- literacy and general education for unschooled teenage girls likely to get married in the near future
- a relatively new income generation handicrafts project for women who up to this had largely been engaged in agricultural and domestic activities
- Supporting the formation and running of village development groups (VDGs) which are EP and GENs prime link for consultation with village residents. The VDGs also identify village issues they want to raise with local authorities, and are supported in this by EP when finding their way through the complexities of the District bureaucratic system
- A new initiative to develop tourism based on village homestays also as income generation venture
During our visit the field team joined in a Diwali competition to demonstrate their public speaking skills and use of recently acquired basic English to introduce themselves and their roles with EP. For this they earned a Diwali bonus! What they said in their speeches was very moving, particularly when they spoke of their areas of interest and their commitment to making a difference to the villages of Tijara.
Rakesh is the newest and most senior of the field team. He has a strong background and solid experience in rural development. He leads the most challenging field task – that of supporting and nurturing the village development groups, as well as overseeing the teams overall performance and making sure reports are duly completed and submitted.
Fatou has been an EP volunteer, a VDG reporter and village development group member from the most remote village in our work area – Balesar since 2010. He recently joined the team as a paid worker to assist Rakesh with mobilising village development groups. He is determined to bring progress to his village as well as the area overall
Dayal Singh is longest serving member of the team. He lives in Mithyabas the village closest to the main road. He has been involved with EP since it began work in the area in 2010, and currently is coordinator of the handicrafts project. His wife, Satvinda, leads one of the 5 handicrafts centres. They have also hosted all of the interns GEN has provided to EP to work on the ecotourism project and the girls education project among others. They are also the first village household to offer visitors under the eco tourism project to experience life in an Indian village.
Pooran joined EP shortly after Dayal Singh. He is in his early 20s and already has 3 children of his own, plus a very fine motor bike that he uses to make sure the education classes have all the materials they need, to receive reports on attendance, and to run the EP mobile library which delivers books for loan to all those who have attended an EP class.