RUCHI’s major activities range from awareness creation & empowerment of people to micro credit, preventive health care, sanitation, environmental improvement, agriculture & horticulture extension, soil & water conservation and management, utilization of non-conventional sources of energy, promotion of rural technologies and other economic activities.
RUCHI give priority to the reduction of poverty and suffering by addressing the problem of contaminated water supplies, food shortage and inadequate shelter. RUCHI supports new grass root agencies using the TRC to develop and strengthen the capabilities of other NGOs and to demonstrate working models of appropriate local techniques.
In order to promote low cost construction techniques, RUCHI has also been recognized by HUDCO, Ministry of Urban Development as its Building Centres in the districts of Solan and Sirmour. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) of the Department of Women & Child Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development had also appointed RUCHI as one of its Nodal Agencies to promote micro-credit through Self-help Groups (SHGs) in the state.
RUCHI has partnered with international NGO’s, such as OXFAM/Water for Survival in New Zealand, MISEREOR in the Germany and HelpAge International, U.K. and NORAD of Norway, BOTH END Netherland, ROTARY International USA etc. With many it has its continuing relationship. For the last over 10 years RNZWCS, New Zealand and Charities Aid Foundation have been providing RUCHI with funding assistance for building household rainwater tanks and a range of other health and sanitation activities. Spring protection activities have been undertaken often as they are a traditional source of clean drinking water for community. Similarly, from time to time it has been partnering with Cadbury India, Johnson & Johnson, Coca Cola, NDTV, UN HABITAT, etc to take up CSR projects.
RUCHI”s activities can broadly be categorised under the following thematic areas:Natural Resource Management
Natural resources can not be viewed in isolation – itslinkages with the habitat where it is available, the human resources in terms of skills and traditions which are in coexistence, need to be taken care of. This sector of interface between a natural resource and a human resource through an appropriate sector constitutes a Natural Resource Management System. Development with an in-built environmental concern is the basic requirement in the area.
RUCHI’s approach on natural resource management focuses on optimum utilization of natural resources viz;, Soil, Water & Vegetation. RUCHI encourages the community to participate in the management of environmental resources by adopting an integrated watershed development approach. Environmental management follows a holistic approach of soil and water conservation, environmental sanitation and promotion of organic farming practices.
Watershed management tools arrests soil erosion, reclaims vast tracts of eroded lands, improves soil moisture, harvests rain water, reduces floods, recharges ground water and revives vegetation. In due course it restores rainfall, revives climate, regenerates soil, rejuvenates green foliage and revivifies environment. Further it improves the lot of the villagers so as to render them self-sustaining in food, firewood, fodder, fruit, health and hygiene.
Horticulture is the second largest source of income for the inhabitants after agriculture. RUCHI has introduced various new species and production practices and created better irrigation facilities to give a big boost to the development of the horticulture sector in the area. Medicinal plants are also encouraged at small herbal gardens for household consumption.
To exploit the full potentialities of newly developed production technologies, to provide technical know how to the farmers on scientific lines and to quicken the process of transfer of proven technology, RUCHI has already executed several projects of significance and created replicable models in 4 villages. Rain water harvesting using different techniques is the major focus area of work in these villages.
Arranging frontline demonstrations, farmers training programmes, and Kisan Mela/Field days, exposure tours, organic composting are the main activities initiated under the project.
The Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India recognizes RUCHI as a Technology Resource Centre (TRC).
Various tried and tested technologies concerning agriculture development, environmental management, rain water harvesting, health & sanitation and low cost constructions are being propagated through its TRC. RUCHI is a pioneer in promoting roof top water harvesting in Himachal Pradesh which it had started way back in 1988 and since then added surface water and storm water harvesting in its basket.
A scientific approach is used to look for alternative strategies for raising the living standard of the rural-folks through a cost effective and ecologically sustainable action. The TRC is responsible for:
- Adaptive research & development
- Conducting capacity building trainings
- Promoting low cost construction techniques
- Promoting drip/sprinkler irrigation
- Rain water harvesting
- Promoting hydraulic ram pump – a low cost fuel less device for water lifting
- Promoting polygreen house technique
- Producing high yielding seeds
- Promoting organic farming
- Medicinal plants
As a recognised Building Centre of HUDCO in both Solan and Sirmour districts, RUCHI has been able to upgrade the skills of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled masons and produce and market low cost construction materials. It has been instrumental in propagating the following technologies:
- Rat Trap bond construction
- Ferro cement construction
- Micro concrete roofing tiles
- Random Rubble Block construction
- Dry stone masonry
- Concrete panels
These target groups have been selected by RUCHI in accordance with the Indian Government’s new National Health Policy, which identifies the health risks associated with women before, during and after childbirth; the health risks for the newborn child and the need for health education for adolescent girls.
In line with the Bare Foot Doctor concept, RUCHI identifies local women as Health Educators and trains them in modern health care techniques with the help of Government health institutions. Each educator works in 5-6 project villages and is responsible for pre and post-natal care, childbirth, health surveys and awareness generation. RUCHI’s participation and contribution in the Pulse Polio Campaign is well recognised by local administration and Rotary.
Main components of the Community Health Project:
- Mother and child health.
- Awareness creation on common diseases, such as water borne diseases.
- Health and nutrition education.
- Safe water.
- Education for adolescent girls including sexually transmitted diseases.
- Personal hygiene and sanitation.
- Promoting family welfare values.
- Provision of first aid medical facility in every village.
- Immunization of mother and children.
With a main object of education and empowerment of rural masses, RUCHI has taken four steps viz; training for human resource development, environment education, formation and working of self-help groups and exposure tours.
Self-help groups (SHG) have proven to be good agents of change and give economic independence to people, women in particular, in rural areas.
Since women are more vulnerable and neglected in development process in India, RUCHI lays main emphasis for their empowerment through different programmes described as under:
Organisation and strengthening of Self-Help Groups
Training in Human Resource Development