Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Clinton Climate Initiative Waste Project Breaks Ground in Delhi

Project changes mindsets, provides solutions

The city of Delhi has launched a groundbreaking project that will transform the way it deals with its waste. The project, jointly developed by the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), marks the first integrated solid waste management system in India, covering door-to-door collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of waste. Construction is nearing completion, with system expected to be fully functioning by the year’s end.

The project’s significance is both local and global.

In Delhi, it solves a growing sanitation problem and prevents the release of 96,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) into the atmosphere each year. “These early projects have immediate value to the cities where they are delivered,” says Karen Luken, Director of CCI’s Waste Management Program. “But we have also designed them to serve as best practice models that can be replicated across other big cities.”

This ability to replicate projects is an important feature of CCI’s approach – for waste management is both a climate and health issue. Waste in landfills now ranks third among the largest sources of global methane emissions – a greenhouse gas stemming largely from the decomposition of organic matter and 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

In many developing countries, the practice of dumping is entrenched, and systems to collect and manage garbage are rare, leaving 2.6 billion people susceptible to health risks and related economic loss. Across the board, seeing garbage as an important resource is something new.

“So much of our work is to change the mindset of how people perceive garbage,” Luken says. “The challenge is in getting cities to look at alternative ways of using garbage, and then working with them to close the margin between finding the cheapest way and the most sustainable way.”

Delhi’s new system closes that margin successfully. It will process 1,000 tons of waste a day, converting organic waste into compost and recycling plastics and paper to create a refuse-derived fuel product. Both are potential sources of revenue that can offset costs. Other materials will go to a state-of-the-art landfill that meets the highest environmental standards.

The project will generate employment opportunities for local people, including those who used to eke out a living by scavenging for saleable materials in the open dumps – and they will be granted access to some portion of the site for collecting recyclables.

The mayor of Delhi, Dr. Kanwar Sain, is duly proud of this achievement. “Waste management is a big concern for Delhi, and CCI has been a constant partner and catalyst in helping us address this issue,” he says. “By identifying the best technologies at the outset, bringing international companies to the table quickly, and establishing a tender process that was transparent and equitable, CCI raised our game and helped us move remarkably fast.”

CCI has supported Delhi every step of the way, beginning with the development of the initial strategy and feasibility reports through the entire procurement process. “Working with the MCD has been a very positive experience, in large part because the mayor and the municipal commissioner have been engaged from the start,” Amit Jain, Regional Coordinator- South Asia of CCI’s Waste Management Program, says. “I think they were galvanized by the opportunity to reduce emissions and deliver critical sanitation services to their citizens -- in a single action.”

Delhi’s waste management system is just one example of CCI’s work in this arena. In conjunction with CCI City Directors, CCI’s Waste Management team is developing projects in a number of cities across the world, helping local governments reduce reliance on landfills by using waste as a resource for materials or energy.

“We help cities change their mindset and their policies – and even the way they have traditionally obtained services. The importance of doing it correctly upfront is essential,” Luken says. “At the end of the day, they’ll have long-term, sustainable waste management systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of life in their communities.”


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Rescuer

Last month, when the city woke up to news of a father having confined his adult daughters to a single room for several years, permitting them little contact with the outside world, one simple man in distant Vasai was already receiving a flood of calls and he was patiently attending to each one, meticulously noting down information regarding several psychologically disturbed people whose families felt the man who rescued Teresa, Elizabeth and Barbara Gomes would help them.

R Gopalkrishana, the 50-year-old social activist in the distant suburbs, has been running an organisation for the mentally ill for several years.

“A 27-year-old organization, the Anand Rehabilitation Centre, has been serving thousands of people. Gomes was a difficult but surely not the toughest case that we dealt with,” says Gopalkrishana, who has since then been trying to help over ten other families who have approached him describing situations that only qualified mental health professionals would be equipped to handle.

Francis Gomes, painted as a criminal initially, is himself now acknowledged as a person with an acute mental disorder, paranoid schizophrenia.

Gopalkrishana, a commerce graduate with no medical education, recalls a two-decade old incident that forced him to think about the issue of health. “My cousin, who was suffering from brain tumor, was hospitalized in a city hospital. Even after staying in Mumbai all my life I had to run from pillar to post arranging bed and bread for my cousin. The incident left me disturbed for several months before I finally decided to help patients travelling to Mumbai from other cities and states seeking medical help and slowly specialized in mental health cases,” says Gopalkrishana. Today, the rehabilitation centre spread across a 5000-sq. feet area in Nallasopara houses as many as 100 patients from across the country, all suffering from illnesses like schizophrenia, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other ailments.

“It’s apathy that a mentally unwell person is not treated as a patient and his deeds are considered as a crime. Like fever is a normal symptom for a patient suffering from malaria, a mentally deranged man will behave obsessive and on several occasions get violent. Society needs to grow more sensitive along with the police,” explains Gopalkrishana.

Very recently, Gopalkrishana received a call from a housing society in Borivali seeking his help to “evict a house”. “A mentally deranged single mother residing with her only son has resorted to similar behavior like Gomes. She has tried to abuse the neighbours and has confined her son to the house. However, the neighbours see it just as a case of nuisance and want to get rid of it,” Gopalkrishana says. “We need to realise that mental illness can be treated and isolating and ill-treating such patients only aggravates the problem. In Gomes’ case too, we involved police only to seek legal help for the family, but they threw Gomes into jail without offering him medical support.”

