Sustainability

Citizens Foundation: Making People Self-Reliant

5 Mins read

Please Share A Brief About Citizens Foundation And Key CSR Programs 

Citizens Foundation is a non–profit organization that has evolved from its humble beginnings in Jharkhand in 1997 and has so far registered its presence with pioneering work in the development sector in over 10 states of India as a national-level organization. As a signatory of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), CF has worked towards its vision of ‘Making People Self Reliant’ over the past two decades.

Over the last 23 years, we have evolved the expertise in health, Sanitation, Natural Resource Management, Livelihood Promotion, and Protection. We have delivered advocacy and techno-managerial support to the rural communities and are currently executing projects across the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Assam. CF has focused its expertise on strengthening the existing government programs via technical and operational support systems. We ensured that these efforts attain a self–sustaining momentum; enriching the target communities with a sustainable continuum through partnerships with the Government of India, several State Governments, UN Agencies, PSUs, Corporate and other national and international level organizations. Committed to working for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), CF is making continued efforts at making its initiatives and projects sustainable for the community and the world at large. As an NGO, CF has been engaged as the facilitating and /or implementation agency for various CSR programs of both PSUs and Corporate Houses. Our current key CSR programs include the Holistic Rural Development Program in Kamrup Rural district of Assam on behalf of HDFC Bank and operation of Mobile Health Clinic in the North Karanpura Thermal Power Project of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited in Chatra district of Jharkhand among others. While the HRDP project focuses on natural resource management and livelihood creation in the flood-affected district, the NTPC mobile health clinic focuses on primary healthcare solutions. Citizens Foundation is also working with organizations like BHEL, BPCL, Vedanta on upcoming livelihood, natural resource management, and healthcare-based CSR projects.

How Do You Create Sustainable Livelihoods For The Rural Poor?

Due to our widespread project areas across different states, the creation of sustainable rural livelihood is a challenge that has varying suitable solutions depending on the approach needed. For Citizens Foundation, the approach is simple: ensuring community participation in the formulation of the plan for sustainable livelihood creation ensures the acceptance and adaptability to the livelihood solutions provided by us is up to the mark. 

Co-existing with nature, our interventions in the sector of Livelihood Promotion take a unique approach to help the beneficiaries realize economic freedom through sustainable approaches. Livelihood Promotion initiatives at CF aim to empower by aiding change and supporting additional income sources so that via value addition, livelihood opportunities are easily taken to the people who need them where they are, encouraging them to enhance the quality of life they are living in the long run.

The idea is to involve the stakeholders in the decision-making process regarding the choice and the approach to livelihood solutions. This creates ownership among the population which translates to the success of the project. This ownership also ensures that the initiative was taken up sustains after we withdraw from the area post-project completion and enhances the effectivity of the exit protocol. 

What Is The Objective Behind The Organization Of A Wide Range Of Activities?

Citizens Foundation is a signatory of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and all our initiatives and programs are aimed at realizing these goals for a sustainable approach to the future. We aim at creating a society that benefits from the convergence of the best of government schemes and funds from corporates, UN agencies, and PSUs ensuring that each activity is undertaken receives value addition in one form or another. CF organizes all CSR programs with the goal of the overall sustainable development of not only the people involved but also the society as a whole.

Who Are Your Partners In Change And How Do They Help You To Achieve Your Aim?

Citizens Foundation has been extremely fortunate in our journey towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals in the last two decades with a tum; enriching the target communities with a sustainable continuum through partnerships with Government of India, several State Governments including Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh, UN Agencies like United Nations Development Programme, UN Global Compact Network India and UNICEF, PSUs like ONGC, BHEL, NTPC, HCL, Corporate houses like Tata Steel, HDFC Bank, Adani, Jindal Steel and Vedanta, and other national and international level organizations including America India Foundation and UNGCNI. 

From acting as funding agencies to implement various programs to playing the roles of partners in change, working on the ground with our team members co-creating stories of change and transformation, our partners in change help us in a variety of ways. In our journey to create change that matters, they are like pillars of strength, helping us navigate through changes and adapt to the ever-transforming challenges on the ground. While many of our partners help with the transfer of technology and knowledge sharing, our partnerships with educational institutions help us in having an influx of new ideas in forms of human resource and of course research-oriented approach to our on-field work.  

Tell Us About A Recent Challenge You Faced While Working On A CSR Project

Working on a CSR project comes with an increased sense of accountability for any organization. The biggest challenge is to create a trust for the organization in the community where the intervention is being done because it is only possible to make the project a success with their full help. They have to be included in the decision-making process, especially in the planning stage since the community we work with is definitely the primary and most important stakeholder of all. Although challenges have come in many shapes and forms, the approach to how we intervene in a project area so as to involve the people in the truest of spirit remain one of the most delicate issues and needs special attention all the time.   

Any Information That You Would Like To Share With Our Readers?

As the world is undergoing a huge transformation in preparing ourselves for a post-COVID-19 world, it is absolutely alright to assume that is going to be a huge challenge. CF, like everyone, is looking at a world with changed rules and new normal, and as a society, we must brace ourselves in an attempt to adapt to the demands of the changing times. CSR projects can play a huge role in helping people in different strata of the society reanalyze their position and decide on a livelihood source that utilizes their skills and available natural resources in a sustainable solution for the situation.

Throw Some Light On Your Future Initiatives

Team CF is looking at starting some new ventures in a variety of sectors including health, natural resource management, and advocacy-policy in the coming days. While wheels are in motion to start work in several new projects for which MoUs have been done, we are going to forward to work towards helping our stakeholders readjust and realign their strategies in a post-COVID-19 world. The influx of migrants back to their homes, especially in Bihar and Jharkhand, both our areas of work pose a special challenge; given that they now have to find new livelihoods and resettle here. We want to work towards helping them with knowledge exchange, technical knowhow, skill training, and a plan for sustainable livelihood in the days to come. Also, as healthcare service providers, we will also be working in tandem with the administration for realizing the goal of defeating COVID-19 and leaving the after-effects of this pandemic behind us.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent those of Diggaj Media. The pictures are provided by the author and is not authorized to be used by anyone else.

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