On behalf of BIRDS, I take pleasure to present this Annual Report 2008 –2009. This is the 18 th Annual Report, since the birth of BIRDS, corroborating with number of years of its existence. You will find that the present report is cut above the earlier Annual Reports, both in terms of presentation as well as content. Each Annual Report a complete document in itself. I express my gratitude to my family members, friends and colleague, especially to Dr.Govardhan Das and Mr.NagaRaj for shaping this document, patiently talking to several members of staff and assimilating data of BIRDS.
Major event during the year, perhaps in the history of BIRDS, is the selection of BIRDS as the Nodal NGO for the implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems Project. BIRDS’s reputation in the NGO sector has reached new heights due to this gesture of the Royal Netherlands Embassy. APFAMGS Project’s goal of enabling farmers to manage their own groundwater systems is definitely a tool to instill confidence in depressed farmers of Andhra Pradesh. This project is going to play a major role in future to create a model of people controlled groundwater management. I take this opportunity to place on record my heartfelt gratitude to Dr.Gavin Wall FAO Country Representative to India and Bhutan and Dr. P. Somasekhar Rao (then Senior Programme Officer, National Professional Officer, FAO) for their trust in me and in BIRDS, without which they would not have kept the heavy responsibility of handling this mammoth task on BIRDS.
BIRDS has reached a new milestone during the year in empowering dalit, women and children. This is clearly evident in the impact generated as a result of BIRDS intervention in building their capacities. This report is full of such success stories. In the capacity of Nodal NGO of CHETANA and, BIRDS not only had the opportunity to address these issues at district level, but also to bring it on the state as well as at national level. I take this opportunity to thank the Presbyterian Hunger Program (USA) and Agriculture Missions, USA for their financial and moral support. Special thanks from my side are due to Mr. Lionel Derenoncourt" of PHP and Mr. Winston Carroo.
Dream of BIRDS to support the farmers of the district by providing training and demonstration facilities at stone throw distance has been realized during the year. BIRDS Training Center and Organic Farm was conceptualized and carried forward with the help of friend and admirer of BIRDS (since last several years) Ms.Eva Peter Meier, Dr.Arnold and Mr. Peter Kammerl of Germany. The support of the friends in First Presbyterian Church, Portland (OR), St.Mark Presbyterian Church, Portland (OR), and The United Presbyterian Church, Albany (OR) cannot be forgotten, in this context.
In BIRDS’s voyage to address issues of vulnerable sections of the society including women, aged, children, physically challenged, displaced due to human made and natural calamities, several agencies have come forward with the needed financial support. I specially acknowledge the support of Dr.George Feldman, Dr.Ginny Feldman, Ms.Doris Scarf, Rev.Barbara Campbell, Toni and Bill Sherer, Eleanor Maculug, Mary Beth, Jennifer Sabin, Andrew Luhrs from BIRDS International USA, Mr.M.Ernest Paul CEO of SAADHANA Micro Fin Society
Being a Nodal NGO of networks is not an easy task. But the partner agencies in APFAMGS and CHETANA made it easy and enjoyable with their unstinted support and understanding concepts and compulsions with a big heart. I give full credit to them for Project/National level success. I take this opportunity to convey my hearty acknowledgements to all the partner agencies, especially the driving forces viz., Dr. K.A.S.Mani (Project Leader, APFAMGS) and Shri C.G.Jacob (Coordinator, CHETANA). I specially thank Rev. Thomas John, Companion Facilitator of PHP for his coordination between CHETANA and US congregation.
BIRDS, individually as well as because of being a Nodal NGO for network programs, has grown tremendously in terms of staffing, in the year. Innovative contributions of the professional staff as well as backbreaking work of support/field staff is the sole reason for the success of BIRDS initiatives. Further, considering the odd work timings one has to keep because of nature of activities, only people with social commitment can continue to work in the NGO sector. I gratefully acknowledge the sacrifices made by the staff in course of doing service to the society.
I can never forget the love and affection showered on me personally and on BIRDS by people with whom we have worked including elderly, destitute, dalit, women, children, farmers, trade communities, flood victims, displaced families, mothers, etc. I am ever grateful to Almighty God for giving me and BIRDS an opportunity to work with the deprived sections of the society, through which I draw inspiration to live.
Several individuals and agencies have guided/helped me and BIRDS in fulfilling financial and legal obligations. BIRDS Statutory Auditor Shri K. Krishnaiah and Internal Auditor K. Guru Prasad have guided me to bring in transparency and accountability culture in to the organization. Services of V. Rama Chandra Rao (Advocate, Nandyal) are gratefully acknowledged. Press and media has always been sensitive to BIRDS and on several occasions covered the work of BIRDS. I place on record my gratitude for press (Print and Electronic) media, for their reporting on BIRDS. Doctors have spared their valuable time for conducting health camps. Several Government Officers responded positively to BIRDS staff and me, for which I shall be grateful to them.
Several external resource persons, drawn from national and international agencies (both governmental and non governmental) have chipped in with valuable advice and critical inputs to BIRDS staff and management. I specially acknowledge the services of Dr. M. Madhukar Reddy (chairperson of BIRDS), Dr. Rajeshwar Mishra (CDHI), and Shri Konda Reddy (World Education).
Finally, I am thankful to the Executive Committee of BIRDS for their constant support and encouragement in conducting the day to day work smoothly and effectively.
V. Paul Raja Rao