Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS) (Society for Rural Development) was founded in April 1984 with the aim of "establishing a society based on humanitarian, democratic values and ecologically balanced habitat”. It was registered as a charity organization (‘Not for profit’ NGO) on 28, July 1984 under the Rajasthan Societies Registration Act (1958). The organization has got special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is registered under section 80 G and 12 A for exemption from Income Tax under the Income Tax Act 1961 of India.
What We Do....
With the object of empowering the rural women GBS has been implementing number of activities including awareness, legal literacy, protecting human rights, prevention of violence against women and girls and making them economically self reliance.
GBS has been mobilizing the poor rural women to form Self Help Groups (SHG) and motivating them to make small savings and depositing in the Bank accounts opened in the name of their groups and getting support from the banks through soft loans to establish their household entrepreneurial units in order to serve their basic needs and improve their quality of life.
Four hundred fifty SHG have been formed involving over 5,000 rural women of backward castes. The one year saving of these SHGs was INR 54, 00, 000 (equivalent to US $ 102,250) and they got a soft loan worth INR 4 crores ($ 757,420) which is a record in the area. This way the poor women were emancipated from exploitation of local money lenders. Now attempts are being made to provide these rural women with non-formal education and vocational training and involve them in various kinds of income generating activities in order to make them economically self reliant and upgrade their status in the family and society as well.
GBS has been working on protection and improvement of environment with a focus on developing wastelands. A project initiated in 1991 near a small village Todaladi, now known as 'Gandhivan' recognized and appreciated widely. It was conferred with many national/international awards including ‘Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Puraskar’ given by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India and ‘Ford conservation and environment Award’ given by the Ford Motor Co.
Under this project more than 100,000 plants of various species of fuel, fodder, fruits, timber, shadow and flowers etc. have been planted. Also, many other ancillary activities were implemented including rain water harvesting, soil and moisture conservation, sand dunes stabilization, regeneration of indigenous plant species etc. It was selected by UNDP as one of the best practices on wastelands development. The project has solved the problem of fodder and fuel of over 500 poor women of the local village communities. A delegation of SAARC countries called the project as ‘a success story of poverty alleviation through wasteland development’. This is an on-going project where thousands of trees are planted every year.
GBS is the first NGO initiating work on HIV/AIDS in 1991 in the Rajasthan state of India by conducting a study among the tribal communities traditionally involved in sex work in 50 villages with support from American Foundation for AIDS Research (Am FAR), USA.
Since then It has successfully implemented number of Projects on awareness and education, treatment of STIs/RTIs, care and support with regard to HIV/AIDS among the tribal sex workers, youth and migrating populations in rural areas.
GBS has got support and made collaboration with following international agencies on HIV/AIDS:
- UK NGO AIDS Consortium, London, U.K.
- DFID, U.K.
- The John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Foundation, USA
- Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation
- Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (WHO), Geneva
- World AIDS Foundation, Paris, France
- Mercury Phoenix Trust, U.K.
- HIVOS, the Netherlands
- Youth Incentives, the Netherlands
At the Census 2011, Rajasthan had a literacy rate of 67.06% (80.51% male and 52.66% female). Rajasthan's literacy rate is below the national average of 74.04% and its female literacy rate is the lowest in the country. There are 2 main reasons of low literacy among the women and girls are mindset of the people not to send their daughters to school and not having access to schools in the remote areas.
Looking at these drawbacks GBS initiated 2 projects i.e. one ‘Non-formal education for the shepherd children at Gandhivan’ with support from the ‘Peace Stone Foundation, Japan under which 200 children including 80 girls were provided with primary level non formal education. It spread a strong message among the community people to place the education of their children, particularly the girls at priority. Another project ‘Non formal education and vocational training to adolescent girls of backward castes’ implemented (still continued) with support from the Global Fund for Children aimed at providing the girls of backward castes with non-formal education, awareness on reproductive and sexual health and prevention of HIV/AIDS together with vocational training in order to make them economically self reliant. It gave tremendous results by motivating the rural communities for getting their daughters educated. It broke the stigma associated with discussing sexual issues with the girls openly. It changed the scenario of education in the rural areas.
Rajasthan is the largest State of the country, but the status of water in the state is most critical. Rajasthan with more than 10.4 % of the country’s geographical area, supporting more than 5.5% of the human population and 18.70 % of the livestock has only 1.16 % of the total surface water available in the country. Out of the total 142 desert blocks in the country, 85 blocks are in Rajasthan. This further aggravates the water crisis. The ground water condition has deteriorated very fast in the last two decades. The stage of ground water exploitation, which was just 35 % in the year 1984, reached a level of 125 % in 2004. Out of 237 blocks in the state, only 32 blocks are in safe category. This calls for immediate remedial measures to address the critical water resources situation in the state.
GBS, therefore, has planned twofold strategy to initiate with to solve the problem of safe drinking water in 100 villages in district Jaipur in consultation with the local village communities i.e. raising awareness among the people for using the water sparingly and save a single drop of water and conserve the rain water to the maximum possible extent. It includes repairing and reviving of the traditional rain water harvesting structures e.g. old and dried wells, bowaries, village ponds, check dams etc. It has successfully done this in 10 villages so far and will continue with support from national/international funding sources.