Community Development Programs


SPED II 2006-2009


Disaster Management & Rehabilitation


Donor Special Projects



1.       “Sustainability through Participation, Empowerment and Decentralization II” (SPED II 2006-2009), Jointly funded by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and SAFP, the SPED II program (2006 – 2009) follows the successful completion of the earlier SPED program (2003 to 2006). SPED stands for ‘Sustainability through Participation, Empowerment and Decentralization’, which represents the development philosophy that shapes these programs. The current SPED II program is in partnership with 48 Diocesan Social Service Societies (DSSSs), three non-diocesan service organizations, and approximately 52,000 grassroots community-based organizations known as Sanghams or Self Help Groups (SHGs) in 116 villages in the Indian states of Andrha Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

The goal of SPED II is to contribute to the reduction of poverty in these vulnerable village communities by ensuring efficient management of natural resources, increased educational status, and improved health and economic conditions. This will be done with sensitivity to the social, economic, and political contexts of the respective village communities and the marginalized groups within them, including women. The role of SAFP is to address poverty on a long-term basis by facilitating the creation of replicable community models and developmental knowledge at the grassroots level. This will further empower community organizations and local NGOs to influence local policy-making bodies so that the needs of the people are taken into consideration in development matters. Promoting participatory involvement and helping to build new capacities among community members through the promotion of skills and knowledge is critical to the success of SPED II.

The SPED II Program involves funding for the following program activities:

·     Integrated Watershed Development

·     Promoting Basic and Primary Education

·     Improving Health Status of Communities

·     Promotion of Sustainable Livelihood Initiatives and Micro-Enterprises

·     Environment Consciousness Building

·     Capacity Building and Promoting Good Governance

·     Gender Mainstreaming

·     Management and Monitoring

·     Public Engagement 

SPED II:  Integrated Watershed Management

A watershed is a natural topographical unit based on natural drainage and water flow, and is used as a unit of planning for the use and conservation of soil and water resources. A watershed consists of three systems:

·     Natural system: eg. ponds, wells, streams, vegetation, soil. Regeneration or restoration of these natural resources is the major activity of the watershed development process.

·     Economic system: consists of the production process relationship, and livelihood, which is related to the natural system.

·     Socio-political system: ownership or control of resources, and issues of power, rights, and economic regulation.

    For SPED II, 32 villages with degraded watersheds and vulnerable populations were identified and targeted for intervention by 32 partner NGOs in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu states. Through participatory planning with local community-based organizations in the watershed area, specific activities are designed and training is provided. Activities include income generation projects as well as construction or reconstruction of houses, wells, ponds, rainwater harvesting tanks, bunds, trenches, pits, biogas units, and other pollution control and waste management interventions, all involving gender and environment impact assessments.

SPED II:  Promoting Basic and Primary Education

    Educational interventions will improve the skills and competence of local populations, leading to higher income opportunities and increased involvement in civil society. These activities give special focus on adult education and functional literacy (especially among women); the enrollment of every girl and boy in primary school; re-enrollment of dropouts; promoting supplementary education to those at risk; and promoting parental participation in education.

    For SPED II, 60 villages with vulnerable populations (economically and socially marginalized) were identified by 20 partner NGOs in 8 states and targeted for intervention.

SPED II:  Improving the Health Status of Communities

    Improved community health and hygiene will decrease the incidence of personal illness; this will enhance the overall wellbeing and security of community members, increase productivity and income generation opportunities, and lead to reduced child and maternal mortality. These activities will focus on community health education and awareness, preventive health care measures, primary health care access and community health monitoring, and HIV/AIDS awareness in Kerala.

    For SPED II, 69 villages with vulnerable populations (economically and socially marginalized) were identified by 23 partner NGOs in 9 states, and targeted for intervention (same villages chosen for Education, above, plus three in Kerala).

SPED II:  Promotion of Sustainable Livelihood Initiatives and Micro-enterprises

   This will facilitate the creation of sustainable livelihood initiatives that are economically viable, technically feasible, and culturally acceptable. By enhancing the skill and knowledge of partners and extending support to target families and local CBOs, these activities strengthen local capacity and contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

    For SPED II, 19 partner NGO’s in Kerala are working with SAFP in targeted marginalized villages, and through participatory processes, sangham members in those villages have been identified to receive training and financial support to start these initiatives.

