People’s Forum started its journey with community awareness & sensitisation programmes and mobilising resources for catering to the needs of different communities. And then the organization gradually engaged in enhancing livelihood, education, mental health and financial inclusions. It began with a major focus on women as a centre of development and gave much emphasis for the development of mentally ill women who are the most vulnerable and a relatively weaker section of the society. People’s Forum provided a platform to the communities whose voices remain unheard, rights ignored, and basic entitlements not accomplished. The focus also lies on mobilising youth and working towards people’s collectives to let them realize entitlements and enabling them to access basic developmental services.
Over the course of time, as the development scenario changed, looking at the emergency needs of the people in difficulty, People's Forum started working in a strategic framework, particularly in a mission mode to address the multiplicity of problems. In due course the pioneers of people's forum realized that the project-based activities are not enough to meet its stated objectives and adopted larger development framework with gamut of developmental, techno social and social enterprise approaches. Peoples Forum thereafter expanded to provide financial inclusion through Business Correspondents & composite projects like water & sanitation with both grant as well as the loan components to bring a better quality of life and livelihood security for the underserved communities.
People's Forum stands today to endeavour through a group of volunteers, who untiringly work and bestow their knowledge, time and support to help cross many milestones. Being involved in the advocacy sphere, the organisation continues its efforts in mainstreaming mental health, protecting against gender-based violence and working on food security issues in the state.
This organisation also grew to provide welfare support advancing form the charity approach. Rescue, Relief & Rehabilitation became the central activities of the organisation. Activities such as livelihood restoration, imbibing value-based institutions, skill development and cluster development etc. are a crucial part of the gamut activities undertaken by People’s Forum today. The organisation is also taking initiatives to create awareness for adopting sustainable agricultural practices in the operational areas involving marginal & small farmers. In a move to strengthen rural livelihood, the organisation seeks to provide skill and capacity building and business development support services with market linkage opportunities for sustainable livelihood.
To work towards integrated development in all spheres of community life with special emphasis on weaker and vulnerable groups such as women, children, elderly people, SC / ST, differently able and those deprived of healthy and secure living.
Developing a most credible and reliable people's institution to care and support the most deprived and vulnerable people irrespective of caste, creed, sex, religion & enabling them to live in society with dignity & respect that will be entirely free from all economic and social discrimination.
Peoples’ Forum as an organization was the vision of few benevolent youths who desired to create a better society by helping people to help themselves. Thus the organization emerged as a podium for activists who fought for the under privileged and weaker sections of the society. Drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy the organization mandated to work on the philosophy of Father of nation and hence laid foundation of the organization on 2nd Oct 1988. It attained recognition under Society Registration ACT XXI of 1860 in 1990, 12 (A) of income tax registration in 1995, FCRA Registration ACT OF 1976 IN 1995 and Ind 80(G) registration under income tax in 2004 The Organization since inception has worked in diversified fields and has tried to find better ways for reaching out to the most marginalized community. It has never hesitated from getting into unexplored areas or experimenting with the ways of attaining the laid objectives of the organization. It has in fact taken good swifts from time to time as per the need of the situation and requirement. The Organisation’s growth can be divided into few important phases that basically revolve around its focus and strategy of intervention. The important phases can be listed as indicated below –
These were the initial years of the Organization’s establishment. Thus the same can be treated as the phase of infancy that was however marked by the fury of youth who had come together with huge motivation and commitment to work towards an equitable society with space for the vulnerable communities. Some of the important initiatives that marked the phase included Organisation’s involvement in movements and campaigns like “Amaku banchibaku dia (a fight against the displacement of lepers’ colony in Bhubaneswar and Khurda)”, “Hataku Kama Andoloan” in Bolgarh block of Nayagada district. Besides this the Organisation also fought for the rights of SC/ STs in tribal districts of the State.
This phase of the Organisation was dominated by charity based vision, wherein the focus of the organization was basically channelizing government and donor agencies aids and grants to the door steps of most marginalized families and support them in every possible way to help them live with dignity.
This phase is critical in the history of the State as it witnessed one of the worst natural disasters. The Organization took on to its moral responsibility to support the people of the State in a situation of crises. Programmes like Adopt-A-Granny, Sanchaya Shakti, livestock management, health promotion etc were promoted. Besides this various rehabilitation programmes were also initiated within the period. The focus was the areas that were highly affected by super cyclone.
Over the years it was realized that supporting only a part of the population makes our intervention limited to a particular section of the society. In order to reach out to the larger society in order to fulfill the organisation’s mandate it was essential to broaden its reach and accordingly modify the intervention strategy. It started direct intervention in difficult areas and it was during this phase that the organization initiated activities like livelihood restoration, irrigation, nursery development, drought mitigation, cluster development etc.
The organization completed 25 years of its existence in the year 2015. As an organization with around two decades of developmental experience standing besides it, People’s Forum was now a steady and growing organization. This phase marked the Organisation’s initiative to promote different institutions and trying to attain self sufficiency. The Organisation declared itself a micro finance institution during this period. Development programmes, rural marketing, agriculture and pisciculture farms, training institution, business development support services, etc though initiated earlier, strengthened during this phase of the Organisation. Though the focus and strategy of intervention has varied with passing years, yet the fact remained that the Organisation never left its core values, mission and vision. It even to date is striving to work for the betterment of the downtrodden and marginalized individuals and communities. Its initiatives have never been dependent on projects, rather the Organization has tried to sustain its various initiatives by getting funds for feasible sources.