Sunday, 17 April 2011

Networking to Promote Responsible Citizenship and Global Peace

Women Volunteers of COVA forming to a Human Chain to Prevent
Ooutbreak of Communal Riots in Hyderabad- 15 March 2002 
(Confederation of Voluntary Associations)

A Local, National and International Networking Initiative to Promote Responsible Citizenship and Global Peace
Our Vision
Social harmony, peace and social justice by sensitization of all sections of society and empowerment of the marginalized and the poor
Our Identity and Focus
COVA (Confederation of Voluntary Associations) is a national network of voluntary organizations in India dedicated to the issues of social harmony, peace and justice. The prime focus of COVA is on citizenship rights and on perspective building for harmony in India and promotion of cooperation and peace in South Asia. Through direct programmes and by networking with other civil society organizations (CSOs) and institutions, COVA organises perspective building activities and programs, carries out campaigns, and conducts research for influencing diverse sections of civil society and the state apparatus to adopt inclusive, secular and egalitarian outlook and policies that would foster rights and promote justice and peace for all.
Strategies for Harmony
Initiated in 1994 and registered as a society in 1995, as a response to the communal conflict in the old city of Hyderabad, COVA has since promoted several organizations, trusts and networks across India, designed to bring together different communities to facilitate integrated development and harmonious society through cooperation and joint initiatives.
Some such successful strategies include promotion of responsible citizenship, community advocacy, inter-faith dialogue, action research, policy interventions, liaison with Parliamentarians and elected representatives, empowerment of women, personality development and livelihood guidance for youth, educational inputs to children, street theatre on social issues, riot control measures and management of natural and man - made disasters. COVA was also involved in a number of initiatives to reduce tensions between countries and promote people to people contact and cooperation in South Asia
Our communities
The beneficiaries of the developmental and awareness initiatives more often than not enlist with COVA as peace volunteers. COVA works with slum communities, women, children, college students, professionals, corporate and elected representatives. COVA networks with other likeminded CSOs and institutions across the country and the South Asia to address policy issues related to citizenship rights and for improvement of relations with other countries to propagate values of coexistence and secure peace.
Programs for Responsible Citizenship and International Peace
Peace Alliance Partners (PAP) perspective building programme of COVA seeks to counter overt and covert communal biases within individuals and organizations and trains peace activists on conflict transformation. The National Campaign for Right to Basic Services (RTBS) has been launched to secure from the government the provision of water, sanitation, health, education, housing, roads, electricity and livelihood for all citizens as a constitutional right. The Citizens’ Assertion Campaign goes beyond voter awareness programmes and encourages citizens to set the political agenda for their constituencies and subsequently for the whole country- that could secure inclusiveness, equality and development leading to justice for all and the creation of a society free from sectarian conflicts and divisive politics. In alliance with a number of national and international organisations COVA is seeking to promote peace and cooperation in the Sub-continent and across the globe, through the formation of International Center for Applied Peace Studies (ICAPS) and a Center for People’s Foreign Policy in South Asia.

Peace and Equity Audit for Development Planning: The Five Year Plan Model for development that is being followed by India has enabled the country to progress but is also leading to unacceptable levels of socio-economic inequality and conflicts that are transforming into violent agitations or armed resistance.   COVA has conceived, proposed and initiated the processes for the formulation of the required framework for a Peace and Equity Audit that should be undertaken to evaluate if any proposed development proposals, and programs would lead to inequity and / or social conflicts. If the Audit reveals the possibility of emergence of inequities or conflicts, then the proposals and programs could be suitably modified at the planning stage itself.     

Alliances and Memberships
COVA is an active member of CNDP (Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace), VANI (Voluntary Action Network India), CERI (Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India), WNTA (Wada Na Todo Abhiyan), Election Watch, Credibility Alliance, Dalit Watch, United Forum for RTI and was represented on the Joint Machinery, Planning Commission, Government of India, and GO-NGO Coordination Committee set up by the Government of Andhra Pradesh amongst many other national bodies. At the international level, COVA is involved with South South Solidarity, Pakistan Peace Coalition, PIPFPD, AMAN, SAPA, PSAARC and TRANSCEND International.