While the Gomes incident has initiated a debate, Gopalkrishana hopes more and more families acknowledge mental illness and not try to keep problems under wraps until it’s too late.

Anand Rehabilitation
Centre 0251- 2414145/ 2405060

By Sukanya Shetty

Source: Indian Express,Mumbai 25th Oct 2009

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rural India still deprived

October 24 is observed as the World Development Information Day across the globe with the objective of drawing people's attention towards development problems.

But, most of the people, particularly in Varanasi are unaware about it and its importance. The main aim of World Development Information Day is to inform and motivate young people vital development issues that directly affect the life of people particularly in rural areas.

Agriculture, which is concentrated in rural India, is the mainstay of the Indian economy. According to government report, agriculture and allied sectors contribute nearly 22 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP of India), while about 65-70 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.

But, it is unfortunate to know that farmers have to struggle hard for basic amenities like health care, agricultural services, seed/fertiliser procurement facility and veterinary services. It is also a startling fact that the girls living in 1010 villages in the district have to travel over five kilometres to get secondary education because there is no such facility in these villages. Similarly the girl students of upper primary of 399 villages have to cover this distance to attend the schools.

According to the statistics of the district records, the district has 1289 villages in eight development blocks including Baragaon, Cholapur, Chiraigaon, Araziline, Kashi Vidyapeeth, Pindra, Harahua and Sevapuri. The policy draft of the ministry of rural development clearly mentions that the rural development implies both the economic betterment of people and greater social transformation. In order to provide the rural people with better prospects for economic development, increased participation of people in the rural development programmes, decentralisation of planning, better enforcement of land reforms and greater access to credit are envisaged. To achieve this target there are many schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, Rural Housing, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and National Social Assistance Programme.

But, reality is that the rural folk are still a deprived section of the society. The records show that the agricultural mandis are over five km from 1180 villages while the native of 676 villages have to cover long distance to reach veterinary hospitals for the treatment of their livestock.

Similarly the natives of 578 villages have to cover a distance of over five km for health care facility in primary or community health centres. The cooperative agriculture and rural development banks are over 5km from 1239 villages while the farmers of 1204 villages have to travel such distance to reach selling/purchasing cooperative committees.
A number of villagers have also to travel far for amenities like cold storage, post office and public telephone in this age of information technology.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Social Justice Through Health Care

We just come across a person who can fully comply with the provision of health care system either by the government or the private sector to perform to be met. This is true not only for developing countries, but for all developed countries and true.

Each individual contribution law-abiding has some legitimate state. Disappointment with the current exemption of health care forces people opportunities to better look beyond the boundaries of time. The current flow of patients developed to developing countries took the proportion of medical tourism. Medical tourism is a two-way street. Bad from India are known to visit the Rashid Hospital Lahore for a kidney transplant. Medical tourism is certainly world-class facilities and services our companies offer hospitals. These hospitals now can be an excellent tertiary hospitals. The lack of adequate clinical material, as patients are often cited in parleyences asked medical doctors in the developed world in the medical adventurism.

Recently, two NGOs, led by renowned plastic surgeon from India have been in India, who claim that their credit carried hundreds of cleft lip and palate surgery in a week. During my brief interaction when I asked a fundamental question, how do you justify the step of the operation by a single specialist for a clinical entity that requires 3-5 operations of 10 specialists over 20 years There was no response. On the record, all the local doctors to conduct these operations.

These NGOs to bring a number of medical residents for the trainees hands on training. The introduction of questionable services and drugs continues unabated in the absence of strict regulation. Clear guidelines and to date that health authorities have so far Safe Guard are adopted, the health interests of the nation. Most drugs in developed countries are still allowed to be thrown into the Indian market. Trade only determines the orientation of MNEs in the health sector in developing countries.

State and national medical associations that are controlled, the guardians of our national interests of the health of representatives elected from among the physicians. Competitive populism is chosen for this high office has the bite of these same regulators.

In this "market forces" based health care, besides other factors, population size, economic prosperity and reading and research to dictate by major players. Subjective and objective evaluation of the operations of health care, leaving people confused with huge piles of data and interpretations without end. At the end of the Govt. Health Care Delivery System is the pharmacy or the transformation of rural slums, middle, and end user of a villager or illiterate or semi illiterate slum dwellers. Dispensary is the human face, can the welfare state to this day the people. The years of service were under the same social class, which they serve. Doctor can be a friend, philosopher and guide to the locals. Unfortunately, the differences between economic and social services, doctors and the public service users has increased dramatically. Ad Hocism health care should be taken with immediate effect. Doctors and medical personnel on contract basis will be appointed each year not shown an interest in national programs. Founded in suppliers of private health care did not demonstrate a significant commitment to national programs. Middle-class itself fragmented. Now it is fashionable to economic values to the question of how to allocate the sexes, but for social responsibility and justice.

In this era of rapid growth, is not organized, millions suffer in silence can not be evaded. After reading a quote on biodiversity, I came across a very interesting ", only economically important species will survive." In our active pursuit of economies of magnetization, we assign economic value, just for morale. Commercialization of education has a new generation of professionals who have produced little regard for professional ethics.

