Empowered Communities foster climate adaptive agriculture and livelihood (Ujjivana) project is a vital demonstration that seeks to invent and deploy innovative and context-appropriate initiatives, and highly localized content that lead to economic and social development and through this, create innovative models for rural farming and non-farming communities.
Information is an important resource and is essential for progress of a nation. When it comes to villages, the value and need of information spirals because India lives in its villages. Access to right kind of information to the villagers resolves various problems faced by individuals. Ujjivana’s Village Information Centre model is one such model that empowers people with access to information. Lack of information deprives the poor and the marginalized people of their rights.
As a part of bringing about a consequential change in the lives of the targeted villages, Ujjivana project has three information centers – Honnapur, Aravatagi and Benachi of the newly established Alnavar taluka. The farming community are attracted to information on agriculture, agro-based livelihood opportunities, schemes and entitlements from government and non-government avenues, seeds, manure, organic farming, tools and equipments, loans and other monetary and non-monetary benefits. Similarly, the non-farming families are attracted to other jobs such as MGNREGA compulsory employment, RTI, RTE, skill development, government jobs’ applications and overall career and other financial security information.
The villagers of the aforementioned villages were inspired by BDSSS’ sensitization, capacity building, advocacy network and emphasis on the need of these information centers. Many of them were left out crucial information on village development, government schemes related to socio-economic progress because of lack of information. To enable holistic people led development, it was inevitable for BDSSS to prompt a model where people come together and drive information access for each other. Hence the Village Information Centre (VIC) was put up. The volunteers were trained on MGNREGA, RTI, RTE, Agro-based skills, POCSO, government schemes, leadership training, conflict and anger management, personality development and other unique personality development traits, communication skills and online and offline application filling to make them fully equipped of running these centers.
Buoyed by the success of these centers, 300 families attained government schemes under departments such as Ambedkar Nigam, Labour Dept., MGNREGA, Dept. of Women and Child Development, Raita Sampark Kendra (RSK)1, etc. The VIC also acts as a library for the village where newspapers, books are put up for the villagers to come, read and enhanced their knowledge. The farmers and the SHG members, under the aegis of the trained volunteers are being handheld to take this forward autonomously post withdrawal of the project. The results until now have been favorably good. As of now, one centre at Aravatagi has been handed over to the panchayat. The project has created an SHG federation under NRLM which will use the VIC for information dissemination and federation operations in the coming days.
We take this opportunity to wish the people of Honnapur, Aravatagi and Benachi all the very best for their time and energy for this initiative. We believe that people led development is successful only when people of the community take ownership of the community based organizations and bodies established in the best interests of the community.