Ever since came into being, CSA has been involved in facilitating an array of development Programmes in various states in India. The main activities of CSA rural projects in the sectors such as health, education, social/community development, empowering community-based organizations (CBOs), land development, agricultural development, empowering the community through women socially, politically and economically in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
The quality of life rendered to the women, children and the community has brought illustrious and immeasurable emancipating changes. Substantial contributions have been made towards improving the quality of life of the people belonging to the underprivileged section regardless of caste, creed, color, religion and language. 4 out of 6 rural projects have been sustained and managed by the registered body of the respective federations and the remaining two are ongoing projects which are implemented on the basis of the Self Help Group Approach (SHA).
Growth of Rural Project over the years
It was the year 2002, the activities were extended to rural areas as part of a community development initiative. The first project was initiated in a place called Hoskote in the rural district of Bangalore. The baseline survey was conducted with the help of CSA volunteers and the staff. From there the journey started in the service of rural areas and it is still continuing. The service is extended to 11 rural areas in various parts of India with development being the core objective.
Total number of villages covered by CSA
The number of villages covered by CSA has drastically increased across various parts of India. Currently, 139 villages are covered through CSA intervention. Initially, CSA started its development work in South India later it extended its activities to the Northern part of India especially to unreachable places like Jiwathi in Maharashtra and Baster in Chhattisgarh.
Community-Based organizations formed by CSA
Community-based organization (CBO) is one of the important aspects of all the project interventions. This is one of the interventions aimed at developing the capacity of the CBOs to ensure sustainability. The CBOs consists of Self Help Group (SHGs), Village Development Committee (VDCs), Farmers Groups, Children Parliament (CPs) and, Adolescent Girls groups. At present, CSA is coordinating with 340 CBOs across India.
Livelihood intervention has brought about economic empowerment among the beneficiaries. It has provided the member with financial stability and kept them away from the money lenders. This has been achieved through training like Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP), financial literacy, organizing visits for women providing exposure to a successful organization etc. The projects which were sustained earlier have been contributing more (70% – 90%) in these aspects, Bastar and Unnathi are the currently running projects which are contributing around 50% towards livelihood. The numbers are increasing as the awareness about the importance of livelihood among the members is increasing.
Sustained Rural Development Projects
Chetana Child-focused Community Development Project
Chetana CFCD project has been continuing to serve its target communities through the involvement of Project Level Federation of women Self Help Groups, which is an independent registered body managed by the elected leaders from the CBOs and registered under Karnataka Souhardha Co-operative Society's Act. Chetana is currently functioning as a Community Managed Micro Finance Institution and provides microfinance service support to children’s education especially for higher studies, life skills development of children, vocational skills training, micro-enterprise promotion (farm and off-farm) for income generation which are some of the major systems provided by the cooperative society.
Before CSA started its intervention in this area;
The nutrition status of children below 5yrs was low. Dependence of the families on wage labor was leading to neglect of the children.
75% of the population belonged to SC/ST communities and 70% of them were below the poverty line (BPL).
Education especially that of girl children was low due to poor accessibility
The dropout rate among girls was high.
66% of SHG members were dependent on irregular and insecure wage labor and 22% of them were dependent on agriculture.
There were no livelihood opportunities for women to earn extra income for the family.
At the end of the project period,
All the children below 5 years were covered under Anganwadi programmes like nutrition, immunization etc. Malnutrition status came down to less than 1%.
The school dropout became nil both among boys and girls. No child marriages were reported.
Out of 14 health works in project 10 of them have become ASHA works.
90% of the SHG women were covered under the livelihood programme.
Crop yield increased by at least 20% in the 226 acres of land belonging to farmers which were treated through land bunding activities.
The Federation has started a Cooperative Bank and it is doing well.
At present the federation has 60 SHGs (712 members), 5 CLAs and one Federation have been formed. Total Savings of Rs. 1,42,00,000 has been mobilized (CSA contribution and SHG Fund). Current portfolio of fund rotation is Rs.21,35,60,000. The Federation has also collaborated with Unnat Baharat Abhiyan. It has plans for starting a School, Old Age Home and Garment industry in their locality.
Pragathi Child Focused Community Development project
Pragathi Child Focused Community Development project started its interventions in 22 villages in the Kolar district of Karnataka state to bring about positive changes in the life of women and children. Pragathi CFCD Project is supported by Kindernothilfe (KNH) Germany. The project is spread across 22 impact villages within a radius of 8 to 35 km. Initially, the project identified the following problems in the locality;
Only 13 children (5 boys and 8 girls) in the school-going age-group (6-14 years)
More than 50% of children not attending the Anganwadi regularly
16% of children having Malnutrition in the project villages
No institutional deliveries happening in the project villages
Very few households had toilet facilities
Very few were involved in livelihood activities
After CSA intervention,
More than 75% of the households had constructed toilets
Sanitation level improved
Only institutional deliveries have been taking place and no mortality reported
No school dropout found in project villages, girl children are going for higher studies
68% of the target population have started their livelihood activities.
