Sibal to launch program initiated by Australia-India Institute, Indian NGOs

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Australia-India Institute today announced its new programme with Indian NGO Asha and the Nossal Institute for Global Health called A New India-Australia Partnership to Support the Aspirations of Delhi’s Urban Poor.

The programme is the first of the Australia India Institute’s collaborative research projects to be launched in India. The Institute has funded 40 projects for 2011 across its six priority areas of resources and environment, regional relationships, health, education, contemporary India and economics and business.

Australia’s High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese said “The Australian Government has been proudly associated with the excellent work of ASHA for several years. This new partnership with the Australia India Institute and Australia’s Nossal Institute for Global Health will expand cooperation in research, education and community engagement. It is a unique initiative and I congratulate the Australia India Institute for its support of the inspiring work of ASHA in empowering slumommunities, especially through education.”

A New India-Australia Partnership to Support the Aspirations of Delhi’s Urban Poor is a programme that will operate in the three areas of research, education and community engagement.

The Australia India Institute/Asha/Nossal Institute programme will be launched by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at the Habitat Centre on Wednesday.

The project, The Asha Model: an analysis of the impact and contribution of the Asha project to slum communities in Delhi is funded by the Australia India Institute and will be conducted by Asha and the Nossal Institute. It will examine and document the critical components of the Asha model which has led to the success of Asha’s work in the Delhi slums over the last 22 years.

Asha was founded in 1988 by Dr Kiran Martin, a paediatrician, as a healthcare programme in a single slum colony in Delhi. Since then Asha has developed a holistic model of slum development that is currently reaching more than 400,000 people in 50 slums, approximately 10 per cent of the New Delhi slum population.

Asha has not only improved the health and environment of the slum residents but its Higher Education programme marks the first time in India’s history that large groups of children from the slums have been admitted to university.

“By providing greater opportunities and improved capacity for Delhi’s urban poor, Asha, the Australia India Institute and the University of Melbourne aim to show that global investment and development requires strengthening of relationships between all sections of society. Furthermore, the strengthening of relationships between Australia and India reflects the mutual benefit and understanding the two countries can gain from cooperation,” Dr. Martin said.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Australia India Institute, the Nossal Institute for Global Health (the University of Melbourne) and the Asha Community Health and Development Society, New Delhi will also be signed at the press conference. It will be signed by the Chairman of the Board of the Australia India Institute, Alex Chernov AO QC, Professor Susan Elliott, Deputy Vice- Chancellor, Global Engagement, The University of Melbourne and Dr Kiran Martin,Founder Director Asha.

The Australia India Institute is a crucial part of the strategic engagement between Australia and India. In recognising both the importance of the relationship and the need for stronger connections between Australia and India the University of Melbourne established the Australia India Institute in 2008.

The institute was officially launched by the then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi on September 1, 2009.

In late 2009, the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) provided just over eight million Australian dollars to the Australia India Institute over three years. (ANI)

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