Major Milestones in the Journey of COVA

·                                             Introduced the concept and practice of Rights based work in the old city of Hyderabad.
·                                             Transforming the political agenda of the old city from communal to development through Citizens Assertion Campaign
·                                             Mainstreaming Muslim organizations and community in development work and promoting their involvement in collective actions for rights and entitlements
·                                             “Savious of Hyderabad” – felicitation of brave citizens who save the life and property of member of other community during communal conflicts and riots. This program was first initiated in 1991
·                                             Collaboration with religious leaders of all faiths through the Interfaith Forum to promote proper understanding and amity between different communities and deescalate tensions during times of tensions and riots
·                                             Enlistment of religious leaders and priests for awareness programs on HIV/AIDS through their weekly sermons in Mosques, Churches and Satsangs
·                                             Proposed and worked for the meeting between members of the Parliamentary Delegation and Huriat leaders in Kashmir in September 2010 that contributed to the stabilization of the volatile situation in Kashmir valley
1994                       Celebrating 125th Gandhi Jayanti- Preparation of Photo Exhibition and a documentary film on the contributions of common people to the Freedom Movement of India
1997:                      Festival of the Subcontinent: Joint Celebration of 50 years of independence by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh on August 14-15, 1997. Events were organized in 50 cities across the globe
1997-2000:           IPP VIII: Mobilisation and Training of 1100 Women Link Volunteers in old city areas of Hyderabad
1999:                      Initiation of economic empowerment programs for women in Andhra Pradesh through vocational training and entrepreneurship-  
2000:                      Economic empowerment of women through promotion of thrift cooperatives- over 50 Thrift Cooperatives reaching out to 60,000 women promoted and strengthened in Hyderabad and 9 districts of Andhra Pradesh
2001:                      Training of women Corporators from 6 districts of Andhra Pradesh in “Effective Participation as Elected Representatives”. 
2002:                      Human Chain, 15th March 2002, that prevented communal outbreak in Hyderabad
2003:                      Global Vigils for Peace against war posturing between India and Pakistan
2004:                      Partners in Victory- Flags for Peace Campaign during which thousands of flags of both India and Pakistan were distributed to the spectators in the stadiums to bring amity during India Pakistan cricket matches that were played in Pakistan after a gap of 14 years
2004:                      Visit of Parliamentarians from Pakistan to India to break the deadlock after the attack on the Indian Parliament
2004:                      Anti War Assembly, against the US attack on Iraq
2004:                      Formation of PUCAAR (Peoples Union for Civic Action and Rights)
2005:                      Signature Campaign for Improvement of Government Schools leading to sanction of Rs.5 crores by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to schools in Hyderabad.
2005:                      Collaborated in Peace March from Delhi to Multan: 23rd March 2005 to 11th May 2005
2005:                      No! No!! Campaign!!! to protest the purchase of F16 and F18 Fighter Jets by India and Pakistan from America.
2005:                      Kashmir Earthquake Relief and Rehabilitation Project- Covered 6000 families for relief and constructed 195 houses for the most vulnerable in the quake affected areas.
2000-2007:           Annual Low Cost Science Exhibitions for 7 consecutive years setting a trend for others in the old city of Hyderabad.
2007:                      Formation of Bandhan, the State level federation of district networks in Andhra Pradesh
2008:                      Formation of Forum for Improvement of Government Schools
2008:                      Formation of COVA-Kasturba Gandhi Peace Centre.
2008                       Participated in the Enquiry Committee of the State Minorities Commission, Government of A.P. instituted after the bomb blasts in Mecca Masjid that led to the release of 100 youth of the old city areas of Hyderabad who were falsely implicated by the police in the bomb blasts.
2009:                      Indo-Pak Joint Signature Campaign and Exchange of Peace Delegations against terrorism and war posturing.
2009:                      Formation of ICAN - Indian Children Action Network.
2009:                      Launch of HIV / AIDS awareness campaign through religious leaders in temples, mosques and churches.
2009 -10:               As part of Election Watch A.P. worked for the prevention of mal practices during Parliamentary, Assembly and Municipal Elections.
2010:                      In collaboration with other civil society organizations, obtained stay order and interim order from the High Court of A.P. for the protection of Golconda Fort and its surrounding areas from violations by the Golf Course under the National Heritage Monuments Act.
2010                       Initiatives in Kashmir for peace and normalcy during the summer turmoil of 2010 
2010                       Participated in the Mumbai to Lahore Peace March
2010                       Initiate the concept and process for Peace and Equity Audit in Development Planning
2011                       Appealed in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh against assigning school teachers for census work during school hours and obtained a favourable order from the government.
2011                       Participated in the Indian Peace Delegation to Pakistan that met the prime Minister of Pakistan, parliamentarians, policy makers, activists and people to promote understanding and normalization of relations
2011                       Repeat of Partners in Victory- Flags for Peace Campaign- during the World Cup Semi Finals at Mohali where thousands of flags of both India and Pakistan were distributed to the spectators to promote cordial atmosphere in the stadium that cheered good cricket!

