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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Alstom initiates integrated rural development program ‘Rural Rising’ in Gujarat

Gujarat, India: Alstom, as a part of its CSR initiative, in collaboration with United Way, initiated ‘Rural Rising’– an integrated rural development program at Manjusar Gram Panchayat, located in Savli taluka of Vadodara district and Hathipura village located in Anklav taluka of Anand district of Gujarat in October, last year.
This multi-year ‘Rural Rising’ intervention aims to improve the overall condition of the two gram panchayats in line with the indicators defined by the Mission Antyodaya gap analysis of the Government of India. Based on the current status of the Mission Antyodaya indicators and data from the Human Development Index (HDI) validated by extensive interactions with the village leaders and the beneficiaries, initiatives have been planned in three key areas – Water, Health and Hygiene, Environment; and Livelihood in Manjusar and Hathipura Gram Panchayats (GPs).
The program is built on a convergence model. The program is implemented in remote areas and aspirational districts in alignment with government schemes and partnerships with government and private partners.
An effective partnership was vividly demonstrated at the two days volunteering event organized on February 21 and 22 in two government schools at Manjusar and Hathipura, where volunteers from Alstom (Baroda Unit), community members, school students and teachers planted over four hundred saplings covering a total area of 33000 sq feet. Saplings include medicinal and aromatic plants, fruits and flowing plants to enhance biodiversity and sensitize people.
As a part of the Water, Health and Hygiene initiative, a new campaign called ‘GendHer’, pioneered by United Way Bengaluru, has been initiated in the government schools across the two Gram Panchayats. The campaign will reach out to 400 girls and boys of grades VII to XII and empower students with knowledge on reproductive health, gender sensitivity, and inclusion and also help to create safe spaces in schools.
WASH interventions are also critical components of the ‘GendHer’ campaign. Hathipura Secondary Govt. School had sanitation issues, and two dilapidated toilets could meet the needs of students, especially girls and female staff. The school has been supported with the construction of four toilets, which is benefiting 200 female students and female staff.
An RO Water ATM with a capacity to dispense 750 liters per hour is being installed in Hathipura, ensuring the availability of safe drinking water to approximately 4500 community members in the Gram Panchayat.
On the occasion, Olivier Loison, Managing Director at Alstom India said, “At Alstom we believe that enhancement of communities through socio-economic development leads to a more sustainable living environment. We are happy to partner with the local panchayats to identify the key improvement areas and support them with the required interventions in Manjusar and Hathipura villages that will improve its overall living conditions adding to our long term aim of making a positive impact, and nurture holistic development of the local communities across the country.”
Promoting sustainable energy practices in the community is an essential component of the program. One hundred solar streetlights have been installed strategically in public places. “The solar lights have helped to lighten up the village without the Panchayat having to worry about the power cost. It has ensured the safety of our community members. Commuting after 7 pm was difficult. Now we can see children using the solar street lights to study, women and men having social gatherings, even returning late from marriage functions and festivals is not an issue anymore.”, Jaisinghbhai Chaturbhai Chauhan, Village Sarpanch. This intervention can further help to offset carbon emission and thus contribute to a clear environment.
In addition, solar-powered digital classrooms equipped with digital curricula have been set up in two govt. Schools at Hathipura and Manjusar which benefit 800 students. Two Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) systems have been set up in these schools, ensuring water conservation practices.
Livelihood is another critical area. Forty identified women members from Self Help Groups are being provided with vocational (beautician and tailoring) and entrepreneurship training. To support the skill development of interested students, a Tailoring Lab has been set up for students pursuing a vocational course in the government school at Hathipura. Currently, fifty-two girls from the vocation course are using the lab regularly.
Need-based initiatives are being explored to support Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) that would help them with mobility and livelihood.
“United Way, in partnership with Alstom, embarked on this journey with a mission to complement the efforts of the two Gram Panchayats towards a sustainable future and to ensure improvement in the overall standard of living of the community members.”, said Rajesh Krishnan, CEO UWBe.



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