Radio Program on FM Nashik

Title: "NaReGa chi Saath Dakhvil Pragatichi Vaat"

Part 15: On Air Dated 5th April 2017

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Partnering with People for Development


Our primary concern is rural poverty. There are more poor living in rural India than in urban areas. Most of the poor living in rural India are the small and marginal rainfed farmer families and the landless families. We believe that we need to develop solutions that create the enabling environment for the poor to break out of the poverty trap. We also strongly believe that ultimately it is the mandate of the Government to support the poor in their efforts to move out of poverty.

Pragati Abhiyan has been working for more than a decade, since 2006. We have had a journey full of sincere and concerted efforts. We work with the small and marginal rainfed farmers, tribal families. We are now spread across around 100 villages of 7 Blocks of 3 districts – Nashik, Thane and Palghar.

We have worked to get the Government programs reach the intended. We have worked to devise programs to address the needs of the community which do not have any Government response. We have worked to build evidence through research to articulate need for changes in Government policies. We have worked with the Government to bring change for development.

Making Government program reach

For last ten years we have worked on social security programmes like MGNREGA and Food Security Act and Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).Our organization helps the people in villages to access and utilize these schemes which are meant for them. The implementation of these programmes is problematic and hence we provide the necessary information to the beneficiaries. At the same time we share the experiences of the beneficiaries to appropriate Government agencies to bring about required changes in implementation mechanism.

Capacity Building

It is imperative that we have substantive training/capacity building programs with the villagers. These serve the basic purpose of gaining knowledge, skills and aptitude and perspective. More importantly, the process helps in building confidence. We have been taking up training programs regarding the function of GPs and functioning of various government programs.  These training programs help them to realize the benefits of Government programs. This makes them good citizens and get active in the process of Gram Panchayat.

We have been making reading and reference material to make the Government programs simpler to understand and utilize for the villagers. We keep updating the same as required.

Livelihoods

We have also experimented with small farmers growing horticulture in building their capacities for better management for their small farms. Pomegranate growing farmers across state of Maharashtra were given information, knowledge and skills for improved management of their farms in terms of use of water, use of fertilizers (organic and inorganic), natural pesticides and also marketing. This helped them enhance their productivity, decrease production costs and get better returns for their produce.

We have now started working on Revival of Millets. Finger Millet ( Nagali/Nachani/Ragi) is grown in the tribal regions. This is a traditional crop with high nutrient value. But it has been loosing its productivity. We worked with farmers with a set of new Package of Practices to enhance productivity. Last year we worked on 100 acres across 9 villages with 150 farmers this year we are working on 1000 acres, around 2000 farmers and across more than 50 villages of three districts.

Advocacy

Our Advocacy efforts have been in multiple ways; one is writing on issues in vernacular and English print media, two, working on studies to being forth a point for discussion with Government and also dialogue with the Government officials. We have worked closely with the Government to share our experiences, to share the likely solutions to the problems as experienced on the ground.Our studies and articles are available on our website.

Action Research

We have been involved in research to support our efforts of improving Government’s schemes. The programs needs to improve its implementation mechanism to be effective. We take small quick assessments to build evidence for our Advicacy efforts.

We have also collaborated with University of British Columbia, Economics Department, with Monash University Australia, with Indian Statistical Institute Delhi, with Indian School of Business, Hyderabad to name a few in their rural development research.

Our approach

One : -Work on the present rural poverty programmes related to livelihood, to make it reach the intended people and also study and suggest improvements in implementation mechanism of the program for effective implementation.

Two:- We realize that there is potential in enhancing the productivity of farming and allied activities of the small and marginal rainfed farmers. There is a need to work out an entire package of activities to achieve this.

Three:- There is a need to work with village youth and with villagers who are part of the Panchayat Raj system. If there are enough local community persons who are equipped to understand how the Government works, how they have a right to know the functioning of the government program to know where the schemes are going and that they get their locus standi directly from constitution. Then they can actively and responsibly participate in the functioning of local government, they can interact with local administration to make the schemes reach the intended poor, marginalized and disadvantaged sections of society.

Video made by Anand Pagare a video volunteer on Pragati Abhiyan

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