The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is a non-political people’s movement founded in Sri Lanka in 1958 and legally recognized by an Act of Parliament. It is the largest non-governmental organization in Sri Lanka, having spread its influence to more than 1200 villages [now 15,000]. Its activities range from local economic development to the provision of basic services for women, children and youth.
The people’s participation is the foundation on which the Movement originated in the past; on this factor also depends the success or failure of the Movement in the years to come.
The literal meaning of Sarvodaya Shramadana is the ‘the awakening of all in society by the mutual sharing of one’s time, thought and energy’. The well-being of all, and not only of the majority, is the ideal. Shrama, or one’s physical and mental energy, is the primary component that is shared with (dana) the rest of the members of one’s society. Therefore, anyone, irrespective of his social or economic position, educational attainments or age, has an opportunity to join and serve in the Movement.
*From a few students to 1200 communities [now over 15,000]*
The founders of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement were a group of students and teachers of Nalanda College, Colombo, the second leading Buddhist high school in the country. They organized holiday camps in the most backward village communities in the remotest parts of the country with two objectives in view: first, to provide the senior students and educational experience in the real life situations of the most depressed groups of people in the country; secondly, to render whatever community service they were capable of within their limitations of time and resources, for the development of those communities. The idea caught the imagination of other similar institutions, groups and individuals, who were readily invited to join the Movement.
Within the first ten years of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, thousands of volunteers, both from urban and rural areas were attracted to work in community development projects, mostly in village areas. The second ten years of the Movement resulted in the evolution of a clear ideological basis, in a series of methods, techniques and strategies for the realization of its objectives, and in organizational structures which facilitated the implementation of its island-wide programme of social reconstruction. Today, the twentieth year since the inception of the Movement, Sarvodaya Shramadana concepts and practices have spread into over 1200 village communities in Sri Lanka. To serve these villages, 52 Extension Centres in various stages of development, five Development Education Centres, a Research Centre and a National and International Headquarters have been established.
*A Social Development Philosophy Based on Traditional Concepts*
In the third century B.C., Sri Lanka became a Buddhist country, and every aspect of Sri Lankan life – be it its social relationships, the political economy, the art and architecture, education and literature – was nurtured in the cradle of Buddhist culture. Four and a half centuries of foreign domination in Sri Lanka did not destroy this influence. The Sarvodaya concepts of social development spring from this ancient philosophy, at the core of which is ‘respect for all life’ or the concept of ‘the well-being of all’.
Unfortunately for the people of Sri Lanka, most of the development administrators and planners of the post-independent era did not pay heed to the ancient concepts. They made the same mistake as the affluent westerners by equating modernization and urbanization with development. Hence the importance of growth and economic advancement was over-stressed. We can see in all parts of the world how much the quality of life has suffered as a result of imbalanced development policies.
*Awareness-Awakening and Self-Development*
As from its inception the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement has been closer to traditional concepts of social development than to modern ones, its workers emphasize the following aspects:
# A pre-economic development through the awakening of an awareness of a) the factors that led to the socio-economic impoverishment of villages and the country, b) the factors that led to the disintegration of the social cohesion and the breakdown of cultural and traditional values, and c) the fact that the village’s economic regeneration must be preceded by a restoration of social values and relationships;
# The improvement of the standard of living of the community through the development and maximum utilization of local resources, using appropriate technical skills. The community itself should take the initiative and make the decisions with the full participation of all its members;
# The protection and strengthening of the family in its dynamic role as a component of the community;
# The identification and discouragement of factors such as large scale industrialization that dismember the family and result in an inequitable distribution of wealth and rapid urbanization;
# The protection and strengthening of the village as a social entity, building and improving on the prevailing cultural paterns and value systems, rather than attempting to change them drastically;
# The identification and removal of such forms of oppression and exploitation as caste, race-discrimination, etc.
An economic and educational development disproportionate with spiritual and cultural development results in frustrations and increasing social injustices. Hence the importance of an integrated improvement of all aspects of society.
