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...
Jun 7, 2013

You can help us save even more lives

Mother with her child in an immunization camp
Mother with her child in an immunization camp

Dear Friends,

            Thank you for your continued support of our immunization program! With your help, we have made significant strides in improving the health standards of children and young mothers across the region. We have conducted immunization camps across 113 different hamlets, reaching out to remote and rural areas that have previously not received this essential care. In 2012-2013, we were able to immunize 1,324 children, perform 1,553 antenatal checkups, and provide treatment for routine ailments.

In southern Rajasthan, with immunization rates as low as 19% in certain areas, the need for programs such as ours is severe. The health of children and young mothers across the region still presents a significant problem. However, a recent study in 2009 in collaboration with J-PAL of MIT has shown that 60% of children in our intervention areas have received complete immunization, compared to only 35% in non-intervention areas.This year we strove to increase the supply and demand of immunization throughout our work area. We provided regular, reliable, and well-publicized camps, and offered incentives to parents to ensure that they would bring their children to be immunized.

We hope to continue reducing the mortality rates in the area by making complete immunization accessible and ultimately, the norm. Esteemed MIT professors Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo recognized the high quality of our efforts. After conducting a study in 2009, they stated in their book Poor Economics that, “Seva Mandir’s immunization program is one of the most impressive we have ever evaluated, and probably the one that has saved the most lives”.

Our wish is to maintain this high level of quality and performance in our immunization program, and with your help we can. On June 12th, Global Giving will match 50% of your donation to our project. Thank you again for your support of Seva Mandir’s work!

Sincerely,

Deepti

Links:

May 9, 2013

Annual Report: Thank you for helping us reach over 700 villages!

Villagers begin a project with a ritual
Villagers begin a project with a ritual

Dear Friends,

As Seva Mandir has now helped establish over 700 village groups, this is an historical year for us. We thank you dearly for helping us get this far, and hope you will remain by our side as we continue to grow. Below is an update on our Village Institution Program, and the progress we have made in the past year (April 2012 - March 2013).

The Village Institution Program of Seva Mandir aims to create and nurture alternative and autonomous platforms through which the communities can take responsibility for their own development. The need for this program arose as a result of the limited capacity of panchayats (the most local level of the formal government) to effectively respond to community needs, fragmentation of communities over a wide variety of issues, and the lack of a developmental outlook at the village level. This program intends to create an atmosphere where the positive forces of cooperation, transparency, equity, justice, and responsible autonomy within the community can help in leading towards an overall development of their villages.

The Village Institutions Program has three components:

  1. Samuh (the general body of villager-members of the village institution)
  2. Gram Vikas Kosh (GVK or Village Development Fund, built up through community contributions and with support from Seva Mandir, and used to fund local development interventions)
  3. Gram Vikas Committee (GVC or elected Village Development Committee, responsible for leading the local development process)

In brief, here are some of the main highlights from this year:

  • 35 new village groups have been formed this year, bringing our total to 704. These groups are the prerequisites to the formation of the GVK/GKC.
  • The total membership of villagers to this program has increased by 2,181. There are now nearly 58,000 people a part of our program!
  • The total number of GVKs (village funds) stands at 618. Eight communities have withdrawn their funds this year.
  • The total amount of money held by the GVKs has increased by Rs. 2,920,710 ($54,087), at a grand total of $780,644.
  • 13 new GVCs have formed to effectively govern their community funds. The total number of GVCs is 532.
  • 13 GVCs have received management and accounting training this year, bringing the total to 525.
  • Female membership of GVCs has increased by 200.
  • 63 GVCs are now operating with 100% autonomy, without any Seva Mandir support.

As you can see, this has been an incredibly successful year for the program. Every donation helps Seva Mandir provide training and workshops so that these communities can learn how to effectively manage their own development. With your help, these communities are not simply passive recipients of aid; they are taking matters into their own hands.

With regards,

Deepti

Links:

May 8, 2013

Annual Report: You've Helped Us Reach 6,000 Children!

Our instructors pay close attention to each child.
Our instructors pay close attention to each child.

Dear Friends,

This year, your support has helped nearly 6,000 children go to school this year! Below, you’ll find a brief report on how our Shiksha Kendra (SK – formally known as the Non-Formal Education) project has done this year (March ’12 – April ’13). Our staff have been working hard with local communities to increase access to, and the quality of, education and to persuade parents that giving their children, especially girls, an education is in everyone’s long-term interest.  In truth, this is a tough battle – a recent survey in 14 of some of our most remote and impoverished villages concluded that 53% of the children (aged 6-14) are not enrolled in school. In fact, 36% of them have never even attended a single day of school. It is in this context that we are working to provide schooling for the thousands of out-of-school children in southern Rajasthan.

Introduction: 

Seva Mandir currently runs 173 Shiksha Kendras (SKs) in the 5 blocks (subdivisions of a district) we work in. These schools offer a primary education that is catered to out-of-school children. The majority of these children are first-generation learners, meaning their parents have never gone to school. The main goal of the SKs is to provide a quality education that enables children to confidently and smoothly transition into government schools.

Some key figures for this year are:

  • 5,791 children attended the SKs
  • 44% of the students are girls
  • One-third of the students are newly enrolled, marking a great success in our ability to reach out to convince local parents to enroll their children
  • 110 more children are attending the SKs as compared to last year.

Progress in Learning:

In order to monitor the progress of the children, we conduct a standardized test twice a year. The learning levels have been categorized from 0-3, and roughly corresponding to government classes. While we still have not conducted the final test for this year, a comparison of our latest midterm exam with last year’s results shows significant progress. The proportion of children in Levels 2 and 3 increased by 15%, reflecting the greater efficacy of our teachers who have been receiving continuous training.

Enrollment in Government Schools:

As mentioned in the introduction, the main goal of the SKs is to get children enrolled into government schools once their basic competencies in Hindi and math have been achieved.  This year, 1,114 children from our Shiksha Kendras were mainstreamed into government schools. About two-thirds of these children were accepted into Classes 5 and 6, which is a strong indicator that our instructors are effective teachers.

Investing in our Instructors:

Nearly all the instructors at the SKs are local community members who often belong to the same village they work in. Most of our instructors have only studied up to 8th or 9th class, so Seva Mandir provides regular and rigorous training to enhance their capabilities and skills. This year there were 28 training sessions held in all five blocks.

In addition, 8 Seva Mandir staff members participated in a two-week teacher exchange program with an NGO in the Netherlands, where they received new ideas on how to make changes and improvements with concrete, long-term plans.

Conclusion:

As you can see, this year has shown an improvement in enrollment and quality of education received at the Shiksha Kendras. The Shiksha Kendra model has been incredibly successful in integrating hundreds of well-trained children into government schools. The ambition of this project is matched only by the commitment of our staff, who are working tirelessly to create a much-needed revolution in education in our region.

Please feel free to comment and/or rate our report, your feedback means everything to us!

On behalf of all of our staff, instructors, and the thousands of children you are helping, I would like to sincerely thank you for your commitment to our cause!

With regards,

Deepti

Links:

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