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The Humand Development and Research  Centre (HDRC), run under the aegis of St. Xavier’s Non-Formal Education Society (SXNFES), is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) involved in development work in rural Gujarat, Western India. It was set up in 1977 and is registered as a Trust and Society. Initially an undertaking of a few educators from St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, HDRC today is an autonomous, non-denominational development organization.

Since its inception in 1977, under the aegis of St. Xavier's Non-Formal Education Society, the Humand Development and Research (HDRC) has had a dual commitment to active involvement in the rural areas of Gujarat and to training and research in development issues. Initially an undertaking of several educators from St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad, HDRC today is an autonomous, non-denominational development organization.

The Centre harbours a basic commitment to the integration of field experience and theoretical reflection, contributing at a wider level to a better understanding of the issues of development. To carry out its mission, the Centre has attempted to combine two important aspects of development strategy: active involvement at the grassroots level (through helping the economically and socially marginalized to organize themselves); and a serious attempt to conceptualize that involvement through reflection, research and training.

The HDRC is involved in a variety of different programmes which range from direct grass-roots interventions and local level trainings, to the creation and offering of courses in development management. HDRC is organized into major teams, each with its own distinct objectives and responsibilities. While each team works somewhat autonomously, there is constant exchange of ideas and techniques through inter-team activities and Centre-wide activity meetings held in the first week of every month.

The promotion of local organizations has the clear purpose of providing people with the support they need to be self-sufficient, but also to be more effective in dealing with pervasive injustices and atrocities. HDRC’s vision is not only that Dalit organizations are created, effective and self-sufficient, but that they are able to network and support each other to effect long-term change regarding unequal caste relations.  For this, policy changes need to take place.  As a continuum of its work in Dalit rights as human rights, and in conjunction with the hundreds of existing local Dalit organizations, the HDRC has taken up advocacy at the local, state and federal levels.

Advocacy is a cross-cutting theme in all of HDRC’s projects and programmes. The Resource Support team is spearheading advocacy initiatives such as representing Gujarat cases at National Public Hearings while it is a support function for all HDRC areas of intervention including the AVSC, MVS, and SVS.

The Human Development and Research Centre sees its capacity building function as a major focus of its activities.  Within most of the projects and activities of the Centre there exists a strong capacity building component.  The HDRC believes that the success of its efforts, and sustainable development as a whole, strongly depends on the strength and cohesion of local organizations (LOs) and people’s movements.  It is therefore HDRC's objective to assist in enhancing the capabilities and building the capacities of Community Based Organizations, and people’s organizations.

The HDRC's strategy has been to establish effective local organizations and ensure that local people themselves run these entities efficiently. Through this method, it is HDRC's belief that empowerment can be realized in it's most practical form.

HDRC uses formal and non-formal trainings as a main tool to carry out its capacity building function.  All teams attempt to support and bolster the capacities of their target communities.  Moreover, the focus on capacity building is not restricted to the Centre's involvement at the grass roots.  The HDRC sees the value for capacity building within the Centre as well.  The Human Resource Development team has, as its main objective, the goal of building the internal capacities of the staff of the Centre.
 


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