Impressions

Evaluation of Co-Financing Operations with European Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGOs)

 

European Commission co-funded project, RASS and AEA have extended their co-operation to areas that were quite new to them.  By broadening their health and education programme with economic and institution building activities, they were able to develop new approaches that can ensure more longevity of the benefits.  This particular experience has been beneficial for RASS that is now following a similar approach in its other programmes.  RASS practices and proximity with Government Institutions have brought the government in many cases to adapt its approach.  The impact of RASS can to a large extent be explained by the hard work of its charismatic leader and his capacities to liaise with leaders and higher officials at state and even national level.

 

The task force on self managed institutions for integrated development, constituted by the Planning Commission, Government of India, during 1991, focused in its report on various dimensions of appropriate organization structures and systems with a view to promote people’s participation in the process of socio economic role.  The task force had extensive consultations, discussions with voluntary agencies, officials, academicians, professionals, social workers etc., and made a list of voluntary institutions with successful track record for Planning Commission consideration.  “Rashtriya Seva Samithi is one among 23 voluntary institutions selected all over India in this connection”.

The Planning Commission, Government of India
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Here the examples set by the dedicated service of the Rashtriya Seva Samithi in changing the backwardness of this drought prone region is worth emulating.  Serving the poor people is a reward by itself, a much greater reward than any honour conferred, much greater than any position one can occupy.  We have to take care of the neglected women, children and the aged in these areas.

 

I congratulate Rashtriya Seva Samithi for choosing interior villages for its activities such as supply of protected drinking water, library and place for women and the aged, education for children…. All these make one feel happy.

His Excellency Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma
The then Vice-President of India

Rashtriya Seva Samithi has been quite active in the field of rural reconstruction, child development, and upliftment of the downtrodden etc. for more than a decade.  Its efforts have succeeded in creating a cadre of barefoot social engineers whose tireless efforts have helped generate awareness and self-reliance among the rural masses.

Shri Krishna Kant
The then Governor of Andhra Pradesh

I am very much impressed by the work done by RASS in remote villages for the weaker sections, downtrodden and the disabled.  It gives immense pleasure for me to see the activities personally.  The voluntary organizations, which are committed, can deliver the goods effectively to the maximum satisfaction of the beneficiaries in the shortest time.  I am congratulating the managing committee and hundreds of workers behind RASS.

Mrs. Kumudben Joshi
The then Governor of Andhra Pradesh
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The contribution of the voluntary organizations in the field of education, particularly literacy programme for the illiterate is commendable.  I am congratulating RASS for undertaking literacy programmes to illiterates in the districts by adding additional components to the programme.  I am happy to participate in the literacy campaign movement to which RASS is committed.

Dr. P.C. Alexander
The then Governor of Tamil Nadu and
acting Governor of Andhra Pradesh

In recent years, Non-Governmental Organizations are in forefront and are actively involved in updating technologies and transferring the same to the field.  Rashtriya Seva Samithi is a reputed NGO and is known for its dedicated services to the rural people in general and persons belonging to weaker sections in particular.

Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh

I was fortunate to be present at the Rashtrapati’s Investiture in 1984, when Sri Rajagopal Naidu, was called upon by the President to accept the National Award for Child Welfare, 1984, on behalf of Rashtriya Seva Samithi for the exemplary achievements attained in the few areas chosen to strengthen the social fabric of that dry Rayalseema by putting new life into the social veins of their children.  Ever since then RASS has undertaken re-constructive and creative activities in the community.  By 1987, it has come to employ about 3000 social workers on full or part-time basis, 300 centers for nutrition programmes, 400 centers of early child care education, 300 centers of non-formal education, 100 anganwadi centers, 100 adult-education centers, ten vocational training centers in addition to anganwadi training institute, and multi-purpose health workers training (female nurses) center.  In all these units, more than 65000 persons, children, adolescents and adults are given education and vocational training. They all gain a new hope in areas where living continues to be a burden to the rural folk to this day.

Late Prof. N.G. Ranga
Veteran Parliamentarian
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Popularly known as RASS, the organization is serving the disabled by providing artificial aids and limbs.  It also undertakes awareness programmes by conducting several camps.  Through Day Care Centers, the organization serves the mentally retarded children and through community based organization programme its serves the other disabled children… the unique feature of this organization is its wide coverage; 2500 villages of drought prone districts of Andhra Pradesh are being covered to reach 2 lakh populations, in close co-operation with ICDS and other similar organizations.

Ministry of Welfare, Government of India

That the voluntary organizations can also be very sincere and successful in their ventures has been proved by the activities or the Rashtriya Seva Samithi (RASS).  The strategy and rationale behind the activities of RASS encompasses the ‘triangle model’ of development of the poor, covering education, health and welfare programmes.

The Hindu Daily

RASS has reached a level that many voluntary organizations have failed to reach.  From my one day visit to the toy making unit and the rest of the women’s programmes.  I can see that this programme is really integrated and that “peoples’ participation”, especially that of women, is not just rhetoric but reality.

Mr. Betty Robinson of UNICEF Canada
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RASS, a Large Gandhian NGO.  RASS has a very Indian vision, from Gandhi and Vivekananda and, more directly, from N.G. Ranga and P. Rajagopal Naidu, Dr. G. Muniratnam, the inspirational General Secretary, has built up work in 3540 villages in Southern Andhra Pradesh, and begun work in Tamil Nadu and Orissa.


