Hello, we are the GEN

That's the Grassroots Empowerment Network..



Who We Are

GEN is a UK based charity that works in India to alleviate poverty.

We provide resources to assist grass-root organisations whom we form partnerships with, to fulfil their development goals. With GEN’s help, our partners can deliver project initiatives in collaboration with those village groups which are most-in-need.

GEN has sponsored the creation of an Indian-based NGO, END POVERTY, who, since their founding in 2009, have built a programme of literacy, income generation for women, and support for farmers with agriculture and horticultural improvements, including upgrading their dairying practices. In addition, working on a wide range of rural and village development activities.

GEN works with communities to support and empower individuals and groups to identify their community goals. We then help them to achieve them.

Sue Burke  Chairperson, theGEN

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ACC Mithiyawas with Vimla, Rani, Surender Kaur in action…

Our Work

We, through our partners at END POVERTY, are focused on a group of villages in the Tijara Block of Alwar District, Rajasthan. The community is mainly engaged in agriculture and dairy with 40% living below the poverty line and needing education, skills and income support.

We support the community through the following methods...

More about END Poverty

END POVERTY is an NGO launched by theGEN, and all of our work is done in collaboration with them.


Headed by Vinod Kaushik, they aim to improve the quality of life in rural areas by focusing on creating self-sustaining development programmes which maximise social impact. These programmes are centred around improving agriculture and horticulture, in addition to village development as a whole. Schemes to empower women and girls alike have also become a focal point in recent times

Learn more about END Poverty at their website.

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Started in 2010, the intensive Kishori Siksha education programme (KSP) for unschooled adolescent girls, which is supported by GEN and the Pakhar Foundation, and implemented by our Indian partner NGO, End Poverty, has reached over 2100 girls who have completed the course or have recently registered. This accounts for around 18% of the 11595 out of school girls in the Alwar District – a significant achievement, but much more remains to be done!

In early March last year parents who were consulted about the programme said: ‘Our daughters can now manage a household budget. They can keep milk records. They can make phone calls. They can find out useful information. They can help us with filling in forms.’ Good news indeed! Perhaps less politically correct, parents also said that after completing the course the girls are more eligible as marriage partners - an important gain from their perspective! As well as basic literacy and numeracy the programme provides participating girls with income generating skills, such as sewing and horticulture, and with advice on health care and sanitation. It also encourages a love of learning.

A new finding is that EP trained teachers, many of whom teach only one batch of girls for 12 months, are getting job offers because of their EP experience.

The district education authority in Alwar has indicated its satisfaction with the work EP is doing with a population group which has been reluctant to send its girls into mainstream primary education. The reasons for this reluctance? Teachers are usually males, classes are mixed gender, and distance to primary schools is too far for guaranteed safety. With some justification there are also concerns about educational standards in the mainstream system.

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Saroj (right) is a village seamstress in the village of Shekhpur in Rajasthan; This is her story..

Saroj is leader of a group of village women in GEN's handicraft project in the village of Shekhpur in Rajasthan. She has great leadership skills and has persuaded 8 other seamstresses to join her in making very attractive quilted bags they sell to make some independent income. This they use to educate their children, deal with family health problems, and meet other family needs. It has also raised their status in the family and the community. Saroj has been able to do this because her group and at least 10 other groups of women have been supported by a project that GEN funds in a remote rural part of Rajasthan. The women want to upgrade this project.

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GEN and its partner End Poverty (EP) undertake a variety of activities to improve infrastructure and access to government services in response to demand from the villagers. To enable this we have encouraged the formation of Village Development Groups (VDGs) to enable issues to be raised and discussed assess priorities for development at a village level.

Over 50 small infrastructure development projects have been undertaken at the instigation of village development groups supported by EP. These have included providing water pumps, improvement of roads and pathways, building proper boundaries to schools and other public places, improving agricultural production through water management and supply of better plants and seeds.

Women Empowerment Project

In a new initiative 23 Self Help groups of women were formed during the year with 217 women members in the groups. Each member saves @ Rs. 100 – 200 per month. Bank Accounts have been opened for 13 of the groups. By March 2017, 18 groups had saved Rs. 137,400/-. The savings is being used as inter loaning to meet their regular cash requirements as well as emergency funds and credit was provided to 2 local youth for economic activity.

Dairy Development Programme

This has trained 400 farmers in ways of improving milk production to meet national standards. It had become clear through the annual stakeholder meetings that farmers need help in improving their animal productivity and achieve a better price for their milk. Collaborating with ABS India program to improve the breed of dairy over 1980 farmers were supplied with high quality artificial dissemination dosages but were also given training in breed improvement, animal nutrition and animal health.

