“Youth are not useless but they are used less. They are not careless but are cared less”. – Swami Chinmayananda

“Youth are not useless but they are used less. They are not careless but are cared less”. – Swami Chinmayananda

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Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

“Journey of Youth from confusion to conviction & harnessing youth energy for participatory, integrated and sustainable community based Resource Management”

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1985, Inspired by Swami Chinmayanandaji, one of the greatest Vedantic teachers of our time, Chinmaya Rural Primary Health Care and Training Centre (CRPHC&TC) was set up in Sidhbari, District Kangra in Himachal Pradesh in 1985 under the aegis of Chinmaya Tapovan Trust (renamed CORD, Sidhbari in June 2005).

We began with an isolated health programme in 1985 where we trained community health nurses and workers and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and focused on maternal and child health. Poor women in the villages made it very clear to us that the lack of health services was only one of many issues that kept them in a vicious cycle of ill health. Women in this region were dealing with many social, economic and educational issues in the midst of their poverty and ill health, low self image, but had no platform to address them. Because of this, we began forming women’s groups to give them a discussion forum to address the issues that affected their lives. Looking at the immense strength and tolerance behind the images of desperation that we saw in villages, we become aware of their potential. With their active involvement in programme designs, we mobilized them to form Self-Help Groups in order to access bank credit, hold elections for self governance, participate in political processes and meet regularly for discussions. Their involvement allowed them to assess and analyze their situation and implement changes with our facilitation. The success of the women groups led to demand-driven groups in other villages, which in turn mobilized and demanded us to rope in their children in the youth group (started in 1999) and adolescent girl groups (started in 1988). Besides more than 220 youth groups and 560 Mahila Mandals (Women’s Group), CORD focuses on other specific aspects of rural life which include Health, OPD, Literacy Skills, Education, Community Based Livelihood, Social Justice, Informal Legal Advice, Community Based Rehabilitation, sanitation and alcohol abuse issues.

These forums have taught our team a number of things one being that the lives of the marginalized rural population are affected by multiple factors that consistently and persistently drive them into a whirlpool of different pressures which work together to pull them down.
Hence, it is important to approach and view these issues in an integrated way. Through our experiences in over 550 villages, we have become well versed and knowledgeable about the complexities of these issues and the numerous gaps that still exist. This is our unique initiative at the grass root which we have started replicating in other parts of the country to benefit many more people.

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Low self-value and stability leads to risky choices

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Unleash creativity that channels experiences of risk and vulnerability toward leadership

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

1. Organize youth in youth clubs/ groups-: Mobilize youth to form platform by increasing their understanding i.e. Youth Clubs by interactions with their mothers in Women groups & sharing women groups successes.
2. Inclusion of young girls in youth groups (gender issue) –: Dialogue with parents at the level of Community Based Organization level. Female foetacide issue reflected best by girl child ration in the area/ district/state.
3. Scattered energy often destructive and reactive-: Harness energy towards their creative potential led by them.
4. Un-employment: -: Explore various avenues through Community based livelihoods (in farm & allies NRM based activities, non-farm & service sector) at the local level and build youth’s skill and abilities to become economically self sufficient.
5. Low self esteem-: Value and understand dignity of labour and adopt and explore various means of livelihood and sustain them at the local level.
6. Dreams high, inside hollow-: Life skill education, quality education and explore local & sustainable employment avenues.
7. Generation gap exist, alienated from their elders-: Inter-linkage for open discussion with the CBOs such as Women Groups, Self Help Groups and roping experienced village elders as supporters.
8. Wide gap in opportunities and life style from their peers in the rest of the world even more striking with media and communication accessibility:- Creating opportunities for the youth in the existing village and expose them to young volunteers from outside who though affluent and successful lead a balance and happy life.
9. Alienation of youth from decision at home and village level-: The youth group have given them a platform to participate legitimately in village decisions. Their successful interventions in village development have raised their self esteem in the eyes of their elders with greater involvement in the family.
10. Lack of opportunity in better education and employment-: Providing life skill education and self-employment opportunities within the village and local area.
11. Frustration, anger, confusion, addiction, lack of direction role model-: Exposure to successful youth and youth groups in their milieu. Inter-group and individual counseling amongst youth. De-addiction programme for alcoholics & spiritual background of the organization that percolate all programmes.
12. No involvement in Local Self Governance:-Exposing youth to leadership programme which is Indian Basic Unit of democracy called Panchyati Raj.
13. Orientation about global issues:- Awareness about global issues affecting their lives directly and indirectly such as global warming, pollution, use of pesticide, uncontrolled destruction of forests and involve them to take serious action by thinking globally and acting locally.
14. Vulnerable to diseases-: Increase awareness in health and reproductive life, HIV AIDS etc. affecting their health directly or indirectly.