SPED II:  Environment Consciousness Building

    SAFP is committed to protecting the natural resources on which the health and livelihood of so many rural people depend. Sensitivity to the environmental implications of all interventions is necessary, and Environmental Impact Assessments are a requirement, assisted by the use of local language EIA handbooks.

SPED II:  Capacity Building and Good Governance

    Building capacity at the grassroots level is of critical importance in empowering local people to plan, implement, and monitor sustainable development initiatives in their own communities. Likewise, in order to effectively facilitate actions and interventions at the grassroots level, SAFP and its partners must also strengthen their own capacity to understand the root causes of poverty, and, in the context of village-level poverty situations, better utilize participatory methods to effectively include the poor in their own development process.  Therefore, building capacity at all levels through training, education, information-sharing, and skill-building is built into all SPED II program activities.

SPED II:  Gender Mainstreaming

    SAFP is committed to achieving gender equality, and as a means of addressing gender disparity, gender mainstreaming is applied across all SPED II program activities as a cross-cutting theme. By integrating gender considerations into all organizational and program activities—planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, reflection—SAFP and its partners increase their own capacity to understand, promote, and facilitate development that views the needs of women and men equally. Gender impact assessments guide this process at the planning stage by recognizing the often-different needs of men and women, and by determining how planned interventions will differentially affect them.

SPED II:  Management and Monitoring

   These measures are essential for effective implementation and reporting of activities, and for reliable assessment of progress. They seek to address the provision of overall supervisory, managerial, administrative, and extension support for the implementation of the program from beginning to end.

SPED II:  Public Engagement

    SPED II pubic engagement activities aim to foster greater public awareness, understanding and support of Canada’s international development work through:

·     raising awareness and understanding of global issues

·     raising awareness and understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures

·     creating a link between Canadian benefactors/members of the public and partners in India

·     educating Canadian benefactors on basic social justice concepts

·     increasing the development of skills, values, and attitudes


Local people actively participating in their own development process through participatory planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation


Local people empowered by their participation in civil society.


Effecting policy change through local/grassroots level decision-making and representation

2. Disaster Management & Rehabilitation 

SAFP maintains an emergency relief fund to be used to assist families in case of natural disasters such as flood, wind or landslide damage. This will provide for food, shelter, medicine, clothing, and other needs in the event of such catastrophic events. 


Assistance continues for 500 tsunami-affected families from the southern Indian coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In partnership with 10 partner DSSSs, SAFP disburses donor aid in response to the December 26, 2004 tsunami that affected coastal areas in southern India. Financial assistance to individual families ($15 per month) is being provided for a period of six years, along with capacity building opportunities (entrepreneurship development training for livelihood restoration and environmental regeneration programs). In the selection process, special priority was given to widows with young children under 13 years of age. 

In partnership with the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) Society of Kerala, SAFP implemented the Tsunami Response Project (2005-2007) in the Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts of Kerala. The beneficiaries were from the Malikaparambu area of Chellanam, a region that was badly affected by water damage. Funding assistance was directed to environmental regeneration activities: roof rainwater harvesting tanks, septic tank toilets, replacement of leach pits, and mangrove planting, as well as for training and promotion of sustainable income generating initiatives.

3.Donor Special Projects

SAFP works with various partners to implement specially funded projects. Examples are: helping to eradicate child labour through sensitization of parents/employers and informal bridge schools in Andhra Pradesh; providing for medical needs and medications of vulnerable individuals; purchase of mini-bus for physically disabled children ; purchase of solar water heating system for a home for destitutes in Tamil Nadu; house construction for widows; funding for a short-stay home for women in difficult or abusive situations in Kerala; helping to fund staff salaries for counselors; assisting with basic needs of elderly and destitute in West Bengal: supporting Kutchi traditional handicraft collective in Gujarat; supporting tribal primary school in Kerala

4.Aiswaryagram facilitates and promotes participatory research in rural development, rural resource management, rural marketing, natural resource management, bio-diversity promotion, non conventional energy resources, sustainable farming, composting, livestock development, rural technology, etc. The collaboration and linkages with various research institutions, national and international governmental agencies, research centers and voluntary organizations are playing a pro-active role in our participatory action research (PAR) and technology development (PTD) processes.



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Last modified: December 03, 2009