June 2019, New Delhi.
Do children in school know how to read? Are communities receiving regular support on health, nutrition and sanitation? Do youth in villages have the skills to ensure a decent livelihood? These are some of the factors that illustrate our understanding of multi-dimensional poverty. The partnership between Amazon India and the American India Foundation is built on the principle of integrated development – capturing the reality of living with less than the essentials needed to lead a decent life and addressing these deficits.
Partnering for the Integrated Community Development Project in two villages of Haryana in 2018, the intervention is based upon a holistic approach to address the need of quality education in public schools, livelihood opportunities for youth and women, and healthcare awareness for mothers and children. A unique opportunity for AIF and the first time that an integrated intervention is implemented across three AIF verticals namely, education, livelihoods and health, this three-year partnership has so far touched 5, 831 lives. The entire intervention is delivered through community care center located within the villages, learning resource centers situated inside the schools, and a community health worker working closely with the government health system at the village level.
The community care center provides livelihood training to beneficiaries in the age group of 18-40 years through AIF’s Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) program. This intervention trains youth on garment manufacturing, ITES and Logistics, and also provides placement assistance ensuring a 70% employment rate. Till date around 210 beneficiaries have been trained in the center. A noteworthy achievement is the formation of Common Interest Group (CIG) where ten women from the community form a group to jointly put in their personal resources and invest in high-end refurbished sewing machines to produce uniforms, baby care clothes, and bags. These eco-friendly products are supplied to local markets and generate income for the group. The success of CIG is particularly significant in the socio-cultural context of Haryana where women are generally discriminated against and find it challenging to seek employment outside.
In education, the project aims to improve the learning levels especially the basic numeracy and literacy skills of the students studying in government primary schools of the two targeted villages of Bhora Kalan and Binola. 349 students and 15 teachers across these two schools have benefitted from the intervention as now they have access to updated teaching-learning materials at the learning resource center in each of the schools. In addition, teacher-training and other classroom-based activities are also conducted by the education facilitator provisioned under this project to support and train the teachers. Now in its second year, AIF is ready to implement Digital Equalizer in the secondary school in Bhora Kalan.
The health awareness activities, conducted for the women and children in these villages, have demonstrated an increased awareness of key issues and simple doable actions on sexual and reproductive health and common diseases like anaemia and malaria. Issues related to water and sanitation are also addressed. The community health worker has been closely working with the Anganwadi workers and ASHAs to ensure that health schemes of the government reach out to every household in the two villages. So far 5271 beneficiaries, mainly women and children, have received these messages and the project aims to reach every women and child in the community.
Employee volunteering and engagement has been very strong in the project and Amazon volunteers have displayed high level of conviction in their responsibility to the community by participating and contributing to the project activities. Over the course of the last year, 39 volunteers conducted 12 sessions reaching out to 1298 beneficiaries at the community care center as well as in schools in the two villages of Haryana.
– Niresh Kumar and Krishnendu Sengupta