Community organization is at the root of all activities undertaken by COODU. To begin with, sensitization and awareness generation on specific need-based themes is done on a massive scale using various mass media. This is followed up by mobilizing communities into well-knit entities – be it in watershed development, health, social welfare, environment or integrated rural development.
COODU has been constructive in not only mobilization of people at the grassroots level with a focus on the poorest of the poor but also enabled in voicing its views at appropriate forums thereby influencing policy and engaging in necessary advocacy-related activities. In all districts where COODU implements programmes, it has maintained good rapport with the district administration and all departments.
In all sectors of development, prior to launch of a programme, COODU conducts a need-based Community Needs Assessment to examine the current priorities of the community that is to be followed up by an action plan for implementation. Thus, COODU’s Community Needs Assessment extends to planning for Watershed development, income generating programmes for women, identification of needs of People Living with HIV/ AIDS, environmental development and so on. Such assessments are done through participatory approach involving all affected people in the village/ group.
COODU has conducted Training Needs Assessment of its project personnel thereby identifying their needs and providing with appropriate training in skill building and enhancement of capabilities. Thus, COODU has provided Leadership Training, Training on Use and Access of Information and Vocational Training especially to marginalised groups.
The participatory approach entails use of participatory methodology in assessing and monitoring socio-economic development activities at the grassroots level. COODU has earned the expertise in not only conducting Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRA) in its project areas but has also extended training other NGOs and CBOs as well as officials of various departments in PRA/PLM techniques.
The various tools used under the PRA method include:
Following the PRAs, conducts of various groups are formed such as User Groups, Area Groups, Water Users Association, Self Help Groups among women in the watershed areas and so on. The focus is also on strengthening the existing village level institutions (local bodies such as Panchayats).
COODU uses the latest technology along with local knowledge obtained by the people to fine tune its project activities. In this context, COODU has used Geographical Information System (GIS) in preparation of Watershed Atlas in planning for Micro-Watersheds. The maps are digitised and final reports are prepared crosschecking data through satellite-generated aerial maps.
Concurrent monitoring and evaluation is critical for all projects. COODU pursues stringent monitoring and evaluation of individual projects through periodic monitoring. Monthly, Quarterly, Half-yearly Monitoring and Terminal Evaluation at the end of the project phase are important means of assessing project performance. Key performance Indicators are developed on the basis of which projects are monitored. More importantly, feedback obtained at the end of each cycle is fed into redesigning projects for maximum output.
COODU believes in applying advanced technology at the grassroots level. In its quest for recognised technical capability, COODU has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU), Coimbatore and has close technical collaboration with Gandhigram Rural University, Dindigul. The external Technical Experts of COODU comprise specialists in respective fields with experience in National and International aid agencies including the World Bank, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), United States Agency for International Development, (USAID), Department for International Development (DFID), Sexual Health Resource Centre (SHRC), State Planning Commissions, State AIDS Control Societies, as well as National Research and Development Institutes, Deemed Universities and Government Departments. These ‘think tanks’ include engineers, doctors and social scientists who are experts in the field of Agriculture, Rural Development, Solid Waste Management, Health including HIV/AIDS, Economic Growth, Culture and Communication, Women Development, Science and Technology, GIS & Remote Sensing and Information Technology.
Documenting various activities of the development organisation is very important for the effective functioning, monitoring and evaluation of any projects. Research on various aspects of project planning and implementation are also essential for any social development activity. COODU imparted training for watershed communities. The organization published manuals and pamphlets for the benefit of the project authorities and beneficiaries. COODU has been implementing number of programmes and creating lot of sets for the benefit of the watershed community of our selected watershed areas ever since the inception of the organisation. The organization has set up excellent infrastructure for documenting several projects through using latest digital audio visual aids. All the activities related on watershed related programmes are documented such as action plan for each and every watershed, a model proposal on watershed programmes, health and sanitation, common facility centre, agriculture related information, information on solid waste management, short notes on watershed schemes and training reports. COODU has kept video & CDs on watershed programmes for selected projects.
COODU has established an exclusive survey and research division specialising in technical quantitative and qualitative surveys in diverse fields – ranging from geographical survey to social and behavioural survey. It has a pool of experts drawn from different fields with several man years of research and field experience in the fields of Agriculture, Engineer, Horticulture, Forestry, Animal Husbandry, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Socio-economic and baseline surveys are conducted during the preliminary stages of the project that help in determining the socio- economic status of the project areas as well as set a standard to enable drawing comparisons over time. The same is also useful for triangulation with other research methods such as review of secondary sources and qualitative or participatory research exercises and documented all the data. IEC materials in Tamil and English were produced on various activities in different districts of Tamil Nadu.
COODU has involved and taking part of various networks at state and national levels. Especially COODU has been formed ECO TECH CONSORTIUM a network consortium through the joint efforts with Peace Trust, Dindigul, READ, Dindigul, CHERU, Vadamadurai, Gramium, Karur, CARE, Trichy and Green Global Adsorbents, Coimbatore. The Consortium has signed an MoU with Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU), Coimbatore for Quality Certification of its technology of converting Solid Waste into Organic Manure. It also has close rapport with Gandhigram Rural University, Dindigul and other reputed research institutions.