Dhriiti - The Courage Within – in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ (Gmbh), acting on behalf of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India – as a COVID support initiative, launched Seeding Grampreneurs- a grassroots movement to create village and township enterprises in India, especially in the east and the northeast.
Under the ‘Seeding Grampreneurs’ vision, ‘Seeders Fellowship 2020’ was a pilot project aimed to address the challenges of migration and unemployment in rural India.
The objective of the fellowship was to select and work with rural professionals/fellows who would mobilize, train and assist self-help groups (SHGs) in their region.
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“Through this fellowship, 318 women and 160 SHGs were trained and empowered by 10 energetic Seeder Fellows across 10 blocks in the five states of Assam, Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland and Odisha in just three months," said Anirban Gupta, Co-Founder & Strategic Advisor, Dhriiti - The Courage Within.
"This is a phenomenal model of speed, agility and effective outreach for the transformation of our rural entrepreneurs,” Gupta added.
Pooja Kotoky, Seeder Fellow from Assam said, “We have to see them beyond the scope of a project. Unless we give them the means of sustainability & empowerment, how can we bring change?"
"We have to make rural India accountable and responsible for its own development," she added.
:We have to enable them to take development into their own hands," she further said.
Pamchingla, a Seeders Fellow from Ukhrul, Manipur said, “There was always a clear focus on programme objectives and what the Seeders should do. It is a result-oriented programme and there was a change happening on the ground at each step.”
The fellowship created a domino effect where district and state government officials engaged with the seeders and SHGs.
For example, the government officials in Odisha connected their tourism industry opportunities with the SHGs.
A total of Rs. 15,78,532 worth of machines, equipment and resources were provided to the SHGs.
As many as 80 SHGs prepared their business plan. Till now, 64 SHGs applied for their PAN cards while 45 SHGs got registered under MSME.
“We are pleased with how the initiative has shaped up," said Ullas Marar of Project Her&Now.
"The year we have just had demanded urgent responses and it is rewarding to see that we have created a template for village entrepreneurship, that has potential for scale," Marar added.
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