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#SwadesBuildingLivelihoods: An Initiative To Support People Of Rural Raigad, Nashik And Creating Self-sustaining Communities

#SwadesBuildingLivelihoods: An Initiative To Support People Of Rural Raigad, Nashik And Creating Self-sustaining Communities

Highlights

  1. #SwadesBuildingLivelihoods aims to raising funds for most needy people
  2. Donations will help build livelihoods of people in rural Raigad, Nashik
  3. The campaign also focuses at creating self-sustaining communities
New Delhi: 

The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus coupled with cyclone Nisarga in Maharashtra has impacted livelihoods, led to a loss of property and reverse migration. The situation continues to be a double whammy for both residents and the reverse migrated families. The people affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and cyclone need both immediate and long-term support. The immediate response that includes providing medical aid and grocery/daily essentials has been addressed by the Swades Foundation that operates with the aim of empowering one million rural Indians every five to six years. The parallel need now is for recovery, to overcome loss sustained and build their livelihoods. The reason being, the struggle to earn still continues for small farmers, daily wagers, migrant workers and other poorest of the poor families.

New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) in collaboration with Swades India, a non-profit organisation has initiated a drive #SwadesBuildingLivelihoods to raise funds to build livelihoods of over 15,000 most needy households (tribal, migrant/daily-wage homes and others, poorest of poor families) in rural Raigad and Nashik districts of Maharashtra.

The aim of the campaign is to create self-sustaining communities as Swades Foundation build their capacities, strengthen inputs and market linkages ensuring that every household earns at least Rs. 2,00,000 per annum through a basket of programs - be it farm based, off-farm or non-farm interventions.

In an effort to raise funds to support the campaign and achieve its end goal of building livelihoods by engaging people into an income generation activity, a two-hour special telethon was organised. The telethon was joined by social workers, experts and international journalists to discuss the issue, how we can build livelihoods and call for the support of the nation.

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The telethon began with understanding the Swades model and the holistic approach it follows in empowering rural Indians. Briefing about their work, and 360-degree holistic model, Zarina Screwvala, Co-Founder, Swades Foundation said,

We want to create a model in rural economy that can lift people from poverty. We deeply believe that poverty is material but also mental. In the last year, we have built 100 village development committees. We deeply believe in collaborative model. We take in consideration the geography and believe in holistic approach of development. We have 1,000 community volunteer. We are grassroots execution foundation. The uniqueness of Swades is 360 degree model.

Adding to this, Ronnie Screwvala, Co-Founder, Swades Foundation said,

Under the 360 degree model we have taken the aspect that if we can connect water, sanitation, livelihood and other things together, we can bring the change.

R S Sodhi, Managing Director of Amul joined the #SwadesBuildingLivelihoods campaign and discussed rural empowerment through dairy and co-operatives. He explained,

100 million rural household are engaged in dairy, poultry, fisheries. It is a 100 billion dollar industry out of which only 30 billion is organised economy. Animal husbandry and dairy is one industry that landless farmers can be engaged in. With cows and buffaloes, any farmers can earn sitting in their village. Farmers can earn Rs.3000 to Rs. 4000 per animal and so with three animals, a farmer can earn about Rs. 10,000 per month.

Surendra Rosha, CEO, HSBC India, also lent his support to the campaign and building livelihoods. He talked about the work on holistic development and its partnership with Swades which began five years ago and said,

Through this we worked with 25,000 people. The project helped taking sanitation to 9,000 families, 50 schools and thousands of children now study in clean environment.

Suresh Prabhu, Former Minister of Commerce and Industry showed his support to the campaign and emphasised on developing villages of India. Talking about the government's skill development programme that aims to create local opportunities for the local people, Mr Prabhu said,

We are now trying to reverse the growth paradigm by making the districts grow first, obviously that will be captured in the national growth. Rather than hoping that national growth will percolate down to the districts. So this is a very new paradigm and we have already started working on it.

