now being invested in their child’s education and other productive ways. We believe that though the savings and credit activities of SHGs are consolidated but they still require further empowerment in terms of business development.
“I was not in a position to meet the needs of my family and wanted to make a shift from agriculture to daily wage earning. But, VAL came as a savior 5 years back. After its intervention, I along with other farmers benefitted a great deal. I have now been able to make a move from subsistence farming to commercial vegetable cultivation. By the grace and blessings of God I am very happy and doing well. I wish that all my farmer brothers should prosper.” – Says Janak Sahu, Farmer, Harekrushnapur Village
20. Promoting childbirth at hospital
“I got married at the age of 18 and lost my first child during childbirth at the age of 22 at home. Equipped with inadequate health infrastructure, the nearest health facility being 150 kilometres away, makes access to quality health care both time-consuming and expensive for my village, especially during emergencies. This leaves us with no choice but to deliver our babies at home, leading to a high incidence of infant and maternal mortality in our village. Around this time MALCO approached us and the District Health Department at Namakkal with the proposal of improving the health facilities at Kolli Hills to serve a population of 40,000 people across a radius of 40 kilometres.
14 village council were covered by the ‘Institutional Delivery’ drive,. The women were educated on pre and post-natal care, the importance of regular medical check ups and the importance of delivering babies in hospitals or the Primary Health Centres. MALCO also provided an incentive of ` INR600 per institutional delivery, as a result of which the number of institutional delivery cases registered in the Primary Health Centre increased substantially. To date, more than 8,000 women have chosen to have their babies in hospitals.
Two years later I conceived again. This time around I took complete care and had my baby at the Primary Health Centre. My baby girl and I are safe and healthy. I feel very happy and proud that the Primary Health Centre at Kolli Hills now registers the highest number of delivery cases in the Namakkal district and we don’t need an incentive anymore to go there.’Lakshmi, from Adukkampatti village in Thinnanurnadu Panchayat.
21. The Kartikaguda Anganwadi Empowerment Committee
‘The VBCA project conducted by VAL, Lanjigarh, has formed the Anganwadi Empowerment Committee (AEC) in each centre. This undertakes day-to-day monitoring of each centre and creates community ownership of it. The project provides micronutrients, pre-school education materials, training for the Anganwadi staff and regular supportive supervision for their field-level staff. The VBCA team trained all the AEC members extensively on the effective functioning and monitoring of the Anganwadi centres. The AEC then took the lead to ensure that the Anganwadi workers open the centre on time and cook food regularly for the enrolled children. Following a village rally by us where we requested the regular opening of the centres and a meeting with the Anganwadi workers, the centre is now fully operational. It now has 80% attendance and 70% community participation, says Kadraka Latamani who lives in Kartikaguda village in the Rayagada district. She further adds, that her four-year-old son Sundarao now goes to the Anganwadi daily from 7.00 am to 12.00 noon. “He gets two nutritious meals there and a quality pre-school education too. He has developed good personal hygiene habits and came first in the painting competition held at the centre on the eve of Environment Day. I also encourage other mothers in the village to send their children to the centre. Thanks to Vedanta and Palli Vikash for this social change in our village. I am happy that my son is taken care of at the centre and that I am able to attend to my work uninterrupted.’
22. Promoting smokeless kitchens
Mrs Girja Bai, from Dondro Village, says: “I used to have to walk a long distance in the forest for fuel wood which took up much of my time. But then BALCO and CREDA (the Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Authority) not only told us about the benefits of bio gas but also supported us with financial aid to construct bio gas equipment. Now I don’t have to go outside to fetch wood for fuel and I am able to give more attention and time to my children. No smoke is emitted, which used to burn my eyes. I now cook in a smokeless kitchen, something I had never imagined.”
The bio gas project, under the Integrated Village Development Programme, has changed the way that 269 households cook. The BALCO-CREDA partnership evolved with the sole objective of providing an alternative source of energy to families, which would be used for lighting as well as for cooking. The commissioning of one bio gas structure costs INR 15,500. CREDA contributes INR 8,000, BALCO INR 6,000 and the balance of INR 1,500 and maintenance is the responsibility of each individual home-owners. Each household gets farm manure worth INR 14,000 per annum from the bio gas plant, and they report a reduction in health problems related to eye and breathing difficulties. Applying manure generated from slurry at the bio gas plant has also reduced the salinity/alkanity of the soil. It has increased the porosity and water-holding capacity of the land while providing alternative sources of lighting in non-electrified villages.
