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General Body Meeting Feb 3 rd,2007 Association for India’s Development - Philadelphia.

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Presentation on theme: "General Body Meeting Feb 3 rd,2007 Association for India’s Development - Philadelphia."— Presentation transcript:

1 General Body Meeting Feb 3 rd,2007 Association for India’s Development - Philadelphia

2 1. About AID – Vijay Seshadri & Parag Shah 2.Project Review – Mahila Shanti Sena – Nitin Bakshi 3. RTI Workshop – Vijay Manghnani & Nitin Bakshi 4. Forest Issues– Karthik Balasubramaniam 5. Understanding Organic Farming – Neeraj Kulkarni 6. A peek into the Child Labor Act – Ekta Khurana 7.Treasury Position – Vimla Gulbani, Kinshuk Jerath 8.Goals for 2007, Q&A, Open Forum – Vijay Seshadri Agenda

3 Vijay S & Parag AID at a Glance AID in 2006 AIDPhilly – Growth Knowledge Improvement Publicity & Awareness Goals for 2007 About AID

4 Founded: 1991 Incorporation Completed: 2003 Chapters in the US: 40+ Number of Volunteers: ~1000 Number of Salaried Employees: none Chapters in India: 8 – Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Orissa, Pune Chapters in U.S.A – 42 ; Canada – 4; Australia - 1 Projects Supported so far: 365+ Programs Support: Tsunami Rehabilitation; Hundred Block Programs in TN,AP, Bihar; RTI - undergoing Intl. Presence: Australia, Canada, India, UK, USA Jeevansaathis (Fulltime Volunteers) in India: 7; Saathis - 15

5 Awards & Accomplishments 1997 - International History Week Humanitarian Leadership Award 2003 - AID was felicitated at the Vishwasetu Conference 2004 - AID has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, America 's largest independent evaluator of charities. 2005 - AID JeevanSaathi Dr. Balaji Sampath & AID win MIT Global Indus Technovator Awards for Grassroot Development using innovative technology 2005 - AID Founder Ravi K. receives Community Service Award from Association for Indian Americans (AIA). Association for Indian Americans (AIA), DC chapter felicitated Association for India's Development (AID) JeevanSaathi Dr. Ravi Kuchimanchi, co-founder of AID Inc. in their 26th Annual Academic and Outstanding Achievement Awards Ceremony on July 17th 2005 AID Tsunami relief and rehabilitation campaign leader Balaji Sampath elected as an Ashoka fellow Recognition by Maryland Senator for Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation - "I would like to thank for all your hard work. I know that volunteer work such as this can be very grueling and time consuming. Therefore, it gives me great joy to hear of one of my constituents putting forth such effort for the good of humanity.“ - John A. Giannetti, Jr.; Maryland Senator, District 21,Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties,Dated: Jan 12, 2005

6 AID Projects Relief and Rehabilitation Campaigns Education Forest Livelihood Training Awareness Empowerment

7 Execution of Projects AID executes projects through Saathis, Jeevan Saathis and volunteers who work on various issues in India Saathis –AID provides short term funding for 1-3 yrs –Provide non-monetary involvement and strategic support –Saathis are a source of inspiration –Saathis are experts in their respective fields and do workshops Jeevansaathis –AID volunteers who decided to work on a full time basis on developmental issues –Receive lifetime support of $5000/yr

8 AID Philly Born on September 13, 2003 with 4 volunteers. Meetings in apartments then Drexel campus and for the past two years we have meetings in the Penn Campus Currently, we have 15+ volunteers, 150+ well wishers on our chapter mailing list Volunteer profile: –Professionals: IT, Chemistry,Compuer Science, Chemical Engineering, Consulting, Sales, etc. –Students: Penn, Drexel

9 Awareness Events in 2006 Tabling at various events. In the past we have tabled at –Sruti Concerts –Rangoli –Pragathi Events –Marati Mithra Mandal –Independence Festivals Movie Screening Draft and write letters to affected people as well as to people who are influential such as Police Commissioners, Collectors, CM’s, PM’s… Creating awareness by workshops, AID annual conference, Chapter GBMs, Out Reach by word of mouth

10 Publicity & Knowledge improvement –Establish a stable ‘active volunteer’ base –Generate awareness: platform for ‘big’ projects in the future –Enhance our understanding of interrelated issues Fund Raising Project Review –review and support ‘novel’ developmental projects in India Focal Points of our work

11 Chapter Activities 1 Project Review, Evaluation, Monitoring, and Execution through AID network (Jeevan Saathis, Saathis, and NGO’s) 2 Coordinating site visits to India, working with other chapters and grassroots organizations 3 Understanding issues and supporting campaigns run by like-minded organizations 5 Creating Specialized Knowledge groups in the areas of social development viz., Organic Farming, Forest Issues, Child Labor, RTI 4 Fund Raising and Event Management 6 Publicity and creating awareness among the local communities viz., donors, sponsors, friends, volunteers, families etc

12 AID Vigil For Narmada and Bhopal - April 2006 On Apr 18, 2006 our chapter held a candle- light vigil to show our support to the demands of Bhopal and Narmada activists and to ask the Government of India to take action on the Bhopal-Narmada demands.

