Location: Udaipur, India Setting: Rural Established: 2006 Staff: 4

Subject Areas:
Youth and Education: Skill Building, Guidance and Counseling, Leadership Training
Community Development: Social Empowerment, Gender Equity, Violence Mitigation, Vocational Training

Organization Objectives

Alfa Educational Society was founded with the idea that youth activated by the discussion of social issues will be able to build an intellectual base and be a more valuable asset to society. It works with traditionally victimized communities such as Adivasis, Dalits, and the poor to offer tools and alternatives to empower them to change their own situations. Specifically, it aims to:

- Engage youth in activities that spark and challenge their thoughts on contemporary rural issues, encouraging them to question their basis and develop solutions to them
- Build capacity and provide trainings on several key issues, including gender roles, communalism, media, and government schemes
- Introduce rural girls and young women to new skills and create a forum for idea exchange

Program Information

With the goal of engaging youth so they question traditional social norms and issues, Alfa provides a variety of forums that facilitate discussion on matters such as dowry, widow remarriage, human rights, health, etc. These forums include, but are not limited to, film sessions, youth meetings, debates, and interactive question and answer sessions with Panchayats, religious leaders, and government officials. Additionally, Alfa Educational Society works to build unity and ties between participants through cricket tournaments and youth camps and educates children on the role of youth in the modern world and ways to relate to their surrounding areas and cities.

1. Research
Alfa Educational Society conducts research on the economic and social development of villages. This helps formulate the organization’s future work plan for village activities and assists in the monitoring and evaluation of activities executed in the villages. In the past year the organization has done research work on NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), health, and hygiene.

Opportunities
Conduct needs assessment in field office to refine youth programs
Research the village educational systems to identify strengths and any gaps. Publish data in the organization’s magazine, Youth Express, and use data to advocate for the improvement of educational standards.

Requirements

  • Strong analytical and research abilities
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • Intermediate level of Hindi
  • Comfort in rural environment

2. Networking and Funding
Considering Alfa is relatively new, it is necessary to develop strategies for advocacy and public outreach. Additionally, discovering new outlets for financial support is essential.

Opportunities

  • Assist with documentation of Alfa’s programs and the creation of brochures and other promotional items that highlight their activities
  • Provide strategic support in grant research and proposal writing
  • Conduct a grant writing workshop to educate staff members on ways to seek budgetary support

Requirements

  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Previous experience developing and/or reviewing grant proposals
  • Graphic design skills helpful but not required

Program Supervisor (All Programs)
Currently pursuing a Masters in Sociology from MLSU Udaipur, 24 year old Lokesh Kalal has five years experience in the development sector and with the youth community, in particular. His passion for youth development, child rights, and women’s empowerment was reaffirmed with participation in OXFAM’s ‘Stop Violence, Enhance Peace’ following the 2002 Gujarat genocide and with several years working at Seva Mandir, a partner NGO. He founded Alfa Educational Society after documenting the struggles of single women and the local history of Karawara – the village in which he resides and that the organization is located – through a fellowship provided by ‘Urja Ghar.’

Working Conditions
Alfa Educational Society operates in Karawara, a village located 90 km from Udaipur. In order to have the maximum impact while interning with Alfa participants are expected to spend at least 3 days in the field, meaning they should be comfortable with overnight stays in a rural village. The Karawara office is equipped with a computer, and accommodations are provided through Alfa. Very few staff members speak English, so a working knowledge of Hindi will be useful in the field.

Organizational Background
With the intent of increasing awareness of government schemes, Alfa Educational Society began with the dedication and passion of youth who went door-to-door in their communities to collectively raise residents’ voices on village issues. Though these youth faced many difficulties, including political opposition, they persevered. Registered on December 23, 2006, Alfa was created with the purpose of Alliance for Liberty, Fraternity, and Advancement. In 2008, the scope expanded from youth to include children and women, who also joined Alfa’s campaign. The promised financial donations by communities in which it operates ensures that Alfa can work towards communal harmony, youth and child development, women’s empowerment, and human rights.

About Alfa Educational Society’s Clients
At present, Alfa works in 10 villages within two Panchayats of Kherawara and Udaipur district. Alfa seeks to mobilize all community members within these villages to take an active and participatory role in its operations.