Thursday, February 14, 2008

Caring for others:The Children’s Club helping children to come up in their studies

This is a story of village Majlishbag, which is once known as a illiterate village. But now the young youths of the village has taken a pledge to see that all the children of their village are in school, and not only that but are doing good in the school.

The first generation educated youths of the village has started coaching their younger ones of the village in the morning and evening at the village community hall (Constructed by World Vision).

Instead of enjoying themselves, playing or wasting their time, the youths who are the members of the Majlishbag Mukti Children Club (Mukti means freedom) are helping their kith and kin of their village to study well.
Through this coaching class about 50 children from primary till high school level are getting help from their elder brothers who are also studying in the higher classes. The Majlishbag Mukti Children Club has taken this initiative as a movement where all the 81 children of the village are members. Kanak Murmu, President of the children club says, “We don’t want our children to be struggling in their studies due to poor quality of studies in the school. Our motto is to help them who are poor in studies.

Now due to this initiative, all the children of the village are going to school, studying daily and there are not a single drop out in the village.

Now they have the smile, which is possible due to the frequent support of World Vision, which has enabled them and their families through Income Generation Activities, and timely support.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

-------------------awareness stories…………………….

To a group of social activists who sought his blessing on a plan they were about to put into action, the Master said: “what you need, I’m afraid, is light, not action.”
Later he explained, “To fight evil with activity is like fighting darkness with one’s hands, so what you need is light, not fight.”

“Aren’t you going to wish us a happy Christmas?”
The master glanced at the calendar, saw it was a Thursday and said, “I’d much rather wish you a happy Thursday.”
This offended the Christians in the monastery till the Master explained, “Millions will enjoy, not Today, but Christmas ---- so their joy is short-lived. But for those who have learnt to enjoy Today, everyday is Christmas.”

“Happiness is a butterfly,” said the Master. “Chase it and it eludes you. Sit down quietly and it alights upon your shoulder.”

“So what do I do to get happiness?”

“Stop pursuing it.”

“But is there nothing I can do?”

“You might try sitting down quietly – if you dare!”

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Cracked pot (India Parable)

A water bearer in India carried two large pots from the ends of a pole that he hoisted across his neck. While one of the pots was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water to the master’s house, the other was cracked and arrived only half full.This went on for a full two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection.After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you. This crack in my side causes water to leak out all the time. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot indeed saw the sun warming the wild flowers on the side of the path.The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Disaster preparedness Activity book for children

Rest assured, if fire breaks or flooding strikes, the children of Baghdabra village have in their mind, what it takes to protect themselves – credit to World Vision who trained the community and even produced a children’s Guide Book on disaster preparedness.

This is part of a World Vision’s bigger initiative, the Community Based Disaster Preparedness Programme to help the community in Malda district, West Bengal to better prepare for disasters and manage them.

From mock drill and rescue operations to first aid and communications training, all children, women and men took part to learn how to negotiate with all kinds of potential disasters that can likely hit their villages. The government has given a thought to this and helped World Vision in many occasions too. 'We want this entire initiative to be child focused – because in times of disaster, the children and women are the most vulnerable', said Jyoti Mukhia – Programme Manager Malda project.

World Vision, through the Malda Area Development Programme is working to further build the capacity of people here, by initiating a village task force responsible to rapidly assess and respond appropriately in the wake of a disaster. 'People especially children have been very responsive – and we expect better results in the coming days', said Jyoti.

World Vision is engaging teachers and other community based volunteers to spread the word of caution to schoolchildren on how to prepare for a disaster. Children like eight year old Sunil, is able to demonstrate how to respond when their body is on fire, 'If you are catching fire, roll your body on the ground', instructed Sunil. 'When the earth is shaking, run to the open space', said Sunil’s classmate – Saikul.

Other finding suggests that children learned a great deal from the Guide Book, so much so that they are starting to share what they learned with their illiterate parents. 'A good way to influence parents', observed Jyoti.

Children learned quickly through reading and coloring the book, role-play, discussion and listening to their teachers.

The present status reflects people’s lack of concern and the presence of withdrawal attitude in relation to disaster preparedness. 'People tend to think that villages here are not disaster prone, so disaster management is not a felt-need', said Jyoti.

