Community Development - Programs
In line with the mission of the Community Development Division (CDD), our goal is to help the growth of economically and socially marginalized women of Anupshahar. With much thought and consideration of what initiatives would thrive, be replicable as well as be sustainable in this rural area, using its own resources, we have initiated the following projects that are still in their early stages of implementation.
Health, Hygiene and Sanitation Program (HHSP)
Our goal is to improve basic health, hygiene and sanitation for all women and children in 60 identified villages of Anupshahar over the next 3 years. The plan includes extensive knowledge and financial support from Sir Dorabji Tata & Allied Trust. The following are our objectives, activities and expected outcomes for the next 3 years.
Dairy MicroenterprisesBest Practices Program: Education and Implementation
India has the lowest milk productivity in the world but the potential to increase milk production is very high, especially for women in rural India who handle cattle on a daily basis. Our Best Practices Program (BPP) will cover the milk animals of all the women members of the established Self Help Groups (SHGs). This is the base level program, which will cover the largest number of women in the overall Dairy Wealth Creation Initiative. BPP covers a number of subprograms, details given below, which together will have a significant impact on a large number of women; not just restricted to education, but also implementation of the best practices, will result in higher production of milk at a reasonably lower per unit price.
The Best Practices Program was initiated through the survey process where the Community Development Team gathered information from our SHG women on how much cattle they own, the amount of milk being produced, how they care for their animals, the amount of money spent on them, etc. We intend to have a team of veterinarians, cattle management professionals and village level workers who will deliver services and are responsible to implement the core teachings of the BPP. Our preference is to recruit local women for the village level roles. These personnel will be sent for the necessary training to institutes including National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF), etc.
The following subprograms will be supported in this part of the project:
1) Cheaper & Better Fodder
2) Improved Veterinary Support
3) Better Yard Management
4) Breed Improvement Through Artificial Insemination
5) Insurance Of Animals
6) Financing of Better Quality Animals
7) Inter-loaning to Reduce Dependence on Dudhiyas
Bulk Milk Chiller
This program will use the collective strength of bulk milk available to the large number of SHG members to maximize the price realization through collective bargaining and direct market linkages eliminating middlemen.
The bulk milk chiller (BMC) will be installed in a central location taking into account the availability of surplus milk within the area where the women of the SHGs live.It will be our effort to have a partnership with socially aware milk corporates who will buy the milk for its commercial objectives but will be conscious of its social role.
The milk from the individual households will be transferred by the SHG members to the BMC, or will be collected by a centralized team. It will be tested for fat and solid not fat (SNF) to determine the milk price at that given time. The milk pooled will be held in the BMC until it is transported to the milk partner.
Some women from the SHGs may not be able to participate in the BMC project as they may not have surplus milk, all will nothave milk producing cattle, some may be forced to sell to the dudhiyas (middlemen) or location may not be in scope of the logistical arrangements proposed.
Value Added Products
The Value Added Products (VAP) Program is intended to create jobs and additional sources of income for women in the village. We will have a series of milk-based microenterprises that will convert the milk into various milk products like paneer, khoya, ghee, protein enriched biscuits, etc. Each microenterprise will be owned by participating SHG members and will work in coordination with other microenterprises of the Shakti Sangathan. They will have common activities like purchase of raw materials, quality control of the products, supply chain, logistics and marketing linkages.
While each enterprise will be owned by and employ only a few women, in aggregate a large number of women will be covered and work as a virtual entity. The number of women who will process these products will be less than the number of women noted in the BMC subprogram, as not all milk will be converted into value added products. From a perspective of financial impact assessment, the assumption is for the program to cover 20% of the total milk pooled resulting in a 25% increase in income.
The Demonstration Dairy Program will showcase the best practices of managing a modern, commercial dairy farm and provide a vision for the future to the women. It will encourage the women to cooperate amongst themselves and unite for their common goals;to form micro dairy farms and situate the animals away from their homes. This will improve the sanitation of their home and free space to growfruits and vegetables for personal consumption. It will also centralize the resources to support the modern dairy plant. The Demonstration Dairy and BPP will have numerous synergies of resources, veterinary redundancies, fodder production, best nutrition supplement purchases, breed improvement for the community animals and more.
The Demonstration Dairy will produce milk of high quality standards, in line with US FDA (United States Food & Drug Administration) standards and sell it at as a premium product.
The demonstration dairy will have women as shareholders but will be professionally managed by a professional team. The amount of women involved in the dairy farm will be less than the women under program 3, performing value added product processing.
The dairy farm is expected to start as a pilot of 100 cows. Land for a larger farm has been identified and we are in discussion with potential knowledge and implementation partners.
Non-Dairy Wealth Creation InitiativeAgarbatti
Offering of agarbatti (incense sticks) is a part of the traditional Hindu practice during prayers in temples, business, homes and other places of worship. India is the largest producer of agarbatti in the world. Due to the improvement in quality of making incense and the wide range of options India has to offer in this industry, the demand for agarbatti is increasing both in the domestic and export markets.
In this model presently under finalization, CDD will work in association with an organization called Nav Chetna, who will help in setting up the raw agarbatti (without fragrance) units in identified villages, procuring machines, providing raw material, technical assistance, marketing of the finished goods, researching of sales channels, hand holding and any kind of support required for a period of time until the women running the units become self-reliant.
The pilot project is expected to start with SHG members from two SHGs in a few villages who will be trained to make the agarbattis through pedal machines. Once the pilot succeeds, we intend to further implement more agarbattis units after 6 months.
Women’s Rights & EntitlementsIn collaboration with SHG women we take up individual woman cases with the government departments to access specific rights and entitlements. It is expected that with the growing strength in SHG membership, sustained pressure and capacity to report fraudulent malpractices, these women will be taken more seriously by the local government functionaries in a short to medium time frame. The current rights & entitlementsthat are receiving our and Shakti Sangathan attentionare:
Agriculture for MenAnupshahar, our area of operation, has no history of cooperative action by communities, for the past hundreds of years. Our platforms of women, be they the SHGs, Clusters or Shakti Sangathan are working in cooperation with common purposes. They are being motivated and given the confidence to change this mindset and bring about far reaching social change. They will be the leaders of this transformation by example for the men to follow; this is a dream which we are helping the women to have. After the women’s initiatives have shown visible results and the microenterprises are established and fruitful, we expect to involve the men of the villages in similar initiatives forincome generation activities. The first initiative will be agriculture for men, especially for the small, marginal farmers with fragmented landholdings.The intention is to introduce best practices of farming through collaboration with knowledge partners and market linkages. In time, collective activity and modified cropping would be introduced.