The Commonwealth Foundation, who funded our 2014-2017 project in the Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, visited us this month to see the impact of our work on the ground. The representatives we welcomed were Programme Manager, Knowledge Learning and Communications, Gillian Cooper and Senior Grants Officer, Adewale Ogunleye. Over the course of three days, the visitors travelled to Bangalore in Karnataka and several places throughout Jharkhand, where they met with partners, government officials and carers who have been involved in our work. Below are just some of the highlights from what was a very fruitful visit:
Meeting with State Officials
- Gillian and Adewale attended a meeting in Bangalore with key influential stakeholders, including the Commissioner of Disability for the Government of Karnataka. During this meeting, the Commissioner impressed the Commonwealth Foundation staff by announcing a 100% commitment to supporting carers and scaling-up the work of our project across the state.
Meeting with Partners
- Our partner in Jharkhand during the 2014-2017 project was NBJK. The Commonwealth Foundation visitors were delighted to learn that NBJK had continued to implement our approach even though the project had officially ended. NBJK are an excellent example of how our partners for the project were well selected and how they act as a catalyst for change.
- The Commonwealth Foundation staff met with representatives of Disability NGOs Alliance (DNA) – a Karnataka wide disability foundation that brings together various organisations, including ourselves, under one umbrella. Although DNA were not official partners of our project, they have voluntarily adopted our strategies which shows how influential our work is.
- A common theme amongst our partner organizations, which was witnessed by the Commonwealth Foundation, is their awareness that caring is not just a local issue. Our partners have expressed their dedication to being part of the global movement for carers’ rights.
Meeting with Carers
- Two carers from the state of Karnataka travelled to Bangalore to meet with the Commonwealth Foundation. During this meeting, Gillian and Adewale listened to first-hand, personal stories about how our project has directly benefited carers. Varsha, a carer from Koppal village, explained how prior to our intervention she felt unable to cope with her situation and often felt suicidal. Now Varsha is a member of her local, supportive Carers Group and describes the carer meetings as “the highlight of her month”.
- In Jharkhand, two home visits were made to carers who have taken up new livelihood opportunities through our project and who are now more financially stable as a result. These home visits showed the Commonwealth Foundation that our work is not just transformative, but also life-changing.
- Another incredible highlight for the Commonwealth Foundation visitors was seeing how carers are not only concerned with their rights as carers but now feel empowered and inspired to campaign for other rights and needs within their general communities. Current campaigns include demanding rights for the elderly and having drinking water facilities.
The three-day visit provided us an excellent opportunity to showcase our unique development approach to members of the Commonwealth Foundation. Anil Patil, Founder of Carers Worldwide, said the following about the Commonwealth Foundation visit:
“We have benefited greatly from having outsiders view the impact of our project. We were honoured to show the Commonwealth Foundation the innovative and life-changing work that we do; and we feel incredibly motivated to continue what we are doing. The visit has also been an incredible learning experience for us and the honest feedback given by Gillian and Adewale will enable us to improve our approach in our future projects.”
This year, we were awarded a new 4-year grant from the Commonwealth Foundation so we can upscale the results from our original project. If you would like to receive updates about the work we do during this new grant, sign up to our e-news today!