Privatization is the watchword, with governments, because it deprives the government. Private actors see too many "viable" institutions of health care. There are no prospects for economically viable institutions in rural areas. Rural health facilities of social medicine. More recently quoted one of the main actors of the private sector, health care, the development cost of a bed in the hospital sector to Rs 30-60 Lacs. These health care businesses are definitely beyond a common man. Such hospitals are certainly a nation with the current rate of growth "Bharat" is essential for different types of hospitals. There are strong social movements against exploitation in respect of private health services, inadequate public sector resources for health care and indifference to the welfare state.

Health for all is a very high, but expensive. There are ways to reduce the pressure of public institutions. Public-private health insurance, supervision and regulation of health care in the private sector can all do something as simple as that. Health education can go a long way in improving public health. Community participation produces health care has some, but wonderful examples.

An additional financial contribution from the employee may be led to minor defects, but significant in the public health system. Installing the company health care with the help of the World Bank has already improved the Government's work. Field of public health facilities significantly.

Community participation through NGOs can further improve the system, but most NGOs meaning turns back Govt. operate facilities for health care because of their doubts about the integrity of officials. Government establishment of health care increasingly seen not as hospital care, but as police stations, which are written medico legal reports and conducted autopsies.

Most of the time, the government doctors is to appear in court as lawyers issued medical witnesses. Emergency post-mortem and VIP functions also allow only doctors free to meaningful work for public hospitals. There is an urgent need for the separation of curative, preventive, law, administration and the intelligence wing of health. Public hospitals draw the poorest of the poor, the informal sector, particularly those of the. Their contribution to national GDP is far from small.

With the current rate of growth is upward social mobility in all segments of society. Many segments of the formal sector can be organized so that they enjoy the patronage of the welfare state in the form of health insurance. Besides the direct benefit to run these segments of society, the status of "working off" the tax burden on the health benefits of government, they led the charge on private health insurance.

Poorest of the poor is the belief in the welfare state alone. Sanjivini, health insurance with the Milkmen Cooperative Punjab is already a huge success. ECHS (Ex-soldiers Contributory Health Scheme) is another success story. These successes can be similar panwallas be dhabewallas replicated with many groups, drivers etc. autorikshaw easily organize the informal sector. There is no shortage of role models in the ranks of government doctors. Their inclusion as a drift to dissent from the current exemption for providers of health care is considerable improvement in the system. The stability of their functions is to provide an excellent incentive for the government, Doctors Without fresh Treasury. But his term of office for decades, should be discouraged because it leads to a change of interests of older established companies and denial of opportunities for youth. Adequate resources is a major problem in the Govt. run health system.

There are pharmacies, where specialists will be deployed, and many other civilian hospitals, where non-specialists will be deployed. This results in defects in the care of abusive and ineffective health. Hospitals have nodal tower rescue services clock cannibalize broken and diseased organs in which crores worth of equipment used is not bleeding and content to create invoices know the state treasury.

Most retired doctors in the management of the same rank. This unnecessary stagnation has forced many doctors a brilliant service. For the simple search options for the place of posting, the honest implementation with minimal displacement of merit can also stimulate new govt. Executive doctors.

Private Sector Health Care Delivery System is a fully market-oriented operating company. The so-called "market forces" at least have the respect of ethical and moral values. Sales Channels multi-levels have developed in the name of the referral system. End result is the use of common unsuspecting husband, who still considers his person a holy healer. This incentive "system is to strengthen the influence of doctors unskilled, unscrupulous and unregistered at the illiterate masses. Not many qualified doctors are unscrupulous.

Much of the providers of private health care really feel threatened by blackmailers of all kinds. Consumer Protection Act is very comfortable to stick in the hands of their executioners.
Under the constant threat of extortion is that providers of private health care are becoming more defensive posture. Other patients are only in tertiary care for this reason called the flooding referral institutions. People have the common sense that the disease is an invitation for use in the hands of suppliers of private health care.

Even non-profit hospitals are charging as much as a purely private hospitals. Medical profession is fully responsible and capable of correcting itself. Medical associations and organizations can work together to develop a fail safe mechanism to keep black sheep under control, even without government help, but ultimately with the government. Welfare is the State duty, not only in the provision of health care delivery system, but also proper management of health care and social justice through their mechanism of health care.

By Dr. Pardeep Kumar Sharma
omfspardeep @yahoo. com


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network: MOHAN Foundation

MOHAN Foundation - "Support Group for Patients, Physicians and Public"

MOHAN is an acronym for Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network and was launched in Chennai on 4th November 1996. It is a registered NGO with Income Tax exemption under Section 80G and 35AC and has offices both in Chennai and Hyderabad. MOHAN Foundation was started by a group of like-minded and concerned medical and non-medical professionals committed to increasing the reach of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act. The Government of India passed this act in 1994 to broaden the concept of organ donation and stop commercial dealings in organs, especially kidneys. It is now possible to not only donate one’s eyes, but also other vital organs like the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys.

MOHAN Foundation comprises four core groups that carry out the different activities of the foundation. These groups are:

1. Public Education for Organ Donation
2. Indian Transplant Newsletter (ITN)
3. Patient Support group (PSG)
4. Indian Network for Organ Sharing (INOS)

1. Public Education for Organ Donation - Donor Cards in different languages and organ donation awareness campaigns are the focus of the public education group. The Donor card in English was the first to be launched on 12th January 1997. The Donor card enables people to express their wish to donate their organs. These Donor Cards are distributed along with a brochure entitled “A Priceless Gift,” which explains the concept of organ donation.