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To promote sustainability and reduce water consumption in farming, EP is helping farmers to diversify from field crops to horticulture crops. Towards this end, EP’s ‘Plant a Tree for Life’ (PTFL) project is a strategic intervention as horticulture farming gives higher returns, need less water & labour and improves environment & nutrition in family. In year 2018-19, EP distributed a total of 8065 plants to over 143 farmers in 35 villages. The saplings distributed include Guava – 3778, Lemon – 1745, Sweet lime- 921, Pomegranate – 736, Black Berry (Jamun) - 305, JackFruit- 192, Ziziphus (Ber) - 188. In the decade, EP has distributed 35,820 saplings to 680 farmers of which some of them have already reached fruiting stage and farmers have already started selling and realizing better returns from horticulture farming. To further support Tijara farmers that grow fruit and vegetables in sales and marketing of their produce at competitive prices, steps have been taken to register a producer company based on the suggestions from the farmers.

GEN in Figures…

the number of impoverished villages we have reached.

All rely on small scale agriculture and lack many basic services.


Saved by Members

26 Women’s self help groups have been formed since the start of 2017. This has meant a significant reduction in the use of high-interest money lenders to meet urgent family requirements

Village Development Groups (VDGs) have been created.

VDGs are our model for bottom-up development and have made huge local impact by encouraging villager action and self help.

Seamstresses have been trained.

80 of the most active operate in 10 Centres and plans are in place to help them with creating an independent producer company.

Unschooled teenage girls have been reached so far.

This is through a 1 year informal education programme for adolescents who have left school, providing functional reading, writing, numeracy, health and nutrition, art, sport, horticulture and sewing skills, plus confidence building.

Fruit trees distributed

1500 small scale farmers have been able to create small orchards to diversify their cropping practices, making better use of their land.


  • 2016 – We hit a milestone – Alwar Education Department now certifies our informal learning to level 2 of primary, giving girls the option to join formal education or some other form of learning.
  • Village Development Groups and other village initiatives have achieved new toilet blocks, better roads, more water pumps, safety fencing for wells as well as a range of farming improvement initiatives.
  • Girls literacy has increased their self-confidence and respect in the community with life changing impacts that include, contributing to life on family farms and discovering systematic underpayments for milk and successfully claiming refunds.
  • The teachers who provided literacy have become respected leaders in their communities.
  • Income from livelihood activities has enabled families to send their children to school and to tackle family health problems.

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Our Trustees

Sue Burke

Chair of GEN since 2003 but linked with India since the 1980s. I worked with the the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Indian Family Planning Association on 'population education'. I worked with the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Subsequently with the Commonwealth Secretariat I focused on effective community based projects that make a difference.

Anthony Charlwood

I gained an interest in the development of India from several decades of business travel to the country. I became acutely aware that the rising prosperity of the middle class was leaving great swathes of the population behind in poverty. GEN is working to help the Meo community get out of the poverty trap by empowering them to develop their skills and education.

Andrew Picken

I joined Gen because I have spent a career working in international development including four very enjoyable years in India and fourteen in Asia. I have managed large and small scale development projects that have made a real difference to people's lives, particular those involving educational systems and livelihood development.

Shailendra Vyakarnam

Dr Vyakarnam is Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield. He has mentored entrepreneurs and held non-executive directorships of small firms in addition to developing growth programmes for SMEs over several years. From 2003 to 2015 he developed practitioner-led education for entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge Judge Business

Sunetra Puri

I was born and brought up in India. Hence, I have great interest in the work of GEN. To GEN I offer my long experience of working on development issues including women's health and rights, capacity building, communications and advocacy. I gained my experience and expertise working at International Planned Parenthood Federation, The World Bank and other development agencies.

Bet Tickner

I like to do something creative - beading, dressmaking, knitting. I love craft fairs and handmade, individual goods and textiles. I buy Fair Trade goods wherever possible. This is the source of my interest in and commitment to GEN-End Poverty , to help promote their handicrafts project, which works to provide a source of income and employment, and thus empowerment ,for village women.

We would also like to recognise John McCormick, Eric Arnold & Colin Marsh as key contributors to our work in their roles as associates.

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Supporters of GEN

We are grateful for our major supporters who have donated funds in the last 3 years, without whom we would not be able to undertake our work

Miss KM Harbinson Trust

Open Gate Trust

Open Gate Trust

The Public Health Action Support Team (PHAST)

The Saga Charitable Trust

CB and HH Taylor 1984 Trust

The Funding Network

The WF Southall Trust

The Waterloo Foundation

and our many individual supporters who have given more than £6000 through individual donations, sponsored fundraising walks or supported our crowdfunding campaign.