Plan India Impact Awards 2019

Plan India Impact Awards is a Plan India initiative to celebrate the exemplary work of community frontline workers and volunteers in helping achieve national development priorities.

Plan India established the Plan India Impact Awards in 2017. Across its previous two editions, the Awards have nationally celebrated outstanding functionaries, provided impetus to continue their efforts, and reinforced their best practices in the field.

In 2019, the scope of the Awards has been further widened to encourage greater participation from across the country and recognise the exemplary contributions of last mile champions.


  • To celebrate the contributions of outstanding community frontline workers and volunteers in helping achieve national development priorities
  • To document and disseminate best practices from the field, bolstering exceptional performers and existing programmes to continue their life-changing efforts

Winners 2019

Anganwadi Worker: Ms R. Sundari, Tamil Nadu
Sundari is an Anganwadi Worker at the most popular Anganwadi Centre in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. Using innovative teaching methods and tasty wholesome recipes, she has ensured that children who come to her Centre stay enrolled. Although it started with just three, the Centre has served 125 children so far.
She has created a joyful learning environment for one and all, while paying careful attention to students with special needs. Her Centre is one of very few that stays open late to enable migrant workers to pick up their children after work. She also formed a community-wide volunteer group including neighbours of children enrolled in the Centre and other potential attendees, to ensure maximum enrolment and attendance.
Her commitment to the children in her Centre is so strong, that she liaised with the local Panchayat, District Collector, ICDS and Public Works Department for over 1.5 years to improve the building’s infrastructure. Due to her efforts, the Centre now has a compound wall and toilet complex where there was none before.
Reaching out to 1,200 households, she ensures that all community members, especially girls and women, benefit from government schemes and access to healthcare. Under her care, 100% of children between 1-5 years of age have been immunised, and children suffering from malnutrition are provided care and support so they achieve their development milestones. She also provides health and hygiene orientation sessions to Panchayat-level federations of Self-Help Groups with members from as many as ten villages.
Sundari has transformed countless lives in her seven years’ work as an Anganwadi Worker, going above and beyond the call of duty.

Auxiliary Nurse Midwife: Ms Padmabati Naik, Odisha
It has been 25 years since Padmabati began working as an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife at a Public Health Centre (PHC) in Mayurbhanj, Odisha, a predominantly tribal area. In this time, she has served residents of three villages and 33 hamlets, covering nearly 1,000 households and a population of 7,342 people.
This includes 852 children between 0-3 years of age who are now healthy and happy, and have been immunised due to her efforts. Breaking through age-old myths and misconceptions, she conducted 88 institutional deliveries (deliveries in hospitals by doctors) and was able to ensure 100% institutional deliveries and safe motherhood in her community.
She teams up with Anganwadi Workers to organise sessionson exclusive breastfeeding and nutrition, which contribute to child survival, development and wellbeing in the long term. This is reflected in the Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates in the area, which have been zero for a decade.
She keeps an eye out for older children in the community as well, dissuading parents from marrying them off before they are of legal age, as this has lifelong adverse impacts. She has been able to stop 15 child marriages with the help of the local Child Protection Committee.
Taking this further, she addresses sensitive but critical topics of sexual health and menstrual hygiene, training young people in her community to be ambassadors of public health and passing on her zeal for preventive healthcare to the next generation. In doing so, she ensures the community can sustainably and easily access services at the PHC and beyond.
Padmabati has been a powerful changemaker since 1994, paving the way for long-term development of young people, their families and communities too.

Outreach Worker: Mr Mohammed Taher, Telangana
When it comes to social change, Outreach Worker Mohammed Taher is a force to be reckoned with. His work touches the lives of a whopping 72,000 people.
A firm believer in the power of education, he has worked to re-enrol 1,300 students (850 girls and 450 boys) who had dropped out of school in his area. He has also led community awareness programmes reaching out to 5,250 parents, enrolling 250 girls in higher education as a result.
When he recognised the need for a school in a nearby slum area, he persistently highlighted the issue to local authorities, who refused his request citing shortage of land. Rather than give up, he identified a vacant plot and advocated with the local government until a school was built. Now, all children in the area have access to education, with some 265 attending school regularly.
He has also taken on the task of rescuing and rehabilitating child labourers and enrolling them in school, where they should rightly be. In the last year alone, he rescued 325 children, 200 of whom have been enrolled in school, while the remaining 125, who were migrants, returned to their homes.
Taking a holistic view of issues in the community, he has counselled 4,500 adolescent girls on child marriage, economic empowerment, health and hygiene. He has also organised anti-child marriage campaigns covering 675 adolescents and 350 parents, stopping ten child marriages.
He strives to ensure the community, especially young people, practice (and preach) gender equality, and encourages young women and men to take up vocational training. He has enrolled 200 adolescent girls and young women in ‘Saksham’ (Capable), Plan India’s Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship programme, and also influenced their families so they could work after completing their training. Many of the trainees are the first in their family to have formal jobs, and as many as 650 have been able to secure these jobs due to his facilitation.
To ensure this transformation continues, he regularly collaborates with community members and religious leaders to discuss solutions to problems faced by the community. Having dedicated the last 12 years to his work in the community, he continues to rally sustainable change.