India’s history reveals that many states do not take disaster preparedness seriously, except for states hard hit by major disasters that killed thousands of people.

World Vision has at least 35 members in each of the 16 villages where this project has started. 'And we are expanding our awareness programs keeping in mind the need to equip and prepare children', said Jyoti. The plan to teach more teachers how to train children is underway, and World Vision has seen positive response from this model. 'The book is useful for us teachers, it is teaching us to protect the children during a disaster and teaching children not to panic', said Sushmita Berra, a teacher of Shampur Mother Teressa Village School.

Villages in Malda district will have their own pre-positioning unit including non-perishable items and they are adding more people to their key contact list. Almost all villages in the district are flood prone and earthquake prone besides small disasters but should a disaster happen? Families and their children are better equipped to help themselves.

( Disaster preparedness Activity book for children)

Nutrition helps children to live normal life in Bengal

It was drizzling and two-year-old Amit and four-year-old Menoka ran out of their house responding to their friends’ call, and running in the rain is one thing their mother would never allow them to do in the past but today 'They are healthy, let them run', says the mother.

This is an outcome of World Vision’s three months old nutrition programme focusing on children like Amit who are below two years of age, very unhealthy before but is living like a normal child today.

Amit’s village Bhujubita in West Bengal’s Malda district has twenty-five households, all of them facing the risk of food shortages and their children have been mal-nourished since birth.

Soon after Amit was born, he was never in good health and can easily catch mild fever or diarrhea even at the slightest change of climate. Burdened by poverty and the lack of work in the village forced their father to leave home working in a distant town to provide for his family – yet this move made a little difference.

Of all the diseases that sickly Amit had to face in the past, last year’s experience of severe malaria attack almost took his life. 'He survived but became very weak after that', says his mother. A few months later World Vision started a nutrition programme and Amit who was skin and bone then, was admitted to the Early Childhood Care and Development Center.

Amit’s three months in the center helped him to gain more than 1 kilogram of body weight. 'He was 12 kgs three months ago, now he weighs 13 kgs plus', smiled the mother, Phoolky Tudu. Phoolky also said that after Amit was enrolled in the center – 'he seldom falls sick'.

Amit’s eldest brother Debu is a World Vision sponsored child and through World Vision sponsorship programme his family and his village have jointly benefit from various development and health programmes conducted in the area.

The nutritious food given at the center includes high-caloried nuts and biscuits, puff rice, jaggery and other protein mixtures. As the World Vision volunteer spelled out the names of the food items, the mother paused and interjected, 'We can’t afford to buy this kind of food'.

What World Vision is giving is not much, but compared to the poverty seen in the area even a minimal help such as this, seemed to still make a difference.

World Vision’s presence in Bhujubita and the nearby villages has opened the eyes of many staff members who saw the need to arrest the problem of mass mal-nutrition, therefore, the organization started to respond to this problem. World Vision has opened Early Childhood Care and Development Centers in 28 villages. 'We want to cover 50 villages because the need is there, but there is not enough resources', said Jyoti Mukhia - Programme Manager. It is mid day, and the day care center is full of noise and lively. Here children are given nutrition intake, taught nursery rhymes, alphabets and play a lot of games. 'The children like the center so much so, that every morning they would tell their parents to take them there', said Jyoti Mukhia – Malda Programme Manager.

The center also serves as a village baby-day-care where mothers can leave their young ones and go to the field to work. “It is not easy for me to leave my baby there, but I can see that the care taker really take care of my daughter – she is well fed and taught well, so I trust them”, said Mando another mother in the village. (Nutrition for life/ Healthy start for Amit)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Jaya Kumar Chriatian is the National Director of World Vision India. He is better known as a the Transformational Development Champion. Here is the glimpse of his work:
God of the empty handed: Jayakumar Christian, in God Of The Empty-Handed, takes a vast and meticulously researched sweep over the problem of global poverty - both from a secular and ... (click for more)

Read his profound thoughts in an interview with Andy Crouch.....

It is an interview with Jayakumar Christian, the head of World Vision's work in India and a profound Christian thinker about issues of wealth, poverty, ...

Editorial Intelligence Podcasts
... Newsweek Panel: Dr Jayakumar Christian, National Director, World Vision India Dr Hany El-Banna OBE, President, Islamic Relief Shahid Malik MP,

Tuesday, February 5, 2008



Lakhripir is a village of tribal. 87 families reside in the village.