*Liberation From Exploitation Through Self-Reliance*
In the Sarvodaya approach to social development, the words Sarva meaning ‘all’ and Udaya meaning awakening’ are most significant. The ideas of self-development, self-fulfilment, self-reliance, self-realization and non-dependence, are all under-stood in the single word Udaya.
Sarvodaya does not believe that economic stagnation and poverty are inevitable – it is consistent with the Buddhist principle that salvation lies primarily in one’s own hands, be it an individual or a group. There is no alternative for the economically poor communities of the world, other than to strive for self-development as quickly as possible by their own collective efforts. The psycho-social infrastructure that is laid in a village, therefore, satisfies the prerequisites for an economic development founded on self-reliance. Villages become free to carve their own path to development instead of being victims of various outside influences, be they in the form of periodic vain political promises, sporadic receipts of welfare benefits, palliative assistance in the form of charity or aid from social service organizations, sermons from religious groups who wish to explain away poverty and preach the futility of seeking economic development – as if suffering were a divine test, or poverty were the result of past actions in previous births – and profit-motivated traders who buy up their primary products.
As constraints to development, there are two sets of factors: one within the individual, the village or the nation, and the other without. If awakening is to take place, both sets of constraints have to be removed. For example, in the case of a village, there are various divisive forces and exploitative processes within the village itself, springing from mutual distrust, which must be removed, as well as those forces from outside the village that keep the village in bondage and dependence, such as absentee landowners, money-lenders, middlemen and traders.
*A Revolutionary Technique To Awaken People To Their Own Potential*
The most outstanding contribution that the Movement has made to the social development of Sri Lanka, in my opinion, is the re-introduction of the technique of Shramadana, or the mutual sharing of labour, which in the pre-colonial days was an essential aspect of the co-operative way of life of our people. The Movement built on this heritage when it organized its camps throughout the rural areas, providing an opportunity for people to think, plan and work together, and then evaluate their efforts. In other words, Shramadana was not just a labour camp, where a useful physical objective was to be achieved. It was a revolutionary technique, to awaken people to their own potential based on their own culture and innovative abilities.
Shramadana techniques can be utilized very effectively to develop a physical infrastructure, such as access roads to the villages, safe foot-paths to every home, a sufficient number of protected wells or a pure drinking -water supply – system for the community, irrigation canals, housing, and systems for sewage and waste disposal, prevention of soil erosion, environmental sanitation, water storage and even rural electrification. A variety of other useful projects such as tree-planting campaigns, home gardens, communal organization of ploughing and weeding and harvesting of paddy fields, are also included.
It may be well nigh impossible for a village which has been economically stagnant for centuries, to start upon all these items of work simultaneously. On the other hand, there is not a single village community in the country which cannot plan out a continous programme of feasible physical infrastructural work, beginning with the simplest tasks for which the labour, knowledge and resources that are within their control can be utilized.
*Skills to utilize available resources*
Sarvodaya must have an alternative to the immediate and urgent problem of the continued economic exploitation of the village by various individuals and organizations. Among the constraints to development, of which there are many, some of the most important at this stage are the need for short-term loans as capital, and problems connected with the sale and marketing of produce. This presupposes the existence of resources, a service infrastructure, certain minimum skills, sources of power (not necessarily fuel – human energy may also be included) and the necessary managerial skills at the organizational level. If one or more are lacking, they must be provided.
It is unlikely that any village in Sri Lanka is lacking in resources – at least for food production. However, certain items may be lacking for their proper utilization: certain preservatives for food processing, for example. in other cases, the infrastructure may be wanting: for instance, the village might not have a sufficient water supply to sustain an industry, or a road for transport and communication. These items must be provided. But more important are the skills to utilize these resources, and indeed these are what are surely needed. These skills must be provided by Sarvodaya centers or governmental and other institutions.