Prerak / Field Officer: Mr Yogendra Pathak, Uttar Pradesh
Yogendra is a Field Officer / Prerak in Plan India’s Project 'Ahana' (first rays of the sun), which works towards an AIDS free generation through Prevention Parent to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS, in partnership with the National AIDS Control Organisation and supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
His work in Agra, Uttar Pradesh covers a population of 2,209,398 people, including an approximate 67,200 expecting mothers. Working to address gender discrimination as well as social stigma associated with HIV, he works to build a safe and enabling environment for women with a focus on testing, treatment and adherence. He has been able to encourage 70% of pregnant women in his area and their spouses / partners to be counselled and voluntarily tested for HIV/AIDS. As a result, 113 pregnant women and 75 spouses / partners were diagnosed and subsequently linked with Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and other government schemes and benefits, thereby enabling them to avail a continuum of care.
He has supported 42 pregnant women living with HIV/AIDS with routine treatment to prevent perinatal transmission to their new-born babies. He conducted Early Infant Diagnosis and HIV testing of 43 babies (in the last 18 months) and due to his efforts, no baby has been found to be living with HIV (from January 2018 to June 2019). He also initiated more than 40 Dried Blood Spot (DBS) tests for prompt diagnosis and treatment of exposed babies. In case there is a shortage of DBS cards, or parents refuse DBS testing of their child due to a lack of funds, he links them with Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres in nearby districts so no parent or child is left untreated. There as well, he supports them throughout the counselling, testing, ART referral, linkage, and treatment processes.
He has helped nearly 50 women through counselling in the past year, while also ensuring that 92 HIV exposed babies were given antiretroviral medicines to protect them. He facilitated 102 institutional deliveries for the safety of pregnant women and their babies.
For 360o service delivery, he has created an effective network of trained Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and Anganwadi Workers who provide seamless support.
For the past three years, Yogendra has worked selflessly to ensure that people his community live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.

Community Volunteer: Ms Alka Gujnal, Maharashtra
Community Volunteer Alka Gujnal is reputed to be the most trustworthy person in her community. For the past 20 years, she has strived tirelessly to improve the lives of marginalised commercial sex workers in Pune, Maharashtra. Working with over 2,000 brothel, street and home-based commercial sex workers, she helps them combat stigma and discrimination.
She also ensures their children are taken care of, having enrolled as many as 46 in school. This was not easy, as the children faced discrimination from others, however, she set up dialogues with School Management Committees, teachers and students to ensure the children stay in school and can benefit from a joyful learning environment. She has also been able to re-enrol 40 children of commercial sex workers (who had dropped out of school) in remedial classes. More girls go to school now than ever before.
A decade ago, she established 'Sanskarvarg', a forum that has oriented over 300 children on ‘good and bad touch' and their rights. The group meets in the evening, when the children’s mothers go to work, so also providing a safe atmosphere for the children.
HIV/AIDS is a difficult subject in the community, but she has raised awareness and helped improve health seeking behaviour. With her support, more than 350 women have been able to access regular medical care and services, and 20 women living with HIV have been linked to free Antiretroviral Therapy.
Aside from this, she has built a network of over 200 commercial sex workers who routinely come together to discuss their issues and ideate solutions. She also facilitates counselling sessions and provides vocational training and livelihood support to women who wish to leave the profession.
Her networking skills have helped her create an enabling environment supported by stakeholders and influential people including healthcare service providers, law enforcement, local leaders and more. Despite initial opposition from her family and society, Alka has made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of women and children in Pune.

