Village Health Workers look through boxes of supplies
2012-13 is the 30th year of GRAVIS’ existence. It has been a long journey for the organization, empowering rural and poor populations with a community-based approach, low cost developmental initiatives and strong advocacy work. GRAVIS has now established a strong network of Community-Based Organizations spread across the Thar Desert and important linkages with state and academic institutions.
What lies ahead of GRAVIS in its 30th year and beyond are two key thematic priorities: health and livelihoods. Health—because the region still lacks adequate healthcare services, and health awareness levels are significantly low. Livelihoods—because chronic droughts make living very difficult in Thar, stranding populations with limited income generating options.
On the front of health, GRAVIS plans to strengthen its Village Health Workers network in the year to come and afterwards. New training materials and facilities will be explored and organized. The medical care part that has worked well for GRAVIS needs to be expanded with possible new recourse. Our collaboration with the Government of India’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) must strengthen further and the same will definitely be a key priority. Focused work in specialized health areas including eye care, geriatrics, non-communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS will also be taken further. Last but not the least, research on community-based aspects of health has been a core strength of GRAVIS, and will be taken further with some important studies on older people’s health, occupational health hazards and village based health financing.
Livelihood-related interventions will seek stronger collaborations with Government of India programmes especially National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). GRAVIS has a degree of expertise on rain-water harvesting techniques and drought mitigation interventions earned through years of ground work and collective learning. This knowledge must be translated into larger action by supporting new organizations. We are keen on doing that. Training centers will make focused efforts and more technical and research studies are to follow in coming months and years.
GRAVIS is now connected with a wide range of individuals and organizations nationally and globally—of different fields. This connectivity helps us a great deal in enhancing our knowledge, exploring new ideas and possibilities. We look forward to enhancing this connectivity, to more communication, and to more dialogue.
Coming years for GRAVIS will be of consolidating its learning, and of learning further. 30th year events and updates will be shared regularly on the blog.
*Dr. Prakash Tyagi, Executive Director