*Total Village Mobilization by Age Groups*
No successful development programme based on the people’s participation can be implemented without a sound organization of the community. Sarvoday advocates organizing the community into various functional groups, by age and occupation. The creation of such peer groups encourages the people to plan and implement their own programmes. However groups which have self-interests which would conflict with the interests of other groups such as political groups, groups by caste, race, religion etc., are discouraged.
Generally, the following social units are formed: a children’s group (7-15 years of age); a youth group (16 and above); a mothers’ group; pre-school children’s group; a farmers’ group; a general elders’ group; a Village Council with representatives from all the groups; and specific task groups for activities such as health, cultural events, or child care for those under three and a half years of age.
*Training of Community Workers*
One of the most important functions of the Sarvodaya Central Organization is the training of community workers. For Sarvodaya does not believe that leadership imposed from above can ever solve the problems of rural people. Leadership must emerge from the village itself. Those who are recruited to undergo training in community work in the Development Education Centres must have shown proof of organizing capabilities, commitment to Sarvodaya principles, and above all, must have the acclamation of the village community itself. It is not by belonging to an influential family, nor by having had a city-based education, that one can become a Shramadana leader.
The five Development Education Centres and 52 Extension Units provide facilities for training in community leadership skills, as well as in a variety of other vocations, the content varying according to the needs of the particular villages. Initially, many problems were faced, such as finding suitably qualified personnel for the tutorial staff, preparing suitable curricula and syllabi, etc. However, these problems have been overcome for the most part. Self-evaluating mechanisms are included in the programme so that at the conclusion of every training course, suitable modifications are made for subsequent courses.
Teaching is essentially carried out by non-formal methods, primarily discussions and work groups. Periodically, government officers of various disciplines such as teachers, agriculturists, nutritionists and doctors are invited to update, through seminars, the knowledge of both the members of staff and the trainees.
*Short-Term Development Strategies*
Constraints to village development are often frighteningly enormous and will take time and patience as well as a great deal of courage to overcome. But certain immediate steps have to be taken in any village. These involve basically some relief from its debt burden and a strategy to prevent its continuation.
In the Sarvodaya short-term plan, the following actions are promoted:
* a family survey of the village, including assessment of resources and debt burden;
* formation of a ‘debt reconciliation group’ to assist those in debt and prevent others from falling into debt;
* promotion of a ‘seed bank’ and a ‘commodity bank’ in the village and a village ‘common market’ for the purchase of requirements and sale of produce;
* organization of a vigilance committee on an almost 24-hour basis, particularly for health and personal care, operating from a central place in the village;
* increase in trained human resources by working the extension centres and development-education institutes to full capacity to train youth from the villages;
* education of the population to accept, join and utilize intelligently various government services such as co-operative production centres, credit facilities and Divisional Development Councils;
* with help from the Movement’s Revolving Fund, launching of cottage industries and agricultural work in the village in order to increase the level of village income and create as much income-generating work as possible within the village itself;
* for unemployed youth, creation of agricultural farms outside the village where land is available in the form of grants or leases from the government or private sources.
*Long-Term Development, Also A Political Process*
In the Sarvodaya long-term plan, attempts are made to bring about the integration of these operations originating from the grass-roots into those of the central, regional and local government levels. This is not only a political process in which considerable understanding between the Movement and the government must be created, but also a practical process at the local level itself, where a re-orientation must be necessarily effected towards the total development of society above all other divisive considerations.
With the help of the Sarvodaya Research Institute, the Movement is steadily building up survey reports for each village coming under the scheme, which will be of great value when integrated long-term programmes have to be launched.
Some of the more important factors that help a village to reach the self-development stage are: a sustained community spirit; unity among members of the community irrespective of caste, race, religion, or politics; generation of an income which is sufficient and which remains in the village without being extracted by outside exploitative instruments; and participation of the members of the community in all decision-making processes.
