INDIACSR News Network
NEW DELHI: Development Alternatives (DA), a pioneer in sustainable development and the first social enterprise in India with a proven track record of strengthening the economic and social structure of the rural community inaugurated their third annual ‘TARAgram Yatra’. The subsequent sessions and field interactions will take place at TARAgram – the DA Resource Centre in Bundelkhand, in Central India from 23rd to 25th November, 2012.
The TARAgram Yatra is an annual event that brings together practioners and policy makers from different parts of the world, in particular from India and the South Asian region, to discuss issues relevant to sustainability and help design action programmes led by civil society actors, national governments and regional networks. This year the focus of the Yatra is on “Sustainable Development in South Asia – Women Driving Change”.
Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman of Development Alternatives in his welcome address said:
“We don’t need any more clichés and platitudes on why it is important to mainstream women and women’s issues into national development. Economists emphasize the gains that could be achieved in productivity. Sociologists focus on the contributions women make to the family and community. Scientists value the potential contribution of women to intellectual creativity. Politicians, in search of vote banks, and businesspersons dreaming of new consumers evolve their own seductive justifications. But, ultimately, there is only one reason why it is important to improve the lives of women: it lies in the fundamental right of women, as of all people, to have better and more fulfilling lives – which is possible only in a society that is fairer and just than ours is today. This is what philosophers call a categorical imperative – a universal truth.”
UN Resident Representative, Ms. Lise Grande enlighted the audience on ‘Women taking the lead in ensuring sustainable development policy and practice in South Asia’.
DA Group in partnership with South Asia Women’s Network (SWAN) and the APFED initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have designed this event to deliberate on germane issues of development with the mission of inspiring sustainability in policy and practice. TARAgram Yatra, 2012 would explore facets of women’s empowerment and current trends with the aim to alleviate poverty, regenerate the environment and tackle social deprivation especially in the developing world. With a mix of dialogue and field visits, the Yatra provides a platform for exchanging cutting edge ideas on how to realize a sustainable future. The event provides leads for follow-up on policies and action at the global, national and local levels.
The four-day event will showcase the achievements of grassroots actions in community empowerment led by women. Strategies such as education, skill building, enterprise development, institutional supports and leadership development for enabling women in the region to drive the process of sustainable development will be discussed. Moderated discussions will be interspersed with visits to field projects and meetings with women’s groups in the rural areas of Bundelkhand and experience sharing amongst initiatives drawn from the South Asian region.
Development Alternatives has for thirty years dedicated its efforts to redress these imbalances and injustices by introducing innovations in technology and resource management, creating new and more participative types of institutions and suggesting transformative policies that can enable women in our country to have decent, meaningful and fulfilling lives themselves, and thus also contribute their full share to national development.
Kiran Sharma, Senior Advisor – Development Alternatives said that “DA’s entire programme of work is based on the premise that to build and sustain a healthy future for our nation, there is nothing more important than empowering women. The first prerequisite for this is access by girls and women to good food, clean water and secure shelter to ensure their health. The second condition is literacy, education and skills to ensure a job and income. The third requirement is participation in the decision making processes of their family and community. In all these areas, DA has pioneered new models, many of which can be seen in the villages of Bundelkhand, one of the most economically, socially and ecologically fragile regions of India. The TARAgram Yatra is intended to serve as a platform to bring new ideas from outside to help enrich the work of DA and also to expose it to others who might find useful lessons in it.”
Development Alternatives (DA): Founded by Dr. Ashok Khosla in 1983, and headquartered in New Delhi, Development Alternatives (DA) is a pioneer in sustainable development and the first social enterprise in India. It has built up a global presence in the area of economic development, social empowerment and environment management. Being the first social enterprise in India, DA realized the necessity of establishing several associated organizations working toward distinct goals that converge on the unified ambition of regenerating the environment and creating large-scale sustainable livelihoods. Development Alternatives Group was set up, comprising five organizations. The non-profit Societies, such as the flagship entity Development Alternatives and TARA (Technology and Action for Rural Advancement) are responsible for research, innovation, policy, incubation of green businesses and technical support services. The for-profit social enterprises, such as DESI Power, TARA Machines and TARA Enviro are responsible for implementing the work of the DA Group at scale in business mode, all under the overall brand name of TARA.