According to Hindu mythology the river Ganga came to earth by the attempts of King Bhagirath and with the blessings of Lord Shiva’s JATA (matted hair). SHIVGANGA, an NGO in tribal district JHABUA (Madhya Pradesh) gets the inspirations from this mythological concept and mimic the concepts of “Bhagirath” and Lord Shiva’s “JATA” for uplifting the tribal communities.
Selection of Bhagiraths:
King Bhagirath worked very hard for bringing Ganga down to earth through a mass mobilization movement. ShivGanga looks for present day Bhagiraths who are enthusiastic, dedicated, and most importantly are ready to work hard for their society.
Kavad Yatras, Ganesh Utsav being very popular in JHABUA, ShivGanga selects their Bhagiraths through these social festivals. After selecting a group of active people ShivGanga organizes a 3 to 7 days training camp for these youth also called Vananchal Sashaktikaran Varga. In these camps they discuss the problems of their village and the probable solutions for the same. Thus they make a team of local people working for the local cause.
For ShivGanga, JATAs are the tools or technology which can solve their problems. After rigorous discussion with some of the technical institutions like CTARA, IIT Bombay and NITIE, and after getting training for their youth from a nearby college in Indore they finalize their solutions.
Concept of HALMA:
ShivGanga basically inspires people to do their work collectively. For example, JHABUA which had a dense forest few decades back is now a victim of deforestation. Agriculture is no more profitable in this region. This is causing a lot of migration to nearby cities. JHUBUA has their traditional concepts like “HALMA”. In HALMA thousands of tribal men, women and children from distant villages come together on their own inspiration and own expenditure to work selflessly for complete one day. In one such HALMA, people created various water harvesting structures like trenches, Check Dems to stop water in rainy seasons. In one other HALMA, people assembled to plant trees on mass scale.
Concept of Gram Engineers:
Two volunteers from each of the villages are selected as “Gram Engineers” and are given technical training by faculty of civil engineering, Shri G.S. Institute of Technology and Science, Indore. Gram engineers in consultation with the villagers, make a plan for rainwater conservation and harvesting in their village. Villagers take oath to work voluntary for water conservation in their villages.
ShivGanga installed 900 libraries in JHABUA district. Each library consists of 125 books on 14 different subjects and with a provision for Solar Lighting (Future Plan). One family from each village is trained to maintain the library. The trained family maintains the library in their house where the villagers gather during evening and read the books.
Being a remote district, electricity is one of the major problems in JHABUA. ShivGanga with the help of IIT Delhi and NITIE is working on the installation of affordable solar panels for the purpose of illuminations and mobile charging.
Agriculture being the profession of 90% of people in JHABUA needs special attention for improvements. ShivGanga has installed a laboratory on 3 acre land to experiment Organic farming as well as for the experiments of improved agriculture tools.
Source of Funding:
Mahesh Sharma, the person who started ShivGanga has an experience of more than 40 years in social works. He gets funding from various corporate like Infosys foundation etc.