Goa-based Sangath wins $350,000 MacArthur grant

April 11th, 2008 - 1:00 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 11 (IANS) Sangath, a Goa-based public health institution focussing on 350 million children and youth, is one among eight organisations in six countries that has won the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Announcing the award Thursday, Chicago based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation said Sangath would use its $350,000 grant to build a new centre for its clinical, training, and research work.

Foundation president Jonathan Fanton said: “From its founding, the MacArthur Foundation has sought out people and organisations that have the creativity, energy and breadth of vision to change the world for the better.

“These imaginative and influential small organisations have an impact altogether disproportionate to their size. They are addressing problems and injustices, finding fresh solutions, and proving themselves as leaders and innovators.”

On June 12, winners will be honoured at an awards ceremony at the foundations’ headquarters in Chicago. It will also host seminars to highlight the work of these organisations.

The MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grant making institution dedicated to building a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. With assets of $6.8 billion, the foundation makes grants of approximately $260 million each year.

Goa based Sangath’s mission is to carry out innovative research to promote healthcare. India has 350 million people aged between 10 and 24 whose well-being is crucial to the future of the subcontinent, the foundation said in a profile of the Indian organisation.

Sangath also directly provides services, counselling, and models of healthcare for Goa residents. Ultimately, its goal is to enable children and adolescents make a successful transition to adulthood.

Founded in 1996 with a staff of seven, Sangath is now the largest and most successful health-related NGO in Goa, with more than 80 employees providing services, conducting research, and running training programmes.

Its managing committee includes a lawyer and writer, a psychiatrist, a medical epidemiologist, an educationist, a child rights author, and a leading journalist - testimony to the breadth of its vision.

Sangath’s strategy is threefold: it runs projects with children and youth in schools, in the community, and through its clinical services it conducts research on the factors that affect children and young people’s health outcomes, including their families, schools, communities, and service providers; and it assists individuals and institutions to conduct projects and research.

Sangath has run training programmes on child and youth health and mental health, designed for both health workers and academics; the first type to reach children and youth affected by developmental, emotional or behavioural health problems and the second to equip researchers. The programmes have proved robust and popular in both urban and rural settings in Goa.

Landmark research studies include work on the link between maternal depression and child malnutrition. These findings and other research carried out by Sangath, have led to policy change at the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies concerned with maternal and mental health, the profile said.

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