23. Encouraging entrepreneurialism – the KCM Kabundi North Women Club
The Kabundi North Women Club was formed in 2009 following an awareness drive to encourage womenorganised groups to fight poverty in their communities. They have also elected a chair and a co-ordinator of the group. All gatherings, meetings and most activities are currently carried out at members’ homes. The members have aligned their resources following training they received under the project on holding cookery demonstrations of local foods, baking and training on feeding infants and young children. They organised themselves to undertake activities like baking and sewing with an initial capital of 300, 000 ZMK. The group now makes cakes, scones, meat pies, fritters and guava drink which they sell. With the first funds raised they bought material and started sewing skirts and shirts, which were initially sold among group members. From the time of inception, the Kabundi North Women Club has co-ordinated its planned activities very well, and members are also giving lessons to others on how to prepare good healthy meals for their families and practice good hygiene. In some instances the club is also booked to make birthday and wedding cakes, and sometimes hired to cook at functions. Their business is growing. During a follow up visit in March they had 400,000 ZMK available. They are very happy that the project awakened them to focus on developmental activities.
Mrs Mfune, Chairman of the club, says, “The project has helped us in terms of economic alleviation; we are able to meet our daily needs better now when compared to where we were before the project started. I was wholly dependent on my husband, but now am able to supplement the family income through the sales from the baking”.
Other members also expressed the same sentiments and only hoped for more funding so that they could scale up their project.
24. Towards prosperity - Khatiheda Village
Khatiheda, a small village with a population of approximately 500 people, is afflicted by extreme poverty. “We decided in collaboration with HZL and the District Administration to approach the development of our village holistically under HZL’s IVDP programme,” says Meera Baksha “As our first step, we jointly constructed Roof Water Harvesting (RWH) structures based on a partnership approach, with HZL contributing INR 2.75 lacs. INR 1.55 lacs were provided by the government and the villagers’ contributed with sweat equity. The RWH structures were constructed on every house to store and then divert rain water to our farms for irrigation. With all overflows diverted into a neighbouring well, this permanently addressed our water woes.”
The second effort was for 38 women to form two self help groups in the village. After six months of consistent savings of `INR 100 per month both the groups, received a joint loan of `INR 10 lacs from the local bank to start an enterprise in vegetable cultivation and fruit orchards. Water was still a major hindrance for the enterprise, so the groups decided to dig two borewells in the river running alongside the village. They then laid pipelines to bring the water to farmland to support their new enterprise. The company organised various training and capacity-building programmes for the farmers on subjects including organic farming, mixed cropping and more, and provided market opportunities for these crops. Along with the agricultural project, the company also carried out livestock development activities like artificial insemination, cattle immunisation and fodder cultivation, as well as health and hygiene and educational programmes in the village to complete the circle of holistic development. Vedanta, with Action for Community Empowerment, conducted extensive engagement with the community to inculcate sanitation habits including the use of toilets instead of the outdoor defecation that had caused major health problems in the village. The company also provided supplementary nutrition to the children in Anganwadi Centres. Through this, the village has now achieved 95% immunisation of mothers and children, and there are no malnourished children in the village. A health camp is held every two months to focus on immunisation along with preventive and curative health treatments.
It took two years to bring about these changes - the groups have already paid off their loan, the average annual family income of a farmer with one hectare of land is up from INR 0.1 million to 0.4 million and the trees have started to bear fruit. “On any normal day, Khatikeda now starts to buzz as early as 5.00 am with people picking vegetables. By 7.00 am, these have been brought together for cleaning and packing in crates. By 8.00 am they are loaded in small trucks and motorcycles making their way to the wholesale market, and by 10.00 am, the villagers are back home with their money for the day, and ready to kick off another day of hard work in their fields. A picture of prosperity,” concludes Meera