This month, the newsletter brings you stories from the field, tells you more about the work we do with small farmers and industrial workers, which is beyond project management, celebrates key launches and appreciation for our work at national level.
Providing Learning Support to Children of Migrant Workers
An initiative to provide learning support to the children of saltpan workers in the Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, was launched in April last year. This effort under the Code of Responsible Extraction programme was implemented in two phases, from April to May and October to December, with the objective to provide primary learning to migrant children, reduce dropouts, and offer career counselling. To achieve maximum engagement, five Learning Resource Centres were set up in the saltpan areas. In the villages, 647 children of different grades were engaged through primary schools. Additionally,1,350 students were supported through career counselling.
Empowering Women Dairy Farmers with Better Business Skills
With the objective to train women dairy farmers on good dairy practices, sustainable livelihood, entrepreneurship and capacity building, a training programme was organized on 11 January in Phaltan, Maharashtra. Twenty four women dairy farmers from Munjawadi, Rajale, Vidani and Dudhebavi villages attended a day-long programme on developing soft skills and presenting their views confidently, as well as learning SWOT analysis to assess their business needs better.
Waste to Wealth Initiative Shines Bright at NMCG Meet
Solidaridad in collaboration with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of Jal Shakti, has been working on ‘Waste to Value’ interventions under the Arth Ganga concept, with an aim to minimise leather pollution in tanneries.
Some of the innovative products made under ‘Waste to Value’ were displayed during the National Ganga Council meeting on 30 December, in Kolkata. The meeting was attended by chief ministers of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal among others, and it was virtually presided over by the Prime Minister of India. Senior dignitaries including West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Director General of NMCG G. Asok Kumar visited the stall and lauded Solidaridad’s effort towards pollution abatement.
Reclaiming Sustainability for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
Solidaridad has collaborated with the AYUSH Department of Madhya Pradesh to implement the ‘Devaranya Scheme’ in eight districts of the state. The government-initiated scheme aims to improve people’s health and livelihood of medicinal plant growers. Crops promoted include ashwagandha, mint, lemongrass, kalmegh, tulsi, akarkara, black cumin, isabgol and turmeric. Through a series of trainings and capacity building programmes, farmers are being educated and motivated to opt for cultivation of medicinal and aromatic crops. Solidaridad has joined hands with the National Medicinal Plants Board and the Quality Council of India to obtain certification for medicinal plants’ growers.
Solidaridad’s ‘Sustainable Medicinal & Aromatic Plants’ is focused on reclaiming sustainability by educating farmers on scientific know-how and good agricultural practices; supporting them in developing a viable business ecosystem; enabling an inclusive policy environment; and creating a market for affordable and sustainable products.
Tea Goes Tech: Smart Agri Project Launched in North Bengal
The future of agriculture is smart and data-driven. To realise this vision, the Smart Agri Project – a CSR initiative of Vodafone Idea and Indus Towers with Solidaridad as the implementing partner – was launched in North Bengal on 17 January. To mark the occasion, a training centre was inaugurated in Jalpaiguri by the District Magistrate of Jalpaiguri Moumita Godara (IAS), Nilay Ranjan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Vodafone Idea Limited, and Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Managing Director, Solidaridad Asia. Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, President, Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations and General Secretary, Jalpaiguri District Small Tea Growers Association, was also present. The project aims to build the capacity of small tea growers through IT solutions and good agricultural practices.
Woman Tea Farmer Inspires Community to Grow Sustainably
An organic tea farmer-entrepreneur in Phillobari, Assam, 34-year-old Indrani Goswami is an inspiration for women in her community. Once a conventional tea-growing farmer, Indrani switched to organic farming after she identified the virtues of green and organic tea in treating stubborn diseases and health conditions. Indrani thanks Solidaridad’s Trinitea programme for directing her towards sustainable agricultural practices.
