ASSIST is an organisation based in Chilakaluripet working for last 38 years in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

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ASSIST is a micro-level intermediary organization working for the development of disinherited groups in the dry-land region of Prakasam, Bapatla, Palnadu, Guntur, Krishna, Eluru and West Godavari Districts in the State of Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Vikarabad, Nalgonda and Yadadri Bhuvanagiri Districts in the State of Telangana. It was initiated by a group of young and experienced professionals in 1985. With the primary objective of making communities as viable units for their development, a number of developmental activities were formulated and were executed so far with the partnership of respective communities. Being well appreciated the need for people’s participation at every stage of project planning and execution, prior importance was given for the active involvement of target group in realising their needs. Based on planning meetings conducted every year in all target communities, yearly action plan is formulated and is executed in co-operation with government and non-governmental agencies. In the initial years ASSIST played its role of implementer, later it was transformed into a facilitator and now ASSIST has been assuming its role as a guide and trainer in future expecting greater role of villagers. A lot of efforts evolved from people to promote sustainability are under way.

It has been an uphill task for ASSIST, confronting and surmounting the social, economic and political realities within which the NGO sector is operating. However, given these limitations, ASSIST has been endeavoring to explore various possibilities of becoming more relevant to the needs of the disadvantaged poor in its operational areas. Since its inception, having started with certain aims and objectives, the organisation has been on the one hand trying to relate its work to the aims and objectives enunciated and at the same time read signs of the times and respond to emerging challenges.

The key to development impact is to generate a movement from the micro intervention first at the village level followed by regional level and then broader level. As such the strategy evolved by ASSIST has been to begin with the identified target community and involve the whole village. The villages are linked into a region and the regions are linked at the broader level of the district. As such the communities are horizontally linked on account of micro level action, while the villages are linked vertically in terms of awareness and macro response. The methodology is focused to integrate people’s participation with increasing intensity from micro to the broader level.

ASSIST started its involvement with the issue of child labor. Gradually the involvement broadened to address more fundamental problems in the society which have been the root causes of the child labor problem. Hence, even though starting with a child labour rehabilitation programme, the process entailed the generation of people’s movements on some issues like social housing, sanitation, drinking water, community health, savings, credit, income generation, self-reliance and ecology encompassing the whole community, region and district. Disadvantaged social groups such as scheduled tribes, scheduled castes, fishermen and weavers emerged as the main target population.

The operational area consisting of 351 villages spread over the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.


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