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Mr Prabhu highlighted the pivotal role non-governmental organisations like Swades Foundation can play in the development. He said,

Swades and others can work together and make sure that we can develop together - most sustainable livelihoods, most sustainable development model, most sustainable societies and of course therefore, most sustainable possibilities for the future.

At #SwadesBuildingLivelihhoods telethon, Anu Aga, Former Chairperson, Teach For India and Former Chairperson, Thermax Ltd talked about supporting the ‘invisible group' that came to light only due to COVID-19. She also stressed on encouraging NGOs working for the betterment of people in rural areas and lauded Swades Foundation. She said,

Swades is doing that with a unique 360 approach for poverty alleviation. And they started this work way before covid was there. They did this by creating thousand Village Development Committees and truly empowering the community to take on change and take charge of their own lives.

Swades Foundation has been doing a lot of relief work during the COVID-19 pandemic. A part of the relief work was done in collaboration with the Standard Chartered Bank. Talking about the same at the telethon, Zarin Daruwala, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, said,

We tied up with Swades to provide meals to migrant labourers and we have provided over 3.3 lakh meals to the homeless migrant, daily labourers at 30 locations across Mumbai in a six month period.

Along with this, Standard Chartered Bank and Swades are together working on various other projects in the field of education and providing safe drinking water. Swades Foundation is running similar programmes with Aditya Birla World Education Foundation. Through school exchange programmes, they are bridging the urban rural divide and parallely addressing the issue of sanitation, health and hygiene.

#SwadesBuildingLivelihoods telethon was joined by Nidhi Choudhary, District Collector of Raigad. In the past few years, Swades Foundation has worked extensively on water conservation and sanitation activities in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation is focusing on livelihoods and supporting healthcare workers. Elaborating on the same, Ms Choudhary said,

Even during lockdown, Swades worked towards the promotion of self-help groups, dairy, skill building activities for tribals. And it has collaborated with us; it has basically given support through personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and ventilators and other medical equipments for the frontline workers and also government hospitals. So, it has been a very close collaboration with Swades as far as the COVID-19 crisis goes.

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Raigad has a big tribal population and many of the tribals migrated out of the district. Ms Choudhary told that this migration affects tribal children in a big way, it results in malnutrition and hampering of their education and future growth. Ms Choudhary urged people to generously contribute towards wades Building Livelihoods campaign.

Dr R Mashelkar, Former DG, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and Member, Advisory Board, Swades Foundation, lauded the efforts of the organisation and said,

Their idea of trust building within the community so that they participate. Then team building and then aiming at transformation. You know, the trust, team and transform, I think that is another sort of strong force multiplier. And they do it with speed, attain scale and do it with sustainability. 

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Dr Mashelkar called Swades Foundation way ahead of the curve. Sighting an example of the same, Dr Mashelkar said,

On August 15, 2019, our honorable Prime Minister talked about ‘har nal se jal' in terms of water. But if you see, they have already done it several years ago in terms of ensuring that every household gets 200 liters of water. 

At Manika Batra, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee, Table Tennis, urged people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and preserve sensitivity towards the under-privileged sections of the society. She called to find the opportunity in the calamity and said,

I think that the government and private companies should sieze this opportunity and create employment, generating infrastructure in small and medium towns. Emphasis should be on imparting skills and knowledge and not just giving aid.

At #SwadesBuildingLivelihoods, Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Nobel Laureate and Magsaysay Awardee, suggested building an independent rural economy. Recommending three key points in building rural economy, Mr Yunus said,

First, create the ministry of micro-entrepreneurs, design institutions to serve the micro-entrepreneurs to help them to move up. Eliminate loan sharking in the whole country. Create social business micro finance institutions, micro entrepreneur institutions. Thirdly, focus on women. If you can address them in a massive way you'll see how economy will grow and how things will start changing.

Also Read: Nobel Laureate And Magsaysay Awardee Muhammad Yunus On Redesigning Economic Process And Building Rural Independent Economy

Vikas Khanna, Chef, restaurateur, cookbook writer and humanitarian highlighted how skills are more important than education in today's day and age.