“My venture in organic farming has motivated many farmers to switch to natural and organic farming. Looking at me, as a woman entrepreneur in the village, a number of village women are coming forward to chart their own growth story.”
Recognising Eco-Entrepreneurs in Maharashtra
One of the key objectives of the 'Regenerative and Sustainable Sugarcane Farming' project in Maharashtra is to improve soil health by promoting minimum use of agrochemicals and raising awareness on the benefits of adopting green fertilizers. A group of women farmers from Satarde village in Kolhapur have taken it a step further.They have adopted vermicomposting as an enterprise to generate additional income as well as protect soil health. They were provided with four vermi beds, from which they produced 3,100 kg of vermicompost and sold 2,100 kg of vermicompost with an earning of Rs 25,200 within six months. These farmers are also planning to sell 200 kg of vermiculture, which will help them earn an additional income of Rs 50,000.
“We are very happy and proud to have earned this money ourselves from the vermi beds. We will use this to expand our enterprise, which will help us in protecting Mother Earth and also provide us an extra income," said one of the group members.
has joined as Assistant Manager-PMEL, Vodafone Project, in Delhi office. A postgraduate from the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, Charvi is passionate about working in the field of sustainable development. She has worked with the Transform Rural India Foundation as a Programme Analyst, providing technical assistance to farm and non-farm livelihood intensification activities under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission. She has also worked with Piramal Sarvajal in Gujarat as Manager, providing operations support to CSR and government projects.
has joined as Assistant Programme Manager in the sugarcane vertical. She has worked in the development sector for 12 years, with extensive experience in project management. Prior to Solidaridad, she was working with Samunnati Foundation, Delhi. Rama holds a degree in Physics (Honours) from Delhi University and an MBA in Agribusiness and Plantations Management from Indian Institute of Plantation Management, Bengaluru.
Venkaiah Vadlamudi, Senior Programme Manager, Leather
has been one of the key pillars of Solidaridad’s leather programme. A graduate of the Central Leather Research Institute, Venkaiah worked in Ethiopia for several years before joining Solidaridad as part of the Kanpur-Unnao leather project. He has contributed immensely in shaping and strengthening the technical team and taken the lead on commercially viable solutions in water-efficient technologies and reduction of effluents, and developed successful models for utilisation of solid waste from tanneries. Venkaiah’s interventions have been highly appreciated by the industry and the government and are now being scaled up in other geographies as well. He is a people’s person and believes in holistic transformation of the leather sector.
We wish him all the best for his future endeavours.
Dr Prashant Rajankar
joined Solidaridad in 2019 as Programme Manager, Sustainable Cotton and Water. Prashant has strong research background and played a key role in setting up the programme. A team player, Prashant is always willing to help other members achieve programme deliverables. We appreciate Prashant’s contribution to Solidaridad and wish him the best for his future endeavours.
Head of Finance, Solidaridad India was the second hiring for the finance team in Asia. Ajay has deep understanding of accounting concepts and statutory and legal obligations. He strives to learn new things and believes in strengthening the system. Ajay is a team player, always ready to help colleagues across departments.
Congratulations Ajay on your 10-year work anniversary and wish you more success!
Assistant Manager, Soy and Palm Oil, was the second person to join the Bhopal office. She joined as Senior Assistant and over the years has grown into the role of an Assistant Manager. She has played a key role in the successful on-ground implementation of several of our programmes. Her hard work, dedication, passion and loyalty are inspiring.
Congratulations Priya on your 10-year work anniversary and wish you more success!
Dr Suresh Motwani
General Manager, Soy and Palm Oil, started his journey with Solidaridad as a Programme Manager and is now heading the soy project in Bhopal. A sustainability and development expert, Suresh is passionate about promoting sustainable soy. He is a strategic thinker and can engage with government officials and local farmer groups with equal ease. His people management skills have ensured our Bhopal office attracts the best talent.
Congratulations Suresh on your 10-year work anniversary and wish you more success!