This stage can be reached only to the extent that unjust economic arrangements such as the ownership of means of production – for instance, land in the hands of a few – administrative systems and political power structures are changed so that the villagers become the masters of their own selves and their environment. The present government has gone far in this direction when one examines the radical measures that have already been taken.
*Major Factors of Nutritional Deficiencies*
In attempting to meet the community’s basic needs, services for children cannot be over-emphasized.
In Sri Lanka, children between one and six years of age and pregnant and lactating mothers are the most vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies, occasionally leading to kwashiorkor and marasmus among children.
Surveys carried out to determine the causes of nutritional deficiencies revealed that malnutrition in Sri Lanka is not so much due to the non-availability of food, as to the interplay of several contributory factors. Following are some of the important causes which could be readily corrected if properly handled:
# lack of knowledge of:
** the food value of many food items available in the villages;
** cooking habits which prevent waste as well as the destruction of valuable food ingredients;
** the role played by illnesses which precipitate malnutrition;
** proper feeding habits of infants, children and mothers;
# poor sanitation and water supply, leading to worm infestations and intestinal diseases;
# other disease conditions such as malaria, scabies and respiratory illnesses;
# unequal distribution of the available food in the community;
# some traditional food and feeding habits.
*The Community Kitchen Programme*
In response to the impending threat of a food shortage in 1973, Sarvodaya embarked on a Community Kitchen Programme to save especially mothers and children from possible nutritional deficiencies.
The foremost objective of the Sarvodaya Community Kitchen Programme was to provide children and needy mothers with a meal which would supplement the food eaten at home, and to take corrective measures against the above factors through health education and other action programmes, with the assistance of government health officers.
As the programme progressed both in intensity and extent, wider possibilities were realized, as, for example, the integration of community activities into the different government services at grass-root levels by the community kitchen worker, and community education in health, sanitation, and agriculture.
*Organization of The Community Kitchen*
Community kitchens are established either in a village where a Sarvodaya volunteer community worker is already active, or in villages where the people request such a programme on their own initiative.
In both situations, the villagers are helped to organize the mothers into one action group, which is responsible for the selection of the volunteer community kitchen worker. The trainee, after a two-week intensive training-course at one of the Sarvodaya Training Centres, returns to her village and begins her nutrition and education programmes.
In selecting the site for the community kitchen, special attention is paid to sanitary conditions, safety from accidents, its easy accessibility for children, adequate space and easy access to water. The villagers construct a suitable structure on a voluntary basis before the trained worker returns to the community. When they cannot put up a structure immediately, a suitable building is loaned by a villager. In emergencies, a public building such as a church-hall or temple are used until permanent arrangements can be made.
Ways to provide the raw materials are discussed by the mothers’ group. Village elders are also approached for support. The daily requirements are brought to the centre by the children themselves. In many community kitchens the children bring a matchbox full of rice (equivalent to a half ounce), coconuts, greens, fire-wood and other contributions. Mothers and older girls volunteer to assist the community kitchen worker, and even the villagers who do not benefit by the programme are encouraged to contribute to the kitchen’s upkeep.
The community kitchen worker, being a volunteer, has to work out a project to provide her with her own subsistence. She normally works on a cottage industry or in an agricultural project. The Sarvodaya Youth Group in the village helps her to make this project a success.
*Daily Meals, Health and Nutrition Education, Home Gardens*
The main activity carried out in the community kitchen is the feeding of children and needy mothers, with special attention paid to pregnant and lactating mothers. No distinction or discrimination is made in relation to the social status of the beneficiaries.
Parents send their pre-school children (three to six years) daily to the community kitchen, where the worker, assisted by one or two volunteer girls or mothers, receives them. The worker carries out a rapid inspection as to their status of sanitation and evidence of any illness such as fever, rash, pain, swelling etc. Then the children are encouraged in free play with materials available. Towards 9 o’clock, they are given a glass of milk or a gruel prepared with rice, leafy vegetables, and coconut-juice. After the meal, the children continue in group play, songs, story-telling, etc. At 11 o’clock the children are given another meal of rice, vegetables, pulses and any other food items that could be collected from the village and the community kitchen garden. By noon they return home.
