Colloquium Series : Promoting Sustainable Development in Thar Desert: Experiences from URMUL

2019 Jul 26, Friday
Seminar Hall, 10th Floor, Pixel A (Azim Premji University)

About the Lecture

In the harsh and inhospitable regions of rural Rajasthan in the Thar Desert, URMUL Trust has been innovating models for inducing community driven developmental changes by devising programmes, strengthening them, sustaining and handing them over to communities. Urmul’s work is guided by the spirit and trust placed in people’ s capabilities to bring about the much-needed social change with their own efforts. Most of the work is focused on vulnerable and marginalized sections of the society. Following the integrated development approaches, Urmul works on all the Sustainable Development Goals with over 1000 villages focussing on the issues of health, education, livelihood, environment, Animal husbandry, food, fodder, water security, disaster mitigation, women’s socio-economic empowerment, capacity building, improving access to basic services, early childhood care & development, child right issues including child marriages and child protection. Urmul along with community participation and support, has innovated, designed and demonstrated various vital and successful models in diverse developmental themes, to name a few- barefoot doctors; Formal & Non- Formal Education Centers, Balika Shivirs for adolescent girls with the collaboration of Shikshakarmi and Lok Jumbish programmes; long term constructive campaigns for gender equality, Child Rights and Livelihoods. Urmul led non-farm livelihood initiatives in the region are now full-fledged enterprises and are successfully ensuring sustained income to thousands of families in the Thar desert. Urmul has been supporting and training the community cadre, to help strengthen efforts with villages like Community Health Workers, Anganwadi workers, Youth forums (Kishori Prerna Manch and Bal Manch, Prerak Dals), Village Health & Sanitation Committees (VHSCs), School Monitoring Committees (SMCs) and SHGs.


About the Speaker

Arvind Ojha is the co-founder and CEO of URMUL, one of the most successful NGOs in India. Arvind has been working in the desert of western Rajasthan for more than three decades on the issues of rural development focusing education, health, livelihoods, climate-change, promotion of people’s intuitions in the region. He is a leading advocate for ending child marriage and ensuring gender equality. He presently chairs the Girls not Bride-Rajasthan Alliance. He is also the executive member of several government committees concerning rural development and has responsibility of many other development agencies as Trustee. He has been State advisor to National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), India and also sits in the Rajasthan State Crafts Council. Arvind was pioneer in initiating and promoting rural tourism with the focus of community development in the Thar Desert. His concern for desert issues and advocacy urged him to promote a research-based initiative called Desert Resource Center. Arvind brings in over 40 years of sectoral experience, knowledge and values.