Currently, the project supports 1817 families from socially, economically backward communities including 1708 children. As part of this project, Children activity centre and women’s development project started by forming Self Help Groups (SHGs) and taught the members on regular savings in the group. It also further helped them to avail loans to meet out their family and business needs. At present, there are 39 SHGs functioning. Three Cluster Level Associations (CLAs) functioning in the project area take care of the SHGs in the particular cluster. The total number of 83 members/families have availed financial support and started family based micro-enterprises. This has been helpful to families to earn extra income. Presently CBOs members have been monitoring the initiatives taken by the project in School and Early Childhood care centres. A total number of 1705 children, 1100 women and 800 adolescents/youth from 1500 families have benefited from the project. The project is handed over to the registered federation managed by the community to sustain the activities promoted by the project.
Ongoing Rural Development Projects
Unnathi SHA- Child Focused Community Development Project
Unnathi Project aims to bring changes in the lives of the community in many aspects especially in social empowerment, economic empowerment and political empowerment. In order to ensure empowerment, the project has formed various groups in the project-impact villages. Kindernothilfe, Germany fund the Project. So far the project has formed 43 SHGs, 4 Cluster level association (CLA), 2 project-level children’s parliament, 11 adolescent girls groups, one project level Child Protection Committee with equal representation of Children and Women in the project area. Along with providing basic services to the community as per the plan, the project has initiated women-led development programme through the self-help group approach (SHA) by empowering women in social, political and economic domains. There are 11 Supplementary Education Centres, which are promoted and supported by the project, and it is helping 411 children to acquire quality education and it is enabling them to gain life coping skills. 256 SHG women and 28 SHGs are trained to set goals for themselves and are helped to achieve them. 225 SHG women are trained on understanding gender issues and fight against violence and oppression. Networking with officials in Government Departments and Gram Panchayaths has helped in areas of Health and Education. The Gram Panchayath, Higher Officials and political leaders have supported schemes for providing Drinking water, health facilities etc. 70% of the SHG members have constructed toilets. 25 women availed livelihood loans which helped them to improve their economic status. The project envisages to benefit 1200 children, 800 women and 300 adolescents/youth from 1343 Dalit and Devadasi families. This is an ongoing project, the project already has begun making plans for the sustainability of the project. The CLAs are involved in planning and implementation of the project activities.
Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP), Kochi & Kainakari
This Project is implemented in collaboration with Cyriac Elias Voluntary Association (CEVA). CEVA has successfully completed 3 years of the Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP). The programme is being implemented in two areas namely Udaya Colony, Kochi and Kainakari, Alappuzha. The main achievements of the projects are: 15 women from Udaya Colony are being provided Chenda Training as per their expressed interest. Chenda is a cylindrical musical percussion instrument; mainly played in Hindu temple festivals and as an accompaniment in the religious art forms of Kerala. 50 elder parents initiated farming on a half-acre land situated in the heart of Kochi and training was provided for organic farming. Cancer Care Group was formed and awareness campaigns were initiated. Discussions with local governing bodies were undertaken to avail pension schemes for cancer patients. Treatment support is also being provided to 18 patients. Income Generation Activities include the Chavara Food Processing Unit and the Chavara Tailoring Unit.
Micro-Enterprise and Educational Programme for Women and Children (MEEP)
This project was initiated in association with CMC sisters in Kainakari to bring about an integral development among the people through education, life skills and livelihood training. This area is a flood-prone area, there are no proper transport facilities for the children to go to school. So 100 children are given educational support and also trainings are conducted to improve their life coping skills. As women find it very difficult to earn their livelihood because many a time their agriculture is affected by the flood they are left without income-generating options. To address this problem women were given training on tailoring and helped to procure tailoring machines to start their own tailoring unit. So far 75 women have been benefited through this programme. These women are housewives, and they are considered as the light of the family. Providing them with some educational classes has helped them to gain knowledge and awareness about themselves and their day-to-day life situations. Trainings have been given on topics such as budgeting, responsible parenting, stress management, health care, leadership skills etc. Since the water is contaminated in this area because of the use of high pesticides, women have been given grow bags to promote organic farming in this locality, 150 beneficiaries benefitted through this program.
CSA has been able to partner in the development of the women and children in village areas through its developmental projects. Significant changes have happened in the life of the people who have been benefited through the intervention of CSA. Women and children in these projects are very grateful to CSA for the changes that it has brought in their lives and in their communities. CSA believes in sustainability and develops activities that work towards the sustainable development of women and children.