Building Sustainable Communities

We have collaborated with our partners to provide an integrated approach to sustainable community development in 24 villages across 6 states in India.

Focus Areas

We are committed to improving the infrastructure in government schools, enhancing the quality of education, reducing drop-out rates, and ensuring all children between 3-6 years are enrolled in aanganwadis.

We believe in the importance of empowering young people through skill training centers across the country; self-help groups (SHGs) focusing on women’s issues, and helping to set up agriculture and non-agriculture-based businesses.

We conduct regular awareness programs on energy, water, waste and biodiversity, ensuring integrated watershed development, providing drinking water to communities in need, implementing wastewater recycling, and enhancing biodiversity through afforestation.

We conduct regular health camps for women, ensure 100% immunisation, improve the infrastructure in primary health centres, reducing water-borne diseases and invest in community-based solid waste management systems.

Education

Education

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improving Education infrastructure and learning outcomes

We aim to empower teachers and students in their pursuit of knowledge by providing better infrastructure in municipal schools and modernising the learning experience. Our interventions include providing basic infrastructure like toilets in schools, enabling the digitization of schools, creating laboratories for science experimentation and special workshops for teachers to better understand child psychology and explore methods of improving learning outcomes for students. A snapshot of recent activities:

Renovation of school facilities: We completely renovated 2 schools in Khalapur, 3 in Shirwal, 1 in Bhagwanpur, 1 in Madkai and 1 in Vadodara. We did structural repairs to the school building and the classrooms, furnished the classrooms, and made play areas to improve the overall learning experience. We made toilets, created safe pathways, and outdoor spaces.

1. Support for Early Child Education Intervention in the early learning years is required to inculcate a love for learning. Godrej works with local aanganwadis, to create colourful and vibrant learning areas. We have undertaken to build a new Anganwadi in Madkai, Goa and upgrade the infrastructure at two anganwadis in Shirwal.

2. Digitization of Schools – We have provided seven primary schools and one high school with equipment to digitise their classrooms with e-learning equipment and software to facilitate learning. Many schools due to their remote locations and low enrolment levels are managed by just one teacher and these teaching aides would enable the staff to be more productive.

3. Teacher Training Programs – The focus of these programs is to improve learning outcomes and to enhance the learning experience of the students. Godrej supports activity-based learning programs, BALA concept implementation, insights on child psychology and techniques to improve learning outcomes for children with learning disabilities.

Health and Sanitation

Health and Sanitation

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Improving Health and Sanitation levels

Godrej has actively championed the Swachh Bharat Mission in the communities around its factories. The projects target critical sanitation challenges like creating awareness on segregation of community waste and wastewater management.
The projects in these areas are taken up with the active support of local governance bodies, community households and experts in the field of sanitation.

In the last three years, G&B built:
• WASH clubs in 2 schools (In Mandawar & Shirwal)
• 40 individual toilets with engineered drainage system in Mandawar (Bhagwanpur) under the Swajal scheme
• Wastewater diversion and a treatment system in Shirwal, which treats 3 lakhs litres of water on a daily basis
• Soak pits construction for wastewater management for households in Khalapur

Improving access to water

G&B aims to improve the sufficiency and quality of water in villages around its factory locations. Activities focus on enabling collection, recharging ground water levels, restoration and rejuvenation of existing water bodies, construction of water storage structures based on current and future needs, improving access to drinking water by improving the water distribution systems and water treatment systems. All these projects are executed in collaboration with the gram panchayat and local communities.
Over the past three years, G&B has made 3 check dams, 3 water tanks and 1 well in the Khalapur region which enabled storage of 2 Lakh litres of water. In cases where water was not found to be fit for drinking, the water tanks were fitted with water filters. In Bhiwandi, 2 water tanks of 5,000 litres and water filters were installed to give tribal communities access to potable water. Under the aegis of Jal Yukta Shivar, 2 water bodies were created in Shirwal to give the communities access to clean water.

