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The VRI Rural Development Fund in India

the village of Amarpurkashi in India

the village of Amarpurkashi in India

man working in a field in rural India

a better understanding of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act enables NGOs to help the poor claim their rights

re-painting the college building

VRI helps with the costs of maintenance of the school and other project buildings

model of the village created by children for the science fair

science fair exhibit: a model of the village created by schoolchildren

What is the VRI Rural Development Fund?

The UK charity VRI has had a partnership with the Society for over 25 years, and therefore has great confidence that your money will be used well.

Here are some of the ways this fund has been used:

Raising awareness of pro-poor legislation

Recently the Indian Government has enacted two important new laws: the Right to Information Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

The VRI Rural Development Fund has provided funds for training less experienced NGOs on the impact of these two laws, and how they can help poor people.

A journal highlighting rural development issues

TheInternational Journal of Rural Studies (IJRS) is an academic journal aiming to highlight and encourage socially relevant and useful research in various fields of rural studies.

The VRI Rural Development Fund provides a small subsidy to enable this journal to be published twice yearly.

Maintenance of buildings and vehicles to allow APK's work to continue

The work of the APK Project extends way beyond the activities funded through VRI. To give just one example, the APK Project has been chosen to run an ambitious government-funded HIV/AIDS awareness project in a number of nearby villages.

The work of the APK Project is funded from a number of sources: Indian government funding, income from modest school and clinic fees, local benefactors in India, and international donations via the VRI charity.

However, even for those project activities funded by Indian government grants, there is no allowance for building and maintenance costs. Where possible, the APK Project funds these from existing income; where this is not possible, VRI assists with the general running costs (maintenance of school and college buildings and vehicles, running costs of electricity generator), thus allowing the APK Project to continue its important work.

The Science Fair: hands-on education

The annual "Science Fair" held at the APK Project is a lively and popular participative event which presents science, health and technology issues. Schools from miles around come to the village to join in.

The costs of the Science Fair are met by the VRI Rural Development Fund.

Support for other small Indian NGOs

Much important development work in rural India is carried out by small NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) - that is, small grass-roots charitable organisations run by local people within India.

The VRI Rural Development Fund has supported the APK Project in setting up a network of small NGOs in western Uttar Pradesh.

It has also funded training for less experienced NGOs. In the words of the VRI General Secretary:

"Many people who work for NGOs in western UP do not understand the philosophy or aims of NGOs and often have inappropriate aspirations. These workers are based in rural areas and are potentially important agents for change so it is vital that they have a genuine understanding of this kind of work. The training was given in the form of a two-day residential workshop with a mix of lectures, discussions and question-answer sessions. Afterwards, trainees felt more confident about running their organisations and able to draw up programmes for action in their own areas. They also formally joined the network for western UP NGOs."

Self-Help groups in the state of Orissa

In November 2005, staff from the APK project visited another project in a very poor rural area of Orissa. They were very impressed with the project, and gave a donation on behalf of VRI.

"One village where tribal families lived, had successfully taken on a sanitation project and used proper toilets instead of the nearby fields. The astonishing thing about this was that they maintained the toilets themselves and shared them with other families. We were also impressed by the training in local arts and crafts that we saw being given to women who would then go on to make and sell a range of products in the nearby towns."

Detailed expenditure report

For more details on how the money has been spent, see our rural development fund progress report