Seva Mandir

Seva Mandir's mission is to make real the idea of society consisting of free and equal citizens who are able to come together and solve the problems that affect them in their particular contexts. The commitment is to work for a paradigm of development and governance that is democratic and polyarchic. Seva Mandir seeks to institutionalise the idea that development and governance is not only to be left to the State and its formal bodies like the legislature and the bureaucracy, but that citizens and their associations should engage separately and jointly with the State. The mission briefly, is to construct the conditions in which citizens of plural backgrounds and perspectives can come togethe...
May 8, 2013

Annual Report: You've Helped Us Reach 1,324 Children in One Year!

A health worker gives a child an immunization.
A health worker gives a child an immunization.

Dear Friends,

Below is an update on our immunization program, which according to MIT researchers and authors of "Poor Economics" (http://pooreconomics.com/), Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, is "one of the most impressive we have evaluated, and probably the one that has saved most lives." We hope that you are as proud as us to be a part of such a great success. The report below summarizes our progress in the past year, from March 2012 - April 2013:

Immunization camps are being conducted in 113 villages across the five blocks. In the last reporting period, immunization camps were conducted in 125 locations, of which 12 locations were dropped this year as the government began providing support in these locations.

During the reporting period, 1,308 camps were conducted against the target of 1,422 camps, which means 92% of camps were held. A total of 114 camps had to be cancelled due to reasons as mentioned below:

  • Unavailability of nurse - 56
  • Heavy rains and bad roads - 14
  • Replacement for nurse/assistant could not be arranged - 23
  • Festivals - 12
  • Other - 9

During the reporting period, a total of 1,324 children were registered in the immunization camps against 1,267 children registered in the previous year.

Apart from the routine vaccinations, 2,429 children were given treatment for illnesses such as fevers, coughs, colds, eye or ear infections, diarrhea and skin infections.

The camps also registered 1,783 women for antenatal checkups, an improvement of 230 compared to last year. Of these total registered women, 1,645 received one dose of tetanus toxoid vaccine and 1,377 women received both the doses. The components of antenatal checkups included a hemoglobin test, urine test, blood pressure measure and counseling on care during pregnancy.

This has been an incredibly successful year for our Health team at Seva Mandir. We have been working hard to make sure that quality health care reaches the communities who need it the most, and we couldn't have done without your support!

Please feel free to comment or rate our report, and share our good work with your friends!

With regards,

Deepti

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May 8, 2013

63 Women Introduce New Crops - Great Succes!

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

With this letter, I am very happy to share with you some news and updates about the program you have been supporting.

Since we’ve launched this project on Global Giving, we have managed to raise about $12,500. With a target goal of $100,000, we still have a long way to go.  As you know, women in our work area are often excluded from decision-making processes in their communities. In fact there is no platform for women to openly and freely discuss matters that are important to them. They are disadvantaged in nearly every way imaginable, and this even manifests in the most basic health indicators and education indicators: in our work area, 65% of women are malnourished, and the average literacy rate of rural women is as low as 20%.

Seva Mandir has created women's groups which are forums for women to meet and discuss their concerns. The Self Help Groups are an extension to these forums whereby women save up a little every month and use their funds for credit activities.These small loans are useful as it allows them to do away from local moneylenders as well as some of these women may start a small business to make further income.

Our staff is tirelessly working with 573 women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) comprising of over 8,200 women in 182 villages, to create a thriving network of local women who are taught basic accounting and entrepreneurial skills. These SHGs serve as a platform of mutual learning, and financial empowerment. The women in the SHGs actively engage with other local institutions to generate income for their families and create new livelihoods for themselves. Seva Mandir’s long experience in development has shown that communities that are more inclusive of women are much more likely to thrive.

Enclosed with this letter is an exceptional story of how 63 female farmers who with your support have seized an opportunity to cultivate new crops that contributed greatly to their household nutrition and income, while also reinvesting in the local ecology. We very much hope that you will enjoy reading about their progress. Thank you so much for your contributions.