Over 250,000 Donor Cards have been distributed so far in English, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi. Eminent dignitaries like Mrs. Nita Ambani, Reliance Industries Limited, actor / social activist Revathy, Judge Krishna Reddy and cricketer Kris Srikkanth have all been presented with Donor Cards. The Foundation also has literature on prevention of different diseases and organ transplantation.

2. Indian Transplant Newsletter (ITN) – The Indian Transplant Newsletter is being published since 1998 and is currently in its 27th issue. It carries national and international transplant news and keeps track of the Indian cadaver transplant programme. The executive committee has doctors from the transplant field from all over the country and abroad. About 1500 to 2000 copies of the newsletter are dispatched every quarter to transplant clinicians and members of the public in India and abroad.

3. Patient Support Group (PSG) – MOHAN Foundation started a Patient Support Group (PSG) for organ failure patients and their families to give them a platform to discuss their problems with each other and also interact with a panel of experts comprising doctors, dietitians, and counselors. There are about 300 members in the group both in Chennai and Mumbai. Subsidized transplant related medicines to needy patients are supplied.

4. INOS (Indian Network for Organ Sharing) in Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh – INOS was formed first in Tamil Nadu in November 1999 with Apollo Hospitals, Sri Ramachandra Hospital, Sundaram Medical Foundation, (all from Chennai), and Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore in the group. In Andhra Pradesh, the hospitals that have benefited from our work are Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Global Hospitals, Care Hospitals, Medwin Hospitals, Mediciti Hospitals, Kamineni Hospitals, Osmania Hospitals, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Star Hospitals and Innova Hospitals.

In India, approximately 1500 transplants have been done from cadaver organ donations in the last 10 years and of these almost 400 have been done in Tamil Nadu. MOHAN Foundation from the year 2000 to 2007 has facilitated donation of 387 solid organs and 338 eyes.

CHOOSE LIFE…WITH MOHAN FOUNDATION…Organ donation is all about giving life – life that only YOU can choose to give to help the thousands of patients waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Mohan Foundation - HQ:
AA-147 Jayam Building,
Anna Nagar, 3rd Avenue,
Chennai-600 040. India.
Ph: 044-26207000
Fax: 044-26263477


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The human rights mathematician

Dr Ramanamurthy, who was then with the National Academy for Legal Studies and Research, dragged me to many Human Rights Forum (HRF) fact-findings on a weekend in 2001. It was in an Andhra Pradesh state transport bus headed for Warangal that I was first introduced to HRF’s founder K Balagopal. He was already a legend in human rights circles, and many of us held him and his work in awe. On this occasion, the eminent lawyer and human rights advocate immediately plunged into a lecture speculating on the history of Irani tea!

After this, for the year and a half that I was in Hyderabad, I was a regular at many of the programmes and fact-findings initiated by the Human Rights Forum. Still recovering from the shock of hearing of Balagopal’s death, I am just jotting down some disjointed memories which I hope will give a clue to his personality.

Balagopal rarely spoke about his personal life. Most of what I know of it is hearsay, gleaned from co-travellers in the Human Rights Forum and snippets he occasionally let fall. But his life itself is a testimony to his commitment, his propensity for hard work and his intellectual range. A little known fact about him is that his doctorate is in Mathematics. It was his journey through the civil liberties movement and associated personal experiences that made him change his career from a Mathematics teacher to a full time practising lawyer.

On one of our many trips together, he told us in a lighter vein that his activism started in the same campus, at around the same time, as Chandrababu Naidu, the then chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. But it was with the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee that he made a mark. APCLC and his activism against state violence also gave him endless trouble with the state which incessantly tried to punish him.

In one of the most well documented cases of state harassment, he was charged with the murder of a sub-inspector of police – first under the Indian Penal Code and later under the then Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act in 1985. In 1989, he was kidnapped and held hostage by an outfit allegedly promoted by the police. There have been many other incidents of intimidation including physical violence. But the strategy of harassment backfired – it only served to strengthen Balagopal’s commitment. Perhaps, it was also a catalyst in Balagopal giving up his academic career with the Kakatiya University and embracing fulltime legal practice.

Having served for a long time as the General Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, he parted ways and, along with M T Khan, G Haragopal and Kancha Ilaiah founded the Human Rights Forum (HRF). The internal difference that led to this rift and marked Balagopal's political positions thereafter is captured in the HRF website:

"The Human Rights Forum (HRF) was formed in October 1998. Most of the members of HRF were members of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, who fell out on the question of what should be the perspective of a rights organisation. The HRF strongly believes that the State alone is not the centre of rights violations. "

It was his abhorrence of violence, regardless of the perpetrator, that led to the split with APCLC. That, and his forthrightness, made him an undesirable element for the Naxalites as well. Despite this, he has played a pivotal role in attempting mediations between the State and the Naxalites within the Constitutional framework.

His unparalleled clarity, scholarship and experience contributed hugely to the human rights discourse in India. What distinguishes his activism is the brilliance with which he theorised and articulated its justifications. In a marked departure from the position held by traditional civil liberties activists, while condemning Naxal violence and its inherent hegemony, he located the Naxal movement in a larger context of socio-economic justice. The HRF and Balagopal ventured into and linked denial of socio-economic rights to civil liberties violation. The evidence of this departure from the usual can be seen in his writings and the diverse array of issues that HRF has worked on.

