From Aspiration to Action: ‘Rural Rising’ brings positive change in Wayanad’s Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat, Sulthan Bathery Block, Kerala

Rural Rising Wayanad

Broadcom, under its CSR initiative, in collaboration with NGO United Way of Bengaluru (UWBe) and Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat, proudly announced the official inauguration of the ‘Rural Rising,’ an innovative integrated rural development program at Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat in Sultan Bathery block, Wayanad. The Noolpuzha Gram Panchayat has a population of 14,133. It is the second largest tribal-populated gram panchayat in the state. Recognizing the pressing need for comprehensive interventions, ‘Rural Rising’, an integrated rural rising program, was kickstarted.

Grounded in a meticulous need assessment, the initiative strategically addresses critical needs such as the health and nutritional needs of children through a unique Cooked Meal intervention and early education facilities for children.

Addressing the health and nutritional needs of children, particularly those malnourished and from the tribal communities, the Cooked Meal intervention was conceived to ensure the availability and accessibility of nutritious meals three times a day, six days a week, benefiting 315 children across 26 Anganwadi Centres. Six Community Kitchens have also started in six Anganwadi Centers, involving mothers in food preparation to foster healthier food habits at home.

Fifteen nutrition promoters, serving as influencers, are actively engaged in community mobilization under this initiative. They play a crucial role in conducting awareness sessions for mothers emphasizing the importance of consuming healthy and nutritious meals.

The positive outcome of the Cooked Meal intervention is evident, with a substantial improvement in children who were initially underweight. In September 2023, 79% reached a normal height-to-weight ratio, marking a positive trend with 81% in October and an impressive 85% in November.

Addressing the need to create a conducive early learning environment for children, 26 Anganwadi Centres have been revamped, aligning with ICDS guidelines. The transformation of Anganwadi Centres to safe and conducive learning spaces includes new facilities and services, infrastructure support, and the establishment of play areas.

Recognizing the crucial role of Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) and Anganwadi Helpers (AWHs), the ‘Rural Rising’ initiative also focussed on building the capacities of 200 AWWs and AWHs in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) related skills. This is helping to enhance the quality of services at the AWCs and interactions between caregivers and children, making the entire Anganwadi ecosystem child-friendly.

As expressed by one of the retd. Anganwadi Workers, “In my 39 years of service, I have seen many AWCs located in the forest area grapple with challenges. Today, I express heartfelt gratitude for the positive changes in the AWCs – the introduction of play areas and other improvements ensures a nurturing and vibrant environment for children’s growth and well-being. “

For the initiative, a new milestone was achieved today, as one of the refurbished Anganwadi Centres was inaugurated in the presence of Dr. Renu Raj IAS, the District Collector and District Magistrate, who was present at the event. Dr. Raj said, “Ensuring kids aged 0-6 grow up in a safe and nurturing environment is crucial. This early phase is a big chance for positive development. Investing and putting effort into these early years can build the foundation for a thriving society in the next 20 years.”

Other delegates present today included govt. officials from the Women and Child Development Department, representatives of the Panchayat and team from United Way Bengaluru.

“The intervention is designed on a ‘convergence model,’ focussing on the strength of every stakeholder. In partnership with the local administration and our CSR partner Broadcom, this collaborative effort is significantly contributing to SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being and SDG 4 – Quality Education,” said Rajesh Krishnan, CEO, United Way Bengaluru.

Rural Rising: United Way Bengaluru and Applied Materials India commit to sustainable development in Kolar

Bengaluru, 14 February 2024: United Way Bengaluru (UWBe), along with corporate partner Applied Materials India today inaugurated an integrated rural development drive in Mulbagal taluk in Kolar district. The Rural Rising program primarily focused on enhancing the living standards of rural communities and improving available resources to ensure a sustainable, long-term impact on their lives. Attended by delegates from both organizations, the event featured cultural performances and presentations of science projects by some of the young bright minds.

Students presenting their science project

Sharing thoughts on the initiative, Rajesh Krishnan, CEO of United Way Bengaluru, said, “The Rural Rising program is a unique and one-of-its-kind initiative. The saturation approach, which focuses on Gram Panchayat to block and district-level development, makes it a very organized, sustained, and sustainable impact-driven process. I particularly thank our corporate partner, Applied Materials India, who had the vision to make a difference by investing in areas that needed help.”

Speaking on the collaboration, Sarika Rath, Head of Communications & Public Affairs at Applied Materials India said, “We endeavor to create a positive and sustainable impact in India’s rural communities through our Rural Rising program. Convergence and collaboration are two key elements for achieving a positive impact and these programs help us to achieve the same. Our purpose drives everything we do, shaped by our Values and reflected in our actions.”

Since 2015, Applied Materials India has been supporting over 200 villages across Bangarpete, Kolar, and Srinivaspur blocks in the Kolar district, and reaching out to over 1.5 lakh beneficiaries directly. Following successful initiatives in these blocks, the focus transitioned to Mulbagal Taluk, marking the second consecutive year of involvement in the taluk, this year.

Rural Rising has been United Way Bengaluru‘s flagship program that has demonstrated the potency of bringing together Gram Panchayats, local communities, volunteers, NGOs, and corporations towards a shared objective. The program is designed to meet the Mission Anthodya and Human Development Index (HDI) indicators, validated through an in-depth needs assessment in collaboration with local authorities and community members. The program’s emphasis extends across critical pillars of Education, Health, Livelihood, Women Empowerment, and Environment.