World Vision helped the villagers to start SHG. 13 of the male members hesitantly started the SHG in 2003. They named the SHG as Marsalbati SHG. The group is a homogeneous group. All the members are tribal and fall under BPL category. It cannot be mixed group due to the directive and guideline laid by the Government. Like-minded members are the members of the Self help Group. They maintain fee book, minute register, cashbook, Bank account and passbook, Loan register.

All members have very good inter- relationship. The present leader is running the group efficiently. He is class ten appeared. The meeting is conducted once in a week (Wednesday). If 80% of the members are not present no meeting will be held.

The SHG members say that main purpose of the formation of this SHG is to get away from the clutches of mahajan (Money lender).To decrease the migration is another objective. In the long run we want to see our children well educated for better jobs. (Source FGD with Marsalbati SHG)

To start with in 2005 World Vision (ADP Malda) helped them to plan a project that will help the group as well as engage the entire community in some productive work. World Vision conducted series of PLA exercises with the group as well as the village. It was noted that the village has 87 families where children under 15 are 123 in numbers. The villagers have total 482 bigha (3 bigha = 1 acre) of land out of which 20.5 bigha land has been mortgaged to the moneylender. The land ranges highest 7 bigha and minimum 1 bigha per family. Every family has either cow or bull or goat or pig (all local variety). The animal population was cattle: cow + bull (Local variety): 145 numbers, Pig (Local variety): 61 numbers and Goats: 151. Wealth ranking category poor. (PLA exercise report)

The major source of income is from the agriculture and daily labor. Major chunk of male population migrates to bigger towns every year soon after the harvest. Women work in the field as agriculture labor. Alcoholism is a menace in the village.

Premised on the above scenario and based on the ethnicity of the group it was decided that pig rearing unit would be a better option for the group to start with.

With the help from the vendor World Vision provided good variety of piglets from Nepal (Now it is commonly referred as Nepal variety) in the month of November 2005 costing Rs. 54000.00 (Fifty four thousand). In the beginning the pigs were kept in the open field and dirtied the village a lot. So ADP in 2006 helped them to construct a shed worth 150000.00 (One lakh fifty thousand) plus their contribution of Rs. 50000.00 which they collected from selling of the pigs.

How does the pig rearing unit function?

The group has delegated and scheduled the work among 13 of them. The feed is locally available stocks. Each delegated individual performs his duty religiously.


The pig rearing unit started with 54 piglets out of which 9 were bore pig (Male). 33 of them survived (5 male and 28 female). From this after nine months at an average 5 piglets were born. Till now how many pigs they sold they cannot recall. Each piglet is sold at Rs. 800.00. The pork rate is Rs. 80 per kg in the market.

Seeing the productivity and success of the variety, the villagers destroyed the available local variety and started rearing the Nepal variety. At present each of the families in the village has at least one pig. With the success from this pig rearing unit World Vision encouraged and helped start another 5 pig rearing unit in five different Santhal villages. World Vision bought piglets worth Rs. 80000.00 (Eighty thousand) from Marsalbati Pig rearing unit. The Pig rearing unit at Lakhripir has become a resource center for World Vision.

Ripple effect:

The success of the pig rearing unit is not limited in Lakhripir. The pig variety has entered in other 5 adjoining Santhal villages. If you walk in any of these villages you can see piglets running in the field. One widow in Padol village bought two female pigs from the unit. In nine months two females gave birth to 20 piglets. When I was in the village I happened to see it myself. The selling price of each piglet (3 month old) is minimum Rs. 800.00. A widow has found her way to livelihood. Similarly, SHG group (female) of Bagdol, Jhalkamari regularly visit this pig rearing unit for first had knowledge on pig rearing. One group from Bihar had come to the unit for the purchase of the pig.