Fact finding missions with Balagopal in Andhra Pradesh were always intense academic experiences, apart from the emotional upheaval one had to grapple with in many of these situations. For one, apart from intimately knowing the geography and the socio-political map of the region, he was always the most prepared amongst the entire team. The experience could only be complete with his anecdotes marked with characteristic humour. He dealt with victims of violence with uncanny sensitivity, with the police and agents of violence with firmness, and handled the media with tact.

The police were wary of the man. At one police station we were turned away on the pretext that the Station House Officer was not available though probably it was because of Balagopal’s presence. At public meetings and discussions he was erudition personified - I remember particularly his intervention when the late Abdul Ghani Lone was visiting Hyderabad (among other cities) on a lecture tour.

As a lawyer, he was thorough, but more importantly, he epitomised the ethics of legal practice to the point of being irksome. I remember being irritated with him when I paid him a rare visit at his home once, for not demanding the fees due to him from a fairly well-to-do client.

Balagopal demonstrated that much could be done while leading an austere life style. For instance, he insisted on travelling either sleeper class in trains or by ordinary bus. It must be his strong will, austerity and inherent abhorrence of violence that led one of the obituaries to claim that “In an ironic way Balagopal could be seen as a true inheritor of the Gandhian legacy, of leading a particular kind of life, and through such a life aspiring to change the world around you.”

Nothing could be more unfair to Balagopal. While Gandhi’s notion of ahimsa is constructed and practised in a spiritual context, Balagopal’s position on violence evolved on the basis of material reality and is very often critical of the Gandhian position.

After leaving Hyderabad, I often bumped into him at conferences and meetings, and returned enrichened by his fresh perspectives. Our last meeting was a couple of years ago at the India International Centre in New Delhi at a conference on the changing trends in Criminal Law hosted by the Human Rights Law Network. At lunch he was lamenting the regressive role being played by Dr Madhava Menon in meddling with Criminal Law reforms.

His demise comes at a juncture when his clarity and erudition are needed the most. At a time when the Government of India is making noises about waging war against Naxalism, disregarding constitutional norms, when the central and state governments are busy figuring out excuses to quell dissent, and when ‘shining India’ looks awry, a very important voice of sanity has gone silent forever.

Personally, I have lost the person, whose informal tutelage honed my understanding of the human rights discourse and criminal justice jurisprudence.

By Bobby Kunhu is a human rights lawyer and activist.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

People’s movement against corruption

An action plan to forge a unified platform for organisations and individuals fighting against corruption in public life was initiated in Kerala last month. The initiative, organised by a collective forum of people’s action councils and human rights organisations as well as individuals involved in struggles at the grassroots level, was quite novel, with a wide range of areas represented by the participants.

The first step towards this initiative was a state-level convention at Kalamassery, the industrial township around 21 km from Kochi, in August 2009. Inaugurated by K Sukumaran, former judge of the Kerala and Bombay high courts, the highlight of the event was the reading of a pledge by the well-known writer and social activist, Prof Sara Joseph. The participants included representatives of various people’s resistance groups from all over the state.

The presence of many dissidents of the CPI (M), the major constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala, was significant, especially in the background of the ongoing debate in Kerala on corruption in public life, following the Rs 300-crore SNC Lavalin Corruption Scandal, in which the CPI (M) state general secretary and former electricity minister, Pinarayi Vijayan was chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the investigating agency. In this background, the presence of many individuals who were at loggerheads with the CPI (M) leadership on this issue was quite significant.

However, C P John, a former member of the State Planning Board and prominent leader of the Communist Marxist Party (CMP), an independent political party that was formed by a splinter group of the CPI (M) led by M V Raghavan, the veteran communist leader and former minister who was expelled from the CPI (M) in 1986, was perhaps the only dignitary present at the convention who had a clear-cut political affiliation.

The list of dignitaries present at the convention read like a veritable who’s who of activists and localised mass movements in different parts of Kerala.

The draft document presented by C R Neelakandan, an environmental and social activist, highlighted the need to fight against all sorts of corruption in society. “Corruption includes looting of natural resources like land, water, forest, sea etc, all types of man-made environmental disasters, onslaught on adivasis, dalits and women, all sorts of human rights violations, negative, anti-people and anti-nature development policies, destruction and looting of public assets and systems like health, education, public distribution and many others.”

The draft document pointed out that corruption has many dimensions other than the amassing of wealth. The roots of all corruption are in the political system. Many activist groups are fighting against corruption in their own way. But since they are not united it is very easy for those with vested interests and control of power to marginalise and suppress all these agitations.

The document went on to describe how globalisation and liberalisation has led to a manifold increase in the level of corruption. With the disillusionment of the people with the existing political system growing, it was time for all groups struggling for people’s rights and all progressive people to launch a common political struggle to rectify the system, it pointed out.

The students of Sal Sabeel Green School, an educational institution that focusses on an education system that fosters environmental awareness among the students, were also present with P T M Hussain, principal and founder of the school.