13 Forest Workshop – June 2006 Workshop conducted by an expert – Mr. S.R.Hiremath Camping / brainstorming session in the Poconos 55 people attended the workshop

14 Forest Workshop at Penn

15 Independence Day at Penn’s Landing – August 2006 AID Philly had a presence at the Festival of India held at Wiggins Park, Camden (08/12) and Penns landing, Philadelphia (08/19) We created terrific interest to learn about RTI among the Indian diasporas The rural products got lot of attention

16 Independence Day at Penn’s Landing Creating awareness through AID Merchandise (Rural Products)

17 Annual Fund Raiser Highlights: 5 runners – Raised $5000+ Created awareness among 100+ new donors Definitely lost some weight Left to Right: Kinshuk, Neeraj, Nitin, Vijay S, Srihari, Sanjay,Brunda, Anu, Bala Sitting: Vijay M, Ram ; Missing in the photo: Srividya and Jennifer – Runners; AID volunteers from NYC, Princeton and Philly chapters.

18 Annual Fund Raiser Left: Sanjay, AID- Princeton; Nitin, AID - Philadelphia

19 Chapter Achievements Terrific Fund raising team Project reviews are more diligent –Excellent understanding of issues –Reference checks / Site visits / leveraging AIDINDIA Contribution to Monthly AID Wide Newsletter Contribution to the Annual Report Organizing Workshops

20 Your Source for Information returning-indians-return.html returning-indians-return.html Join your nearest chapter!

21 Mahila Shanti Sena A women’s empowerment initiative in Orissa NGO: Unnayan

22 Project Goals Women’s empowerment by enhancing the social and political status – forming their corps at various levels – holistic approach involving community health, education for good governance, and neighborhood peace Location –Orissa –AID Philadelphia sponsoring, along with SEED, work in 3 blocks in Mayurbhanj District. Rasgobindpur, Suliapada, Moruda

23 Specific Measures Organize women into corps. Provide training through camps Generate momentum / enthusiasm through Public Assemblies AID Philadelphia sponsored Consultative meet in Mayurbhanj Training of Trainers camp Training of women peace workers (2) Inter-group visits (2) People’s Assembly Funds Allocated: Rs.3,04,500/- for one year

24 Background Mahila Shanti Sena in Bihar –Shrambharati –Acharya Ramamurti Work in Orissa started already –Thailo Pani Panchayat –Prior training camps – Anugul Unnayan –Partnered with AID on earlier occassions; good feedback from Dhanada Mishra –Established presence in Orissa, esp. Mayurbhanj and vicinity –Interaction with volunteers has been very positive –Endorsement from McMaster Univ., Canada –AID Blacksburg and State College also supporting project

25 Status Update Training of Trainers Camp – Mayurbhanj Dist. – Oct. 2006

26 Highlights of TOT camp Oct 26-29, 2006; Kakabandh, Mayurbhanj Form cadre of grass roots trainers who can impart training at village level 28 particpants: Rasgobindpur (10), Morda (6), Suliapada (5), Unnayan (7) Training provided by –Uma S. Chaturbedi & Sneh Kumar of Shrambharati, Bihar Training Methodology –Sharing of experience, Group Discussion, Situational Analysis, Interpretation of historical and mythological stories, Role play, Success stories, Games, and Question – Answer.

27 Other Updates Consultative Meetings (2) –Forum to review women’s issues at grass-roots level; identify suitable means for empowerment 1 st meeting on 24 th Sep., 2006; 31 women’s leaders participated; Rasgobindpur block in Mayurbhanj Dist. 2 nd meeting on 19 th Nov., 2006; 81 participants; Malihata village in Chitroda Panchayat – Mayurbhanj. Number of panchayat level (1 day) meetings held to follow up on the consultative meetings. Training camp for women peace workers (1) –25 th – 26 th Nov., 2006 at Kakbandh office –41 participants from 12 villages of Rasgobindpur block. Regular Quarterly meets held (not funded by AID Philly)

28 Angul Camp not part of AID proposal Photos from a Training Camp Anugul, Feb. 2006



31 Impact Some Case Studies –Anti-Liquor campaign –Fake Currency Issue –Celebration of village festivals –Resolution of sexual harassment / exploitation case

32 Next Steps Keep the momentum going Evaluate effectiveness of programs / policies ? –What are your thoughts?

33 Right to Information Act (RTI) Soochna ka Adhikaar

34 What is RTI? RTI Act was passed by the government in 2005 –To empower citizens to secure access of information from public authority –Important to ensure transparency and accountability in government administration Right to Information is a fundamental constitutional right of every citizen. –The RTI Act (2005) lays out a framework within which the right can be exercised effectively What rights are available under RTI Act 2005? –Right to Information Act 2005 empowers every citizen to Ask any questions from the Government or seek any information Take copies of any government documents Inspect any government documents. Inspect any Government works Take samples of materials of any Government work.