With regards,

Deepti

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This past year, in the villages of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal, the waters retained during the monsoon season (July-Aug) have given farmers the option of sowing valuable cash crops. These three villages are active in Seva Mandir’s watershed development program, which effectively combats land degradation by preventing water and soil from running off the hilly terrain. With Seva Mandir support, the three villages have also each set up their own women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs).

Together, the 63 SHG members sought to harness to improved land conditions brought about by the watershed development projects in their area. They proposed to cultivate valuable crops such as ginger, turmeric, colocassia (AKA Elephant Ears), yams (ratalu) and safed musli. The women were provided training on the cultivation of these crops, and then received loans from their local village fund to begin their project.

It was a great success. After harvest, the women took their new crops to the markets. They also were able to keep some of the crops for their own household consumption, which introduced a more diverse and nutritious diet to their families. In the end, each woman was able to pocket Rs. 1,000 – 1,500 in profit, after paying back the WDC plus an additional 10% of their loan amount. In a region where the daily per-capita consumption is less than Rs. 20 a day, this is a substantial amount!

The SHGs of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal have embodied much of what is to be aspired in true sustainable development. The women skillfully demonstrated that their empowerment can make lasting contributions to the local environment, economy, and community.

Links:

May 7, 2013

Annual Report - Great Progress Thanks to You!

To all our supporters,

Below is an update on the Dal Mill project. We reached out to Ram, the ambitious Seva Mandir staff member who’s out to prove that business can be both socially responsible and profitable, even in the most remote and disadvantaged locations”, to ask about how the past year has gone for the Dal Mill Project. We hope you’ll find his response as inspiring as it was for us:

 

Dal Mill Annual Report

The last year has been a great success for the Dal Mill. The following are some of the highlights:

  • There has been a significant increase in the quantity of dal processed, up from 1,750kg in 2011-12 to 9,346kg in 2012-13.
  •  Much of this has come through diversifying our client base. This year, hotels in Udaipur bought half of what we produced.
  • Efforts are being made to establish new partnerships with various retailers and wholesalers in Udaipur. In this regard, we are currently creating partnerships with Banyan Roots (a retail store that promotes locally grown organic produce) and Udaipur Sahkari Upbhokta Bhandar (a govt co-operative store).
  • This year we diversified our brand by introducing two different types of dal: Moong and Urad. The current demand for Moong dal is as high as the demand is for Tuar dal, our most common product.
  • Overall, this success has led to an average increase in annual income of Rs.1,192 ($22) for each of the 200 farmers selling their dal to the mill.
  • Additionally, the opening of the mill and the competition it presents to traders has also lead to a 30% increase in the value of dal in the villages where the dal is purchased.
  • As a result of this competition, the total income for farmers (not directly affiliated with the mill) in the region increased by approximately Rs. 3,500,000 ($64,815) in 2012-2013.
  • A new procurement centre was opened in the village of Cheekhla, which has expanded the procurement area from eight to twenty villages.
  • This means that the mill is now reaching an additional 100 farmers and benefitting hundreds more by creating a positive pressure on local traders to also offer a fair price to farmers.
  • Through the opening of new procurement centres over the coming year, we hope to significantly expand the reach of the mill.

There have also been major changes to the infrastructure of the mill. A de-stoner machine was purchased in order to remove grit and small stones from the product. We also bought a new processing machine in order to increase the mill’s efficiency and reduce the cost of production.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, our work to get the mill hooked up to the electricity grid has finally been completed and the mill should be electrified by the end of June. This will drastically cut the cost of electricity over the current diesel generator and lead to a significant increase in profits.

We are now in the final stages of implementing a partnership between the Dal Mill and Sadhna, a fair-trade social women enterprise initiated (in 1980s) and developed by Seva Mandir (www.sadhna.org).  In end of 2004 Sadhna has become an independent mutual benefit trust.

Collaborating with Sadhna would provide the Dal Mill with a well-known and reputable branding and visibility. It would also mean that the mill would be legally registered, meeting the requirements for it to continue operating.

Overall, last year has been very eventful for the mill. Your support has been instrumental for us to achieve these targets. Please take a look at our program page to see how we are trying to spread our reach from 20 to 300 villages, and help about 180,000 people in the process.  Once again, thank you for all your support!

 

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