As part of our effort to ensure basic resources to all villagers in the Thar, we take a number of paths to achieve that goal. In cases where villagers are being denied their rights we prepare cases and demand that the government provide access to applicable programs. We work with villagers to inform them of their rights and to give them skills in a variety of areas ranging from farming to healthcare. We also conduct independent research and publish our findings on water and agricultural technologies. Our multifaceted approach leads to the holistic and sustainable uplifting of the village communities we serve.
Mineworkers - We have been actively working for mineworkers issues. We submit cases and petitions to call for the enforcement of existing legislation and to seek financial assistance for disabled miners. We also conduct studies as a means to gather health statistics in mining communities and publish two mineworker related publications: Khan Mazdoor, a quarterly newsletter in Hindi for mineworkers, media, local development agencies and the government; and Mineworker, an online bulletin in English for development agencies, foreign partners and concerned individuals all over the world. As a result of our efforts, a State Pneumoconiosis Board was established in order to monitor and certify occupational lung disease among labourers.
Village Health Worker Trainings- In order to promote sustainable healthcare, GRAVIS involves community members in the Village Health Worker Programme. Volunteers are trained in first aid, development of hygiene awareness, recognition of diseases, and childbirth complication. These workers, 90% of which are women, go back into their communities and serve as a first response to medical issues in the village and help to educate those around them about hygiene and common disease prevention. These volunteers also refer patients to professional medical facilities if their condition is severe. As a way to continue the liaison with these VHW’s GRAVIS conducts frequent training programmes at GRAVIS Hospital and in villages to continue the education of the community. So far 592 VHWs have been trained by GRAVIS.
Adolescent Girls' Health Education Programme- GRAVIS also runs a more in depth and female specific education programme to educate girls on a number of relevant topics. Each group consists of 10 to 15 girls, all of whom are between the ages of 12 and 16. Members of the GRAVIS field staff are specifically trained on issues of adolescent health and provide regular trainings to educate the girls on reproductive health and hygiene as well as nutrition and overall health. Once the girls have finished the training they are able to spread the knowledge to others in their community. A total of 20 groups of adolescent girls have been trained till date.
Demonstration Farms and Trainings- GRAVIS operates two organic demonstration farms, one in Gagadi and another in Kalron. These farms are not only the testing grounds for seed efficiency, they provide teaching opportunities to farmers in the Thar. GRAVIS staff and volunteers organize a number of training sessions to teach farmers in the area about sustainable and efficient agricultural practices including line sowing, weeding a mixed crop, organic pesticides, and water utilization. Each year, GRAVIS holds over 100 training sessions.
Trainings on Water Security- As GRAVIS installs and rebuilds watershed structures, they train villagers on proper use and upkeep of these facilities. Topics range from fixing broken parts to basic sanitation to avoid contamination. This allows villagers access to the education they need to stay healthy and hydrated. Trainings are conducted either in villages or in nearby field centres by GRAVIS staff.
Water advocacy- The lack of access to clean water for villagers deserves the public’s attention. Unfortunately, the isolated position of villagers hinders their ability to speak out and demand their right to water. To aid these communities GRAVIS has partnered with the media, other NGO’s, and local and national governments to promote water rights for the poor.
Studies on Water Security- GRAVIS has published many reports on the status of water security in Rajasthan. Titles include: “Harvesting the Rains in the Thar," “Drinking Water Crisis in Rural Rajasthan," "Not Letting a Drop Go to Waste", "Traditional Agricultural and Water Harvesting Technologies", "Drought Lives" and “Fluorosis in Rajasthan”. We publish two periodicals on drinking water issues: Soch Paani Ki in Hindi and Water Wheel in English.
Trainings on Animal Husbandry- In addition to training paravets, GRAVIS has also undertaken an effort to educate the general public on livestock health. Trainings cover topics such as routine cattle care, common diseases and basic cures, nutrition and hygiene of cattle, as well as maximization of milk production.
International Day of Older Persons- GRAVIS helps older people to plan rallies and demonstrations for the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP), which occurs every year on October 1st. This protest helps to remind people around the world of the importance of the elderly and bring awareness to their unique needs.
General Awareness and Training Sessions- Through awareness and training sessions, we encourage community members to participate in economic development and village institutions. We share information on a variety of topics, including health, education, labour and human rights. Some of the villagers who have taken part in our leadership training activities have served on the Village Development Committees or have been elected into senior positions in their village's formal leadership institutions.
Rallies and Demonstrations for Gender Equality- While community development on the ground is the main focus of GRAVIS, we have also been involved in rallying in the public eye for women’s rights. Many of these demonstrations take place in the villages where women gather to raise awareness about a variety of issues including the dowry system, domestic violence, female literacy, and environmental degradation. Together, these groups have put pressure on local authorities and courts to seek justice for victims of sexual harassment, rape, and the dowry system.