Our Genesis was from the formation and establishment of the Resource & Support Centre for Development (RSCD) as a forum in 1994 by various creditworthy organizations in Western India, including Maharashtra. This forum was established to provide support and build capacities of small grassroots organizations, especially Development Perspective, and to provide them with financial and non-financial support. The member organizations of RSCD took up the region-wise responsibility across western India. Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), Mumbai took up the responsibility of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra as RSCD’s Regional Resource Agency. Mr. Datta Patil took this challenge and shifted from Mumbai to Nagpur in 1994. A 5-year Vidarbha Development Perspective Plan was developed and this plan was implemented during the period 1996 to 2000 through the network of 268 local organizations collectively. YUVA as RRA played a very important role in this implementation.
During this period, apart from the efforts through network, YUVA felt the need for direct interventions in certain development issues that local organizations were not equipped for. This paved path to YUVA’s Rural Unit in Vidarbha till 2002. Strategically this Rural Unit was turned in to an independent organization addressing the issues of the Vidarbha region. As a result of this, Yuva Rural Association (YRA) was registered as an independent entity in 2002 to address the issues in Western India – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. After completion of minimum necessary legal and statutory requirements, Yuva Rural Association designed its first strategic plan for the period between 2003 and 2007. In due course of time, Yuva Rural Association had to withdraw from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat due to local leadership and human resources issues.
In 2011, Yuva Rural Association received all necessary registration in place and since then has become a completely independent legal entity undertaking projects and programmes in collaboration with government, national and international donors with its head office in Nagpur. YRA is registered under M.P. Society Registration Act 1973 from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Since the inception, we have been undertaking strategic interventions in issues related to livelihoods, natural resource management, gender, social discrimination, governance and human rights. Since 2010 YRA has made it specific operations only in Maharashtra with special focus in the Vidarbha region. YRA has project offices in 5 districts of Vidarbha and a strong and dedicated staff of more than 30 members and hundreds of volunteers.
In the last 16 years, YRA has extensively worked towards the development of the rural areas of Madhya Pradesh (Betul, Seoni, Balaghat and Chhindwara districts), Gujarat (Rapar and Patan districts) and Maharashtra (all 11 districts of Vidarbha) especially in the fields of Natural Resource Management, Livelihoods, Gender and Governance. The initiatives undertaken by us have been beneficial to a large number of rural poor. We have undertaken a wide range of activities starting from creating livelihoods opportunities for the poor to protecting vulnerable people including women and children from violence and other social discrimination to making the government schemes available to the people through policy advocacy and lobbying. The various constituency groups that we focus on include small and marginal farmers, landless labourers, Dalits, tribals, women, children, youth, people with disability and people living with HIV/AIDS.
The organization is catering to direct interventions in the 11 districts of Vidarbha region and indirect implementation through our collaborative partners in the entire state of Maharashtra. Some of ourpast and current donors include Oxfam India, SWISSAID India, UNICEF, IFAD, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), Rangoonwala Foundation, Dilasa, WASSAN, Bread for the World, UNDP MoTA, HDFC Bank, HDBFS, EdelGive Foundation etc. and many Government Departments such as the Women and Child Development Department, NABARD, Ministry of Agriculture and Water and Sanitation Department, We are also a part of various networks such as the Vidarbha Livelihoods Forum (VLF), Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA), Revitalization of Rainfed Agricutlure Network, NPMi network, Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), Vikas Sahayog Pratishthan (VSP), SOSVA Training and Promotion Institute (STAPI),
In this wonderful and enriching journey that we have experienced, we have been successful in forming People’s Organizations and People’s Institutions, thus increasing the participation, accountability and ownership of our constituencies that enabled them taking the responsibility of their own development. The members of these PO’s and PI’s and the volunteers are assisting in widening the scale and scope of our interventions and this is the biggest strength of the organization. They have helped us in our goal of making the life of the rural people meaningful.