Bioregion - Action Plan

Auroville Village Youth Committee and training

Auroville Project Coordination Group

GRANT PROPOSAL

  1. Project title – Palam Auroville and Village Development initiative
  2. Project Summary:

The objective of this project is to establish links with youth in 8-10 villages in the immediate vacinity of Auroville who would work actively with Auroville for the co development of the bio-region. Genuine youth, without politican affiliations, interested in sustainable development would form a team with Aurovilians to actively co-create and work together towards mutual beneficial goals thus establishing healthy relationship and promoting and implementation of a long term plan of sustainable development in the Auroville bioregion. This project aims to provide training in sustainable village development through a program that would include exposure to Auroville and its ideals and to model village development . The program will invite 2 youth ( one from each community that is dalit and other), who have cordial relationship with Auroville, to be part of a series of meetings, seminars and excursions and to form a committee to identify areas of mutual concern and possible collaboration, with special attention given to environmental sustainability and communicatons between the villages and Auroville.

  1. Project duration:

Training program for four months and the palam functioning will be ongoing. 

  1. Total cost of the project:Rs. 79,900
  2. Funding amount requested: (Same as total cost) Rs. 79,900
  3. Project holder’s full name(s):

Bio-Regional Action Group – Moris (AVAG), Cristo (L’avenir / TDC), Partha and Bridget (Bio regional action group)

  1. Address, phone and e-mail:

Moris – anbumoris2004@yahoo.co.in , Cristo- cjm@auroville.org.in , Partha – partha@auroville.org.in Bridget – 9442270640, bridget@auroville.org.in,

  1. Group, School, Service or Unit name associated with or supporting this project:

Auroville Village Action Group, Bio-Regional Action Group, L’avenir, Thamarai   village projects and The Working Committee 

  1. Group, School, Service or Unit address, phone and e-mail:

Irumbai Main Road OPP TNEB Sub-station, Irumbai 605111

+91 (0413) 267-8871/ 267-8872

avagoffice@auroville.co.in

  1. Background:

The Auroville Retreat process identified the first goal for the bio-region to be the creation and implementation of an integrated sub regional development plan. It has been Auroville’s experience that youth are the most effective partners in getting things done in the villages. Cristo holding the bio-regional function in L’avenir will have the technical resources necessary for the creation of a plan of co-development with villagers. It is felt to support this the creation and subsequent implementation of this plan should be support by an a program such as suggested to give training in sustainable village development and exposure to Auroville, its ideals and to model village development

Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG) is an NGO committed to grass roots community building in the villages neighboring Auroville. Since its inception, AVAG has developed into a solid and reputable organisation for positive social change that fosters the integral development of civil society, democracy building and social advocacy, including gender equity and caste equality– the foundation stones for building a sustainable and healthy cooperative Indian society, as well as for a healthy relationship between Auroville and its neighbouring communities. AVAG will have the skills to mentor youth and L’avenir will provide the technical capabilities.

  1. Date of application:

15/08/15

  1. Problem statement:

There is no training from either the state or national governments on long-term sustainable development for villages. Elected to office every 5 years, Panchayat leaders in the Auroville area – most of whom are illiterate or semi-literate are alloted financial resources that are often spent on relatively shortsighted and rapid development projects usually targeting a leader’s home village specifically.

Meanwhile, the communication gap which currently exists between Auroville and local Panchayats has made the relationship between both parties one that is almost entirely issue-based. A similar program to this proposed was offered to panchayat’s a few years ago but it was difficult to get their commitment. Creating a long-term working relationship that will address core issues – including the Auroville master plan, land conservation in the Green Belt area and water conservation – will require improving communications and networks at all levels within the villages. We know from experience that village youth are a good leverage point for progress. The youth chosen for this program will have leadership potential, an ability to initiate projects and have a cordial relationship with panchayats and village elders. It is envisioned that this program will help to bring positive change.

