The Gandhian philosophy of Sarvodaya—all rising, but the last person first—is the basis of GRAVIS' strategy and approach. We work for the collective rise of men, women, and children, regardless of economic state, age, caste or religion. This philosophy is becoming increasingly pertinent as India's social incongruities widen the gap between rich and poor making the country’s shift into the modern age a bittersweet phenomenon.
To counter this, GRAVIS emphasizes the empowerment of rural communities, and adheres to another Gandhian notion, Gram Swarajya, or village self-rule. We work towards rehabilitation of the rural community, enabling villages to take ownership of their environment, institutions, and relations. We operate under the belief that self-reliance is necessary for survival. Thus, GRAVIS differs from other aid organizations as we seek to actively engage community members in our projects, rather than merely adding resources to a broken system. A range of community based organisations (CBO) therefore form the core element of GRAVIS' work.
The following are our main objectives:
- Integrated development of humanity without discrimination of caste, religion, or sect. Creation of village institutions ensuring adequate representation of all sections of the community, including women, the elderly, and marginalized castes.
- Incorporation of better health behaviours and association of these behaviours with the overall development of rural society.
- Sustainable development of natural resources to increase productivity and income.
- Conservation and development of village commons.
- Improvement of education, with particular emphasis on educating girls.
- Promotion of financial savings at the individual, group, and community levels in order to increase familiarity with the economic system and to reduce dependence on outside capital.
- Empowerment of village communities, with emphasis on the poorer and weaker sections of society, in order to reduce economic and social disparity and to create a self-reliant and decentralized community system.
- Coordination of training programmes to teach youth, women, and field workers how to implement strategies of integrated development within their own communities.
- Generation of awareness among rural communities, particularly the poor, so that underprivileged groups can benefit from development schemes.
- Completion of research projects and studies to make development programmes more effective and to improve community participation.
- Provision of humanitarian relief during calamities and other emergencies.
- Organization of campaigns and people’s movements on social issues, in accordance with Gandhian ethics.
- Cooperation with partner organizations sharing similar objectives.
- Encouragement of mutual respect, leading to communal harmony.