Manav Sadhan Vikas Sanstha
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Dounder Chairman's Vision Statement

Founder Chairman's Vision Statement

Human development should be the ultimate aim of any government. A society is said to have achieved this goal provided its members have a good quality of life. India has progressed on several fronts but an average Indian hasn't. His/ her quality of life hasn't changed. India ranks low in terms of the Human Development Index. Millions of its people still do not have access to basic medical care, safe drinking water, and education. A large percentage of its children are still undernourished. This is a huge problem. How could one solve this? Will an alternative framework of governance work? And what could that be?

Some like-minded colleagues and I collectively visualized a workable and replicable model of holistic human development that aims at empowering communities, supporting civil society initiatives, and channelizing entrepreneurial energy. Manav Sadhan Vikas Sanstha (MSVS) was thus born!

A public charitable trust formed sixteen years ago, MSVS seeks to bring about a holistic development of communities through proactive participation of both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. It integrates economic, social, physical, ecological, intellectual and spiritual aspects in its developmental strategy in a holistic manner, thereby providing a greater meaning to the life.

While MSVS is conceived as a pan India movement, we chose Konkan, a picturesque region on the west coast of the Maharashtra state, as the initial project area. For one, development has always eluded this sylvan stretch despite a high level of literacy and abundant natural resources.

  • Almost one-third of its population lives below poverty line
  • Mass migration of its men folks to the neighboring metros in search of greener pastures
  • No impactful presence on the country’s tourist map, despite enviable scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage
  • Perennial problem of drinking water during summer despite heavy rainfall

Secondly and more importantly, the area, comprising of 1200 villages, falls in 'Rajapur' Parliamentary Constituency from where I got elected to the Lok Sabha for four consecutive terms. I had peoples' mandate to work for the development of that area. After much brainstorming, the MSVS team decided to work around following key areas:

  • Education
  • Women empowerment
  • Rural development
  • Technology
  • Ecology
  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Health care
  • Recreation
  • Tourism
  • Information technology and rural development database
  • Employment generation
  • Entrepreneurship development

Two elements are crucial to the success of any model: institutionalization and creation of a committed cadre. Proactive participation of all the stakeholders is another key factor. MSVS volunteers started doing a baseline survey of all the 1200 villages to glean exact data for evolving developmental strategies. We divided the total population into six different target groups. These are:

  • Farmers
  • Women,
  • Youth,
  • Fishermen,
  • Ex-servicemen and
  • Backward classes

The stratification was necessary to evolve:

1. An organizational structure, which has a representative of each of the above mentioned target groups at different levels- from the smallest unit called “wadi” or the hamlet up to the block and district levels, and

2. A set of complimentary developmental activities for these groups.

The organizational set up was a network of 105 local NGOs for the 1200 villages of the region, each looking after the development of approximately 10 to 12 villages in its area of operation through a hub of activities called Parivartan Kendra (Transformation Centre).

Representative of each target community was identified at each level- from a hamlet, village, Parivartan Kendra (cluster of 10 villages) to the block and the district- to look after the developmental needs pertaining to their own group. The Parivartan Kendra acted as a hub of all developmental activities for a given cluster of villages. MSVS created a voluntary structure for each target group in each village. The ultimate aim was to have at least one volunteer for each target group in each hamlet of the region. This volunteer structure from the hamlet to the district level was the link between the people and the Government. The introduction of the concept of NGO participation in such a formal structure was to ensure participation of people in the developmental process and prudent utilization of funds made available for the developmental initiatives.

The importance of the structure lies in thus institutionalizing the developmental efforts. The structure acted as a permanent pipeline through which the information about government scheme would reach the beneficiaries and feedback about its implementation from beneficiaries would reach the government. We employed certain criteria while shortlisting our NGO partners for the formation of the Parivartan Kendras. We formed 105 such Parivartan Kendra. Each Kendra had following activities:

  • Gymnasiums for physical development,
  • Vocational training for economic development,
  • Computer training, Internet kiosks and libraries for intellectual development,
  • Eco clubs for environmental development
  • Motivational lectures and bhajans for spiritual development, and
  • Encouragement of local performing arts and crafts for cultural development

Various Governments launch hundreds of well meaning schemes for the benefit of the different sections of the society. One of the major obstacles in these schemes reaching the end users is the lack of knowledge about these schemes among those for whom they are designed. To bridge this gap, MSVS collected and analyzed all Central, State and Local Self- Government schemes pertaining to its target groups and published them in a book form. At the Parivartan Kendras, group representatives explained these schemes to concerned people, prepared proposals and followed up with different government departments.

To compliment our developmental initiatives, we started a Vocational Training Centre called Jana Shikshan Sansthan Sindhudurg (JSSS), the first ever JSS in a rural area, which imparts employability skills to the people. A scheme of the Union HRD Ministry, JSS is now into its 12th year of operation and has trained several thousand people. As part of our women empowerment program, we began creating self-help groups of women with the help of LUPIN Laboratories and NABARD. Today there is a network of over 2,000 SHGs in the area. We started the first ever Nursing school in Konkan. Now into its 12th year, our School of Nursing imparts a General Nursing and Midwifery Diploma (GNM). We tied up with the Ford Foundation to create awareness about computer education in schools. Close to 5,000 students and teachers took advantage of these programs. We joined hands with ICICI and MITCON to start Internet kiosks.

It has been a long and arduous journey for MSVS. Many goals have been achieved; many more need to be achieved. While continuing to work in Konkan, MSVS is now turning to other areas. We have started work in Mumbai's slums and will soon move to the neighboring Goa, and Eastern UP. MSVS is dedicated to creating an India where every single person is literate, prosperous and empowered.

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