Research Studies
1995:                      Socio-Economic Survey of the Old City of Hyderabad for Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, New Delhi
1997-98:                Hyderabad segment of the Urban Poverty Research
1999:                      Study on Socio-Economic, Educational and Political condition of Minorities in Andhra Pradesh.
2000-2003:           Action Research Project on the Empowerment of Elected Women Representatives in Andhra Pradesh
2002-2003:           Study on Social Responsibility of the Medical Sector during Communal Conflicts
2003:                      International Study on “Philanthropic Practices in Muslim Societies”
2004:                      “ A Case Study in Peace Building in the city of Hyderabad during the past 1000 years”
2008                       Socio- economic Conditions of Muslims of Nizamabad

Documentaries and Exhibitions
1994:                      “Azadi Ki Kahani: Dadima Ki Zubani” a documentary film on the contribution of common people to the Indian freedom movement as Part of the 125th Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations.
1994:                      Photo Exhibition of freedom Fighters from Andhra Pradesh and the rest of India.
2001:                      “….and Nature Replies” a documentary film on the ravages caused by fl ash floods in the city of Hyderabad in August 2001.
• Socio-Economic Conditions of People of India, 2005 (in English & Telugu)
• Muslims of Anantapur, 2008.
• People’s Manifesto of the People of the Old City of Hyderabad, 2009.
• Messages of Oneness: Visions and Visionaries, 2009.
• Pamphlets and newsletters (in English, Telugu & Urdu) for voter awareness,
on government schools, information of government departments, career
opportunities, peace campaigns etc.

Major Activities
Peace Initiatives
Fact-finding and relief during conflicts and conflict resolution, Inter-faith dialogue, Peace Alliance Partners (PAP), Perspective Building Programme, Transnational initiatives
Women’s Empowerment
Aman Saheli Groups, Community Empowerment Program, Vocational Support Initiatives, South India Muslim Women’s Rights Network

Annual Summer Camps for Communal Harmony, Child Campaigners Clubs, Bal Adalat, Annual Sports Meet
Para Education Programme, Summer Activism for students and youth
Youth TRAC
Summer Camps for Communal Harmony, Career Guidance, Livelihood Trainings and Placements, Sports Clubs, College Clubs, Training of Peace Volunteers
Citizen’s Assertion Campaign, Campaign for Improvement of government schools, Advocacy on civic issues, Advocacy training for Change Activists, Election Watch
District Networks
Networking of Organisations from different communities to integrate society, Promotion of Welfare and Charitable Trusts, Formation of Muslim women SHGs, motivating religious organisations to take up development activities
Campaign for Right to Basic Services, Initiatives against militarization and nuclearisation, Working for securing governance accountability, of the State and National Governments, Promotion of conducive atmosphere and credibility for the Voluntary Sector
Promotion of People to People contacts, Initiatives for reduction of tensions between India and Pakistan, awareness and platforms for common people to express on issues of foreign policy
Work with Refugees
In collaboration with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) COVA is working with refugees from 12 countries who are based in Hyderabad by providing them psychosocial, medical, educational and legal support.

Become a Partner in Peace!
Organizations can collaborate for peace by becoming members of COVA.
Individuals are invited to volunteer time, expertise or donate in cash and/
or kind to COVA’s programmes. Donations to COVA are exempted under Sec.80G of IT
For membership, volunteering and donations please contact:

20-4-10, Charminar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA. Pin: 500 002
Phone :+91-40- 24572984, Fax : +91-40-24574527,
E-mail :, Website:

No comments:

Post a Comment