Knowing GOONJ.. | GOONJ..a voice, an effort

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Short film on GOONJ..
A comprehensive report on Rahat-Uttarakhand            In New York Times:Bridging the clothing divide            Not Just a piece of cloth by Tehelka

Knowing GOONJ..

  • The first to- Highlight clothing as a basic but unaddressed need which deserves a place on the development agenda.
  • The first to- Reposition discard of urban households as a development resource for villages, moving away from its age old stance as a charitable object.
  • One of the few- organizations in the world, constructively reviving and strengthening rural volunteerism, to solve its own problems, digging deep into the age old wisdom and knowledge base of the villages.
  • Goonj’s sanitary pad – is probably the world’s cheapest pad, since it’s made from shreds of un-wearable cotton cloth collected from cities, washed, dried in sunlight and then made into a pad that most village women are familiar with.
  • GOONJ has the rare distinction- of an equally vast reach among the masses in the villages as well as the cities across India.

Impact & Innovation

  • Annually reach out over 1000 tones of material; from clothes, school material to old doors, windows and computers.
  • Over 900 development activities taken up under Cloth for work (CFW), in the last 2 years. From repairing roads to recharging water ponds, building bamboo bridges to digging well; people only received clothes & other material as reward.
  • Large scale relief & rehabilitation work with many innovative rural income generation initiatives like Sujni making, Vaapsi, Village Hats (village markets), tailoring cum women’s adult education centers, school bag making units implemented in major disasters hits villages, with direct impact on stopping migration to cities.
  • After Bihar floods in 2008, reached about 1500 tones of material in two years to over 200 remote villages.
  • Over 2 million sanitary pads produced out of waste cloth & reached to villages/slums across India as a viable solution & powerful tool to open up taboo subject of menses!!
  • Over 2,00,000 Kgs of throw away waste cloth converted into traditional mattress/quilt (Sujni) as large scale income generation activity in villages.

Systemic changes

  • Instead of disaster based sporadic collections, Goonj has built a culture of regular giving.
  • Goonj’s sanitary pad work is highlighting important linkages e.g. between RCH, cervical cancer and many other related women issues with menses, opening up aspects of life usually thought too private or dangerous to make public.
  • The Cloth for Work is enabling communities to confront their realities, encouraging them into action.
  • Addressing ignored needs; GOONJ’s material is addressing gap areas in the work of other development agencies.
  • Freeing up of meager resources; When GOONJ reaches cloth through its programmes, larger value addition is basic economic development afforded to the individual because the money he would have otherwise spent on buying clothes is now freed up to fulfill more critical needs of food or health etc.

Cost effective

Annual budget; approx INR 3.5 crore (about half a million USD)

It includes-

  • Idea advocacy
  • Communication, collection, all logistics, rigorous processing, need based dispatches to remote parts of the country
  • Values add in tones of waste material.Preventing material from becoming an environmental disaster in landfills.
  • Capacity building of hundreds of organizations and million of people.
  • Opening up many hidden/ignored/taboo subjects.
  • Building up a movement with large scale civic participation in urban and rural India.
  • Village level employment especially for women.
  • A fulfilling full-time job to 150 people & a large scale infrastructure works in the villages, saving millions of rupees by using this material as a reward!!
  • No expenses on advertising
  • Involves stakeholders and get subsidized cost on transportation, printing.
  • No expenditure on setting up the infrastructure. Right from table, chairs, computers, office stationary comes from individuals & institution

Our ethos, beliefs, values

  • To grow as an idea, not just as an organization.
  • We are not in the business of collecting and distributing of old clothes. We use material as a tool to bring ignored issues to light, to talk about basic needs, to bring communities together, to make them aware of their own power, to increase people’s participation, to change mindsets and change the present rural infrastructure..
  • We don’t fix up targets, we value potential.
  • We don’t promote charity; we are converting the age old charitable act of giving clothes into a development resource.
  • We are not focused on donor’s pride; our work is focused on the receiver’s dignity.
  • When people say we want to donate clothes- we strongly feel that after using as per our need we don’t donate, we actually discard!
  • We don’t want to keep our ideas to ourselves, we want replication in different regions, different economies. We are developing a replication kit with a title – “We are giving you a copy right to copy our idea.”
  • We strongly believe in the wisdom of people we are working for, to find solutions to their own problems; it’s our core strength..
  • We don’t spend money on our own infrastructure, furniture etc. We practice what we promote i.e. use of old material. No spending on advertising & PR; positive word of mouth is our biggest assest
  • We don’t try to do everything on our own and use the strength of various partners/people as stake holders!

Our focus

In the race of development we all are too focused on machines i.e. the big, known issues and are ignoring the needles the most important small parts i.e. issues. We talk about holistic development of human kind without thinking about the basic need of clothing.

At GOONJ our focus is these needles.- With a large scale civic participation it is not only becoming a big people’s movement for progress but is also creating a parallel economy where every work doesn’t have to wait for money; huge quantities of old re-usable material becomes a valuable resource.

Goonj is reaching parts of 21 states in partnerships with over 250 grassroots organizations, Ashoka Fellows, social activists, units of Indian army & social movements. Apart from thousands of volunteers all across, Goonj has a formal team of 150 people with 9 offices across India.

Our Challenges

  • Increasing transport cost & rentals for storage space, vehicles.
  • Technology; high-end laptops & computers to streamline data and systems.
  • Documentation of knowledge, new idea and innovative approaches in our work, since our inception.
  • Mis-match in the supply of specific material like sarees (as no alternative for traditional dress), children clothing, school material winter clothing & blankets etc..
  • Financial Resources, retaining and nurturing our values and processes instead of depending on typical investment models or funding agencies way!!

Recognitions to GOONJ:

  • 2012: Global Development Awards and Medals Competition (AMC) for ‘Most Innovative Development Project’
  • 2012: Edelgive Award for health & well being
  • 2010: Forbes listed Mr. Anshu Gupta, Founder Director, GOONJ as one of India’s most powerful entrepreneurs.
  • 2010: Innovation for India Award by marico.
  • 2010: Jamnalal Bajaj CFBP Award.
  • 2009: Lien i3 Challenge Award for ‘Cloth for Work’.
  • 2009: Ashoka’s Changemakers Innovation Award for ‘Not just piece of cloth’.
  • 2009: CNN IBN’s ‘Real Heroes Award’ to founder GOONJ..
  • 2008: ‘India NGO of the Year’ Award.
  • 2007: World Bank’s Global DM Award for NJPC.
  • 2007: Recognized as one of ‘The Good Practices’ in Dubai International Awards
  • 2006: Changemakers Innovation Awards, for ‘Rahat’.
  • 2004: Ashoka Fellowship to Mr. Anshu Gupta.
  • 2004: Changemakers Innovation Awards for ‘School to School’.

You can join us for your support

  • Financial support
  • People for Team 2000
  • Lead a payroll contribution initiative for Goonj in your organization
  • New laptops, computers & laser-printers.
  • Help us to get free/Pro bono/subsidized space & transportation in different cities/states.
  • Connect textile & ready made garments manufacturer with GOONJ.
  • Large Quantity of cotton clothes, one side used paper, stationary Items.
  • Technology partner to help us make our work more effective
  • Knowledge management partner

Thanks for your time at GOONJ…

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