Namaskar from Maharashtra. Greetings from Lipok Social Foundation.
I am glad to share our news in this platform. This is our first post and hence just an introduction in our first post. Lipok Social Foundation is based in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The organization works with farmers in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions - yes, these are the same regions infamous for farmer suicides in the country. We team up with communities to help them secure water, livelihoods, and their environment.
We strive to work with farmers, communities, government, civil society organizations, consumers, retailers, and host of planet earth’s stakeholders to bring about sustainable production, consumption, and livelihoods. This is our mission. We heard from the grapevine that Rainmatter Foundation has also a similar vision An exchange of emails confirmed this and the team at Lipok is now an enthusiastic partner of Rainmatter Foundation.
More on this partnership in the next posts. Keep watching
Founder Director, Lipok Social Foundation.
We are pleased to partner with Rainmatter Foundation to embark on an initiative to discover alternative livelihoods and potential green enterprises in rural Aurangabad district - a region ravaged by the effects of climate change.
This partnership is founded on a common intent to promote green economies and possible solutions to address the imminent threats of climate change. The envisaged interventions fit within the Accelerating Circular Rural Economy (ACRE) Programme of Lipok Social Foundation and the overarching goal of Rainmatter Foundation.
Most people in Aurangabad district are dependent on agriculture and allied activities including agriculture labour for their livelihoods. The region is often battered by unseasonal rainfall and incessant droughts. Incomes from farms are therefore erratic and paltry. Other sources of livelihood are limited and offers little supplemental incomes.
The partnered project assesses the “basket of needs” of 2000+ households in 5 gram panchayats of Aurangabad district and pinpoints those that are “imported” by the communities. It is a participatory process that brings about a community realization that these “imports” lead to outflow of funds from the communities while local production to meet local needs leads to a strong local economy. We expect that this realization will spur local enterprises initiated by aspirational youth in the project villages to meet their community needs. These will provide alternative livelihoods while meeting the local needs.
We are now in “sensitization stage”. In this stage, the team at Lipok engages communities in interactive discussions that analyze their ways of consumption (and production). At the end of these discussions, the youth in particular agree that local consumption, local enterprises, and use of local skills and resources, is the way to go for a sustainable economy.
Here is the information material to facilitate the interactive discussions. ACRE Poster - English.pdf (335.6 KB) ACRE Poster - Marathi.pdf (318.4 KB)
As you can see, discussions are led through “scenario building”, observations, and questions around it. Sharda, our team member, is a prominent face in our target villages as she holds corner meetings to guide the youth to mantras for entrepreneurship.
The survey on the “basket of needs” is complete and the analysis too. The villagers were more than surprised by the findings.
For instance, in the village of Lohgaon, each household spends ₹36,543 per year on processed foods on an average - many of which can be produced in the village. They were amazed that most of ₹1,46,17,565 that the village spends in a year on processed foods goes outside the village.
In another case, in the village of Tondoli which has about 300 farmers, the total expenditure on fertilizers is ₹1,13,15,560 per year. The total production of organic fertilizers within the village is only worth ₹3,39,466 (less than 3%). There is huge potential for growth of organic fertilizers in the village.
Here are some photos of the village meetings to present the findings.
Circular local economy is the only way to keep rural youth engaged fruitfully while contributing to conservation of the ecosystem.
Yes, entrepreneurs emerge as they see opportunities arise. However, there is a dearth of resources and the related knowledge (business development and the technical skills) to bring their enterprise to fruition.
We plan to conduct a workshop with the aspiring entrepreneurs. We are now in the process of developing (or rather refining) the module for this workshop. In this workshop, we will map the required resources and the knowledge. As far as possible, local resources and skills/ knowledge will be utilized. Based on the outcome of this workshop, we plan to proceed with supplementary support for technical and financial linkages.