Integrated development efforts
(a) Self Help Groups (SHGs)
This has been the first major initiatives of the organization. Started in 2003, there are now 140 SHGs of women functioning with the technical support of the organization. Each member contributes Rs. 30.00 per month to their respective group fund being kept in a bank as Savings account. The groups are facilitated in securing loans from financial institutions for purposes like starting income generating programmes for augmenting their income. The loans are repayable in ten equal monthly installments. The groups are also facilitated in maintaining their accounts.
(b) Strengthening the efforts of Primary Health Centres (PHCs)
In order to strengthen the efforts of Primary health centers of the Government, the organization in the recent past implemented a short term initiative of forming / reviving Janani teams (these teams are supported to compliment the efforts of the PHC functionaries in the sub-centres (of the PHC) located in the villages. This had been successful in two PHCs in our project area, where the initiative was implemented. These Janani teams are now functioning in all the 14 sub-centres.
(c) Alternative systems of health care
Sanghamitra promotes alternative systems of health care and in its attempts in that respect training programmes (theory and practicals) were conducted for a few selected women drawn from various villages in the operational area. The focus of training: utilization of locally available herbal medicine resources.
(d) Drinking water
The project area being draught-prone, there is acute water shortage for drinking and other purposes. Through our contacts, we could facilitate sinking of 17 bore wells in the project area with part financial input from the villages concerned. Such efforts are on.
The farmers in the operational area are used to particular types of farming based purely on the availability of rain water. They have not tried cultivation of different crops for fear of loss and lack of knowledge. Seeing the condition, Sanghamitra get into act by roping in experts and research organizations in the field. Discussed the importance of going in for farming suitable to the soil, got soil test carried out and based on the result of the test, cultivation of different crops was recommended. A few farmers have come forward to experiment it in a small portion of their land. The experiment is on. Organic farming is being promoted.
(f) Desilting of lakes / ponds
Sanghamitra facilitates desilting of village lakes / ponds. The effort has two main purposes: one; desilting helps storage of water for agriculture and other uses; and two, the silts could be used for spreading in the agriculture fields (silts contain nutrients which help gain good yield of crops).
(g) Village libraries
In ten villages of the project area, village libraries had been established. The libraries are considered information centers for the villagers – young and old alike. These are run by village committees. Young boys and girls are managing these libraries with the technical inputs from Sanghamitra. Books on science, economics, history, health issues, fiction, religion and magazines, weeklies and dailies are made available in the libraries.
(h) Prevention (and eventual eradication) of child labour
Child labour is rampant in Medak District in spite of strict laws against its practice. Every effort is made to control and prevent this practice and all the available forum are utilized to build awareness on the matter.
(i) Comprehensive eyecare services
We undertake the initiative of comprehensive eyecare services in the entire project area covering a population of a little over 200,000. This initiative focuses on preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative eye health services and under these include: Vit A supplementation, kitchen garden, medical / surgical treatment, income generating programmes, teaching Braille and daily living skills. This is on since May 2004.
- Prevention and control of child trafficking and HIV/AIDS
This initiative, which started in early 2005, continues. It aims at identifying trafficked children and HIV/AIDS affected persons including children and providing them with the possible medical, counseling, nutritional and rehabilitative assistance. We network with various governmental and non governmental agencies for the purpose.
- Prevention of parent to child transmission of HIV/AIDS
This recent initiative had identified 425 pregnant woman in a specified project area and out of them, 8 pregnant woman were diagnosed to have contracted HIV/AIDS (national average is 1.00%). They were referred / taken to government health facilities for delivery and treatment for preventing transmission to the new born. We continue to get such cases seeking support in various forms.
- Young People’s Initiative
It is believed that around 32% of young people between the ages of 15-24 years, are falling prey to HIV/AIDS infections and therefore, it has become necessary to check its spread among them. This exclusive initiative focuses this age group for building awareness amongst the youngsters. Establishing a group of peer educators in villages is the main objective of this initiative. It is hoped that these peer educators will transfer the knowledge gained in the field to their peers thereby arresting the spread of the virus.