RASS began in 1981, and its first successes were in welfare.  Funding came, for example, from child sponsorship from the USA, UK and France and through the governments Integrated Child Development Programme.  RASS believes that development of women transforms the entire family and so set up women’s groups (Mahila Mandals).  By 1989, Dr. Muniratnam felt that RASS’ employment training, job creation and education were still not enough, that success in welfare was a beginning but that people had to be better able to earn (pers. Comm.. 1989).  Unexpectedly, the Mahila Mandals provided much of the answer when, in 1990, RASS has nearly 4000 staff and a budget of £1 million a year.  About 60% is from the state, and much of the rest from Northern NGOs.  And ‘the priorities of the poor are better identified by the poor themselves.

 

RASS is based in Tirupati, a great center for Hindu pilgrims to the temple of Balaji.  It has an immense array of programmes, from continued sponsorship of children through a diploma in work with mental retardation to a wide range of activities linked to SHGs, including improved milch cow programmes, training for self-employment, savings-and-loan and micro credit.  One key feature throughout has been a clarity of goals supported by a commitment to persuade partners and donors of the goals, weaving together all kinds of funding for all kinds of activities.  The child sponsorship NGOs, for instance, found themselves sponsoring not selected individuals but all the poorest children in a village, and being persuaded to fund initiatives that benefited the whole community, such as clean water.  Sponsorship would build a crèche for the children of mothers working in the fields, and the building would serve also for non-formal education of children not in school and as the village community center.  ‘Not only child.  Child, family, community: an integrated approach’ (not traditionally popular with child sponsorship NGOs).  Similarly, a range of donors supporting micro credit found themselves making loans for consumption as well as production, which was anathema to some.

 

Members of RASS SHGs are determined to give visitors a positive impression of their relationship with RASS (language barriers notwithstanding), and are very competent at doing so.  RASS staff refers to the culture of RASS, the commitment, the personal relations, the trust, and the freedom.  This culture used to be created very much by Dr. Muniratnam, but in the late 1990s he nived to a decentralized structure of devolved projects, to devote more time to his national activities.  RASS has a remarkable record of success that its new leaders are eager, in the new structure, to maintain.

Janet Townsend
Department of Geography,
University of Durham UK and INTRAC
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Mr. Muniratnam is doing yeoman service to the society.  This work needs to spread in other parts of country and all such responsive persons need to come on a common platform along with government to optimize the efforts.

Sri L. Agarwal, IAS
West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh

I am indeed very happy to visit the great institution run by our exceedingly dedicated social activist, a Gandhian Shri Muniratnam and his team of dedicated friends.  This institution (RASS) is serving the poor, handicapped people, who are distress women all sections of the society including farming with dedication and commitment.  RASS is a model institution in this region which deserves to be emulated by one and all, wishing all the best.

Sri M.V. Rajasekharan
MOS (Planning), Government of India

I am happy to visit the institution.  Organization is doing excellent work in agriculture, child development, physically and mentally disabled children, women, sustainable agriculture with dairy.  I wish to associate with them in sericulture and land related activity for soil nourishment and livelihood development activities.

Smt. C.S. Rama Lakshmi, IFS
Commissioner, Sericulture
Government of Andhra Pradesh
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Thank you very much for welcoming me and the 10 volunteers to your organization.  The work you are doing is truly institutional and Lord May it continue.  I hope a partnership with project trust will also be as successful.  Many thanks.

Laura Gregory
Indian Duch Officer, Project Trust
12, East Passage, Long Lane, London,
ECIA7LP, UK

The institution is organizing the courses for mentally retarded children.  It is a boon to Rayalaseema region and also the entire state.  The courses being offered for staff in income generating activities is an employ.  I wish the organization every success in all the endeavours.

Dr.N. Nageswara Rao, IAS
Vice-Chairman, Managing Director
A.P. Scheduled Castes,  Co-Op Finance Corporation, Hyderabad

 

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I appreciate the activities of RASS and their contribution towards the needy and under privileged people of our society.   Their service is commendable, Keep it up.  God bless you.

Mrs. Prema Cariappa
Chairperson
Central Social Welfare Board, New Delhi

I am extremely happy to observe the great service to the disabled by RASS.  It is heartening to find the role being played by RASS in organizing women, inculcating self confidence the microfinance.  Running Acharya Ranga KVK for improving lot of rural people in tune with teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Prof. N.G. Rang are laudable, pillar of strength Dr. G. Muniratnam efforts in shaping RASS to the present states deserve universal acclaim.

Sri V. Sobhanadreeswara Rao
Former Minister for Agriculture
Former Member of Lok Sabha
Vuyyuru – Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh

A virtual treasure trove of practical wisdom on a host of developmental issues.  Extremely dedicated staff ensuring remarkable work in the field, Seeing the work being done restores, reinforces ones faith in the voluntary sector. Best of Luck

Sri Sanjay Awasthi
Director (Finance)
CAPART, Core 5A, India Habitat Center
Lodhi Road, New Delhi

 

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Excellent work being carried out for empowerment and rehabilitation of physically challenged children.  RASS has experienced and dedicated staff for rural development and CBR schemes.

V. Venkatachalem
Director General, CAPART, New Delhi

An incredibly valuable visit.  The SHG’s progress and level of empowerment of women members provides an excellent insight into the true power of an integrated development approach.

Sri Malini Tulat
Grameen Foundation, USA
SDF Street NW, Washington, DC

RASS is doing commendable work for social and economical upliftment of tribals and weaker sections of Koraput, Orissa State, which also happens to be my parliamentary constituency.  The work and activities being carried out at this place (Head Quarter) is one of the best I have ever seen.  I wish my very best friend and his organization (RASS) a very good luck and to see their good work for times to come.

Dr. Giridhar Gamancy,  MP
Former Chief Miister, Orissa
12, Teen Murti Marg, New Delhi
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