When hands don’t toil, they beg. And even when some hands toil, what they get in return is too little. According to the Government of India, the poverty line for the urban areas is Rs. 296 per month and for rural areas Rs. 276 per month, which means Indians who earn less than Rs. 10 per day live below poverty line (BPL). Today, 300 million Indians constitute its BPL population, equivalent to nearly the entire population of the USA. About 60-70 per cent of Jharkhand’s population falls in the BPL category. For KGVK, therefore, ensuring access to sustainable livelihoods in its command area is a daily battle against the BPL tag.
KGVK realized that livelihoods couldn’t be imported in villages; they need to grow organically from within the community to become sustainable income-generating activities.
Our focus therefore was upon:
- Agriculture and dairy enterprises
- Forest-based livelihoods, including lac cultivation
- Vocational training based on rural needs
Our strategy was:
- Mobilizing the community in clusters of self-help groups(SHG)
- Linking the groups to the market through our Trade Facilitation Centre (see Market Linkage)
KGVK has reached 11,542 rural families by organizing them into 786 self-help groups with a total corpus of up to 8.00million INR and has leveraged a total credit of 10.2million INR across 5 districts of Jharkhand – Ranchi, Saraikela-Kharsawan, Palamau, West Singhbhum and Ramgarh — reaching 11,542 rural families.
The main function of SHGs are:
- bringing them into the mainstream development process
- empowering them through various training programs
- establishing fruitful linkages with financial institutions (like banks and insurance companies) and markets
- institutionalizing them into cluster associations
Our implementation agents were:
- KGVK’s Livelihood Teams, which split into Unit Livelihood Teams, including coordinators, managers, village animators and Sahayogis.
On-going activities included:
- Roping in the Livelihood Team to help benchmark all SHGs to upgrade micro-finance, auditing and accounting structures and market linkages
- Holding monthly meetings of particular SHGs with Unit Livelihood Teams to review plans, challenges, solutions and achievements
- Holding Standing Meetings for each Unit Livelihood Team at periodic levels to deliberate strategies
- Developing a QA Chart for Livelihood Promotion (Standard Operating Procedure) to standardize the quality benchmark of all SHGs
- Promotion of teamwork for greater transparency, democracy and ownership
- Developing skills such as budgeting and auditing among SHG members
- Developing farm and non-farm livelihoods such as cultivation of cash-rich crops (baby corn, sweet corn, vetiver, jatropha, stevia), dairy enterprise, manufacturing industrial gloves, candles and phenyl, lac-making, vermicomposting, kitchen gardening, collecting non-timber forest produce like Tendu and Mahua leaves, SRI method of paddy cultivation, among others
Activities successfully concluded were:
- In the financial year 2007-2008, 212 women’s SHGs were promoted in remote villages of Patan Block of Palamu District, Rajnagar Block of Saraikela Kharsawan and Chanho Block of Ranchi District in Jharkhand. The initiative reached the tribal poor, benefiting about 2173 tribal families who had no formal access to credit.
- 140 SHGs have already been associated with the Banks (both commercial and RRBs) by opening savings bank accounts. The loan purpose analysis however indicates over 71% loan disbursed is for health and household consumption.
- Exposure visits to TVM Gurukul and older SHGs of Ramgarh district kindled hope and confidence amongst tribal women.
- More than 100 training sessions were conducted for SHG members. Topics included group norms and values, sharing responsibilities, conducting meetings, managing timelines, bookkeeping and accounting, leadership training and credit appraisal.
- Audit of 43 SHGs was completed by the local audit team (28 SHGs in Saraikela–Kharsawan and 15 SHGs in Palamau)
- Training on audit was imparted to 15 local-level staff
- Concept sharing on introduction of new books of accounts was imparted to 28 SHGs wherein the members agreed to bear 50% of cost of the books
- SHG Mahadhevishan/ Mela was organized on 8th March to celebrate International Women’s Day by Burmu Swa-Shakti Mahila Sangh (conglomerate of 60 SHGs). The SHG members shared their experiences and vowed to carry forward the torch of development. SHG members contributed 35% of the total expenditure of the ceremony.
- Village livelihood committee has been formed in Rukka village of Ormanjhi Block
- Training on vermicomposting was imparted to the members of 2 SHGs in Rukka village, with concept of kitchen garden shared with 15 SHG members
- 10 SHG members initiated to kitchen garden by making a canal, using the water overflowing from the PHED water tanks.
- Training imparted to 40 SHG members from Saranda on book keeping and accounting
- Training imparted to 60 SHG members from Bundu on basic SHG concept.
- Exposure visit organized in Pradan to promote lac cultivation in Khunti for the Palamau team and farmers.
- Activity and task mapping prepared for the livelihood sector as a pre-requisite for promotion of Sahayogis
- Proposal for enhancing socio-economic and health status of adolescent girls for better quality of life presented before the representatives of Packard Foundation, which was highly appreciated
Bridging the Gap!
KGVK totally revamped its Livelihood Teams at the grassroots, ensuring greater transparency and giving greater decision-making powers to self-help members on their choice of livelihood.