A sick child is given the morning milk or gruel and taken home by a volunteer assistant who will encourage the mother to take the child to a doctor.
The community kitchen worker maintains good relations with the local authorities, such as the public health midwife, sanitarian, or medical officer, and through them she arranges for immunization and deworming programmes. She also obtains their assistance in the construction of latrines and wells, and in the improvement of environmental sanitation.
As a part of her normal routine, the worker conducts a survey of the children who attend the center as to their status of health and nutrition, their immunization and family environment. She maintains accurate records, including weight and height charts for the children, and the findings of medical examinations, noting any defects and deficiencies and the corrective measures taken.
The community kitchen worker also carries out a health-education programme with the mothers’ group, particularly in the fields of nutrition, food handling, mother and infant care, home economics and family health. The community kitchen worker seeks the participation of all government officers in her area, such as health officers, school teachers and agricultural officers, as well as the members of the community, in these programmes.
With the assistance of the children, the worker grows a home garden which serves three main purposes: to develop the children’s interest in agriculture; stimulate the mothers to grow their own home gardens; and supplement the kitchen’s sources of food.
The community kitchen is thus the pivot around which various other activities develop, even including community dairies and the village’s social and educational activities.
*Rapid Expansion of the Community Kitchen Project*
The community kitchen project was initially started in 1973 with community kitchens in ten economically depressed villages. Since then, this programme has rapidly expanded both in number and scope, as shown by the following table.
|Year|No. of Kitchens|No. of Children Fed|No. of Pregnant Moms|No. of Meals|
With an increasing awareness of the programme, the demand has also increased tremendously. It is hoped to establish some 400 new community kitchens annually in the future.
*The Pre-School Programme*
The need for a pre-school education programme was appreciated by Sarvodaya as far back as 1968. When the age for entering school was raised from five to seven years by the government in 1972, the Movement hastened to start its pre-school education programme immediately.
*Organization of The Pre-School by the Mothers’ Group*
The Sarvodaya pre-school is also primarily the responsibility of the mothers’ group in the village. The mothers’ group either on its own or after being motivated by the Sarvodaya community volunteer worker will nominate a suitable girl to be trained at a Sarvodaya Training Centre. She will then follow a three months’ course on child development and factors affecting development, such as nutrition, health, love and protection, educational psychology and pre-school methods as well as the production of teaching material, and all the subjects taught in the Community Kitchen Training Programme.
After the training programme, the worker returns to her village to start a pre-school. Its organization is carried out by the mothers’ group with the assistance of the youth group and the community elders.
In the great majority of villages, the pre-school and the community kitchen function as one unit to serve the same child population, and are run by the pre-school worker and the community kitchen worker with the assistance of other volunteers.
In addition to the services rendered by the community kitchen, the content of the pre-school programme is in keeping with modern principles of eduction. The worker is encouraged to collect her teaching aids and materials from the environment itself so as to make the programme more successful. Some of the more sophisticated play materials and equipment for the development of skills are manufactured by the Sarvodaya pre-school equipment-making department and supplied at nominal costs.
In some villages, the community contributes towards the upkeep of the pre-school and the support of the worker. In less affluent villages, the Sarvodaya Movement provides financial assistance.
*Recognition of the Pre-Schools by The Government*
With the raising of the school entry age and the introduction of a modern curriculum of studies in grade I, a sudden demand for properly oriented pre-schools has occurred throughout the country. From among many of the schools, the government and the education authorities have accepted the Sarvodaya Pre-School Training Programme and its schools as being the best suited. Local government authorities who are anxious to have pre-schools in their areas have requested Sarvodaya to open such schools in their villages, some of which are funded by the government.
The number of Sarvodaya pre-schools in operation increased from 17 in 1972 to 147 in 1976. In the future, it is hoped to establish some 200 new pre-schools annually, for even though the demand is greater, the facilities available for training are limited.
