HCL’s association with the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) goes back four decades to the time when HCL was born in partnership with the State Government. While HCL has grown exponentially since then, UP still continues to house its largest operation base. The bond that HCL shares with the State is an emotional one, really, and we believe that it is our responsibility to give back to the state that has given us so much. This is what urged us to look beyond short-term, correctional development projects and conceptualize solutions that would drive deep, long-term impact. We wanted to create and implement a project which had the potential to prove that an integrated model of rural development is possible and realizable in the near future. This is what led to the launch of HCL Samuday in 2015.
For the last 70 years, various governments and private organizations have put in incredible amount of effort to address the various challenges that plague the development of rural pockets in India. Most of them have targeted one or even a few of the sectors with development challenges, together. However, there has never been a successful model that addresses all the developmental challenges in a holistic manner. That got us thinking of developing an ambitious program, which can address the challenges in the fields of education, livelihood, agriculture, health, sanitation, infrastructure and community engagement and finally develop “model villages” in partnership with state governments, village communities, NGOs, knowledge institutions and allied partners. Since Uttar Pradesh has the distinction of being the largest state of India, population wise, and has its fair share of developmental challenges, we decided to launch the project close to home.
Samuday has evolved a six-pillar program structure to achieve its rural development goals which are aligned towards creating a blueprint that is sustainable, scalable and replicable throughout the world – in countries with similar socio-economic structures. Our vision is not to channelize one-time investments into developing model villages but it is to engage the community and equip and empower them to deal with their own challenges, themselves. Other programs that have addressed development challenges in a time-bound fashion have often faced the issue of sustainability. When the experts finish a project and move on, there is often no mechanism left in place to address new roadblocks that are sure to arise in the future. In order to avoid the above situation, Samuday has developed a format which is not just about going into the villages and driving change as an external partner but ensuring that the community is equally invested in the transformational journey. Therefore, we work with the local population to identify the problems, create solutions and then implement the same with help from the members of the community and the local administration. This leads to the community feeling equally invested and empowered to drive transformational changes grounds-up and lends a sustainability dimension to the project that is otherwise not present in most programs. Our ultimate aim is therefore to ensure that even after the Samuday team has moved out of a particular area, the community can sustain and continue the growth of the local ecosystem independently of any external support.
We have only just begun our journey and there is a long way to go before we realize the dream of seeing model villages on ground but we are excited about the initial results we have seen and the potential they have to become the basis of a far deeper impact that HCL Samuday can drive in order to improve the living conditions of those who matter the most – the residents of rural India.
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