35 Why does RTI Act work? There have been many good laws in India but none of those laws worked. Why makes us think this law would work? –For the first time in the history of independent India, there is a law which casts a direct accountability on the officer for non-performance. –If concerned officer does not provide information in time, a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay can be imposed by the Information Commissioner –A response time frame of 30 days is fixed –If the information provided is false, a penalty of a maximum of Rs 25,000 can be imposed. This fine is deducted from the officer’s personal salary. –The law is very broad in its definition of information –There are very few hurdles for the common man to access this law Application fee: Rs. 10/- Application form: Plain piece of paper Cost of material: nominal

36 Department 1 Who’s who in the RTI world? Chief Information Commissioner Central Information Commissioner Appellate Authority A-CPIO CPIO Department 1 Appellate Authority A-CPIO CPIO Department 1 Appellate Authority A-CPIO CPIO Department 1 Appellate Authority A-CPIO CPIO

37 Success Stories Too many to list out here –Public service works –Pending files –Anti-corruption - Drivers license, Ration cards etc –School admission

38 How is AID involved in RTI? India –Social audits (Jan Sunwai) –NREGA audits –Awareness and Training activities USA –Campaign activities –Supporting in projects in India (AID, Asha Parivar, etc) –Research and review of RTI implementation in India and abroad

39 National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) NREGA is designed as a safety net to alleviate poverty and reduce migration by rural poor households in the lean period –A hundred days of guaranteed unskilled manual labor provided when demanded at minimum wage –works focused on water conservation, land development & drought proofing

40 NREGA Act Provisions Households domiciled in a village (not just those below the poverty line) are entitled to register for seeking unskilled employment. Job cards containing photographs should be issued to all entitled applicants within 15 days of application. Demand for work from job card holders should be acknowledged and unskilled work allotted within 15 days. 50% of the works should be implemented by gram panchayat. The shelf of projects for a village should be recommended by the gram sabha and approved by the zilla panchayat. No contractors and machinery should be used. Labour intensive works with 60% wage component should be taken up. Payment should be made within 15 days. The State’s notified minimum wage for agricultural labour is to be applied. States like Karnataka, AP, TN have used bank/PO network for wage payment.

41 41 Key Processes Application for job card Issue of job card Demand for employment Work allocation Selection of works Approval of shelf of projects Informing village PRI Preparation of estimates And approvals Acknowledgement of demand Maintenance of muster roll Verification Payment of wages

42 How is AID involved in NREGA? Creating awareness –Ensuring people have job cards –Ensuring approval of needed projects Ensuring efficient implementation –Eliminate corruption from implementation –Review of muster rolls –Use of RTI to obtain fund disbursal details

43 Resources RTI – – – – – NREGA –http://nrega.nic.in – (Social audits)

44 Forest Issues Workshop ~Karthik June 17 th 2006 in Philadelphia – One-day workshop Conducted by Mr.S.R.Hiremath Founder of SPS, an NGO in Dharwad, Karnataka; Working for more than 20 years in environmental, forest and tribal issues; Strong advocate of rural empowerment and sustainable development Currently the President of the National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR) which spearheaded the successful National Campaign for Protection of Forest Lands that defeated the move of the Environment Ministry to give 2 million hectares of forest lands to industries for captive plantation Involved with the movement against pollution of Tungabhadra River (1984 to 1994), Save the Western Ghats March (SWGM) (1987-88)

45 Forest Issues Workshop 55 participants from various AID chapters Objective : To understand what is involved in this issue and more importantly what needs to be done to protect the forest lands for the livelihood needs of the rural poor in line with the National Forest Policy, 1988 and the Forest Conservation (Amended) Act, 1988 Working knowledge of forest issues with historical perspective; Key activists and movements; court judgments and policy changes Current struggles on the issue and current government perspectives New changes in the horizon; how to get connected and what we can do

46 Forest Issues Workshop Depletion of forest resources in the last few decades Need for conserving and protecting forests and natural resources is clear How are forests and natural resources intertwined with the livelihoods of people? How is the issue of forest conservation linked with the issue of protecting the rights of tribal people to forest produce? What are the current and proposed laws governing these issues? When the governments try to hand over "degraded" forest lands to industries, how should the civil society react?