We conducted Focus group discussion with the group member in the month of December first week of 2007. This is what they say:

Main purpose of the formation of this SHG was to get away from the clutches of mahajan (Money lender).To decrease the migration is another objective. In the long run we want to see our children well educated for better jobs. We were very skeptic about starting the pig rearing unit in the beginning because of the fund constraint but due to help from World Vision we could come to this stage. World Vision helped us to link with the bank. Bank (State bank of India) provided us Rs. 40000.00 loan. They invested the money in pig rearing unit. They say they have already refunded the loan to Bank. They proudly say that lending money from mahajan has decreased in the village. The SHG provides smaller loans to the villagers with less interest. They have helped the women group of the village to start women SHG. One of the members said, “We are on one side of the river and to reach the other side World Vision has become our bridge”

At present they have invested their earning in pig rearing unit. They have Rs. 51000.00 in bank. The veterinary officials visit them time and again. The president of the group Mr. Simieon smilingly says,” Demand of piglet is so much that we are not able to supply.”

All the children under 15 attend regular class. The children below 5 years are moderately nourished. Migration has almost stopped. Last year only five families migrated in comparison to 50% in the previous years.

The pig rearing unit has become a boon to the group and an eye opener for the villagers.

Prepared by Jyoti Mukhia



ADP Malda came into existence in 1996 prior to which Samshi Community Development Project was in existence. The ADP in its original form covered 6 Grampanchayat covering 120 villages. Later from 2001 onwards after the midterm evaluation the villages have been brought down to existing 92 villages in the 6 Grampanchayat.

Vulnerability context:

The ADP target population comprised of Scheduled tribe (Santals){42%}, Scheduled caste {31%}, other back ward caste (OBC){6%} and general {21%}. If we see their wealth ranking 5% falls under rich category, 26% falls under middle category and 69% falls under poor category. Under this 69% major source of income is agriculture labor, unskilled day labor. From this category the seasonal migration takes place and under this category around 53% of the population have land less than 1 acres.

Another vulnerability factor affecting the area is various hazards. Slow and sometimes rapid onset of flood disturbs the life of people every year. Draught is another emerging hazard, which has affected the life of people. (This year the major part of district has been declared as draught hit area by government.) Similarly cyclone, hailstorm hits the agriculture every year. Malaria and kalazar are other health hazards loading more vulnerability in the lives of people. All these are making the people more vulnerable and susceptible to resilience.

As per the NFHS 2 finding 50% of the population of Malda is illiterate and it is clearly evident in the target area. The education quality of the district is also very poor. A study finding of ASER says that Malda has school drop out of 7.6% when the national scenario is 4.4%. Child marriage and child labor is rampant in the area and the vulnerability towards HIV and AIDS is increasing day by day.

All these are leading to the macro issues of:

  1. Poor economic status of the people.

  2. Poor health

  3. Poor education

World Vision India, ADP Malda has been working to address the underlying causes of these issues. Various approaches of development are intermingled in addressing the core issues. Participatory development approach, Rights Based approach, child rights approach, sustainable Development approach, gender and Development, Livelihood strategy.

Poverty analyses have shown that people’s ability to escape from poverty is critically dependent upon their access to assets (Capitals). Different livelihood activities have different requirements, but the general principal is that those who are amply endowed with assets (Capitals) are more likely to be able to make positive livelihood choices. Thus the project’s focus is on accumulation of assets (capitals) in the given intervening framework. In the process of accumulating the capitals all the above developmental approaches are brought into practice.

For our clear understanding of the intervention I would like to put forward five domains where Project has been working at. I will try to reflect our intervening measures under these five domains (Capitals). Under these five domains World Vision’s strategic priorities are also intermingled. These capitals are:

  1. Human Capital

  2. Natural Capital

  3. Social Capital

  4. Financial Capital

  5. Physical Capital

Human Capital:

Under this capital the project helps the people to accumulate assets like health and nutrition, education of the children, information sharing, various training related with accumulation of the capital. For accumulating health asset (focus is on child growth) project has taken the approach of Community Based Growth Promotion where it is not only monitoring of the growth of the child below 2 years but also promoting growth among the mothers. The intervention includes Behaviour change in relation to breast-feeding, immunization, and food preparation.

Similarly, under Early Childhood Development the emotional, psychological needs of the children upto 5 years are cater for. It is also community based in nature. Under this activity it is not only the participating children’s development but also the development of the parents are also looked for.

Life school for transformation development is a major activity centered on promoting values among the children. Similarly, addressing the social evil of alcoholism, ADP through its activity Alcoholic agape could bring 12 alcoholics to normal life situation. Similarly ADP is addressing the issues of child marriage through various awareness activities, person-to-person talk. This year two-child marriage has been reported to be stopped by the intervention of ADP staff.

