Community Engagement

Our team works to not only to revive rivers but also coalesces communities and transforms area residents into engaged citizens. 

 
 

Facts

-       Conducted over 10,000 Capacity Building Programs in 2016.

-       Conducted over 5,000Youth Leadership Training Programs in 2016.        

 

Background  

The problem exists. The residents of the area know and are suffering. However, no-one has the motivation to gear the change or rather knows how to initiate it.  As a result, villagers migrate to cities for jobs and continue to suffer under the extenuating circumstances.

Our highly effective customized community organizing framework ensures that our projects are effective, impactful, long-lasting and sustainable.

Our Community Changemakers framework consists of citizen engagement strategies and skills to architect a transformational community intervention and facilitate empowerment training. Our frameworks provide community organizers with strategies, tools and design expertise to integrate the social change, leadership skills, project management, community volunteering and advocacy.

 

Where we come in

We engage in comprehensive efforts to transform society by following a step-by-step sustainable community revitalization model.

Part One: Engaging the Community
Our rural development programs lead increased environmantela awareness behavioural change in communities and inspire them to engage in service initatives.

Part Two: Taking the Program to Scale

We then lead communities in a step-by-step method to achieving long-term projects.

Part Three: Teaching Others to Fish

Our capacity building and youth leadership training workshops train dynamic community citizens to drive change and take charge of local development projects.

Part Four: Empowering Citizens to Adopt Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyles

Through environmental education programs and community awareness initiatives, we give the necessary tools, knowledge and incentives to communities to adopt sustainable lifestyles for their benefit.

 

So far we have

-       Empowered communities to collectively raise 5 crores in 3 months and contribute to 50% of the project cost.

-       Motivated communities to complete 20km River Rejuvenation project in 2 years instead of 5 years as predicted by the government

-       Lead communities to construct river rejuventation structure in  1/5th the usual predicted time.

 

Case Study

Latur, a parched district 400km east of Mumbai, is one of worst drought-hit districts in the nation. So much so that the government has prohibited the gathering of more than five persons around water tanks to prevent possible violence in the region.

Latur’s municipal corporation had deployed 70 tankers in the city and the rural development department 200 in the district. "Each tanker makes at least six-seven trips, but we are still not able to provide even drinking water to the five lakh-odd population," a municipal corporation officer says.  The official further described how the acute water shortage had already forced an estimated 1.5 lakh people to migrate to neighbouring districts. "Instructions have been given to educational institutions to wind up all examinations by March 31, while coaching classes under the Latur pattern of studies will remain shut the entire summer," he notes.

The Art of Living coalesced various gram panchayats to discuss the issue of water. Through its community engagement framework consisting of leadership coaching, group facilitation, project management and community organization, AOL motivated one of the villages to implement a grass roots water project by creating gablion structures around the Shooroonantpar village in Latur.

When neighboring villages noticed how the Shooroonantpar started having its bore well recharged to full capacity in 3 days instead of 15, they began to request the Art of Living to revive water bodies in their regions as well. Soon, these small mini-projects turned into a grand project to restore the river bodies around Latur. Disappointed by the government inefficiency, the citizens of Latur stipulated that only if community participation is there, only then the project would take place.

The results?  A 20km project finished over 2 years instead of 5 years as predicted by the government. Because the local people drove the project, the Satara river was revived at 25% of the government cost.

It was the community effort that made the project efficient, impactful and successful. The residents of the different villages of Latur transformed into engaged citizens as every member of the society contributed money to the project and ultimately collectively raised 5 crores in 3 months. “Everyone felt a part of the problem and for the first time, the solution too’, says Mahadev Gomare, Maharashtra Project leader for River Rejuvenation.
Everyone contributed, from the richest person in the district to the tea man, the vegetable vendor, the retired pensioner and even the school student- everyone gave their share”, he adds.

Not only that but farmers were willing to give their lands too. “Usually in government projects, the officials have to argue or give the local people money to give the land, but for this project, people were giving their land freely- because they saw the tangible real impact it was making.”, notes Yogesh Patil, a local farmer in Latur.

The Manjara river in Latur district, an abandoned basin now is running with water. “Previously we could only grow one crop, but now we are having cycles of even second and third crops and can sell them in the market”, beams Mangalram Venkatlal Patil, another farmer in Latur.     

The Art of Living’s Community Revitalization Framework empowered the villagers of Latur, to act for the first time, as a community. The organization’s focus on personal empowerment and community revitalization led to close partnerships with villagers to ensure efficiently execution and sustainable solutions to water problems around Latur.