*Day-Care Centres for the Children of Working Parents*
This service emerged as an extension of the Community Kitchen and Pre-School Programmes, to cater to the children of working parents.
A form of day-care centre for infants and children up to three years of age had already existed for a long time in the plantation sector as both parents in the resident labour population were required to work on the estates. The mothers brought their children to the centre on their way to work. A retired woman dismissed from active labour due to a physical disability was charged to look after the children and feed them until the mothers returned at the end of the day. However, the woman was often illiterate and unaware of the basic health and educational needs of a child.
Among the rural and urban poor, the children are left in the charge of their grandparents, if still living, during the day. This system appears to work well when the grandparents are educated and in good health. But when they are ignorant and illiterate, the children receive a poor deal. Worst is when there are no adults remaining at home; in such families, an older child, often a girl from five years on up, is left to look after the infants.
Sarvodaya started its Day-Care Centre Programme first in the plantation sector, where the management agreed to release a girl of 20 to 30 years of age for training. She is paid a per diem by the management to run the day-care centre, where the children are fed, clothed, and receive medical examinations and a pre-school education.
Subsequently, the day-care centre programme was extended to the village, where the pre-school and community kitchen workers have taken on the responsibility of manning them. Most of these centres are funded by the local government authorities and the Department of Probation and Child Care.
The Day-Care Centre Programme was started in 1976, and by the end of the year there were 12 such centres in operation. The programme is still in the infancy stage, but it is hoped to establish such centres in all the plantations and all the villages where Sarvodaya activities are in progress, by upgrading the pre-schools and community kitchens.
*Children’s Library Service*
A major problem in rural communities is the lack of library facilities and reading material for children. Sarvodaya started its Children’s Library Programme to meet this demand at least to some extent. The following table indicates the programme’s progress over the years.
|Year|Number of libraries|
The cost of books, periodicals and journals has increased greatly during the last few years in Sri Lanka, which has restrained the expansion and improvement of the library service even though it has become extremely popular with the children.
*Improving Community Health*
Improvement of the standard of health is a high priority in any social development programme. This is more so in poor countries such as Sri Lanka, where the poor health status has a direct adverse effect on all aspects of life. To ease this situation, Sarvodaya started its Community Health Programme in 1976 with 12 community health workers.
The Programme has four main objectives:
* to bridge the gap between the community and the existing government services;
* to bring about a change in attitude within the community with regard to the prevention of illness, nutrition
and food habits, child health, family health and economy, use of existing health facilities, community organization and self-help through cooperative efforts;
* to introduce new behaviours, such as drinking boiled water, washing hands before meals, using proper toilet facilities, growing home gardens, etc.
* to provide first aid, with a maximum utilization of the available resources in the community; this would include special situations such as a natural calamity or gatherings of great numbers of people, as, for example, at pilgrim centres.
*Overall Coordination by the Movement’s Health Committee*
Sarvodaya has a Health Committee comprising medical specialists, health educators, nurses and volunteer first aid workers who meet regularly to discuss community health needs. In addition, they meet in emergencies such as famines, droughts, earth slips, etc., to organize ad hoc programmes, mobilizing other volunteers such as medical students to carry out surveys, as well as to provide medical aid, health education and often food aid to the stricken area. They always report their findings to the government health services for follow-up action and coordination.
The full-time workers are responsible for the provision of simple medical care at Sarvodaya Centres, work camps, and on special occasions.
*Activities of Health Workers at the Community Level*
Within the community, the kitchen workers and pre-school workers provide first aid and other health services, primarily oriented towards preventive measures. In addition, where there are new Sarvodaya community health workers, they assist the community kitchen and pre-school workers, organize maternal and child health clinics in conjunction with the medical officer, and assist the parents in taking sick children to medical institutions, constructing latrines, etc. These health workers try to integrate government services and community services at the village level.
Like the pre-school and community kitchen workers, the health worker is also nominated by the mothers in the community. She is responsible to the mothers, who in turn report to the Sarvodaya Health Committee on the progress of her work.
In addition to all the subjects taught in the Community Kitchen and Pre-School Training Programmes, the following subjects are included in the six-months training course:
* environmental sanitation
* home nursing
* first aid
* use of the existing health services such as antenatal and post-natal clinics, child welfare clinics, immunization, etc.
* family health and family planning
* diagnosis of simple childhood illnesses, simple remedies, and disease prevention
* advance nutrition and food handling
* organization of children’s groups, youth groups and mothers’ groups.
An example of the workers’ activities
Three community health workers carried out the following activities:
|Wells constructed for drinking water|72|
|Families motivated to use boiled water|2710|
|Mothers taken to clinics|500|
|Children taken to clinics|1149|
|Persons taken to hospital|629|
|Children With nutritional deficiencies|1578|
Nutritional defects corrected: 1108
As one can see, the community health programme is still in its infancy. In the future it is hoped to train two teams of 12 community health workers per year.
*From Central Coordination to Decentralization*
The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is essentially a volunteer people’s effort. Until 1968, the Movement did not have a single full-time worker receiving an allowance. With the enormous growth of the Movement, this is no longer possible.
The Movement at present is in the midst of organizational change, from a basically centrally co-ordinated organization in which the nuclei will be formed by each of the 52 Extension Centres. This will allow the people to oversee and understand the organization in its totality, which was no longer possible with the present organizational structure.
At the national level, the general membership – open to people of all religions, races, nationalities or castes – elects an Executive Council of 35 members, the council appoints six office-bearers who form the Movement’s board, and a team of nine coordinators, each of whom is responsible for a particular field of activity. They form, together with the President of the Movement, the implementation staff.
The nine areas of responsibility are:
# Shramadana camps
# Pre-School, Community Kitchen and Health Care Programmes: these include both the maintenance and establishment of pre-schools and community kitchens, as well as the training of new pre-school teachers.
# Gramodaya Centres: these deal with all village activities such as the organization of farmers’ groups, youth groups, and the undertaking of joint activities with the government services; they also maintain relations with the government officials to assure that those laws which are intended to benefit the people in the rural areas do indeed serve them.
# Development Education activities: this section is responsible for all the training programmes undertaken by the Movement – to mention a few: short-term and long-term community leadership training, two years’ agricultural training, vocational training etc. The unit is also responsible for the maintenance of the existing Development Education Institutes and the establishment of another three centres.
# Gramodaya Revolving Fund: loans are extended to Sarvodaya members, most of them trainees who have followed one of the long-term training courses, to start cooperative economic activities. Most of the loans are given for farms and rural workshops, but other activities are also supported, such as village common markets.
# Research Centre: started two years ago, it now fulfils a monitoring function within the Movement, evaluating the planned activities of the above-mentioned sections every three months, in order to advise the coordinators on bottlenecks in the execution of their programme and provide a continuous feedback to the section concerning the quality of the work being carried out.
# Production units: these units, giving employment to hundreds of youth, will together with the economic activities started with loans from the Revolving Fund provide an income for the Movement to carry out its activities.
# General administration: deals with such activities as personnel management, transport, etc.
The coordinators of the sections meet every week, as it is this committee which is responsible for the total execution of the Movement’s programme.
The first ten years of the Movement were totally self-financed by its members. However, its work had by then reached a stage that necessitated that other financial support be found. Several local and foreign contributions have been received since then. At the moment, the Dutch co-financing organization NOVIB supports the general programme. Other organizations such as Friedrich Neumann Stiftung, OXFAM-England and OXFAM-Canada, and 11-11-11 Campaign-Belgium are supporting special projects. Through the establishment of a number of economic activities all over the country, it is expected that the Movement will be self-reliant by 1985. A detailed plan to reach that target is in preparation.