Describe your program or new idea in one sentence.

“Journey of Youth from confusion to conviction & harnessing youth energy for participatory, integrated and sustainable community based Resource Management”

What makes your initiative uniquely positioned to create change in your community?

• We address rural youth problems in integration not in isolation with other members, issues & programme in the community.
• The design and direction of our programme has developed through community interactions as per their needs and priorities as well as implementation strategies.
• Integrated and holistic addressing their multiple issues.
• Spirituality & value thread at the core of programme to unfold their potential and improve their self-image from low self-esteem to image to a confident personality.
• Rural youth beneficiary who are literate, semiliterate, poor and marginalized (including disabled and single women) living on income of less than 1-2 Dollar per day per family. So we have missed strata in the community.
• Youth participation in other CBOs including Gram Sabha (Local Village Council Meeting) and village micro planning and village development by giving more responsibility and stake. Include and mobilized poor, marginalized especially disabled youth to the youth groups.
• Explore various avenues through Community based livelihoods (in farm & allies NRM based activities, non-farm & service sector) at the local level and build youth’s skill and abilities to become economic empowered.
• They have a critical leadership role in implementation of rural development programme. This ensures the success of the programme as well as its sustainability.
• Programme is well linked with other CBOs at the community level i.e. Women, children.
• Youth’s active role in health, sanitation, HIV AIDS issue addressing and also helping illiterate people to become literate by teaching them voluntarily and also helping poor students by providing free tuitions.

Describe how you organize and carry out your work?

Organize youth in youth clubs and by identifying their various issues and then addressing their issue through their active participation with in available resources at local level. We will also increase their linkage as per need with various CBOs, stakeholders at various levels by required intervention with their integration with them and enhance their ownership. For example, for unemployment issue, we would be:
- increasing an awareness about agricultural jobs and help change the general perception that such jobs are ‘lowly’.
- encouraging employment in areas that complement and supplement land based agricultural activities. Promoting activities such as horticulture, animal husbandry, agro forestry and other allied activities
- promoting the idea of vocational training amongst the youth.
- promoting employment opportunities in the non-farm sector and service sector.
This will help youth to unleash their potential in positive direction for their own constructive growth, active contributor and effective human resources.

What is your plan to scale and expand your innovation into your community and beyond?

The Youth are 55% of India (620 million people) are below 30 years of age and 70% of Indians (770 million) are below 35 years of age. CORD’s 220 Yuva Mandals have over 5,000 youth members and each Youth club is encouraged to have 33% female membership to show gender sensitivity and male-female equity.
The youth will increase to participate in the Gram Sabha (General Village Council meeting) and UpGram Sabha (Hamlet wise meeting) by discussing their issues so that these may then be raised and resolved at the Panchayat level – this is a very effective way of increasing youth participation in Local Self Governance. The CORD Youth Group will also discuss & explore job opportunities at local level with the Yuva Mandals and enable them to take up challenges by building their confidence and skills.
Slowly youth as Village Volunteer Resource Person (VVRP) will replicate this to nearby villages by sharing and helping other youth to grow and convince with the idea of sustainable resource management at the community level. We will assess their perform based on our core principle described in this questionnaire to strengthen them.

What other resources, institutional, or policy needs would be necessary to help sustain and scale up your idea?

Positive support by the government agencies and develop flexible, people centered, demand driven programmes for the actual beneficiary and implement policy in bottom-up manner which usually majority of them talk about or write on a piece of pare but practice rarely.
Funding agencies also need to practice flexible and feasible approach as per need and local demand not just a fixed rigid framework.

Describe your impact in one sentence, commenting on both the individual and community levels.

Individual becoming self reliant & demonstrating self-respect and communities becoming more aware, developing collective thinking, collective action and a core mass getting created and pushing replication.

What impact has your work achieved to date?

In over 550 villages in district Kangra, Himachal Pradesh people have learned participatory process of integrated development and are coming forard as Volunteer Resource Persons on various issues in their villages.

Number of individuals served

- 40- 45,000 people directly and 1.5 - 2 lakhs people indirectly through our outreach in over 550 villages in 225 Panchyats of District Kangra and Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, India, 450 disabled people and their family members, 227 cases resolved out of 365 cases of destitute people especially women through informal legal aid, Approximately 11,000 people (80% are women) enabled to earn their livelihood.

