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C-NES Newsletter (For the Quarter April – June 2017)

By the Brahmaputra (Vol: 38)
C-NES Newsletter
(For the Quarter April – June 2017)


Boat Clinics replicated in Malkangiri 

The boat clinic at Malkangiri, Odisha, launched on 2nd May 2017with its  mission of providing service to tribal populations in  (Maoist ) disturbed areas was inspired by the success of C-NES’ Boat Story.  It may be mentioned that in 2015 the district administration of Malkangiri along with the Project Director, DRDA invited C-NES to make a visit and provide technical support to start a Boat Clinic program in the Balimela Dam Reservior in order to provide health care service to the communities who are cut off from the district by the huge artificial lake which was created by the dam. A population of about 27,000 to 30,000 people living on the hills and valleys has been deprived of all basic developmental facility including health and education as there were no roads and boats were the only mode of transport. These communities living in these areas are mostly tribal who are poor and backward.

Dinesh Balamfrom NGO WASSAN worked tirelessly for it. Dinesh came in contact with C-NES through the IUCN-JMI-Dhaka University programme. The Managing Trustee C-NES SanjoyHazarika delegated Ashok Rao, Program Manager Boat Clinic, Assam to visit the area and study the feasibility and provide technical support if the program of a Boat Clinic service in the proposed area is possible. C-NES provided technical support during finalization of the design and construction and initial implementation of the program.  

Like C-NES’ Boats, this one will also focus on primary health care service, assist in emergency delivery, spread awareness on health issues, conduct immunization programs for mother and child and support NHM programs to inaccessible areas in the reservoir zone. 

Solar Energy for Jorhat Boat Clinic

Jorhat Boat Clinic is probably the first in the country to be installed with solar power to run the entire medical and diagnostic equipment’s including a dental setup and a 50 ltr solar refrigerator to store vaccines. The boat now also has power supply available to cater to the entire lighting requirement 24×7. The system was donated and commissioned on 21st April 2017 by SELCO Foundation.

On 28th April 2017, CEO Harish Hunde, along with Huda Jaffer, Lead Designer, ThomasPullankar, Renewable Energy Consultant from SELCO and officials from their partner organization IKEA Foundation, Netherlands and The Lemelson Foundation, Oregon visited the Jorhat Boat Clinic at Nimatighat and was delighted to see their first solar installation on a Boat Clinic. DrSashiPhukan, DIO, Jorhat, Neeladri Bora, Project Officer – Operations UNDP of JorhatRegion, Ashok Rao, Program Manager, C-NES and FazleIllahi, COO, Envo Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd and technical partner of SELCO Foundation who had installed and commissioned the system was also present.

The solar system will help the clinic to operate equipment’s like sterilizer, autoclave, nebulizer, semi auto analyzer, microscope, centrifuge, compressor for dental kit, audio visual devises used for IEC and the entire lighting requirement through a 5 kva invertor. The solar refrigerator to store vaccines is a separate unit with which runs with sure chill technology ensuring perfect temperature control with no risk of freezing.

It needs mention too that thanks to another philanthropist, remote villages in the Brahmaputra river islands in Assam has been lit up with solar street lights. The donor, Almitra Patel, based at Bengaluru is a member of the Supreme Court committee for Solid waste management for Class 1 cities, Technical expert, Swachh Bharat Mission, Government of India, Clean Jharkhand Project and Ganga ICDP Kanpur. She felt the need of the communities inhabiting the islands while reading an article on the Boat Clinics written in the Quartz India online magazine.  Partnering with Thrive Solar Energy Private Ltd, Hyderabad, which was recently awarded the second position in the category of Solar Home Systems by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Patel has donated one solar LED street light for every sapori , as the islands are called locally, that the Boat Clinics reach.  These compact lights with built-in batteries, designed and manufactured in Hyderabad, were sent fully assembled and ready to mount on a bamboo pole within ten minutes by the community workers of the health team in each of the 15 Boat Clinic units in 13 districts who were earlier trained for the purpose.

C-NES-SaciWATERs workshop

To bridge the existing knowledge gaps, build information linkages and skills,aworkshop on “Developing skill and knowledge – training workshop on the transboundary Brahmaputra River was organised by SaciWATERs, and C-NES, at the Ginger Hotel in Guwahati on 13th and 14th June, 2017.  This training is part of a larger endeavor titled “Transnational Policy Dialogue for Improved Water Governance of the Brahmaputra River” initiated in 2013 by South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs) with the aim to create a platform for the discussion of the issues, challenges, and opportunities towards improved co-management of the river basinThe workshop involved CSOs, community leaders (with e emphasis on women) and key relevant district project officers from both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Brahmaputra River Basin in South Asia is home to 130 million people and is one of the most critical transboundary river systems. However, the absence of integrated management of water resources and lack of coordination among the riparian states poses a considerable threat to the future development plans within the basin. The basin houses and involves different stakeholders including- communities, governments, NGO’s, research academicians, media and many more. Building communication and knowledge across these stakeholders can help in promoting effective governance in the basin.

