Laya makes a difference in empowering marginalized communities
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Youth and Women Empowerment

The youth and women empowerment unit known as 'Parichay', engages mainly across 6 adivasi populated districts of Andhra Pradesh: Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, and Khammam. Its specific objectives are to nurture young adivasi men and women for their self-development as well as sensitize them on the development concerns of their communities. The overall perspective is to promote value based leadership potential among adivasi youth in the region.

This unit cuts across the multiple Units of Laya. It reaches out directly to more than 4000 youth, of which 50% are young women. The Unit outreach extends to more than 100 Community Based Organisations, who in turn are engaged in more than a 1000 villages across the Scheduled Areas of Andhra Pradesh.

S. No Name of the Program Total Outreach Male Female
1 Orientation and awareness meetings+
Orientation and awareness meetings on the Right to Information (RTI), government programs and policies, forest rights, MGNREGA, PESA Act, and sustainable agriculture and livelihood opportunities.
1020 680 340
2 Climate Change education+
Education on Climate Change with multiple stakeholders across villages, panchayats in the 6 districts involved understanding impacts and implications for local communities and sustainable development.
240 188 52
3 Value based leadership promotion+
Short-term intensive training programs to promote value-based leadership with participants drawn from the 'primitive tribal' Savara community.
148 90 58
4 CBO Capacity building and monitoring process+
Development of second line leadership potential for long-term sustainability, especially on community issues and sustainable development of the villages.
178 123 55
5 VLC promotion/women leadership promotion+ 480 480
6 Alternative Education (Savara Lipi, experiential sharing in schools)+ 245 150 95
7 Literacy for leadership – 10-day program+ 97 9 88
8 Farmers Literacy program+ 46 40 6
9 Village level literacy+ 129 52 77
10 Follow up of literacy trainees+ 184 57 127
11 Fellows+ 50 37 13
12 Model Panchayat+ 2800 1600 1200
13 Livelihood alternatives+ 120 90 30
14 Campaigns (RTI/MGNREGA/Forest Rights)+ 22000
15 CBO Federation outreach (villages)+ 1320

The nature of activities include:

  • Orientation and awareness meetings on the Right to Information (RTI), government programs and policies, forest rights, MGNREGA, PESA Act, and sustainable agriculture and livelihood opportunities.
  • Education on Climate Change with multiple stakeholders across villages, panchayats in the 6 districts involved understanding impacts and implications for local communities and sustainable development.
  • Short-term intensive training programs to promote value-based leadership with participants drawn from the 'primitive tribal' Savara community.
  • Development of second line leadership potential for long-term sustainability, especially on community issues and sustainable development of the villages.
  • CBO capacity building process with regional networks to strengthen the federative process among CBOs and create a space for cross learning and involvement on common issues.
  • Promotion of women's leadership for discussion and engagement of adivasi women through the network on issues such as girl-child education, girl's hostel facilities, challenges of single women, women's role in governance in various panchayat institutions in the region as well as the need for women to assume leadership roles at the grassroots.
  • Promotion of Savara language in government primary schools in order to help children to assimilate better in mainstream secondary level in schools.
  • Facilitation of pilot initiatives in two schools on experiential sharing and learning processes with 9th and 10th standard children on communication, local history, leadership, culture, alternative health care and sustainable agriculture. There was a very good response from the community as well as from the Government.
  • Ten-day Crash Literacy Programs organized mainly with potential adivasi women leaders and farmers to promote basic literacy and numeracy skills and to create awareness on issues which are useful and relevant in their day to day life. These programs culminated with the establishment of information centres for continued access to learning opportunities.
  • Adivasi fellowship programs and CBO support for involvement in local initiatives relating to implementation of MGNREGA, Forest Rights Recognition Act, good governance, sustainable development, human rights promotion and action on human rights violations. Several of them are raising resources for their work from government sources.
  • Promotion of model panchayats for youth engagement to challenge prevailing mindsets of the community to settle disputes locally, interface with middlemen in fixing prices for agricultural and forest produce, and effective access to government programs.
  • Working in collaboration with CBOs, who are directly involved in sustainable farming practices such as: retaining mixed cropping models and its adaptations, adoption of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) practices, promotion of vegetable and backyard cultivation, encouraging local manure models, use of indigenous knowledge and practices for agriculture production and productivity and adoption of Inter-cultivation.
  • Reaching out to 22000 young adivasi men and women through different campaigns on RTI, MGNREGA and FRRA in our working areas. The campaign on RTI involved training 30 youth on specialized skills in preparing RTI applications. They in turn facilitated various stakeholders to use the RTI effectively. In relation to the MGNREGA, issues in each region across the districts were identified and settled. In several cases, CBOs were remunerated for their services by the community. With reference to the FRRA, the CBO youth facilitated applications for land titles across all districts and 70% of the applications have already been sanctioned. The follow up process is ongoing. To facilitate communication, pamphlets were used, village level meetings were held, padayatras (walkathons) were organized as tools to pressurize the decision makers at the local level.
  • Promoting Federation of Community Based Youth Organizations Youth empowerment cuts across all our work. However, more attention has been given to outreach youth mainly across 4 adivasi populated districts of Andhra Pradesh: Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari. The specific objectives are to nurture adivasi young men and women for their self-development as well as sensitize them on the development concerns of their communities. The overall perspective is to promote value based leadership potential among adivasi youth in the region. Various programmes, processes, training initiatives and campaign activity on perspective building and skill development are the core elements of our intervention.

    As a result of our capacity building processes the formation of community based organizations (CBO) was initiated leading to establishing a federation of 7 CBOs in 2000 called Andhra Pradesh Adivasi Sanghala Samakhya (ASSSS). Today this federation comprises 35 CBOs, which responds to issues in the region in a collective manner. The CBOs are also being facilitated to develop second line leadership potential for long-term sustainability especially on community issues and sustainable development of the villages. The issues addressed in the recent past have been around effective implementation of the MGNREGA, the Forest Rights Regulation Act and the allocation mechanisms of the government housing program. This process of engagement with the CBO federation has created a space for cross learning and involvement on common issues. The CBO federation’s outreach today is 1320 villages.
  • Promoting the Yuva Chetana Vedika (YCV) Coalition with the objective of extending the students and non-students youth engagement in rural Andhra Pradesh. The outreach of this network included the two major regions: the coastal districts where Samalochana (in the plain areas) and Parichay (in the hilly tracts) are based; and the Rayalseema region where Yuvatha, the Timbuktu Collective is based. Parichay reached out to youth in the Telengana areas, mainly Khammam and Warangal as well. The overall strategy was to work through the facilitating centres undertaking common collaborative initiative between the centres on common concerns. The major activities during the last five years have been on livelihood and Climate change.

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