North East Diocesan Social Service Society


A Brief History North East Diocesan Social Service Society Forum or commonly known as North East Diocesan Social Forum (NEDSF) registered as a voluntary non governmental organisation in 1989-1990 under the societies Registration Act of 1860 at Guwahati has grown from leap to bounce. Much credit to those who had the grid, will power, ingenuity and enthusiasm to start an organization for without that very first step, North East Diocesan Social Forum would not have come into existence. During 1986-1989, under the leadership of Fr P. Remegius & Fr Sebastian Ousepparampil, initiative to start a forum was started. NEDSF was still in the womb, with consultative meetings held in many places for the setting up of a permanent centre and its furtherance. Together with the meetings, implementation of many development programmes and trainings were also going on in an informal way. By the end of 1989, NEDSF started functioning at Bishop’s house in Dimapur with two permanent staff. In 1992, the construction of the permanent centre at Mansai Hills, Kharguli, started with financial support from Cordaid and was finally inaugurated on 23/3/1994. Appointment of the first animator was also seen in this period of growth and by April 1992, the second animator was also appointed. On 23rd march 1994, NEDSF in its new permanent site at Guwahati was inaugurated by Late Shri Hiteshwar Saikia, the chief minister of Assam. The number of staff at the centre also increased to 1 director, 2 animators, 2 office staff, 1 driver & 2 supporting staff at the end of December 1996. In December 1996, staff quarters added to the Forum complex were inaugurated by Archbishop Joseph Mittathany and Fr Jacob Alluckal, the then Director. Newsletter which had been planned twice a year was finally launched in April 1994. In March 1999, Social Forum got its new Director in the person of Fr Joy Pallikunnel. At this juncture, Forum also saw the induction of a new regional coordinator – Sister Mary Alex MMS as the new regional women coordinator. By then, the numbers of staff have also increased to 1 Director, 2 coordinators & other supporting staff, 20 animators at DSSS. In March 2003, Fr Santiago joined the Organisation as Assistant Director. In the same year, new directors were appointed for BAKDIL – Fr Sunny, Bongaigaon – Fr Nicholas, DAN – Fr Chacko, DSSS Imphal – Fr Varghese, Dibrugarh – Fr Ambrose, Tezpur – Fr Philip and GGSSS – Fr Olickal. By July 2003, a five day planning exercise was undertaken to plan for a regional perspective plan and also a draft on vision and mission statement came out. It was during this period that planning and evaluation was done in a scientific manner by inviting experts from outside the region. The new office complex and the lecture cum conference hall were inaugurated and blessed by Archbishop Mittathany. North East Diocesan Social Forum in its capacity as a non profit making NGO has been working in many areas of development and tries its best to reach all corners of the region in order to achieve its vision of “a society where people live in unity in diversity based on gospel values of justice and love”. The Forum organized its strategic planning workshop from 24th to 27th March 2003 and formulated its three year action plan to commence from July 2003. As a follow up to the strategic planning, significant initiatives were taken to kick start dynamic involvement of the forum in capacity building through well planned and productively delivered training programmes covering many of the key areas of social development process and initiatives were started in trainings, workshops & seminars. In July 2005, Fr Santiago took up the immensely challenging responsibility of directorship and Rev Lumen Monteiro, Bishop of Agartala, as the new chairman of NEDSF. During this period many projects were undertaken by NEDSF in collaboration with its partners on • Capacity building of NEDSF, DSSS and other NGOs • Gender & Development • Community Based Disaster Management • Peace & Development • CDN (Child Development & Nutrition Project) • IDEA (Integrated Development through Empowering Action) • Health Work, North East India • Human Rights Education (HRE) in North East India While giving main thrust on the above projects, several other projects were also taken up by NEDSF separately on a pilot basis like Animation & Development Advocacy & Lobby Natural Resource Management Behavior Change Communication (BCC) for Reduction of Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Rate Identification of NGOs for networking for polio and routine Immunization in Assam Polio eradication and improving immunization in Assam The facilities at the centre has been utilised extensively not only by NEDSF but also by many other organisations through the years with its peak in 2007-2008 which obviously speaks of the centre’s service quality & popularity. Increase in the number of programmes conducted at NEDSF both in-house as well as others grows from strength to strength as it increased to 80 in numbers in 2008-2009. Several publications were brought out during this period which were distributed and to mention some 1. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 2. Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles 3. Understanding Law 4. Workmen’s Rights 5. Case Studies on Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Collaboration 6. A Comparative Study of People’s Level of Disaster Preparedness in CBDP Programme Villages vis-a-vis Non Programme Villages: January 2008 7. Coping Practices in North East India: 2009 8. Community Based Disaster Preparedness in North East India; A Need Assessment Report: 2009 9. Community and Family Disaster Preparedness; Be Prepared: 2010 10. National Workshop on Peace and Development in North East: 2010