ACTION, the Association for Rural & Tribal Development, is a non-government voluntary organization that strives to empower underrepresented and impoverished people in society. Since being established in 1988, ACTION has focused all its efforts on developing deprived socio-economic groups. Currently, the association functions 63 villages in the coastal districts of East and West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Mr. Gurudutt Prasad, Chief Functionary, is a Post Graduate of Social Work from Andhra University, and has been associated with coastal voluntary organizations in Andhra Pradesh for the last eleven years. During his considerable interaction with tribal and fishing communities, he developed aspirations to work with and help these peoples directly. Following consultations with many social workers and organizations, he launched ACTION in 1988, and continues to liaise with like-minded colleagues.

ACTION has grown from a small association operating in one tribal hamlet, to a far-reaching organization with a well-trained workforce. It helps many village communities by conducting training programs, initiating projects for local benefit, and advising and operating relief efforts before, during and after disasters. It’s concerns also span environmental regeneration and healthcare education and provision, along with many other specialized individual projects.

Initially, dedicated team members worked in close association with target groups, solving various difficulties that they encountered. Among these were illiteracy and deeply felt superstitions, which are being resolved over time by building confidence, empowerment and trust. ACTION is at the stage now where many projects and activities have been successfully implemented. The focus now lies upon empowering trained local members to take responsibility in their own communities, building on the foundations that ACTION has carefully laid.

Since 2003, ACTION has broadened its concerns by organizing relief and rehabilitation programs in tribal and rural areas. Strong links have been forged with Oxfam, Save the Children and plan International in this respect. Equally important is the A.P flood and Tsunami relief efforts, begun in 2005, and continuing to present day.

  • Lawfully achieve the objectives of the society.
  • Promotion, development and implementation of development projects/programmes that seek to empower and benefit the poor. To undertake projects in relation to integrated rural and tribal development aimed at total development of humanity.
  • Initiate programmes for the development of Rural and Tribal poor, with their participation.
  • Organization of social action programmmes to alleviate injustice and inequality among under-privileged sections of society. To undertake formal, non-formal and adult education programmes to educate Rural and Tribal poor.
  • Plan and realize self-help and economic development projects. To include: agricultural and irrigation projects for improving food production. Helping small and marginal farmers, rural artisans and agricultural labourers by providing them with integrated services and facilities for increasing employment, production and income.
  • Implementation of community health programmes. Undertake Integrated Child Development Service programmes with the cooperation of National and International Child Development agencies and welfare activities, aiding deprived children.
  • Develop, engage with and implement projects for women.
  • Undertake relief measures, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes aimed at total development of people or areas affected by natural calamities like floods, cyclones, foods and fire accidents, etc.
  • Collaboration with other organizations, associations and societies both in India and abroad, who share similar objectives.
  • Seek to reduce disability among children and adults and undertake rehabilitation of people who are disabled.
  • To promote social housing with a view to inculcate community understanding and social living amongst the Rural and Tribal poor.

‘Empowerment, Mutual help and self-help’

Action’s operations are governed by the principal of ‘self-help and mutual help’. In the long term, the organization hopes to empower local people to organize their own communities at a village level. Community participation is encouraged throughout all welfare activities, encouraging interaction, and involving rural and tribal members in their own development. Such interaction ensures sincerity and seriousness on the part of the target communities, and empowers individuals to take responsibility for their own affairs. Individual case studies of village and fishing folk are produced, keeping track of the achievements and activities of the association. When distributing funds, ACTION engages directly with the beneficiaries. This leads to efficient usage of valuable funds, and a positive approach to financial help, so communities do not feel that it is their right to receive monetary assistance. ACTION significantly improves the communities’ way of living by encouraging discussion about needs and wants, talking about the positive and negative aspects of these. Sangha self-help groups are also established in the villages to discuss problems in the village. If necessary, they meet with the Project Coordinator/ Community Organiser to discuss assistance. In a weekly meeting, the coordinator then discusses these issues with fellow colleagues and the Executive Secretary. If important issues are raised, then village-level meetings are held, decisions taken both collectively and democratically. Following the meeting, proposals incorporating the needs and wants of the villagers are implemented by the association. Community organizers look after the day-to-day realization of the programs, and Sangha and group leaders monitor this. The Executive Secretary and coordinators carry out periodical evaluations, and every six months, Auditor and Resource persons carry out an external evaluation. The organization involves and benefits target groups to the maximum extent possible, making transactions as clear and well understood as possible. The foundation of ACTION’s work is to constantly and carefully monitor activities, refining or adapting them as and when necessary.

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