Sauramandala Foundation | Centre for Accelerated Developement

Hello folks,

Sauramandala Foundation here, we are one of the grant recipients from RMF and we work with remote and vulnerable communities that live in difficult-to-access regions in India. Currently, most of our work is focused in Meghalaya with previous work in Assam, Kashmir, Manipur, and Nagaland. We aspire to set up a Centre for Accelerated Development across states with remote , vulnerable, and disconnected communities.

We use the Remoteness and Incapacity Index to identify focus districts in a state, then we set up a team at the community level to identify and gain insights on gaps across climate, health, education, livelihoods, entrepreneurship etc. Based on these insights we design programs/pilots, aggregate partners, demonstrate contextual solutions, and advocate for large-scale adoption and replication by the system.

Through the grant from RMF, we set up our first team to operate the CFAD model as a fellowship and are currently working across 8 districts in Meghalaya. Below is a snapshot of some of the projects we are involved with, and are always open to discussing potential collaboration opportunities with NGOs/enterprises/academia.

The Forgotten Folklore (Early Childhood Development, ECD)

The Forgotten Folklore project attempts to curate, digitise and document indigenous stories like folktales, stories of history and origin from these communities for it to act as localised AV content for the anganwadis and schools in the state of Meghalaya and/or well-illustrated books in print.

PRIME-Sauramandala Rural Entrepreneurship Fellowship (PSREF)

The Fellowship program is a joint initiative to empower and give opportunities to the local youth to learn and contribute to shaping the future of their communities and the state. In its first year, the fellowship is focussing on supporting rural entrepreneurs from 8 districts across Meghalaya.

Chief Minister’s Youth Centres (CMYC)

The CMYC project plans to set up 20 open learning spaces across rural Meghalaya to provide the youth with a platform to develop their innovation and design skills.

Health Energy Nexus

Our flagship program in Meghalaya in public health focuses on solar electrification and equipping 442 health centres across Meghalaya.

Climate-Resilient Healthcare Facilities

The project aims at village-level participation in developing designs and constructing energy-optimised and climate-resilient health facilities at the last mile. Over the next 3 years, 150 such centres will be built across the state ensuring the well-being of both patients - the community and the Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives who run and manage the centres

Apiculture Mission 2.0

The Apiculture Mission 2.0 is designed to build on the learnings and success of Apiculture Mission 1.0 to spur initiatives which are integrative with Meghalaya’s biophysical attributes to confer livelihood improvement through gainful employment of the local populace. Sauramandala is a knowledge partner of the mission.

SALT Farming

Sloping Agriculture Land Technology is a sustainable method of cultivation for sloping lands in high rainfall areas. The goal is to introduce this technique with an aim to ensure sustainable Natural Resources Management and increase the income of these subsistence farmers.

Value Chain Development

A holistic ecosystem approach towards enabling socio-economic growth in rural livelihoods. Energy-efficient built-environment and decentralised renewable energy solutions in addition to enhanced financial linkages and access to Markets.

Model Anganwadi

As part of bringing in localized and sustainable design solutions, the project aims to demonstrate the use of local construction materials, clean energy and eco-friendly building to make spaces for learning, play and nutrition accessible for children.

In upcoming posts, we would use this space to post more updates, progress and potential opportunities for collaboration.

Regards,
Karthik

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Updates from the Chief Minister’s Youth Centres Meghalaya

Problem statement: Lack of open learning spaces in rural Meghalaya

The Chief Minister Youth Centres in Meghalaya is an initiative by the Government of Meghalaya to provide open learning spaces to rural communities, co-designed by Sauramandala Foundation and Project DEFY, with support from the Smart Village Movement.

The CMYC Chibra Agal in West Garo Hills Meghalaya was the first to launch in the hands of HCM Meghalaya, Shri Conrad Sangma, on 12th August 2023

These centres aim to provide rural youth a space to explore their creativity and interest. Each centre will have 2 main physical components in it-

a) an open learning space called Nooks
b) an open community library.

The Nook will be a space equipped with tinkering tools and computer systems. In these Nooks, the youth from the nearby villages will work on ideas which they believe can solve an issue faced by their community.

The open community library, as part of the Chief Minister’s Youth Centres, envisions acting as a space where the community have access and freedom to explore, discover and empower themselves. These libraries can play a crucial role in increasing foundational literacy among the rural community and serve as space for a score of capacity-building and empowering activities. These libraries will predominantly cater to a younger audience while having some content and activities that are suitable for older audiences as well. Exploring a child’s curiosity will take centre stage here As such; these spaces will be equipped with tools like storybooks, toys, activity kits etc.

These Libraries will also serve as an open spaces to explore ‚ÄėSports and Arts for Development. This aspect will focus on using Sports and Arts to achieve crucial outcomes for rural communities, such as education & learning, health, livelihoods, social inclusion etc.

Providing high-speed internet access to the youth and a 24x7 electricity connection to use the available tools are key ideas focussed during the design of the physical spaces.

SELCO Foundation became a supporter of the project and is currently providing Solar electricity systems to 10 centres in its first phase.

Regarding human resources, each of the 20 centres will have a cadre of youth from in and around the community who runs and manages the centres. Each centre will have a community fellow, an Innovation Fellow, a librarian and a Frisbee Coach. In addition, there is a state-level CMYC team in a place overlooking all the programmatic and operational aspects of the project.