Participating in the discussions, activists described the environmental and human rights violations against which their struggles were launched. The anti-endosulfan activists from Kasargod described the horrifying aftermaths of the aerial spraying of the toxic pesticide endosulfan in the cashew plantations of Kasargod district. Aerial spraying of the deadly pesticide was common in the cashew plantations of the government-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala at Pedre in Kasargod district during the 1980s. The spraying had continued unabated for two decades in the 30,000 acres of cashew plantations. The practice was banned two years ago, following a huge protest and public outcry. However, the sufferings of the victims who were living in three neighbouring panchayats are still continuing, with a high level of cancer, neurological disorders, failure of various organs, deformities and genetic disorders becoming common in these areas.

At Chakkamkandam, a village adjacent to the temple town of Guruvayur, where the Sree Krishna Temple is a famed pilgrimage centre, the people are fighting against a sewage treatment plant for the Guruvayur township. Though the proposal for a centralised sewage treatment plant, introduced in 1973, is not yet near implementation, the local people are already suffering from the informal dumping of waste in their fresh water bodies. Valiya Thodu, a natural canal that flows from Guruvayur towards Chakkamkandam, has already been turned into an open sewer. People allege that many establishments in Guruvayur release their septic tanks into this canal, polluting the major source of fresh water for the residents of Chakkamkandam and leading to the pollution of the Chakkamkandam backwaters that connect with the Arabian Sea. The stench of flowing sewage has made the environment unbearable. The livelihoods of the villagers, mainly fishing, coir-related works and collecting silt from the backwaters to be used as a natural fertiliser, have all been affected by the pollution.

Likewise, the people from Moolampilly in Ernakulam described the local residents’ struggle against the authorities’ move to evict them from their homes without ensuring proper rehabilitation measures as part of the ongoing road project for the International Container Transshipment Terminal, Vallarpadam. The coordination committee for the welfare of the evictees has alleged that the authorities have not provided basic facilities including drinking water and road connectivity to the land identified for rehabilitating the displaced. They also charge that no agreement was made on paper regarding the rehabilitation. The issue has been attracting public attention ever since the work for the Kalamassery-Vallarpadam road project started in Ernakulam. The State Human Rights Commission had intervened in the issue and the People’s Action Council had even fielded a candidate, Mary Francis Moolampilly, for the Ernakulam parliamentary constituency for the last Lok Sabha polls, to bring the issue to public attention.

Chakkamkandam in Thrissur and Moolampilly in Ernakulam are not isolated instances in Kerala. Other struggles like the agitation of the residents of the village of Plachimada in Palakkad district against the depletion of groundwater caused by the Coco Cola factory or the struggle of the landless to occupy the land of an industrial estate in Chengara in Pathanamthitta have already captured national attention. However, what would be the final outcome of the attempts to coordinate activists fighting against violations of various basic rights, remains to be seen.

The major deterrent to meaningful collective action could be the difference in points of view of the various action groups and individuals. Many of the local action councils have sprung up as an instinctive response from the local people against the situations that make their environments uninhabitable. Each group can be made up of individuals with different perspectives and political standpoints.

However, as an immediate follow-up, a district-level convention was convened for Ernakulam district and a three-pronged action plan chalked out. In the first phase, a seminar will be held at Karumaloor panchayat to focus attention on land-related issues in the district, including pollution, sand mining and others. Another seminar, to be held at Puthenkurissu, another village near Ernakulam, will focus on women-related issues.

A third plan drafted at the district-level convention is an awareness campaign on the recently introduced Right to Information Act (RTI). The Act ensures the right to obtain information on all unclassified information when and where required by an ordinary citizen of the country. Awareness on the part of citizens on when and where to exert this right judiciously is important for the successful implementation of this Act. Instances of misuse of the RTI Act, as have often been reported in recent times, contain the danger that the authorities might think of curtailing it. A seminar focusing on RTI is proposed to be held at Muvattupuzha, another part of the district. All the three centres where the follow-up events are planned are located in three different corners of the district, as a means to reach out to the entire district.

Plans are afoot to organise meetings in other districts as well. Discussions are still taking place on the name of the forum, whether a name is needed at all, how the organisational structure should be worked out, whether the forum should choose to play a role in electoral politics and if so, how such interventions need to be planned. A long road lies ahead for the organisers to reach an accord between the diverse groups, but a beginning has been made.

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Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Required a Programme Officer/ Social Worker for NGO working with Senior Citizens

POSITION TITLE: Programme Officer / Social Worker

REPORTING TO: President / Director

LOCATION: Mumbai, India

Silver Innings is a Social Entrepreneur organization dedicated for the cause of elderly and their family members. We are committed in ensuring that ageing becomes a positive, rewarding experience for all. On 10th April 2008 Silver Innings (SI) started off with a website which contains comprehensive information for elderly and issues related to them. After the success of the website, Silver Inning Foundation an NGO was started initially to provide non-institutional services for the elderly.

Silver Inning Foundation (SIF) requires a full time Social Worker / Programme Officer for managing services and projects that we are currently running and also planning to start. Trained Social Workers or persons with experience in the social sector can apply. The person concerned should be interested and willing to work for the cause of the elderly. He or she should be Passionate, Progressive, Non materialistic, Self Starter, open to new ideas and Technology friendly.

