Letz Dream Foundation- Catalyst in Spectra's Spectacular Growth
As a social impact organisation, Letz Dream Foundation's (LDF) efforts are driven towards uplifting the marginalized and making them self-sustainable. LDF believes that a large-scale and positive change can be brought in the country only when the rural population is helped to become self-sustainable. Thus, ever since it came into existence, LDF has been working towards turning the dream of a poverty-free nation into a reality. Set up in 2006 as a philanthropic Trust, LDF partners with the Government and non-profits to drive large-scale social impact for the disadvantaged. The Foundation funds non-profits to help them scale up operations and expand capacities; and leverages Government schemes to directly help the beneficiaries.
In 2012, LDF collaborated with SPECTRA, a local NGO based in Alwar, Rajasthan. Set up in 1996, SPECTRA is a voluntary development organization involved in rural and development work in Alwar district. It works towards community capacity building and issue-based networking. Its primary focus is on the problems of the poor in their struggle to obtain a life of justice and dignity. Some of the major causes towards which the organization works are child & women rights, gender justice, natural resource management, and livelihood security.
LDF focused its efforts to bring a positive social change in Ratakhurd Gram Panchayat (GP) Alwar, in 2012. Alwar district covers 8,380 km2 of area and is the third most populous district of Rajasthan (out of 33) after Jaipur and Jodhpur. Despite falling under the much-developed National Capital Region (NCR) of India, the 2011 census data revealed that the district needed social interventions in multiple parameters, including basic infrastructure, human development, livelihoods and public service delivery.
As per Census 2011 of rural population from sub district Kishangarh Bas, Alwar, the area houses a population of 1.5 lakh and an overall literacy rate of 53%. Only 48% of the total population of Kishangarh Bas forms a part of the labourforce, of which, 10% is engaged in agriculutre. The area has a large porportion of marginalised labour, standing at 33% of total working population. As a result of a preliminary analysis of Census Data for the area and due to its close proximity to the Head Office (located in Gurugram, Haryana), LDF planned to focus its efforts on Ratakhurd GP, Alwar. The ideology behind LDF and SPECTRA's collaborative work in Ratakhurd was to not only bring about a positive social change, but also to eventually develop a successful replicable model program which could be applied to foster development in other districts and cities.
In order to further understand the existing situation in the GP and subsequently plan for intervention, LDF conducted a baseline survey to build a premise for the program. A droid survey was conducted across 1232 respondents in Ratakhurd GP as a precursor to the program. The baseline survey revealed low standard of living, little reliance on the formal banking system, low savings rate and lack of awareness of Government facilities and benefits.
 Source: https://tcpharyana.gov.in/ncrpb/2.chapter2.pdf (accessed on date)
Linkage with NABARD for Formation of Women Livelihood Groups (WLGs)
LDF supported SPECTRA for the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs), utilising the grants and loans received from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural process, from the proposal development stage to the stage of implementation of livelihood interventions. Additionally, LDF provided community training support for programs such as training women in SHGs for agriculture and dairy-related activities, credit linkages for the community with banks, registering them with the Companies Act 2013 to form Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and so on. In 2013, LDF approached and developed a proposal for IIMPACT on behalf of SPECTRA to work towards girl child education in the area. SPECTRA successfully received a grant from IIMPACT which was utilised in training the teachers, devising and implementing strategy for running the education centres.
Linkage with Heifer International for livestock development
LDF approached Heifer International on behalf of SPECTRA for introducing goat-based livelihood activities in the area, since they were low investment high profitability activities. LDF supported the organisation for training women on new agriculture techniques and horticulture. As a part of the Livestock Development Plan, the community members received trainings on livestock management and business plan conceptualisation and Pashu Shakhis received training on animal treatment and nourishment.
Linkage with Saint Gobain CSR for Higher Education and Employment of Youth
LDF and SPECTRA addressed another major issue in the area regarding development of the youth. The youth population in the area was unable to complete higher education and gain successful employment. Through this linkage, the youngsters in the area received free diploma course in manufacturing under the program called ‘Learning with Earning’, initiated in 2014-15. Apart from the youth getting successfully employed, with this linkage a computer lab was also started in girl’s hostel.
Linkage of Beneficiaries with Swachh Bharat Mission and MGNREGA for Livelihood Enhancement Techniques
Apart from supporting SPECTRA with ground level implementation programs, LDF also supported the organisation to leverage Government schemes. Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the women in the area were allotted a job card and provided employment, their bank accounts were opened so that they could manage their earnings well. LDF also supported SPECTRA under this scheme for the construction of toilets for the community.
Linkage with Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan for Water Resource Development
Due to the desert terrain of Rajasthan, water shortage was always a major issue in the village. The Government itself asked for LDF's support to address this concern and the LDF - SPECTRA collaboration conducted pond renovation in Kishangarh area, restructuring of dry wells and hand pumps.
Linkage with Rug Foundation for Weaving-related Livelihood Enhancement Activities
It was also noticed that for women who couldn't undertake livestock and farming related activities, there needed to be another type of livelihood intervention. Some women in the area had talent to weave, and hence, LDF proposed to the Rug Foundation on behalf of SPECTRA to introduce weaving-related livelihood activities in the area. As a result, in 2015, the Rug foundation set up looms in Ratakhurd and provided material for weaving, while LDF provided the required training for the women. Under this collaboration, 30 unemployed women who didn’t have agriculture.
