Vinayagampet, the village adopted by M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation under the Biovillage Programme, received the ”Best Child Village Award” in Union Territory of Puducherry, for its “Holistic Development and Child Friendly Nature”. This Award is promoted by Students / alumni, of Pondicherry Engineering College and Pondicherry University, through their network – MUGHIL. The recognition carries a Cash Award of Rs. 10,000/, which the Vinayagampet Bio Village Development Committee (VBDC), received.
Explaining the process, Dr Vidya Ramkumar, Principal Scientist , MSSRF says “When the award was called for, the Biovillage Team intimated the VBDC and they applied for the award. On receiving the application, a team came to the Vinayagampet Village, to review the activities. They conducted interviews and focus group discussions with the VBDC, Villagers and Children at the Tuition centres and took photographs and video, as documentary evidence.”
The Selection was based on the criteria:
promoting child-friendly atmosphere,
the effort of enrolling six ‘drop outs’ to ”Back to School’ program,
providing infrastructure and administration support to the Govt. Primary school in the village,
creating awareness on use of toilets and dustbins in the Govt Primary School,
promoting active participation of Parents Teachers Association and School Management Committee,
opening of Tuition Centres – for 127 students (since 90% parents are illiterate and the students’ needed educational support),
VKC – computer literacy programme,
family counselling for a secured child friendly atmosphere,
and installation of 39 Street Lights – which not only contributed to the safety of children but which were also used by some children to study!
On December 20, 2014, Vinayagampet Villagers received the Award! It is not only a proud moment for the villagers, but an indication that with just a little support like what MSSRF had provided, communities can move ahead a long way expanding their capabilities, providing a safer environment for children and adults.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.