  1. Aim and Objectives:

The goals of the training program are:

  • Familiarizing youth leaders with Auroville’s founding principles, development goals and master plan
  • Learning and beginning to address youth concerns regarding Auroville’s relationship to neighboring villages and communities
  • Identifying mutually beneficial development goals and facilitating long-term cooperation strategies to realize them
  • Helping youth and through them panchayat leaders to create long-term sustainable village development plans for their communities
  • Increasing cooperation where land and water conservation is involved
  • Coordinating interaction with state and national government entities
  1. Description of Activities:

The Training Program will take place in four parts of 1 day each, and will involve the youth from 10 of the immediate villages around Auroville

Part 1 – Introductory Meeting, – Auroville – Youth leaders will arrive at Auroville town hall, where they will be briefed on Auroville’s founding philosophy, local functions, and current outreach programs. The youth leaders will meet representatives of Auroville working groups including Auroville youth.

The Auroville youth will give an insight to their lives and visions for Auroville. After a tour of the visitors’ center and Matrimandir, a group discussion will follow, focusing on bio-regional development and other areas of possible joint action and on ideas for future collaborations.

Part 2 – Work shop on water and soil management and the practicalities of planning. This workshop will be lead by experts in the field from Auroville and will look at difficulties and solutions in these fields.

Part 3 – Exposure Trip – Chennai – Youth (Village and Auroville) will be taken by bus to visit the model Panchayat such as Thiruvallurar District near Chennai. Youth leaders and panchayat from that district will share experiences and explain the steps, roles and responsibilities towards sustainable development. Together, youth leaders will discuss effective strategies for addressing environmental issues by mobilizing their communities and gaining information of financial resources from the state and national governments. Ideas last meeting on village planning will be analyzed jointly.

Part 4 – First Seminar – Auroville – The youth leaders will discuss, general issues and short and long-term vision of village development in the Auroville area, with the guidance of an objective social development specialist. Youth leaders’ questions and concerns will be explored and addressed in depth. Building on this dialogue, the following discussion segments will focus on cooperative action strategies to effectively employ resources form the state and national government, and will include a briefing by a Project Officer from the Villipuram District Collector’s Office on implementing progress at village level and available government resources, and routes for the mobilization of funds. The youth will return to their communities and share these details with village elders and Panchayat president.

Part 5 – Second Seminar – Auroville – Youth leaders will meet in Auroville town hall with Auroville outreach group administrators and a environmental sustainability specialist from Chennai to discuss the resource mobilization and implementation processes for projects planned in the previous months. Plans will be made for collaborative efforts between Auroville and local Panchayats, beginning with Green Belt conservation measures. Lastly, Auroville representatives from l’Avenir Youth and Panchayat leaders will discuss the best format in which both parties could set up a community forum for regular communication between Auroville and local Panchayats, and will schedule the first few of these meetings.

  1. Project Leaders:

Gerald Moris – Has worked for 20 years in development in the Auroville area, and has extensive experience working with local village leaders, local political leaders and government officers.

Anbu Sironmani – Has served as Director of the Women’s Power Program at AVAG for over 20 years, coordinating women’s empowerment programs in villages in the Auroville area. Her work in this sector, which focuses largely on community driven development project and inter-village cooperation, requires regular interaction and plan making with leaders of local villages.

Cristo Bio-regional Co-ordinator Auroville Town Development Council 

  1. Beneficiaries:

The proposed Youth Leaders Training Program, would, if realized, be of mutual benefit to Auroville and its neighboring villages and Panchayats. By receiving training through this program, youth from 10 villages and Auroville will be exposed to ideas and planning strategies focusing on long-term village and bio regional development, and will gain knowledge about government resources available, and the steps necessary to mobilize these resources once accessed. These leaders will be provided with the tools necessary to prepare an action plan for their villages as well as for the shared Auroville bioregion, with emphasis given to water and soil conservation. Furthermore, future benefits to both Auroville and its neighboring Panchayats through increased cooperation and joint planning will be facilitated by the establishment of a regular, working relationship and the establishment of a forum for dialogue between both parties. 

  1. Evaluation:

AVAG staff will carry out evaluation one year after the introductory meeting, possibly through the use of a committee assembled for this purpose. Informal evaluation will take place at the conclusion of each seminar, as well as after the exposure trip.

  1. Other Sources of Funding:

This is the only current source of funding.

Budget Estimate: