India is the second most populated country in the world, home to over one billion people. Despite dramatic economic growth in recent years, more than 400 million Indians live on less than $1 a day. Trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, too many families live in dire circumstances, and many children are forced to work instead of attend school. India is struggling to eradicate preventable diseases such as polio and an estimated 2.5 million Indians are living with HIV/AIDS.
PCI began operations in India in 1997 and maintains a diverse portfolio, working in both rural and urban settings in the areas of integrated health and community development with programs focusing on low-income, vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations, especially women of reproductive age and children.
BUILDING LOCAL CAPACITY IN HIV/AIDS
Building on PCI’s successful PATHWAYS program, PRATIBHA (Project for Accelerated Technical Assistance and Integrated Capacity Building for HIV/ AIDS) is providing technical assistance to India’s Department of AIDS Control to strengthen the capacity of public laboratories, specifically the 13 National and 117 State Reference Laboratories. These laboratories are responsible for quality assurance of HIV testing for nearly 20 million clients tested annually at over 12,000 integrated counseling and testing centers throughout the country. PRATIBHA interventions include capacity building of laboratory staff on quality control in the labs, strengthening supervision and mentoring support to peripheral testing facilities, and promoting an accreditation favorable environment. As of September 2013, PRATIBHA succeeded in helping 11 National, and 13 State, Reference Laboratories receive international accreditation, whereas none had been accredited in 2009 at the beginning of the project.
COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION TO IMPROVE HEALTH AND SANITATION
Parivartan, meaning transformation in Hindi, reaches over 280,000 women of reproductive age through 18,000 community groups formed in approximately 2,250 villages through the State of Bihar. Key health and sanitation behaviors are being improved in these marginalized communities through the work being done by community groups and peer educators. The project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, works in eight districts of the State. PCI works closely with state government agencies and programs for greater impact and sustainability. Community groups are in the process of being trained in key maternal and child health and sanitation-related interventions, including antenatal care, breastfeeding and complementary feeding, postpartum family planning, immunizations, hand washing and sanitation.
In 2005, PCI started its first microfinance institution, Planned Social Concern (PSC), with seed capital from the Grameen Trust of Bangladesh and investment capital from a group of private donors known as the Jaipur Investors. PSC provides people living in poverty, particularly rural women, small loans to assist them in starting their own businesses and participates in their professional capacity building. capacity building. With two branches in Jaipur, PSC has become a sustainable, pro-poor bank that has provided more than 10,000 loans to women entrepreneurs valued at over $2,300,000.
In addition to microfinance lending, PCI, in partnership with Qualcomm Wireless Reach, is helping to enhance the lives of poor rural women and their families through mobile phone-based technology. The project, Connecting India to Disconnect Poverty, is using mobile technology to help poor women and microfinance institutions have improved access to microfinance services and business information.
CORE GROUP POLIO PROJECT
In the global effort to eradicate polio, India has been a success story. With as many as 200,000 new cases in the late 1980s, India has been polio free for over two years. The Core Group Polio Project (CGPP), led by PCI and implemented with other partners, has played a key role in this success, working in the most high-risk districts of Uttar Pradesh, where resistance to polio immunization was previously high. CGPP has succeeded in doubling levels of routine immunization to above 90%. PCI recruits and trains community mobilization coordinators, assists in organizing and facilitating health camps where vaccines are provided by the Government of India, and promotes hygienic practices to reduce new infections, especially in children under 5 years of age. Schoolchildren are also recruited to support the effort by announcing the dates of vaccination drives and teaching the adult members of their families and communities about preventing disease. The same citizens who were reluctant to trust health workers have been far more willing to listen to members of their own communities, especially children. Between 2007 and 2012 over 5,000 children participated in 29,683 rallies in
44 rounds of polio vaccinations.
CHILDREN & YOUTH LEGACY PROGRAM
In India, estimates of street and working children vary from 10-25 million, with an estimated 100,000 in Delhi alone. Similar to the street and working children throughout the world, those in India are also at high-risk for disease and abuse. PCI’s Children and Youth Legacy Program provides services to children and youth through two drop-in centers and a vocational training center, which are located in high-risk neighborhoods throughout Delhi. At these service centers children are provided nutritional support, psychosocial counseling, education (non-formal education, tutoring and mainstreaming into public schools), as well as remedial classes in English and computer literacy. Furthermore, through tailored vocational training programs, apprenticeships, and job placement, PCI helps to create employment opportunities for about 700 young women each year who attend the vocational
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Tarsadia Foundation, Qualcomm, CORE Group Polio Project/World Vision and various other private donors.
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