Sehgal Foundation: Empowering Rural Communities
26th February, 2016, New Delhi, India
A country of contrasts, India is home to some of the richest billionaires in the world and millions of extremely poor people. More than 250 million people living below the poverty line in India reside in rural areas. For over fifteen years, Sehgal Foundation, a public charitable trust registered in India since 1999 has been working exclusively on rural India to design, implement, and further refine development initiatives to help communities achieve the Gandhian ideals of self-reliance, economic well-being, and dignified living.
With support from government and private donors, the foundation has worked alongside communities to manage water resources, increase agricultural resources, increase agricultural productivity. The team’s emphasis on gender equality and women’s empowerment is driven by the realization that human rights are central to developing every person’s potential. The foundation also manages a community radio Alfaz-e-Mewat, set up in 2012, which gives a platform to villagers to discuss, debate and talk about issues that matter to them the most.
How Sehgal Foundation connects with rural India:
Our team visits rural villages to understand their needs and offer community-led development solutions that are empowering, low-cost and sustainable. The Foundation team’s commitment and our desire to accelerate the very slow process of development, we moved forward, learning along the way, shifting gears as needed, and building on our successes. Empowering rural women is central to our mission for strengthening community-led development and achieving social, economic, and environmental change. Because of this citizen participation, several villages are on a path to becoming models.
What Sehgal Foundation offers
Emphasizing rural governance: It has been well said, “Democracy, good governance, and modernity cannot be imported or imposed from outside a country”- Emile Lahoud. This is practically applicable to rural governance as well. Good rural governance can actually enhance the condition of a society and is quite imperative for the development of rural India. Sehgal Foundation’s Good Rural Governance program has a two-pronged strategy to deal with these challenges. On the one hand, Good Governance Now! empowers individuals in the community by making citizens aware of their legal and constitutional rights, entitlements and accountability mechanisms. On the other hand, the strengthening village level institutions initiative works with panchayats, and village-level institutions.
Water management solutions: Exploitation of groundwater for farm irrigation has reached critical levels in many areas across the country. Groundwater aquifers are being sucked dry. Half of the water supply in rural areas is routinely contaminated with toxic microbes and chemicals. To address this critical need for water security, Sehgal Foundation’s water management program focuses on the collection, storage, and access to safe drinking water. This entails a rejuvenation of the old traditional village methods such as rainwater harvesting systems to capture water from rooftops and the creation of many small storage structures (lakes, village ponds, wells, check dams) all across the country.
Agriculture development: Our agricultural development program is focused on soil health, nutrient management, balanced fertilization, good seed, management of pests and diseases, and water management-the keys to sustainable agriculture. Special emphasis is laid on educating and engaging women farmers in this process. Information communication technology (ICT) in the form of mobile telephone recordings, voice messages are provided to thousands of farmers on crop and livestock management.
We welcome partners and others to collaborate with us to being substantial change to the lives of the poor.