Ultimate Player Association of India joined the project as one of its first sports partners. On 3rd February 2023, Ultimate Frisbee was introduced to Meghalaya with a 2-year road map.

Free Libraries Network also joined as a Library partner for the project. Over the next few months, the focus of this partnership is to co-design a library model tailored to the needs and interests of the rural communities in Meghalaya.

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Updates from The Forgotten Folklore Project (TFFP)- Early Childhood Development

Problem Statement: Children’s books lack contextualized content, impacting their ability to relate and learn.

As part of The Forgotten Folklore Project, supported by the Department of Arts and Culture, Government of Meghalaya, and in partnership with Pratham Books, Sauramandala Foundation will produce 45 contextual storybooks, Read Alongs, Audiovisual media, and activities to be used in the Anganwadi centres across the State of Meghalaya for children between the ages of three to eight to bridge the vast void in content that is localised in remote and disconnected communities.

The Sauramandala Foundation team and residents from the state have been working towards discovering storytellers from the indigenous communities in the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia regions. They are documenting these communities’ unique stories and traditions, which will be used to create educational content for 45 children’s storybooks. These books and accompanying audio-visual materials will promote learning and preserve the culture and heritage of Meghalaya and can be translated into other languages in India, promoting cross-cultural education among students across the country.

The team has gained a deeper understanding of Meghalaya and its people through their documentation efforts. With this project, they aim to leave a lasting impact on the lives of children. Stories heard in childhood leave a lasting impression and shape our understanding of our heritage, family, relationships, identity, and values. The team hopes these storybooks will play a significant role in shaping the next generation’s understanding of their roots and the concepts that shape their lives.

An open storytelling competition, ‚ÄėThe Meghalayan Folktale Competition‚Äô, was launched as part of the project to involve them in the process of collection and curating folk stories from the state. The winners of the competition were awarded with cash prizes across many categories.

Pratham Storyweaver has joined the project as a partner. The TFFP team and the Pratham Storyweaver team are now collaborating with writers, editors, and illustrators to identify themes and develop stories based on these themes. They are working on curating these stories into various engaging formats.

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Tagging @SlamOutLoud to explore if there’s mutual ground to cover here.

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Updates from the [PRIME-Sauramandala Rural Entrepreneurship Fellowship](https://www.primemeghalaya.com/fellowship)

The PRIME-Sauramandala Rural Entrepreneurship Fellowship, supported by Govt. of Meghalaya and Rainmatter foundation, aims to provide a platform for individuals with various skills and expertise to participate in this rural entrepreneurship development process.

The PRIME Fellows will constitute candidates from across India that will bring in the
experience and expertise from outside the state. In contrast, the PRIME Associates will
constitute candidates from Meghalaya only as they will be adept with the local
culture, dynamics and insights from the state. 1 fellow and 2 associates will make up 1 field unit, to be placed at a district level. Through its 8 field units, the program will cover 8 remote districts of Meghalaya in its first phase.

The program began with a 15-day orientation cum training for the youth on 5th September 2022. Over the next 2 weeks, the fellows and associates went through a series of sessions, workshops, interactions and activities designed to develop soft and hard skills to support them during their work with the rural entrepreneurs.

The fellowship was introduced to the world with its formal launch as part of the Chief Minister’s Start-up and CSR Week 2022, Meghalaya.

The fellows and associates are putting their efforts towards establishing a robust connection with government and non-government officials at both block and district levels in order to gain insight into the actual conditions on the ground. Additionally, they are conducting a survey of entrepreneurs at the local level. In the coming months, the district units will select a group of entrepreneurs with whom they will work during their fellowship period.

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FY 2023-24 marks the 3rd year of our partnership with Rainmatter Foundation. Our partnership with RMF has enabled us not just to give shape to our approach (Centre for Accelerated Development) but also unlock other partnerships and achieve numbers at the grassroots.

This Annual Report brings together everything we have been able to achieve through the support of Rainmatter Foundation with a spotlight on what we aim to achieve in the upcoming years.

RMF AR 2023_compressed.pdf (1.9 MB)

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Diving Deeper for Lasting Change: Why Problem-Statement-Led Approaches are Better than Solution-Based Ones

In a world of fast solutions, we must embrace a more thoughtful approach to solving societal challenges. The ‚ÄėCentre for Accelerated Development‚Äô approach, enriched by grassroots insights and experiences, offers a fresh perspective on addressing complex issues.

From healthcare disparities to clean cookstoves, discover the power of comprehensive solutions that transform communities for the better. Let’s go beyond the surface and create a ripple effect of positive change together!

Read the complete blog here.

On #WorldPrimateDay, sharing a few snippets from one of our Early Childhood books from our project #TheForgottenFolkloreProject. The book is titled ‚ÄėWhen A Huro Sings‚Äô

While the book is designed to be a song/jingle catering towards #FLN for early learners, it also looks at the current scenario where the Huro or the Western Hoolock Gibbon, one of the only species of apes found in India finds itself on the IUCN endangered list largely due to changing landscapes and land use patterns because of changing farming practices and deforestation.

As part of the work that we do at SauraMandala Foundation | Centre for Accelerated Development, we plan to design programs around conservation as we go ahead and use messaging for conservation and climate action across all of our program designs as we public-problem-solve and design programs that could go on to become and impact public policy and service delivery.

WhenAHuroSings_English_Compressed_compressed.pdf (1.6 MB)

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