Cohesion has been working since 2005 with children of marginalized sections whose access to education is challenged by many factors such as poverty, cultural and gender barriers, remoteness and poor infrastructure of education system. Starting at the key transition years of primary, middle and secondary years of schooling – and introducing strategic interventions combining access, retention and learning focusing on girl students through government enabled systems and structures in place, we have been trying to increase demand for and improve the quality of pre primary, primary and secondary schooling. The focus has been to strengthen the existing government systems and infrastructure related to education and leverage the same through community led initiatives. Our supporters for this work in Kachchh and Banaskantha districts of Gujarat are American India Foundation, UNICEF and Reach To Teach. In Pune district of Maharashtra, CSR of John Deere is supporting our activities.
Drinking water and sanitation
Revival of traditional water harvesting systems and construction of piped water supply systems has helped in adressing the drinking water scarcity which is the primary problem in the villages Cohesion is active in. Sanitation is an integral part of sustainable development of the water resources. Cohesion is trying to spread the message of health, hygiene and sanitation by spreading awareness and training the communities on adopting better health and hygiene practices. In past we worked with WASMO and state Government in different districts of Gujarat focussing on generating awareness on sanitation aspects and health education in the villages. Potable water for drinking and better sanitation facilities is the prime agenda.
Disaster mitigation and preparedness
In the wake of the devastating earthquake that ravaged Gujarat State in January 2001, Cohesion focused its energies on low profile villages of Kutch and Rajkot, which were affected the most. In keeping with its philosophy of holistic development, the Foundation began with immediate relief operations, and followed them up with restoration of life-supporting forces in the region, and rehabilitation of its people. We were also involved in relief work for the flood affected area of Navsari in Gujarat floods 2005.
Cohesion devised a comprehensive disaster mitigation & preparedness blueprint, to serve as a pre-emptive action plan for the future. This blueprint aims to build resistance in people in the affected regions, against forces of devastation, and to minimize their physical and mental trauma in case a disaster strikes. It comprises a whole range of activities — creating food and livelihood security, ensuring drinking water supply for humans and livestock, generating and conserving disaster mitigation funds, providing insurance cover to lives and structures, building physical and mental strength to survive and overcome traumatic situations, etc.
As a part of disaster preparedness and mitigation we work directly with many other agencies thus drawing from their experiences from other regions and transferring best practices to the grassroot level. Some of the agencies that we have been involved with are Ministry of Rural Development; Prime Minister Nations Relief Fund; CARE – India.
Cohesion also undertakes a series of infrastructure development activities in impoverished regions, to improve the general quality of life. These include sanitation units built with special concern for the privacy needs of women and the requirements of people who need special facilities, assembly halls for social interaction, information dissemination and awareness creation, and other community spaces.