Youth Champion for Girls’ Rights – Female: Ms Sarathi, Jharkhand
Seventeen year old Sarathi lives in a small village in Jharkhand, with a population of 291 people (154 female and 137 male). One of seven siblings raised by a single mother, she understood the power of education at an early age, and even worked alongside her mother as an agricultural labourer to gather money for her school fees.
A bright young student, she works hard to ensure that, like her, all girls get the chance to study. She counsels children, young people and their families, so that children, especially girls, continue and complete their studies. Her efforts led two families to enroll their daughters in private school. To keep others from dropping out, she offers free tuition as well, and has tutored 45 students from the 1st to the 8th standard in the last two years. She also volunteers as a teacher at a school, where she identifies and supports students with special needs and works with teachers to create a joyful learning environment. She speaks out against caste-based discrimination and has initiated a rotational seating arrangement in school to ensure that students from marginalised backgrounds can sit in the front row and engage in classroom activities.
In the community and village council meetings too, she raises the issue of caste-based discrimination in community and village council meetings, due to which two Scheduled Tribe members are now part of the Panchayat Samiti (rural local government). She also runs awareness drives and campaigns in the community and has stopped two child marriages.
Through an adolescent empowerment programme, she works with the 20 young people in her community and conducts orientation sessions on health, education, vocation, financial literacy, savings, and more. She obtained a Diploma in Computer Applications and due to her aptitude and interest, was invited to become an instructor at the institute. She has since trained 25 students.
Additionally, she has enrolled in the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana’, the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to enable youth to take up industry-relevant skill training to secure better livelihoods. As she learns new skills, she motivates her peers to join as well, and has been able to enroll two so far.
Sarathi's commitment to education and equality have made her a household name and role model. No challenge is too big for this powerful young woman.

Youth Champion for Girls' Rights - Male: Mr Prafull, Maharashtra
Prafull is the proud son of an auto rickshaw driver and Founder of a Learning Centre that provides free educational coaching and mental health support for underserved girls in the slums of Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was 22 when he established the Centre in 2016, with the aim of helping girls from 1st to the 12th standard on the road to financial independence. The Centre also focuses on higher studies, including training for entrance exams. In the last three years, as many as 2,000 girls aged 7-16 have been trained there.
Mindful of the limited resources available to him, Prafull has created a self-sustaining model for free education at the Centre. He has managed to engage a rent-free space and volunteers to help out. In keeping with the spirit of inclusion, his Centre is open to all communities and has no screening process. This way, he provides long-term coaching to those who would not otherwise have access to quality education. He has also linked and facilitated special guest lectures at the Centre, with eminent personalities, academic experts from renowned colleges, universities, and institutes including the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). He enlisted the support of ten friends, some of whom are IIT Alumni, to raise funds to support the Centre as well.
He also conducted up to 3,000 door-to-door visits with parents in the community to invite them to the Centre and involve them in the academic performance of their daughters so they are invested in their learning outcomes and see long-term benefits in their education.
Knowing that life skills are as important as academics, he teaches practical skills that include creative and critical thinking. He also provides career counselling and training on software, hardware and data processing, giving trainees a necessary edge in a very competitive market. At the community level, he has conducted 80 free professional development workshops and extra-curricular activities.
His work has borne fantastic results. Within three years, his Centre has seen an aggregate enrolment of up to 2,000 girls, average attendance of 70% and a drop-out rate of less than 1%. His students have scored over 85% marks in public Secondary School Certificate and Higher Secondary Certificate examinations. Notably, a student from the Centre was accepted to IIT, and as many as 20 were placed in permanent jobs, including leading banks HDFC and ICICI.

Child Welfare Committee- Adilabad, Telangana
For some children, a happy, safe and protected childhood are a distant dream. For the last four years, the Child Welfare Committee-Adilabad has worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality for children in their care. One of two winners in this category, the Committee is comprised of Chairperson Mr Amrith Rao, Mr Srikanth Rao, Mr Miraza Yakoob Baig, Mr Khaja Miya and Ms Mamatha―an unstoppable team that offers a safe environment, rehabilitation and support to children. Together, they have reached out to 5,719 rescued children (2,098 girls and 3,621 boys).
They also work to prevent child labour and have rescued over 300 children, ensuring that 61 offending employers were penalised, counselled and made liable to support the education of the children. They restore hope among children rescued from a life of labour, and provided 943 children (422 girls and 521 boys) with books, bags and uniforms to attend school regularly.
Additionally, they set up temporary schools in the vicinity of care homes to improve enrolment and attendance. A total of 1,924 students (628 girls and 1,296 boys) who had dropped out have been re-enrolled in school, having benefited from individual attention and a safe environment to be re-introduced to formal learning. At the school, children are encouraged to share their grievances in a complaint box called the ‘Magic Box’, which is opened regularly to resolve given issues.
As their area has a high drop-out rate of students, they also undertake door-to-door visits to counsel parents to enrol their children, especially girls, in school. They have conducted 128 sessions on child rights and legal remedies to raise public awareness.
In the course of their work, they have handled cases of 1,400 differently abled children (525 girls and 875 boys) who were abandoned by their parents. Responding to this, they also work to rescue differently abled children and place them in homes and facilities where they receive the care and attention they deserve and there are provisions for adoption. To deter further cases of abandonment, the committee also runs awareness programmes on caring for children with special needs.
The CWC-Adilabad has made tremendous strides in child care and protection. Dedicated to the cause, they continue to collaborate with the Police, Women and Child Welfare Development Department, Railway Department, Labour and Education Departments and more, to positively impact the lives of children.