Linkage with SARAS Dairy Federation for Bulk Milk Collection and Selling
It was noticed in the area that dairy related activities had potential for growth, yet they were not being leveraged properly. In 2014, LDF supported SPECTRA in assistance for livestock management, better housing, veterinary care and animal immunization against diseases. LDF supported SPECTRA in the area to set up milk routes, bulk milk collection centres and coolers. As a result, 3 milk collection centres were opened, where 540 litres of milk per day was being successfully sold to Saras Dairy.
Beginning of Change
Based on the survey, it was noticed that the GP needed work in areas such as resource development, livelihood interventions and improvement in the overall standard of living. LDF adopted a linkage support model to collaborate with SPECTRA. The partnership led to a measurable positive impact for the beneficiaries in a number of ways:
593% increase in the number of respondents who answered ‘Yes’ to holding a Personal Bank Account in their name. In 2013-14, only 12.8% of total respondents held a personal bank account, whereas in 2014-15, 88.3% of the total respondents held a bank account in their name.
There was increase in reliance on the formal banking system. While the higher savings brackets (more than Rs. 20,000 in savings) show little to no change, a considerable escalation is seen in households with marginalised savings (Less than Rs. 5000). In 2013-14, only 160 households out of more than 1200 interviewed, had a bank account. Of which, 104 households (65%) held little savings in a bank account. In 2014-15, on the other hand, 1177 households had a bank account, of which, 945 households (80%) held savings Less than Rs. 5000 in the bank.
 Source: Droid Survey Alwar (Baseline and Endline). Note: The total number of households with a bank account has been estimated as the sum of ‘Respondents with Bank Account in their Name’ and ‘Respondents with Bank Account in a Family Member’s Name’
There was change in overall awareness and acceptance of public health services. In 2013-14, only 20% of all respondents answered ‘Yes’ to child birth deliveries conducted in the local Government Hospital, with 80% births taking place at home. In 2014-15 however, the percentage increased to 94% births being undertaken at the hospital. Additionally, changes were observed in the overall standard of living and awareness of Government facilities. Moreover, the community’s awareness of SPECTRA and its work also increased substantially. In 2013-14, only 173 respondents named SPECTRA as the NGO that has been the most helpful to them, whereas in 2014-15, 1208 respondents named SPECTRA for the same.
Interventions at Ground Level with LDF’s Support
In collaboration with SPECTRA, LDF conducted an in-depth analysis of the situation in Ratakhurd through a Baseline Survey. The survey gave insights on the economic, social and demographic profile of the area, based on which, Letz Dream Foundation curated the Integrated Development Program to be implemented in the village. Moreover, LDF provided additional support to the program through its funding since 2013. The organisation also supported SPECTRA for Human Resource development at various stages of program execution and successfully linked SPECTRA with a number of organisations and Government departments to receive grants and leverage Government schemes.
Linkage with Public Works Department (PWD) for Road Construction
Under this linkage, LDF supported SPECTRA proposal development and meetings with PWD for proper road construction in the area. As a result of the combined efforts, Ratakhurd Model Gram Panchayat road (12-15 km) was constructed in the village.
Linkage with PHD for Construction of Water Point
LDF also approached PHD[SB1] on behalf of SPECTRA to propose a solution for water shortage problem in the area. Through this linkage hand pumps were installed and single-phase boring was also introduced in the area.
Linkage with Frontier Market Solar Promotion Project for Solar Sakhi Training
With LDF’s support, SPECTRA identified 200 Solar Sakhis for solar promotion project. LDF played a key role in training these Solar Sakhis for solar product promotion.
Linkage with Child Labour Department for Running Schools
Through this linkage, LDF and SPECTRA filled the gap of lack of education for young children in the area. LDF supported SPECTRA to run 3 Child Labour schools where girls and boys were benefited from scholarships and mid-day meals.
Linkage with CHETNA for Running Campaign on Health Awareness
LDF and SPECTRA partnered with CHETNA for running ‘Hamari Awaz Campaign’ in Ahmedabad, where as of now, baseline in 8 villages has been completed to assess the level of awareness regarding health issues. Pregnant and lactating mothers were identified to spread awareness on the health services and benefits. Apart from that, LDF also supported SPECTRA in conducting meetings with pregnant women, lactating mothers, mothers-in-law and husbands for maternal health awareness.
Linkage with The Hunger Project to Create Awareness on Panchayati Raj Elections
LDF also supported SPECTRA to create awareness in the community regarding women participating in the Panchayati Raj elections. Through this linkage, 5000 women were reached and awareness campaigns were conducted.
Linkage with Dr. Shroff Charitable Eye Hospital
LDF helped SPECTRA to link patients from the community with Dr. Shroff Charitable Eye Hospital, where patients were treated and underwent eye surgery.
LDF- The Catalyst in SPECTRA’s Growth
The aforementioned linkages indisputably show how LDF has been fundamental in supporting SPECTRA since 2013 to bring about a sustainable and scalable impact in Ratakhurd GP. The major achievement for the organisation has been the growth achieved by SPECTRA in terms of operations and receiving grants. Back in 2012, when LDF first partnered with SPECTRA, it was a small-scale non-profit, receiving grants only from NABARD. However, since LDF’s collaboration, SPECTRA has been able to scale up its efforts, both monetarily and otherwise.
LDF has dedicatedly supported SPECTRA in programmatic terms as well, where our technical and human resources have continuously supported them in every step of the way- from training the community, to preparing official proposals, to assisting in Government meetings, to supporting for planning and approaching various organisations for grants. Before LDF partnered with with SPECTRA, in 2010-2011, they received a grant of Rs. 2.25 lakh from NABARD. And now for the financial year 2017-18, with LDF’s support for linkages with the aforementioned organisations, SPECTRA's grant amount has increased to Rs. 4.46 crore, which is a clear indication of the organisation’s growth.