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Without skill, education can't help you. You know you have to be in that focused line that you're able to learn a new trick of the trade, he said.

While Chef Vikas Khanna emphasised on building skills, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Former Chairperson, State Bank of India said that in the rural economy, we need to go beyond just agriculture. Ms Bhattacharya also talked about skill based earning and the difference between the rural and urban economy in India. For instance, in urban areas, one can earn by providing services like salon, catering, among others. She also stressed on education as a solution to numerous problems.

Swades Foundation also focusses on building skills and generating livelihood of the people. Talking about the skilling programme, Mangesh Wange, CEO, Swades Foundation, said,

Skilling program of Swades is such that it can help increase income of a family in two to three months. And in one year, a family can increase its income from 1-2 lakh after a youngster of the family get the skill training and is placed somewhere. We keep in touch with these trainees for 2 years, help them with soft skills and in setting up of their business. We have trained over 3,000 people till now.

Zia Mody, Corporate lawyer, Founder & Senior Partner, AZB & Partners & Member, Advisory Board, Swades Foundation donated Rs. 10 lakh for the Swades Building Livelihoods campaign. She acknowledged the on ground work of team Swades.

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The people on the grassroot know the problems of their people. Very often people who come from the outside and don't get the real day to day problems. The people from that area will provide more practical solution. The entire Swades team is on the ground. The entire team is utilising every rupee of money, said Ms Mody.

Jiji Mammen, Managing Director, NABFINS, lent his support to the Swades Building Livelihoods initiative and asked to extend support and financial assistance to the people affected by the COVID pandemic. NABFINS, a subsidiary of NABARD, has worked with Swades Foundation and Mr Mammen elaborated on the outcome of the collaboration and said,

We had associated with them in supporting the livelihood activities of the rural poor, especially the tribal people in the seven blocks of Raigad district. Basically to acquire productive assets like milch animals mainly. More than 2,500 families have been supported in these 7  blocks of Raigad district, mostly the tribal people. And we have extended around Rs. 11 crore of credit  to these tribal families for acquiring milch animals thereby getting the livelihood activities in place.

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog lauded the noble initiative stating that we need to work towards building self-sustained livelihoods and driving the rural economy more than ever.

The rural economy has already emerged as a powerful driver, which is leading our economic recovery. I would also like to believe that the development model of Swades is aligned with the aspirational district program. The largest experiment on outcome focused governance in the world. In the aspirational district program, we focus closely on improving people's ability to participate fully in the growing economy, health and nutrition, education, agriculture, and water resource. Financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure are the core areas of focus - much like Swades Foundation's 360 degree development model, said Mr Kant.

Arun Nanda, Founder & Chairman, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd and Member, Advisory Board, Swades Foundation also appreciated the efforts of Swades Foundation, especially their initiative of women empowerment.

They took the women to do small poultry project, grow vegetables. Even in the area of education, supporting girl child, these are the things that will matter and change the life of people of that area, said Mr Nanda.

Harsh Mariwala, Founder and Chairman of Marico and Member, Advisory Board, Swades Foundation joined the #SwadesBuildingLivelihoods telethon and he too appreciated the work of Swades in different fields - health, nutrition, water, sanitation and livelihood. Mr Mariwala urged people to lend their support to the Foundation.

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Sharing her idea of developing rural India, Zarina Screwvala said that she wants to rural cool and added,

I want that urban rural divide to dissolve, I want the rural communities to believe that they can take the charge of being happy. 

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About The Campaign

COVID-19 remains a health emergency and a deadly threat, especially to the most vulnerable. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been responding to the global pandemic since it began. MSF doctors and nurses are treating patients and supporting communities across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Now the independent medical organisation is starting operations to combat COVID-19 in India. By setting up dedicated medical facilities to treat COVID-19 patients in Govandi, Mumbai and Patna in Bihar – where needs are huge and growing - and improving hygiene and sanitation among at-risk communities, MSF is working hard to save lives and contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

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