This training workshop involved around 25 participants from CSOs and community leaders (with the emphasis on women) from both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The training involved interactive session on technical aspects including river flows, biodiversity and watershed management of Brahmaputra by experts such as Prof. Abani K. Bhagabati (Gauhati University), Dr. SanchitaBoruah (Dibrugarh University), Dr. Arup K. Sarma (IIT-Guwahati). Understanding dialogue processes and its capacity for building perspectives for collaborative action on rivers was shared by Dr. AnamikaBarua (IIT-Guwhatai),  PanchaliSaikia (IWMI), Dr. SushmitaMondal (International Water Association). Media perspectives on rivers along with how media can connect with realities of communities were deliberated with media personnel. Legal information on Brahmaputra along with rights and laws on rivers was shared by Mr. Shawahiq Siddiqui (India Environmental Law Organization). Lastly best practices on disasters were shared along with deliberation on how such best practices can adopted by local NGO’s involving ManikBoruah (C-NES) RachnaYadav (IIT-Guwahati),  JumyirBasar (Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal) and  JuriBaruah (Aaranyak).FarziaYashmeen, Research Associate at C-NES Guwahati delivered the summary of the event along with rapporteuring.

Media/ Articles on the Boat Clinics – Anjali paulbcrsu


Article on Clar and Mariona

Cyclists from UK visits health camp

Katie Moss and Joseph Thomas from UK accompanied the Kamrup Boat Clinic team to a health camp held at Bezortari on 8th May 2017. Having started in October 2016, the young couple have beencycling and journeying across S E Asia to explore and publicise social initiatives in two fields: sustainable energy and the education of women and girls. Meeting social enterprises and charities working in these fields, Katie and Joseph hope to gain an understanding of the challenges they face and the ingenuity with which they tackle them.
The visitors who connected with the Boat Clinics through the British Council, Delhi reached the Boat Clinic, Chhaygaon office at about 09.30 am cycling from Guwahati. After a half hour boat journey and an hour of walking the team with the visitors reached the Bezortari L.P. School premises at about 12.30 pm where the camp continued for three and half hours. 59 patients were treated, 18 children were immunized and 11 pregnant women received ante natal checks out of which 4 were newly registered.

The visitors aim to raise awareness of the work of such community driven organizations like C-NES in their Gearing Up’s lively social media accounts The purpose of Gearing Up is to encourage people to understand the challenges faced by others: this understanding is an essential foundation of collective responsibility

The Link on Gearing Up on the Boat Clinics follows:

RRC team at health camp

A team from Regional Resource Centre( RRC) led by Dr. Bamin Tada, Director RRC (NE) visited a Boat Clinic health camp for supportive supervision conducted by the Kamrup Boat Clinic Unit on  21st June 2017. The camp was held at  UttarBhatkhowadia with a population of 940. The boat journey took about an  hour and the camp was held for about 3 hours. Dr Tada was accompanied by  Dr. Surajit Choudhury Consultant PH&E and MsPumaniKalita, Consultant Community Process. The team observed the activities being undertaken by the Boat Clinic in the flood vulnerable riverine areas  The team was accompanied by Ashok  Rao,Program Manager and .Chandana Bora State Advisory &FPC from C-NES (Regional Office). Basic information regarding the activities of Boat Clinic was collected during the journey to the char. On reaching the char the team interacted with beneficiaries (PW, Mothers, and Male Members of the Community) and Frontline Workers (ASHA & AWW).


French TV

Visitors from French TVled by SreyaBanarjeebased out of Delhi visited Jorhat Boat Clinic on 5th of April 2017 to cover the boat clinics on the Franco- German TV network ARTE (Association relative à la télévisioneuropéenne)a European channel, that promotes programming in the areas of culture and the arts in a programme called  Médecinesd’Ailleurs. The programme focuses on healthcare in different parts of the world, in different communities, unique ways of treating people, unique problems in certain areas of the world. It is hosted by a French doctor and isa 26 minute long programme, which takes an indepth look at the medicine and treatments in different corners of the world. The film would document various aspects of the Boat Clinic work and water specific issues that the health teams have  to deal with,  in addition to diarrhea, dysentery and skin issues.

The team visited Majuli’sSubidhasapori and interviewed the local community, patients and beneficiaries. The team interacted with the health team and spoke to the doctors to get a more precise idea of how their day unfolds, the sorts of patients they see and how often, the challenges they face and so on. Shooting was done at various island villages of Majuli including SubidhaSapori,SubidhaKaliaSapori, Bhimpara, Huttar, Sesuguri, Ghuria,BilotiaSapori. A community Bihu, the traditional Assamese folk dance called MukoliBihu was also organized by the villagers ofSubidhaSapori and the JorhatBoat Clinic Team to welcome the French TV team.