The roles and responsibilities would include the following:

  • Initiation and co-ordination of projects
  • Conducting surveys
  • Writing reports/proposals
  • Conducting volunteers meetings
  • Managing and coordinating with volunteers
  • Representing SIF at various forums
  • Handling dementia cases and other case work
  • Handling Elder Abuse
  • Counseling
  • Attending conference/seminar
  • Organising/Conducting Workshop, Lecture, Talks
  • Coordination with government authorities
  • Handling CSR projects
  • Networking with NGO’s and organisations
  • Fund Raising
  • Events and activities

Must Have/Be:

  • Internet Savvy - Must
  • Report Writing skill - Must
  • Operations and management skill
  • Leadership skills and ability to manage and motivate team/teams.

· Skills in Networking and Advocacy

  • Good communication & representational skills.

· The incumbent must be able to commit to a minimum of 3 year full time stint.

· Patience and good listeners

· Entrepreneurial skills

· Willing to learn

  • Must be willing to travel any where in India


  • Mumbai based candidates only
  • Fluent in English, Marathi and Hindi
  • Ready to join immediately/one month
  • Fresh / 1 experience
  • Proposal writing skill


  • BSW /MSW
  • Graduates in BA – Sociology / Psychology
  • Graduate with Para Professional course

We assure you of Job Satisfaction and Growth.

Please note as SIF is startup organisation Salary will not be in five digits for at least one year and later it will be decided as per appraisal report and performance.

Interested individuals may please submit their CV, with a passport size photo and 3 references by email to with the subject line indicating Programme Officer/ Social Worker -SIF. No phone calls in this regards will be accepted and application by post/courier will not be entertained. Please note that only short listed candidates will be contacted.

The last date of receiving applications is 30th Oct 2009. Appointment will be preferably from 15th Nov 2009.

Address: Silver Inning Foundation, C/O Unltd India, 4th Floor, Candelar Building, 26St. John Baptist Road, Above Dilshad Salon, Near Mount Mary Steps, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400 050, India .Last Stop of Bus No 214.

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Govt of India gives NGOs rural job plan reins

The government will hand over the running of the rural job scheme to a nation-wide network of NGOs, sidelining the panchayats and gram sabhas that managed the programme till now.

The official explanation is the “failure of the local-level political system” (sarpanches) in running the UPA’s flagship social programme that is mired in allegations of corruption and inefficiency.

Many NGOs had been monitoring the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme but now they will be virtually in charge and will be paid for their work. The central and state governments do not directly run the scheme — they provide the funds, fix the wages and “measure” (assess and quantify) the work done.

According to a draft note prepared by the rural development ministry, the NGOs will spread awareness about the scheme, train the workforce, monitor the muster rolls and all documents relating to the work done, ensure that grievances are redressed and, finally, evaluate the scheme’s implementation.

The panchayats will be kept in the loop but will no longer be the decision-makers.

The ministry will start the process of selecting the NGOs for the job in a few days, after notifying the new plan.

In the first phase, expected to start in a couple of months, the “NGOisation” will be implemented in 14 states, including Bengal. To start with, the voluntary organisations will be assigned just one district each and only for six months.

Each NGO will be paid Rs 4 lakh for these six months. For this, Rs 15 crore has been set aside in the current financial year.

According to the ministry draft note, the expected benefits of the move are “transparency and accountability (and) efficient grievance redress mechanism”.

“We had entrusted the responsibility of implementing the (scheme) with the village sarpanch,” rural development minister C.P. Joshi said. “But there are so many allegations against the local political representatives…. It is important to stop these manipulations.”

Not everyone is convinced, though.

“With this, the government is planning to give the NGOs the upper hand over elected representatives. It is being done on the wrong assumption that all NGOs are trustworthy. There are good and bad NGOs just as there are good sarpanches and bad sarpanches,” a ministry official said.

He added: “The elected representatives are at least accountable to the public and government but these NGOs are not. Even if they are found culpable, all that the government can do is blacklist them. But the same people can float another NGO in another name.”

A consortium of NGOs, that have so far been monitoring the scheme on their own, has asked the Centre to set up a national authority made up of NGOs to oversee the programme across the country. Their argument: “The largest employment programme in human history requires a separate authority to anchor it.”

“The intervention of NGOs (in the job scheme) has (already) had a dramatic impact on incomes, indebtedness and migration,” said Pramathesh Ambasta of Samaj Pragati Sahayog. He claimed that Rajasthan had witnessed a 175 per cent rise in work demand under the scheme.

A rural development ministry wing, the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology, will oversee the “NGOisation”.

Later, NGOs will be involved in other major schemes such as the Indira Awas Yojana, Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana and the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, officials said.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One Day Workshop on CSR and Cause Related Marketing

iCONGO – Confederation of NGO’s Presents “iCODEVGURUKUL” One Day Workshop on CSR and Cause Related Marketing Organised by MindView at Bangalore on 28th October 2009

An Informal Interactive Workshop inviting the participants to share their own insights and experiences to learn from each other, highlighting the business benefits at being a responsible business.

