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ADVOCACY

Working on a rights and advocacy-based model, we believe in bringing about long-term behavioural change amongst communities. In each of the problems we tackle, we create groups of people from local communities that advocate rights and ensure sustainability.

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Cluster Level Networks

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Child Rights Protection Committees

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Environment protection committees

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Farmers clubs and cooperatives

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Healthcare collectives

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Cluster Level Networks

We believe that women coming together form a powerhouse of change. Federating over 100 women together, we form cluster level networks - a support group for women who advocate for their rights at the policy level and accelerate community level change.

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Downing the Shutters on Exploitation:Through the CLNs several social changes have birthed among the community. A live case of this is the shutdown of liquor outlets in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, infamous for the presence of ‘wine shops and bars’ catering to men in rural and peri-urban regions and a cause of rampant social menace. One such collective is the Imayamalai CLN, a cluster of 11 SHGs from Jambodai village with 300 households, which is largely dependent on agriculture, but the presence of these outlets resulted in men taking to drinking every day and further axing their limited income, as every family in the village was affected by the money spent on alcohol. Drunken driving often caused serious injuries and many deaths too. It is through the representation of a plea by these women to shut down the liquor outlet that the village authorities ordered shutdown of liquor outlets.

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Child Rights Protection Committees

Coming from various walks of life, these members form a unique task force of volunteers who act as catalysts of change in the community. They create awareness on children’s rights for parents, teachers and children alike. A team of over 16,000, they are unstoppable!

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A Force to Reckon With: Dakshayini, the 42-year-old has been affected by Polio from birth, but this does not stop her from taking her tricycle and going the farthest place. It is not the power of her legs or the metal crutch she walks on, but solely her confidence that drives her. She has been a member of the Child Rights Protection Committee since 2010 and ever since has made sure that children do not dropout of schools. Education, she adds has supported her to strengthen her goals, as she has pursued degrees in Bcom, Mcom, Double MA in public administration and Economics and an MBA. Living in an area where children worked as bonded labourers in brick kilns, this strong woman took it upon herself to bring in child rights to her village. Curbing child marriages, ensuring school enrollments, organising jobs for the needy, helping young mothers - all this and more Dakshayani was able to turn around with the training given to her as a CRPC member.

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Environment protection committees

Often looked down upon, sanitary workers are given dignity, hope and choice. Forming a part of our environment protection committee, these ‘Green Friends’ advocate of segregation of waste at source and effective waste management.

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The Green Path to Liberty:The Solid Waste Management (SWM) project follows the two-pronged approach leading to women empowerment and environment sustainability. Firstly, to lead women at the lower-socioeconomic-rung, out of poverty by grouping them into Self Help Groups (SHGs). Secondly, to ascertain the dignity of labour by conversion of such women taking up menial jobs as rag pickers and productively engaging them as Green Friends, who work to minimise waste dumped in landfills. The project has cultivated awareness on segregation of waste at source and collects waste to the tune of 8 tons, out of which 5.5 tons (65 to 70 per cent) is treated scientifically and is diverted from reaching the landfill every day. The project has created employment for more than 400 people including 340 volunteers to date. Women Green Friends now enjoy a full-time job with a steady income and share the burden of running their families.

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Farmers clubs and cooperatives

All going the organic way, farmers come together as federations and leverage the strength of the group to get better prices on products, better market linkages and access to a large market.

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Building Bridges to Sustain Agriculture: Thanks to the initiative of the farmers’ cooperatives and the aligning body that organises farm schools and create market linkages, the hill ecosystem of a secluded tribal community in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu has been revived! The tribes have a new occupation to keep them busy in the lean farming season and offer an income-generating alternative aligning with their organic lifestyle. Thanks to the market linkage support provided by INFPCL (Indian Natural Farmers’ Producers Company Limited), beekeeping has become an alluring alternative under the project and is a huge win for the farmers with the honey sales reaping INR 1000–1500 per litre, eliminating the loss of income to middlemen. The technical training along with the enhanced equipment equipment including mould boxes, extractors, smokers and safety gears provided under the project has enabled technologies for small-scale farmers.

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Healthcare collectives

Mothers of children from the ages 0-5 come together as Mother’s Collectives to share wisdom on nutrition, healthcare and hygiene especially around pregnancy. These groups work in close coordination with representatives of Government day care centres to ensure cleanliness, on-time immunisation and nutritious meals!

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Mothers Collectives are a group of women, who actively engage in recording, tracking and monitoring mandatory nutritional requirements of kids and basics of personal hygiene. Members of the collectives The members meet on a weekly basis for skill training and once a month for discussing larger issues. The five-module training has been enlightening and empowering for the members. “The personal hygiene training has been eye-opening. I am much more cautious about keeping my house and surroundings clean. It directly impacts our health,” shares Vennila, a young mother and an active Mothers Collective member. She recites all the basics of personal hygiene training and explains how she is able to track the development of her child’s mental and physical health. The monthly Mothers Collective meetings have ensured that the members are each other’s strongest support system.

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