Women Empowerment

Women Empowerment

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G&B promotes inclusivity and women empowerment by working with its NGO partners to augment women’s social capital, their management capabilities and organising them into self-help groups. The key elements of the program are:
• Organising women to participate more actively in their Sanyukta Mahila Samitis, with a strong focus on capacity building programs which would enable women to play a more active role in voicing their concerns and to actively contribute to village development projects.
• Initiatives targeted at improving maternal and child health. We run regular growth clinics at three locations for children from birth to 5 years to monitor their development and flag issues of malnourishment so that interventions can be made in a timely manner. Initiatives targeted at women’s capacity building to champion projects promoting access to clean, potable water, and village sanitation.
• To guide women to collectively organise into Self-Help Groups (SHG) to amplify their voice with specific interventions on finance, micro savings and entrepreneurship.
• We also support micro enterprises for SHGs and other groups to support women’s emancipation.

G&B focusses on women emancipation at 6 locations in Khalapur, Bhiwandi, Shirwal, Dahej, Vadodara and Bhagwanpur. Our work has resulted in 75 women becoming change agents, the creation of 93 SHGs, and 11 micro enterprises. We supported several micro enterprises for making handmade soaps, house cleaning products, incense sticks, cloth bags, paper bags and food products. Our interventions on child growth development have resulted in more than 750 children staying healthy and avoiding malnourishment.

Enhancing farmer income

Enhancing farmer income

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Agriculture is the primary occupation in Shirwal region, however, the agricultural productivity per unit remained low compared to the state average crop yields. G&B partnered with NGO AWARD to help farmers enhance their crop yields.

Initiatives focussed on:
1. Reducing the input cost: we created a bank for commonly used farm equipment to reduce the per acre labour cost, to promote vermicomposting in order to reduce pesticide and fertilizer cost.
2. Increasing yields: we introduced new farming techniques in collaboration with the local agriculture departments to promote crop yield. We also helped famers explore propagation of crops which would command a higher premium in the market.
3. Promoting Organic Farming: We help spread awareness among farmers of organic farming techniques to improve soil and water quality and to enable farmers to charge a premium for their produce.
4. Augmenting income through farm allied businesses: we encourage farmers to enter poultry rearing, goat rearing, vermicomposting in addition to doing their regular farming activities.

We started the farm intervention activities for farmers with small land holdings in Shirwal in 2018-19. In the first year, our activities helped 190 farmers and our target is to positively impact at least 300 farmers over the 3-year period.

Promoting Rural Tourism

Promoting Rural Tourism

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The village of Bazarwadi, near Shirwal is historically significant because of the Rohida Fort which was built by the revered Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in addition to a scenic mountain valley which lends itself nicely to hikes, which creates a unique opportunity for promoting tourism. Godrej employees came up with the idea of promoting Bazarwadi as a location for Community based Tourism. G&B employees helped to construct safe pathways leading up to the fort and also identified interesting tourist spots in the area. We also provided access to potable water for hikers along the route.

In 2017, G&B appointed an NGO Grassroutes, to develop community-based tourism. Grassroutes has successfully accomplished the following:
• Trained over 40 households in community-based hospitality;
• Developed different packages to promote rural tourism; Made initial market linkages with travel agents in Pune
• Made seating arrangements for weary tourists;
• Created washroom facilities for tourists;
• Provided potable water facilities for tourists;
• Installed streetlights to ensure road safety; and
• Improved earnings from visiting tourists.

Environment

Environment

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Environmental sustainability is one of our core values, and the projects are primarily focussed on increasing forest cover and water retention and recharge capacity of water bodies.
We did a major afforestation project in Khalapur in collaboration with the forest department where we planted 7,000 trees of indigenous varieties across 6 hectares of degraded land. We partnered with the local community for the planting process and thereafter handed the maintenance responsibility to the community. We envision the project to span 5-7 years to ensure that proper care is given to ensure a high survival rate.