Child Welfare Committee-Mumbai City-II, Maharashtra
The Child Welfare Committee-Mumbai City-II is transforming the lives of underserved children in Mumbai, Maharashtra, one child at a time. Chairperson Mr Vjay Diapode, Ms Nanda, Ms Christine and Ms Helen are living embodiments of the principle that every child deserves love, and this informs everything they do. One of two winners in the category, they have supported a total 1,578 cases, among which they counselled 1,303 children and their parents and reunited them; deemed 24 children eligible for institutional care, sponsorship and adoption; and placed 93 children under the ‘Bal Sangopan Yojana’ (a State Government run programme which provides alternate family care to children in difficult circumstances).
Understanding the trauma and pain associated with sexual exploitation, they have been a pillar of support for a 100 child survivors, especially girls, counselling them and striving to sensitise all stakeholders including the Police, NGOs, schools and community members to ensure that every single case is taken seriously.
Taking a partnership approach, the committee has linked itself with a network of 25 NGOs, the Secretariat of Women and Child Development Department, State Government, Juvenile Justice High Court Committee, Railway Police, Railway Ticket Collectors as well as the District Commissioner of Police and Assistance Commissioner of Police, who frequently visit and extend their support in coordinating activities with the Committee.
Taking this further, they were able to impart professional training on the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 to 200 police personnel, sensitising them on how to engage with children from different socio-economic backgrounds. Given the increasing number of single parent households in the area, they also sensitised 33 police personnel and networked NGOs on related issues and challenges, providing 60 single parents with assistance from 13 NGOs by appointing them as Supervision Personnel, in case parents exhibited difficulties in handling their child on their own.
The work of the Committee to rehabilitate the victims of child labour has also garnered media attention, for good reason. Among other things, they have been instrumental in facilitating National Saving Certificates in the name of rescued child labourers, paid for by offending employers who were also penalised by law.
The CWC-Mumbai City-II has built a safe environment for children, in which they grow and thrive. There is no higher testament to their work than the happiness of the children they serve.

Award stages and process

  • Stage 1: Award roll-out: Nominations invited from 21 states across 8 categories on May 17, 2019
  • Stage 2: Nomination forms are uploaded to online MIS dashboard by June 18, 2019.
    Grant Thornton screens all submitted nominations and shortlists for Regional Jury Review
  • Stage 3: Regional Jury screens and shortlists nominations in 8 categories through an online process by July 2, 2019.
  • Stage 4: National jury identifies 9 national winners on July 12, 2019.
  • Stage 5: Winners felicitated at Awards Ceremony on August 9, 2019, in New Delhi.

The Jurors

The jury composition included academician, I/NGO chief functionary, social activist/writer/journalist, CSR head/representative, bureaucrat/secretary/deputy secretary of a national level ministry.

The National Jury

Name Designation Organisation
Ms. Stuti Kacker Chairperson National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
Mr. Gyanendra Pandey Editor Dainik Bhaskar
Mr. Lov Verma Union Secretary (Retired) Empowerment of People with Disabilities
Ms. Sonali Khan Managing Director Sesame Workshop India

The Regional Jury

Name Designation Organisation
Mr Debasis Rath Director Rural and Urban Sociocultural Help (RUSH)
Ms Ganta Hymavathi Chairperson Andhra Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights
Mr Harihar Naik Member Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Dr Madhu Bala State Programme Officer Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA)
Dr Meeta Singh Former Head Gender Resource Unit, Rajasthan
Dr Neena Pandey Director, Field Work and Placement Department of Social Work, University of Delhi
Mr Puneet Kumar Mishra Director Directorate of Women Welfare, Department of Women and Child Development, Uttar Pradesh
Mr Rahul More Divisional Deputy Commissioner Women And Child Development Department, Konkan Division, Government of Maharashtra
Ms Rashmi Rekha Bhuyan Assistant Director Assam State AIDS Control Society
Ms Salam Udita Devi General Secretary Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+)
Ms Shefali Saxena Manager, Human Resources Crocs India Private Limited
Mr Suresh Trustee Manchi Pusthakam Publications

Plan India Impact Awards Booklet


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