Workshop Summary
Definition Of CSR And CRM For Your Business
Stakeholder Strategy
How CRM Makes A Huge
Difference To Brand Building With Less
Marketing Spend
Business Benefits And Drivers
Insights From Business
A Simple Model
Comparing And Contrasting India, US AND UK
Case Study
Initiating An Action Plan

Intro To CRS
Mission Statement
Your Journey
Definition To CSR
Who Are Ur Stake Holders
Acting On Business Drivers
The 5 I's Model
CR Journey
CSR Checklist
Q &A

Who should Attend

Group Dialogue
Interactive Projects
Expert Presentations
Case Studies

• Strategic thinker, practical implementer Networking, business development, identifying trends, analyzing situations and creating innovative timely responses.
• Initiating change: motivating people to make things happen.
• Understanding the diverse and changing needs of people, their communities and organizations.
• Developer of people: designing and delivering workshops and training programmes
• Advice guidance and support to help organisations change and develop, utilizing action and market research.
• Effective verbal and written communicator with experience from boardroom to church hall from the committed to the unconverted.
• Social Entrepreneur that can translate ideas into action.
• Developing strategy scanning the horizon, business planning, implementing change, engaging stakeholders, review and evaluation.
• Passionate energizer with clear values.
• Adaptability and flexibility in quickly changing environments. Established and worked with different organizational forms, teams and networks.

Has over 14 years of experience in the business sector and has worked as a business & marketing strategist which includes being a serial entrepreneur having developed successful ventures in advertising, below the line marketing, dotcoms and a large format media & entertainment company.

During his 14 years in business he has planned and executed brand building campaigns, big-ticket events and brand positioning for various top brands & companies and in 2002 moved to the development sector. In the development sector, he has been instrumental for pioneering various initiatives like direct dialogue fundraising, events, donor loyalty programs, multi level marketing and direct sales through ‘Karm’ Mitra which was an out of the box idea that redefined paradigms for fundraising strategy and go beyond just asking for money.

Jerry founded iCONGO and drives the movement to encourage social justice & citizen action through the people sector, as the chief volunteer and has been conducting weekend training programs (pro bono) for various NGOs over the past 5 years to encourage practical, ethical and credible fundraising to develop a long term ecosystem for the Sector. Jerry also speaks at various high profile forums in India and overseas on CSR, Corporate Governance, Retail, Brand management, HR, Social and Corporate Communications, Cause Related Marketing, Media and Event management.

28th October 2009

Venue: Central Park Hotel, Manipal Centre Bangalore

Time: 10.00am - 6.00pm

Participation Fees: Rs. 5,000/- The fee includes the program materials, lunch, tea and refreshments

Mode of Payment: Through DD/Cheque Drawn in favour of “MindView ” Payable at Bangalore,India.

Contact: TEL: +91-9590312660

To Register mail to:

Please note Registration is based on "First-Come-First-Serve" basis, Registration will be confirmed only after receiving the payment.

For iCongo contact:
Snigdha Narain

This workshop is in Support of "Silver Innings" ,a social entrepreneur organization working for the cause of Elderly:

Mr.Kumar P
1210, Nehru Road
Bangalore - 560084

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The 'youngest headmaster in the world'

Around the world millions of children are not getting a proper education because their families are too poor to afford to send them to school. In India, one schoolboy is trying to change that. In the first report in the BBC's Hunger to Learn series, Damian Grammaticas meets Babar Ali, whose remarkable education project is transforming the lives of hundreds of poor children.

At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village.

The story of this young man from Murshidabad in West Bengal is a remarkable tale of the desire to learn amid the direst poverty.

Babar Ali's day starts early. He wakes, pitches in with the household chores, then jumps on an auto-rickshaw which takes him part of the 10km (six mile) ride to the Raj Govinda school. The last couple of kilometres he has to walk.

The school is the best in this part of West Bengal. There are hundreds of students, boys and girls. The classrooms are neat, if bare. But there are desks, chairs, a blackboard, and the teachers are all dedicated and well-qualified.

As the class 12 roll-call is taken, Babar Ali is seated in the middle in the front row. He's a tall, slim, gangly teenager, studious and smart in his blue and white uniform. He takes his notes carefully. He is the model student.

Babar Ali is the first member of his family ever to get a proper education.

"It's not easy for me to come to school because I live so far away," he says, "but the teachers are good and I love learning. And my parents believe I must get the best education possible that's why I am here."

Raj Govinda school is government-run so it is free, all Babar Ali has to pay for is his uniform, his books and the rickshaw ride to get there. But still that means his family has to find around 1,800 rupees a year ($40, £25) to send him to school. In this part of West Bengal that is a lot of money. Many poor families simply can't afford to send their children to school, even when it is free.

Chumki Hajra is one who has never been to school. She is 14 years old and lives in a tiny shack with her grandmother. Their home is simple A-frame supporting a thatched roof next to the rice paddies and coconut palms at the edge of the village. Inside the hut there is just room for a bed and a few possessions.

Every morning, instead of going to school, she scrubs the dishes and cleans the homes of her neighbours. She's done this ever since she was five. For her work she earns just 200 rupees a month ($5, £3). It's not much, but it's money her family desperately needs. And it means that she has to work as a servant everyday in the village.

"My father is handicapped and can't work," Chumki tells me as she scrubs a pot. "We need the money. If I don't work, we can't survive as a family. So I have no choice but to do this job."

But Chumki is now getting an education, thanks to Babar Ali. The 16-year-old has made it his mission to help Chumki and hundreds of other poor children in his village. The minute his lessons are over at Raj Govinda school, Babar Ali doesn't stop to play, he heads off to share what he's learnt with other children from his village.

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Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.