47 Why organic farming?: Current farming practices are leading to many problems: Pesticides use: Chemical pesticide use leads to pesticide residue, say in ground water, in food, everywhere. Pesticide residue causes health problems, environmental problem. Small farmers become dependent on pesticide manufacturing companies. Multinational Companies are pushing the products to farmers, but the yields are going down to repeated abuse of land Soil erosion Organic farming is a way forward for sustainable, environment friendly agriculture. AID Philly and organic farming ~ Neeraj

48 Kheti Virasat, an NGO in Punjab, is under consideration for funds for coming year. The NGO is trying to generate awareness among farmers in Punjab about benefits of shifting to natural farming. Punjab has only 1.5 % landmass of the country but it consumes about 18% of pesticides. High pesticide use is linked to increased cancer risk Recent Center for science and Environment study: The levels of organochlorine pesticides are 15-605 times higher in blood samples from Punjab, compared to blood samples collected from US population. AID Philly efforts related to organic farming.

49 A peek into the Child Labor Act ~ Ekta Source: National Geographic News About 12.6 million child workers in India Employment of children as domestic servants at home or in dhabas (road side eateries), restaurants, hotels, motels teashops, resorts, spas or other recreational centers banned from October 10, 2006 Ban imposed under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 Punishment between three months and one year and fine of up to Rs 20,000 or both for violators

50 Problems in the implementation of the law Corruption Verification of age No proper rehabilitation: National Child Labour Project Street Children Project under review Proposal by Harsh Mander for ‘Food, Education and Shelter for Street and Homeless Children’ in five cities including Delhi and Hyderabad How you can make a difference Discourage friends/neighbors/relatives in India from hiring child labor and encourage them to help these children enroll in schools : free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of fourteen is constitutional commitment in India. Current Situation

51 Treasury Position – Vimla, Kinshuk Treasury Report for 2006 - AIDINDIA, Philadelphia Chapter Funds Raised Marathon~$5000 8 non-marathon donations$10,000 Small donations, calendar, EFT, etc.~$3000 $18,203 Funds Disbursement Funds Available Beginning of 2006 (Carried over from 2005)$7,748 Projects Funded I) Education Eureka libraries project 2006 multi-chap$4,000 II) Women's Empowerment MSS Project - Voicing the voiceless from Unnayan 2006$5,000 III) Livelihood ARTRC Project$3,500 Other Chapter Related Disbursement Cost of 10 T-shirts bought from Duke chapter$100 Summer '05 travel-Chandra (Saathi Workshop)$115 $12,715 Funds Net for 2006$5,488 Funds Available for 2007 (Feb 4, 2007)$13,236

52 How Can I play a role in AID? Join Us: Be the change you wish to see at –Roles you can play at AIDPhilly: Be a Project Coordinator, Event Coordinator, Awareness Coordinator, Fund Raiser, NGO Coordinator, Outreach Coordinator to the Community, Site Visit Coordinator Web Site Management Foundations Coordinator (New Position) NGO Coordinator (New Position) –Create Newsletters, Presentations, Annual Reports – Reach out Support our work : If you feel that our work is valuable in bringing about social change in India, please contribute towards our efforts. even a small contribution can go a long way. Other ways to support us –AID Corpus Fund :AID has a corpus fund towards which we welcome bequests, large volume funding, as well as encourage our benefactors to mention AID as a beneficiary in their last wills and testaments. –Matching Grants: Several companies match donations by its employees to charitable organizations. You can find out if your company has such a program and register AID with them. AID is registered with the IRS as a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt organization and our federal Tax-ID number is 04-3652609. –Grants from Linguistic and Cultural Associations: Several cultural and linguistic associations have made donations to AID. You can request your association to do the same – if necessary, the donation can also be directed to projects in a particular state or region. –Grants from Companies: Your company may be making grants to projects or organizations. In many cases we might have to write proposals for particular project with the details of the budget to qualify for the grant. If you can investigate into this and get in touch with us, we can work with you on writing the proposal.

53 Knowledge Improvement e.g. Organic Farming, Child Labor, RTI, NREGA Organize a major publicity & fund-raiser event – Concert Evaluate, Review and Fund at least 2-4 projects Spreading the message of AID –We need Your Participation –Spread the good word about us –Organize and present to students at Drexel University, Temple University, Swarthmore College, Villanova Univ., Widener, Brywn Mawr College –Reach out to the community in Delaware valley Closer interaction & collaboration with other Philadelphia based organizations Partnership with Foundations to address specific issues Goals for 2007-08

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