It is renowned for its strength in the rural leadership development. The organization works throughout India to build up grassroots activism, focusing mainly on Central India, and Chhattisgarh. It has developed a ‘Gandhian Activism School’ for the rural youth and women, focusing on those that come from the tribal and other marginalized communities. Today, more than 2,500 activists have been trained in the grassroots activism and are now working all over India.
The land reform movement in Chhattisgarh has been gaining momentum for many years. For more than a decade, PRAYOG has been instrumental in the mobilization and organization of the Adivasi and landless communities. The Adivasi communities are the driving force behind PRAYOG’s work in the constant struggle against the State and other forces that are responsible for the disintegration of the Adivasi society and the economy. By building awareness in the Adivasi community, it works to strengthen the local village leadership and community organizations.
The focus of PRAYOG’s work is to assist the local communities so that they gain access and control over the natural livelihood resources, especially land, water and forests (zamin, jal aur jungal.) There is a growing awareness among the communities. It continues to work towards building a more informed understanding about social inequities and power relations perpetuated by the State that are antithetical to the interests of the people.
PRAYOG is a mass based organization led by the committed local women and men of the vulnerable and marginalized communities in India, who work to meet the needs. Since its founding, the organization has acted as a national body where the disempowered communities of India can make their voice heard. PRAYOG is an experiment in village revitalization that follows the precepts advocated by Mahatma Gandhi. The PRAYOG activists believe that being a part of the struggle is essential in order to create a sustainable development that will lead to equal rights for the Adivasi communities.
However, fundamental to the ideology of PRAYOG, is the belief that the key to solving the problems faced by the Adivasi communities, is building awareness, training village level activists, and strengthening the community organizations. PRAYOG’s strategy is to combine the participatory agitation programmes with productive activities that will strengthen the people’s organizations and support village economies.
It works to empower the Dalit and Adivasi communities by building an indigenous leadership. There is an urgent need to unite the often fragmented voice of the people in order to secure the livelihood rights of the deprived and the dispossessed. PRAYOG activists work with the communities to help them assert their rights to the natural resources necessary for their livelihood, such as land, water and forest.
PRAYOG focuses on several areas of mobilization and awareness building, including responsible resource management for people centered development, land distribution and access to forests for Adivasi communities. It focuses on the implementation of social legislation, like minimum wages, release of bonded labourers, decentralization of decision making and participation of women in the social and political process. PRAYOG accommodates, nearly 15 acres of land in the Tilda region of the Raipur district. It provides peaceful and secure trainings even for the larger group, away from the noise of traffic and crowded area but within 0.5 kilometers of the nearest market, railway station and within a short distance of several villages, for exposure to the rural village life. It has always extended help from the grassroots level for the tribal, Dalit communities, women and children.