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  project name ~ 2009-SouparnaLahiri-Saathiship

category ~ Saathi




  Project Name





RVC (Rural Volunteer Center)










  Budget Approved


$ 4000


  Year Approved








  Chapter Coordinators


Somnath Mukherji












Lahiri sees himself as a campaigner and a campaign builder, trying to bring together many small movements and taking their voice to the corridors of power. His primary focus area for next couple of years will be northeast.

AID will strive to learn from Souparna Lahiriís work in the northeast, the aspirations and perceptions of the people there; how issues and movements are connected at the local and national level and mechanisms of engaging with the State. We also hope to work with him on evaluating and critiquing policies put out by the government.





Achievements from 2008 A) SL conceptualized a documentary on Teesta and the poeple living around it. B) Major victory in Sikkim. Four hydro-dams were cancelled by the govt. following prolonged peoples'' protests. SL lent considerable support to the movement. C) Continued to focus on the role of IFIs and the need to borrow. Also, what could be alternatives. D) Strengthening weaker voices through capacity building and holding workshops on RTI in Arunachal & Sikkim Achievements from 2007 A) SL worked on alternative financing sources for developmental projects in India. Along with that he has worked to consolidate the response of the civil society to the policies of the IFIs and the member government countries. Today, I was part of such a meeting where representatives from peoples'' movements from all over India had come and many of them had varying opinion. I witnessed to some extent the effort required to effectively consolidate all of their response. B) In Arunachal, SL has been working on information sharing on mega hydel projects down to the community level. Policies, rules, regulations, acts etc. are quite complicated and full of jargons which makes it extremely difficult for people to understand them. He has engaged in exploratory exercises with community participation to understand the impact of projects to facilitate the community''s decision. C) With the release of the IPCC report on climate change, there has been a rising awareness amongst people. SL has been utilizing this to focus on the issue carbon trading by corporates/entities. He is working towards raising this as an important issue within the civil society groups. He thinks it is important to bring out the fact that many entities who are pushing the carbon-trading issue would benefit from it the most. D) He has finished working on a shorter version of the documentary on Teesta. Some volunteers from AID-Boston had contributed in personal capacity. The documentary was filmed for the first time at the meeting. We have completed 6 months in Sep 2006. Here are some of achievements: * Dissemination of RTI to various North East based community groups ( NEFA Indegenous people human rights group, Pepople living in Banabasti in North bengal) * Movement against International Financial Institutions(IFI) - Demonstration during General Sessein of ADB Hyderabad, Quict ADB day in Delhi, regular wrting and organizing ADB funded project affected communities * Policy Intervention in the corridor of powers- Input to the Tribal land rights bill, active participant in Campaign for Environmental Justice in India ( CEJ-I) * Bridging Intellectual debate with grass root action - probably the most important and interesting aspect.





1) Ensuring community participation in hydro projects in Arunachal and Sikkim. 2) Work on community forest rights and governance. 3) Alternatives to borrowing from International Financial Institutions. 4) International issues surrounding climate change.



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