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Gagillapur: More than just a location for Shakti Hörmann

The social commitment of the Hörmann Group in India

Shakti Hörmann and Gagillapur

In 2012, the Hörmann Group acquired the leading Indian door manufacturer Shakti Met-Door. In the following years the company was modernised, expanded and renamed Shakti Hörmann. In a fairly short time, the company premises, the operational buildings and the production facilities have been adapted to European standards.

The aerial photo from 2014 shows Shakti Hörmann with view of Gagillapur, the location
of the company (top right in the background).

Gagillapur is a growing community with a population of some 6000 inhabitants
about one hour from Hyderabad city of 8 million and capital of the southern Indian state of Telangana. (see also:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gagillapur)

Several of the 300 Shakti Hörmann employees working there now come directly from Gagillapur or its immediate vicinity. The infrastructure of the village cannot be compared with European conditions. But it is by no means poor by Indian standards.

Gagillapur street scenes

 

The inhabitants of Gagillapur consist of various population groups (castes, clans etc.). There are immigrant groups from different Indian states. The population that is Catholic is unusually high. The habitations comprising the village are also spread out, leading to difficulty in treating the village as a whole. Consequently, the sense of community is very weakly developed.

The poorer population of Gagillapur has no access, or only limited access, to adequate housing, clean drinking water, functional schools and developed healthcare. Most of this population is concentrated in one habitation, and is typically comprised of migrants from other states.

Existing initiatives and reorientation of the social commitment

Initially, Hörmann continued the development projects which had been realised by the previous owners of the company at the request of the community.

One of the main improvements through the help of this funding was the village's water supply.

However, the company soon decided to combine its urgent aid commitment with a carefully designed, long-term contribution to the social and cultural development of the site.

“With the commitment in Gagillapur, Hörmann is breaking new grounds in the area of corporate social responsibility. In contrast to earlier projects in which specific buildings or acquisitions were financed, this time we would like to set a process in motion with the goal of sustainably developing the Gagillapur community on all levels.” (Martin J. Hörmann)

It became clear that a two-way learning process was required and that the company had to provide significant financial resources as early as the planning stage.
Among other things, the reorientation of the company's social commitment was made ready in 2014 by establishing contacts with key representatives of the Gagillapur administration and civil society.

February 2014: Martin J. Hörmann makes enquiries on location. He is informed by Srinivas Naik, the Head of Gagillapur Government and other Gagillapur leaders about the needs of the community.

June 2014: Martin J. Hörmann visits the new Catholic church in Gagillapur, which was built with donations from India and international aid. Father Antony guides him through the spacious, nearly completed interior of the church.

Encouraged by the many years of successful project orientated aid in neighbouring Myanmar, Hörmann now turns towards a long-term development initiative coordinated with the regional and local government and fully financed by Hörmann.

The capacities of the existing self-help associations which are made up of the individual population groups are explored on location. They should be included in the planning from the very beginning. Essentially, the institutional architecture at the village level consists of the Government department functionaries, the local self-Government and the community (represented by the Self Help Groups, and other civil society action groups).  The intention is to support the interaction of these three institutions by providing technical and financial support where required. This is intended to result in the leveraging of human resources and funding from other sources such as the Government and other corporations.

Lorenz Pohlmeier

Initial planning and contractual agreements

In order to execute the project, which today bears the name “Mission Gagillapur”, a reliable Indian organisation was needed. Lorenz Pohlmeier, former employee of the World Bank and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), is participating on behalf of the Hörmann Group in the development of the project as an advisor and organiser.

In 2015 the renowned Indian development agency APMAS was commissioned to perform
a preliminary sociological study. They had already had practical experience with other village development projects. The organisation, located in Hyderabad, maintains good relationships with both the regional government and local groups. They are familiar with working together with local self-help groups.

Dr K. Raja Reddy from APMAS consults with official and de facto leaders of the village.
At the beginning of the year APMAS presented a report. This included the first developed planning steps based on an initial survey of the demographic, economic and socio-cultural conditions of Gagillapur.

Hörmann then commissioned APMAS to design “Mission Gagillapur” and implement it in individual, practical development stages. To this end, in May 2016, Hörmann signed a formal cooperation agreement.

Martin J. Hörmann and K. Madhava Rao, Chairman of APMAS, at the contract signing

In turn, APMAS entered an agreement with the district government giving “Mission Gagillapur” an official, governmentally welcomed and supported status.

Signing ceremony on the occasion of the agreement between APMAS and the Ranga Reddy district. Participants (from right): Sri M. Raghunandan Rao, District Collector, K. Madhava Rao, Chairman of APMAS, C.S. Reddy, APMAS General Secretary, (obscured) Martin J. Hörmann and Lorenz Pohlmeier

The first practical phase of “Mission Gagillapur” began in March 2016.

In May 2016, the water treatment system becomes operational again
(in centre, from left: C.S. Reddy, APMAS, and Martin J. Hörmann)

The advanced stage of “Mission Gagillapur” is launched in the summer of 2016 with the actual integration of local institutions. Many of the nearly 60 active self-help groups in Gagillapur have committed themselves to collecting savings deposits and awarding small loans to their members.

Development work on location and its representatives

Lorenz Pohlmeier learns about current questions at a credit self-help group in Gagillapur.

Lorenz Pohlmeier visits one of the girl's schools in Gagillapur.

“Team Gagillapur” is represented on site by Chandrasekhar Goud, a kind of “village monitor”, who keeps track of the concerns of the population, informs them and together with them determines the priorities.

A meeting between Chandrasekhar Goud (centre with dark shirt) and one of the self-help groups in Gagillapur

As a co-worker of Lorenz Pohlmeier, Mrinalini Shastry is charged by Hörmann with cultivating the connection with “Team Gagillapur”.

Mrinalini Shastry (right)

Mrinalini Shastry with a group of children and talking with women from Gagillapur

“Team Gagillapur” is dedicated to initiatives with a variety of issues and objectives:

(Kopie 1)

In a primary school...

…. medical care in collaboration with a neighbouring hospital

…..tree plantation open areas in the village to increase green cover

......at an event with young people on the topic of “Qualifications for the job market”

….during the “Making our community cleaner” campaign

With its commitment, Hörmann hopes to initiate and develop a comprehensive, long-term and sustainable process in the immediate vicinity of its factory. In order to achieve this, a “Village Development Committee” was formed and is being actively capacitated and supported.

A part of this process is to provide access to the existing state, social and support programmes to the poorer population groups in the village.

Perseverance is required.

In future years much will depend on those responsible in the village and the community to keep pushing this process forward independently and continuing the development.