26 September 2017

Pragya’s engagement with ‘Sustainable Development Goals’

On 25 September 2015, world leaders agreed to a definitive plan for the planet and its people by adopting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with specific targets, officially came into force on 1st January 2016 and which are to be achieved by 2030. Through the 17 goals, the nations across the world strive to achieve development that is fair, equitable, inclusive, environment-friendly and inspires harmonious relations among living beings.
Hence, the SDGs are a universal call to act on the challenges our generation face e.g. poverty, hunger, health, quality education, gender equality, clean water, proper sanitation, clean energy, decent work opportunities, economic growth, reduced inequalities, climate action to name some.
On the 2ndanniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, thousands of organizations and individuals came together to support and commit towards fulfilling the goals through Global Day of Action where they pledged for #Agenda2030 and demanded to #ACT4SDGs. The campaign saw events in marginalized communities through mobilization and engagement of such communities and with politicians along with photo stunts, making their demands and voices heard regarding inequality, poverty and other concerns of the people. The idea was to provide an insight into different perspectives, and a window into the situation of communities and where we all are, in our journey to SDGs.

#Act4SDGs” is a joint campaign convened by The UN SDG Action Campaign, the World We Want 2030the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and Action for Sustainable Development. Various highlighting initiatives included were, Thunderclap, MY World 2030 survey, and sharing the messages on social media to encourage citizens to take action for the SDGs.
In the next 5 years, as the march towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) begins in earnest, Pragya will be hyper-focussed on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, the most persistent and intractable issues, and unwaveringly committed to transformative change. The organisation’s work will have a special concern with addressing the SDGs’ commitment to Leaving No One Behind. Pragya’s work in 2016-20 will focus on the 4 Priority Issues namely 1) Deepening inequality and multi-dimensional poverty, jobless growth and exploitation, neglect of deprived areas and groups, 2) Persisting inequality for women and other vulnerable and disempowered groups, 3) climate change, biodiversity loss, natural hazards, resource stress and the energy deficit and Governance and institutional failures, protracted conflicts and disenfranchised groups. The interventions are already taking place on the areas of focus.
The 2 years of SDGs give us the opportunity to share the commencement of our priority issues. To communicate the same, Pragya was involved with SDG by being a part of the APSD-GCAP Webinar on Global Day of Action - #Act4SDGs on Sep 18, 2017 to understand various initiatives and strategies that people and organizations are adopting, in order to address the issues concerned. The discussion helped us to learn from the work done by organizations across the world and provided an opportunity to present our work & plan ahead.
The emerging take-away from the discussion helped Pragya to initiate the process of the online advocacy. From last two weeks, the online advocacy has been done through strategized social media content-sharing in sync with the SDGs. The social media content was based on the work that Pragya has been doing since last 25 years for the energy conservation in Himalayan region, and the social development of people in such remote places. The strategies for interventions on projects have complemented the goals/themes covered in the SDGs.
The platforms used for this activity were Facebook and Twitter, where we covered themes of SDGs like no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, climate action and strong institutions.
The number of reach and the retweets achieved during the process were quite satisfactory. We could also receive commensurable visibility to share our work along with propagating SDGs. The first tweet (Link: https://twitter.com/PragyaNGO/status/909719555080990720) on September 18th 2017, was quite well received, and as per Twitter analytics, that tweet managed around 1,718 impressions*.

The subsequent tweets commutatively gain around 3,204 impressions* on Twitter since we started tweeting on SDGs.  On an average, we encouraged 2 retweets and 1 like per day according to our Twitter activity.

Reaching out to a good number of audience for the campaign would have not been possible without the followers who have been engaging with us all this while, our partners, grassroots workers and community members. Pragya is thankful to all of them along with being grateful to Act4SDGs campaign and the organizers who provided us the platforms to be a part of this global campaign.
We believe that the campaign has been able to set a reminder worldwide to all of us to remain vehement and passionate to continue achieving the development goals, to hold on to the commitments we made two years back, and to make SDGs a definite reality. With this, we call for a continued support from our audience and continue strengthening and working towards SDGs.