Natural Capital:

People do not have control over the natural disaster but can prepare for such kind of disaster. Thus project has Community based Disaster Preparedness project in implementation where the capacity of the people is developed in mitigating the hazards with the expected outcome of lessening the vulnerability.

Water development is another area where project is investing on with the expected outcome of reducing hunger, generating work opportunity and attaining food security in the target population.

Promotion of organic farming, forestry is other activities ADP is fostering for the accumulation of this capital.

Social capital:

It is a proven fact while implementing any projects it is imperative to address the issues of sustainability. Social sustainability is taken as a high priority area ADP is envisaging. Thus various CBOs are formed and trained. The CBO structure of the target community is like this: Family Forum (FF) at family level. Representative from each family forum comprises the VDC executive body. At the grass root level (family level) all the other bodies like SHG, Children Clubs, and youth Clubs, farmers clubs are found. These small bodies also get represented at the VDC level. For better linkages with Government bodies and other agencies these CBOs are registered under societies act.

Financial capital: The capital refers to regular inflow of income other than earned income. This is the area where ADP has no direct role to play since it refers to regular pension etc. from outer sources. Indirectly, there is regular inflow of income from the thrift business, monthly membership revenue, and loan refund.

Physical Capital:

Various physical capitals have been accumulated in the community ADP works. Among them the road, School buildings, community halls, disaster centers, sanitation, water pumps, tractors, threshers, rice mills, bridges, housings, tube wells, open wells, check dams.

Lesson learnt:

Various needs have different approaches. The overall objective of project is to implement effective approaches in combating macro issues. The programme has experienced stumbling blocks of which the major are poor community participation, lack of political will, poor planning and targeting of the beneficiaries and inefficient monitoring. Secondly because of increase in migration rates, as it is seen in the past few months, string men are not found in the villages because of which activities which can foster their life especially accumulation of physical capital, could not be implemented. Because of the poor accumulation of human capital macro impact activities could not be planned and implemented.

For future intervention the suggested model of intervention is:

  1. Proper targeting of the programme beneficiaries

  2. Community involvement in all aspects of programming from planning till evaluation.

  3. Inculcate good value system

  1. Economic Development. This intervention area includes Micro-Enterprise Development (MED), household income-generation, vocational training, and any other strategy that enables households and communities to increase and better manage household income. This surplus can then be used as a safety net during economic hard times, as well as an engine to sustain community structures in the long term. It is a key to sustaining the improvements in the community won at such high cost in terms of time and effort, not to mention financial and material costs, over the 10-15 year life span of a typical ADP. Without this increased margin of disposable income, the community will not be able to afford the benefits of the sectoral interventions and community institutions introduced in the ADP zone, after World Vision has phased out of the development process. Research has shown that targeting women (rather than men) has the greatest impact on reducing child mortality rates.


What is Community Based Performance Monitoring (CBPM)?

CBPM was designed to be a tool to monitor concrete local services provided to the community by the public authorities (for example, community evaluation of a local Health Clinic, Municipal School, etc.). However, because of its capacity for adaptation, it can be used to monitor a program of service provided by another institution working locally. It has the main objective of amplifying the voice of the community, of those that use a public service, or are the beneficiaries of a project. It is simple to execute and understand. The ideal context is that it should be incorporated in a broader, ongoing empowerment process. It is also a way of drawing the community closer to public political discussion, since many policies are updated in the community through public feedback on the services.

CBPM generates a dialogue between users and service providers, between the voice of the community and the decision-making levels of the authorities. The right to citizenship underpins the methodology. This is the starting point for the collective identification of improvements in the services provided to the community and, consequently, for the exercise of citizenship.

The core of CBPM is to build community "dialogue"; to promote a dialogue between the community and the service providers; and to promote the proposals for service improvement that will arise from it through a process of collaboration. Each participant should be encouraged to identify him/herself as an active co-participant who believes in local intervention as a continuous process. To educate is to transform and generate new opportunities. “Thinking critically the practice of today or yesterday one can improve the next practice”.[1] And this will be possible when there is commitment and a change of attitudes.

For understanding CBPM click

[1] FREIRE, 1996, p. 43, 44