Community impact

22,000 women directly through Community Based Organization and 55,000-2 lakhs people indirectly

Society at large

Community Based Organization i.e. 560 Women Groups, 220 Youth Groups, 1450 Self Help Groups and 225 Panchyats i.e Local Self Governance.
- Resource centre for NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) trained more than 22,000 people in Self Help Group.
- Replicating success in other parts of the country i.e in Tamilnadu and Orissa.
- Involvement with various government and NGOs for inputs in policy formulation at District, State and National Level.

What measure do you use to gauge your impact and why?

Impact measurement is based on measuring our four core principle i.e. ensuring active participation, integration, sustainability from first step and entrenched networking and principles of Result Based Management.
We do believe that ultimately success of any programme lies in people’s active participation, their role in decision making process and ownership developed with mutual consensus and implementation of the programme leading to sustainability of the process. Beneficiaries involvement is par amount important to ensure at programme design level to effective implementation and ensuring sustain of the process to carry forward the success. This actually increases people’s ownership and belongingness to the issue and give them stake in that to respond actively.

How is your initiative currently being financed and how would you finance further expansion and/or replication?

1. Currently our initiative is supported by individual donor and our own fund raising for the integrated programme from donors from country and abroad. In future, we would need to explore more funding avenue as development process is slow and need lot of patience even in financial support to enable empowerment. We are also trying to diversify our funding approach as we have multiple programme components now evolved into an independent that needs more focused approach and more in-depth understanding and application. Replication in different parts of the country again increase our responsibility to explore more funding agencies and possible interested donors who do believe in integrated and sustainable development work.

Provide information on your current finances and organization:

Annual Budget - 1,08,48000 (Indian National Rupees)
Annual Revenue: The statistics are for the Fiscal Year 2006-07 ( Till August 2007 the project was funded by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) with CMHR(Chinmaya Mission Halton Region) from September 2007 onwards CORD is running its project by own generated funds.

• Grant in Aids from (CIDA+CMHR) - Rs.1.60 Crore
• General Donations and other grants - Rs. 45 Lakhs
• Interest and other incomes - Rs. 30 Lakhs

Sources of Revenue:
• Grants in Aids from funding partners, 68%
• Individual & Corporate Donations, 14%
• NABARD Grants 05%
• Interest and other incomes 13%

Full time- 123
Part time- 14
Volunteer- 1

Who are your potential partners and allies?

Community Based Organizations i.e more than 550 Women Groups, 220 Youth Groups and the individual who are now active contributor at various levels and interventions. In funding earlier since 1993 our integrated development initiative was supported by Canadian International Development Agency in collaboration with Chinmaya Mission Halton Region at Canada, Chinmaya Mission worldwide, individual donors and corporates.

Who are your potential investors?

Individual, corporate, people who do believe in integrated and sustainable development principle, various funding agencies as per our various programme components.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

In 1977, His Holiness Swami Chinmayanandaji, one of the greatest Vedanta Teachers of our time, founded the Chinmaya Tapovan Trust. Thus Umbrella organisation overseas the running of the Ashrams; and various spiritual, social and rural development projects carried out in numerous villages in Himachal Pradesh.

Inspired by the message of service taught by Swami Chinmayanandaji, the Chinmaya Rural Primary Health Care & Training Centre (now known as CORD) was launched in 1985 under the aegis of the Chinmaya Tapovan Trust. This rural development project started as a small token of love and gratitude towards the local Paharis who for centuries have supported the wandering of Sadhus and sages for countless generations.

Today it is one of the leading rural health and training programmes in the state of Himachal Pradesh and a guiding force for others in Northern India specially in reference to the SHG movement in the states like Himachal, Punjab, Haryana, J&K. It also serves as a resource centre for CORD’s comprehensive integrated health and rural development programmes in Orissa and Tamil nadu & in Himachal; it reaches out to 13 blocks of District Kangra & Hamirpur, spread out over 550 villages, reaches out to 55000 people directly and 2.5 lakhs indirectly.

Poor & marginalised people in the communiyt taught us that all issues of their life are interlinked and needed to be address with their active participation to enable sustainable rural development.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.

Dr. Kshama Metre, d/o Late Shri W. B. Metre (Padma Bhushan 1968. Pediatrician by profession & inspired by Swami Chinmayananda, a renowned spiritual teacher joined development work of CORD (earlier “Chinmaya Rural Primary Health Care & Training Centre” in 1985, now known as CORD) a national development organization & is now its National Director and Trustee. In 2004: Featured in “Prophets of New India”, a Penguin book & in 1993 nominated for Woman of the Year by “The Week” magazine.