*No. of times users saw the tweet on Twitter. Pragya can be reached out to @PragyaNGO. 

19 September 2017

Healthcare services for marginalized in the rural areas of Madhepura district, Bihar (India)

India after decades of independence is still struggling to provide basic health care facilities to its citizens.  Provisions for basic health care services especially in rural India are few and far between lacking. Some states continue to lag behind on various development parameters especially health, even today. Health indicators of the people in the community are on a poorer side due to factors namely large family size, difficulty in affording and accessing quality health facilities and unawareness of the general hygiene and sanitation issues. This gets aggravated when there is no support from the state.

A doctor conducting the health check-up.

In an attempt to improve the health status of one of the most backward districts in Northern Bihar in India, Pragya and partner organizations organized health camps in five villages. The villages include Tuniahi Uttarwari, Tuniahi Dakhinwari, Laxmirampur Uttarwari, Laxmirampur Dakhinwari and Ganesthan. The health initiatives are a part of the ongoing project being implemented “Welfare Services in Madhepura District of Bihar”.

Under the project, Mobile Vikas Kendra or MVK is a resource center in the target villages of Madhepura equipped with basic medical facilities comprising of diagnostic equipment, emergency health kit and medicine kit along with conducting periodic health camps for extending the health facilities to the community members. The resource center also conducts awareness sessions on various government schemes including health. 

The aim of the camps is not just to provide health services but to create an environment where the whole community gets sensitized about health issues. Unlike a general health camp that offers curative services, a major objective of these camps is to promote health-seeking behaviour in the long term. For this, the teams intensively work on building and raising awareness regarding common ailments, family planning methods, nutrition, and hygiene and sanitation. These camps offer all the services free of cost. Narender Sada of Ganesthan village says, “I was suffering from eczema three months back. But now the disease has gone. I received free medicine from the health camp conducted in our village. For this, I am grateful to Pragya”.   On the other hand, Babul Kumar who is 15 years old from the same village as of Narendra’s says, “I have been suffering from fever since last 7 days and due to poverty at home, I was unable to show it to a doctor. Fortunately, I went to MVK center and was prescribed with the medicines, free of cost and got relieved of the fever. I now feel fine. Now my father takes everyone for any medical issues and we do not need to go too far to seek treatment and spend money for the medicines. This initiative has been a boon for poor people like us for whom accessing health services is not easy!”

Children assimilate and wait eagerly for the health check-up
The health camps have been offering comprehensive services – curative, preventive, and referral – to a large number of people in target areas of intervention. “The uniqueness of the model lies in its comprehensive approach where health promotion and prevention are treated as equally important, while curative care is meticulously administered,” says Dr. M K Jha.

In the last five months, 15 health camps have been conducted in five villages, catering to more than 1507 people since the inception of Mobile Vikas Kendra at Madhepura in December 2016. Gigni Devi, 50 years old woman, a beneficiary of the project who feels better about her after receiving medicines and health check-ups, appreciated the work done by Pragya especially work done on informing people on sanitation and hygiene. She expressed that such work should be continued in order to effectively deal with the health issues of the people and provide greater benefit to the community in the long run.

“Not only did we diagnose and provide relief for ailments afflicting the rural folk, we educated them about how to follow a healthy lifestyle, take care of their environment and village resources, and provide better opportunities for their children,” explains Pravanand Jha who works as an assistant with Pragya at Madhepura. 

A child looks while community members are assembled 
With its efforts, PRAGYA has touched the lives of over thousands of people with the implementation of Mobile Vikas Kendra at Madhepura. PRAGYA also takes up social issues surrounding health emphasizing girl child's care, emancipation of women, nutrition for women and creating a rightful place in the society for women and children who are deteriorating on health and other social parameters due to lack of health facilities and access to various institutions. 

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