This is how the Foundation gets organized to reach more than 3.000 towns
Today is the day that the Community Development Committee (CDC) meets in Chedudla town, located in Anantapur district, to debate and comment about the Vicente Ferrer Foundation Programs that will be implemented in the area. CDC, a group of about 12 neighbors that represent the rest of the town has been summoned by Ramanji, Community Organizer, FVF employee that works more closely with the towns and the people that live in Anantapur.
Ramanji is responsible for about a dozen of towns that he visits between three to five times per month. His work focuses on supervising and executing a variety of activities, such as the sanghams (women association), detecting violence cases, or early age marriages, educational programs implementation and follow up, awareness workshops, among many other functions, like distributing letters to the boys and girls that have been sponsored.
"The first thing the Foundation does when it arrives to a town is to execute the sponsorship program for the children and the education program", says Ramanji. The Community organizer is fundamental because they are the eyes of the Foundation in the field. This is how it can reach 3,268 towns where it works.
All the programs that arrive to the town have been previously planned by the directors from each sector. But, How does the Foundation manage that the ideas generated in the office reach each town in the field?
To be able to do this there is a perfectly developed system. The main campus of the Foundation in Anantapur, is where the central offices from all sectors are located. Here is where the future strategies are planned. To implement the ideas in the towns there is a regional structure, that divides the whole territory where FVF acts in seven regions. Each one has a Regional Director.
These regions are also divided by geographical areas, and there is a person responsible for each area. This figure is crucial to develop field work. They are the ones that receive all the information from the central offices so they can spread it and explain it to the bases, like Ramanji. Besides, they also pass information towards the opposite direction. This means, they collect information in the field to give to the directors of each sector. In this way, the bases that work directly with the towns and the central offices that execute the strategies are connected.
Lastly, there are the already mentioned community organizers, like Ramanji, in charge of identifying beneficiaries of the Women, Education and Habitat projects. On a different side, the identification of Disability, Ecology, Culture and Health is done by the sectors, who also have a leader in each of the seven regions.
The Towns Advance
“The structure allows outreach to all the towns and the ability of knowing first hand how the programs work, or what problems arise", mentions Hari Narayana, Project Director. "Through the important job of creating awareness that FVF does, the towns end up managing themselves". The Foundation stops working in some areas when the basic needs are covered.
The three fundamental characteristics that make the structure of the FVF work are "creativity, flexibility and dynamism". For example, respect to the Education Sector. "We started with the reinforcing schools to offer support for kids with very low resources. The Foundation took care of everything: from getting a space to looking for teachers; but in 1993 we changed the structure due to a simple reason: the needs had changed. The community was prepared to own responsibilities and take charge of the reinforcing school's operation", explains Hari. "This is why I say the structure is always flexible and our maxim is to approach the projects from a community perspective. It is essential that people are immersed in their own development".
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