Managing Trustee at Geneva

In the photograph Dr. Mark Limon, Executive Director at Universal Rights Group, speaks at the launch of CHRI’s report on The Commonwealth at the Human Rights Council, a decade of voting (2006-2016), in Geneva on 19th June 2017 at a side event organized by CHRI and supported by CIVICUS and FIDH. Also in the photo are Jyoti Sanghera, senior UN diplomat heading the Asia and Pacific desk at the OCHRC, Marc Limon (who’s speaking), ED of universal Rights Group, and Clemente Voule, head of advocacy at the African Commission for human and people’s rights. Extreme left is report author Yashasvi Nain, who worked on it for 8 months.

C-NES Managing Trustee, Sanjoy Hazarika,  Director Commonwealth  Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)  chairing a side event meeting at the UN HRC where a report was released- of how Commonwealth countries vote at the Human Rights Council on issues of rights and entitlements. Ambassadors and senior diplomats from several countries, including UK, New Zealand, Uganda, Canada, Israel, Fiji and Malawi as well as international NGOs and others were present.

From the field

Bongaigaon Boat clinic

Bongaigaon Boat clinic performed the “Health Mela” and “Maternal Health camp” with the help of Boitamari PHC and district NHM unit. The camp was held at Chatpara near chalantapara MPHC on 6th March 2017. Four specialist doctor was deputed for better facilitation the camp. There were277  OPD patients, some  ferried to civil hospital for further treatment.

Awareness camp at Dhemaji

On 30th April 2017 the Dhemaji Boat Clinic team conducted an awareness programme at MechakiSapori on maternal mortality which is high in the district . 40 participants took active part in the awareness meeting. Dr. YuwarajMajumdar (M.O) and Mr. BhupenTaid (CW) took the initiative in explaining the villagers about the cause of maternal mortality rate.   “A healthy mother produce a healthy child” so in the awareness meeting the women were asked to take full Ante Natal Checkups and to deliver their baby at the hospitals so that the mother and child are taken full care of.




Awareness on vector borne diseases

An awareness meeting on vector borne diseases was conducted at Major sapori village on 22nd May 2017 by the Lakhimpur Boat Clinic Unit. Tapan Borah, DPO, Lakhimpurspoke about the relevance of the awareness talk and about the different seasonable vector borne diseases. Dr. Queen Morang, MO, Boat Clinic, Lakhimpur, spoke about prevention of those diseases and the available treatment available in Government Hospital. During the summer months vector borne diseases affect huge number of population in the district.


C-NES’ Brahmaputra Community Radio Station (BCRS)

Brahmaputra Community Radio Station (BCRS) or Radio Brahmaputra as it is commonly known, is based at Dibrugarh, very close to where the mighty river flows by at Maijanghat. The station is unique in the sense that it caters to the needs and aspirations of people belonging to as many as five communities residing around the area in as many local languages – Shadri (dialect of the tea tribe community), Assamese, Bhojpuri, Bodo, and Mishing. While BCRS seeks to reach the most marginalised groups in 14 islands and 30 tea plantations and more than 180 villages in Dibrugarh district, its footprint reaches across the Brahmaputra to other districts as well. Today it broadcasts for eight hours every day on FM 90.4 from Dibrugarh and can be heard in three districts along and across the Brahmaputra.

Under the Connecting Community and Action for Change programme, BCRSin collaboration with Maternal & Child Health Cell (MCH), Assam Medical College Hospital conductedactivities focusing on the tea tribe communities in upper Assam’s Sibsagar district and island communities- Mishing, Hazong and Banai fromDhemajidistrict. Adolescent health issues through community counseling/community narrowcasting, capacity building of community resources,dissemination of knowledge and information, knowledge access through community quiz onhealth, education, disease and prevention were conducted.

Skilling Society

As a Community Radio Station, BCRS tries  to impart knowledge and develop a network to connect/link the target communities to the opportunities  available for creating a skilled society. Based on this objective, BCRS organized a Mega consultation event “Skilling Society” on 4th Jun 2017 at Lahowal College Auditorium, Dibrugarh attended by more than 1000 participants mostly youth and women from different communities to give an awareness on developing skills, institutes, government programs on Skill development and to motivate the participants towards a skilled society.Poor awareness, stigma towards  labor oriented jobs, remoteness, isolation, poor connectivity and many other factors have been depriving these communities to understand the demand and the present market oriented skill needs for livelihood generation. In one of BCRS’ recent survey among 500 youth (age group 18-30 years) it was found that most desired to acquire vocational/professional skills for better livelihood opportunity but limited knowledge and awareness on skill training provision /opportunities were hindrances

Skilling Society is an initiative of Radio Brahmaputra in association with Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust (ARMT) supportedby Commonwealth Educational Media Center for Asia (CEMCA). BCRS will soon start a radio program series based on SKILL INDIA to create awareness and demand for a skilled society.


Compiled & edited by Bhaswati Goswami

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