Partnering with People for Development

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Radio Program on FM Nashik: NaReGa chi Saath Dakhvil Pragatichi Vaat

Part 15: On Air Dated 5th April 2017

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Partnering with People for Development

Pragati Abhiyan's 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 small and marginal rainfed farmer families and landless families. We work towards developing solutions that create an enabling environment for the poor to break out of the poverty trap by making government programs reach the intended, devising programs which address the needs of communities which do not have any government response and build evidence through research to articulate need for changes in policy. Underlying our work is the strong belief that it is ultimately the mandate of the Government to support the poor in their efforts to move out of poverty. In action since 2006, our journey has been full of sincere and concerted efforts. Working with small and marginal rainfed farmers and tribal families, we are now spread across and active in around 100 villages of 7 Blocks of 3 districts – Nashik, Thane and Palghar.

Making government programs reach

For last ten years we have worked on social security programs like MGNREGA, 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 programs by the government authorities is slow, inefficient and the schemes do not always reach the intended beneficiaries. Hence, we empower the beneficiaries by providing necessary information about availing of these programs and share their experiences to the appropriate government agencies to bring about required changes in implementation mechanism.

Capacity Building

We take up various training and capacity building programs with people in villages which focus on gaining knowledge, skills, aptitude and different perspectives. The training programs revolve around the functions of Gram Panchayats and various government programs. In the process, we also make reading and reference material regarding the schemes simpler and more accessible. These training programs build confidence among the people, help them access and avail of the benefits of various governmental programs and instill a sense of active and meaningful participation in the processes of Gram Panchayats.

Livelihoods

We work with small and marginal farmers growing a wide variety of crops and engaged in horticulture to build their capacities for better management, empowering them with information, skills and resources. Our work with pomegranate growing farmers across the state of Maharashtra revolved around giving information, knowledge and skills for improved management of their farms in terms of use of water, 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 also work on reviving millets. Finger Millet (Nagali/Nachani/Ragi) is a traditional crop with high nutrient value grown in the tribal regions of Maharashtra. Over the years, it has been losing its productivity. We worked with farmers with a set of new 'Package of Practices' to enhance productivity.

Advocacy

We write on issues which plague the rural populations in vernacular and English print media, work on studies which being forth voices of the marginalized to induce dialogue with the government and government officials. We work closely with the government to share the likely solutions which emerge from our work on the ground. These studies and articles are available on our website.

Action Research

The implementation mechanisms of government programs need to be more effective, speedy and sensitive. We take small, quick assessments to build evidence for our advocacy efforts and are involved in evidence based research to aid our efforts of improving government schemes. We have also collaborated with different research hubs like the Economics department of the University of British Columbia, Monash University Australia, Indian Statistical Institute, Indian School of Business, etc. in their rural development research.

Our approach

We work on the present rural poverty programs related to livelihood to make them reach the intended people and also study and suggest improvements in the implementation mechanisms of the program.

We realize that there is immense potential in enhancing the productivity of farming and allied activities of the small and marginal rainfed farmers. We work out 'Package of Activities' to achieve this.

There is a need to work with villagers, especially youth who are part of the Panchayat Raj system. If there are enough local community persons who understand their rights and know that they get their locus standi directly from constitution, active, agential and responsible participation in the functioning of local government can be ensured. When people know how the government works, and that they have a right to know the functioning of the government programs and to know how the schemes are being designed and disbursed, they can interact with local administration to make the schemes reach the intended poor, marginalized and disadvantaged sections of society.

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