Stiving to associate rural communities with mainstream

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Formed by a group of rural intellectuals, Navachar Sansthan is working on integrated rural development like education, health, environment, agriculture, natural resource management, livestock agrarian economy, women and child rights, adolescent and youth friendly health services, SHG promotion, gender, wellbeing of disable and old age people, HIV/AIDS and Dalit and Tribal rights. It is promoting women's contribution on issues related to employment and socio-economic equity.

'Navachar' literally means 'Innovation'. Navachar is based at Kapasan, the sub-divisional headquarters of Chittorgarh district in southern Rajasthan. Kapasan is situated 40 km west of Chittorgarh and 80 km east of Udaipur, a famous tourist place. It is well connected through both rail and road from both the places. The people in the region principally rely on agriculture and cattle rearing for their livelihood which is constantly affected by frequent droughts. The rural youths are compelled to migrate to other part of the country for their livelihood.

Way back in 1991, with support from CASA, Navachar initiated its work with the objective of integrated rural development from two villages. It organised a number of capacity building training programmes under the Project. Keeping the impact of project activities in mind and the needs of the region, Navachar expanded its area of operation to 12 villages and finally 100 villages in the three development blocks of Kapasan sub-division.

A beginning for economic empowerment and livelihood of the people was made in 1992 when first SHGs started taking shape. Within short time, SHGs took up one or other income generation activities, but often faced hindrances relating to lack of expertise, lack of resources, problems related to marketing and distribution of product, technical inefficiency and irregularity.

During the implementation of rural development programme, Navachar was able to build its own perspective. The capacity enhancement of the team became possible, and at the community level, SHGs, CBOs and rural initiatives came into existence. With support from NABARD, SHGs were linked to banks for their loaning needs.

In collaboration with Aravali Rajasthan, Navachar initiated 'Revenue based Model' of microfinance through Mewar SHG Federation. This initiative provided technical, research and recordkeeping support and promoted an independent identity to the SHG model. Today the SHG members are in a position to raise voice for their rights.

A people's organisation at sub-divisional level, Mewar Jan Adhikar Manch, has been formed for carrying out advocacy on the issues on which Navachar works. This is exactly in accordance with the objectives of rural development programme in which it was envisaged to carry on the development process through people mobilisation by enhancing the capacity of the community with the help of various project activities.

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