This month, the newsletter is packed with good news, from celebrating International Women’s Day across programmes to a new project office for Unnati-Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative in Kottayam to our Leather portfolio winning the ‘Water Sustainability Award’. March was also a month of learning and training workshops.
Solidaridad Wins ‘Water Sustainability Award’
On the eve of World Water Day, Solidaridad won the ‘Water Sustainability Award’ (2022-2023) for “innovation in water technology” in its Leather portfolio.
The award, which Solidaridad won for a second time in a row, is given by TERI in collaboration with the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, International Water Association and United Nations Development Programme. Our leather team received the award from Kiran Bedi, Former Lt Governor, Puducherry; Bharat Lal (IAS), Director General, National Centre for Good Governance; Debashree Mukherjee, Special Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India; Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI; and S.K. Sarkar, Distinguished Fellow, TERI. Representing Team Solidaridad at the event were Tatheer Zaidi, General Manager, Solidaridad Asia along with Dipayan Adhikari and Satabdi Pratikshya.
New Project Office Opens in Kottayam, Kerala
The project office of Solidaridad’s Unnati-Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative was recently inaugurated in Kottayam, Kerala. The programme, supported by Bridgestone India, aims to address the challenges faced in the rubber value chain. The project is focused on capacity development of rubber farmers on better farm practices, including regenerative farming, and quality production; embracing digital innovations for efficient supply chains; and capacitating rubber producer societies. The larger objective is sustainable and improved livelihood for rubber farmers.
A Learning Workshop on Power of Voice
A three-day learning workshop on Power of Voice (PoV) programme was held from 15-17 March 2023, in New Delhi, to deliberate on how Solidaridad can contribute to sectoral transformation in the region. The workshop was facilitated by Jan Willem Molenaar, a pioneer on sectoral transformation currently working with Aid Environment. It was attended by 21 participants from India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
The learning workshop concluded with several key takeaways for participants on strategies and practices to further enable regional sustainability initiatives to effectively contribute to sector transformation at national and regional level, and methods to consolidate knowledge and learning from the Power of Voice programme.
Mustard Model Farms Record Higher Yield
To showcase the yield achievement of the SEA-Solidaridad Mustard Model Farms in 2022-23 – which is nearly 115.25 lakh tonnes – a press conference was organized in Jaipur, Rajasthan, on 20 March 2023. With a vision to increase rapeseed-mustard production by 200 lakh tonnes by 2025 and make India self-reliant in oilseed production, the Mustard Model Farm Project is being implemented by The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), the apex edible oil industry association, along with Solidaridad. More than 2,100 mustard model farms have been developed so far, engaging more than 73,500 farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. Adoption of scientific practices and improved technologies by the farmers has resulted in higher crop yield.
Training of Trainers in Sugarcane Project
A Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop was organised under the ‘Regenerative and Resilient Sugarcane Supply Chain’ project on 28 February and 1 March in Baramati, Maharashtra. The objective of the workshop was to update the knowledge of the cane staff of Baramati Agro Limited. As potential trainers, they were guided on the content, delivery style and frequency of training to farmers before their upcoming farm visits. The trained staff, in turn, can train the farmers on adoption of new-age and climate-resilient farming practices.
Tea Farmers Attend Workshop on Entrepreneurship
More than 100 small tea farmers from Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts of Assam attended a workshop ‘Good Agricultural Practice to Grassroot Entrepreneurship’ organised by the Tinsukia team on 24 March 2023. Experts from various government and non-government sectors, financial institutions, National Rural Livelihoods Mission, NABARD and Krishi Vigyan Kendra joined this workshop. The farmers learnt about smallholder-oriented schemes of the Tea Board of India as well as the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; financial assistance provided by District Development Managers, NABARD; integrated farming and natural farming systems, among other things.
Discussing Ways to Empower Castor Farmers
The Castor programme celebrated International Women’s Day with more than 150 women farmers from various villages in the project district of Banaskantha, Gujarat, on 10 March 2023. Thematic experts were invited to speak on a range of issues like women’s role in agriculture and allied sectors, the importance of maintaining health and hygiene, and the need for financial literacy. Certified Pragati women farmers shared their experiences and the positive changes in their life following their participation in the Castor programme.
Focus on Capacity Building of Women Farmers
A week-long celebration was also organised in the project areas of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. It included a series of training, meetings and events focused on capacity building of women farmers to adopt digital technologies and good agricultural practices. The celebrations concluded with an online event that saw participation of women farmers, knowledge partners – Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Department of Women and Children Development and Department of Farmers’ Welfare and Agriculture Development, Madhya Pradesh – and the Solidaridad team.
Women Dairy Farmers Share their Stories
International Women’s Day was also celebrated in our dairy project area in Uttar Pradesh. A total of 279 women dairy farmers participated in the event where they shared their experiences – their struggles and success stories. A dairy camp was also organised at the venue.
A 4-day induction programme was organised in New Delhi from 21-24 March 2023 for 15 new staff who joined us in the last six months in different roles across programmes. The induction provided them a comprehensive overview of the organisation from vision to implementation strategies. They were also briefed about projects/programmes, policies, systems and procedures. They carried back with them more knowledge, greater clarity, excitement, a sense of connectedness and purpose.
Pallab Sarmah has joined as a Finance and Administrative Associate in Tinsukia, Assam. He comes with over six years of hands-on experience in providing accounting, auditing and taxation services to corporates, government departments and civil society organisations.
Atul Rambhau Wanjari had joined Solidaridad as a Field Associate in our Cotton programme in 2019. We wish him all the success in his future endeavours.
We congratulate colleagues who have completed five years with Solidaridad, and thank them for their contribution in building the organisation.
We wish them more such innings in the years to come!
Santosh Tanaji Shelke
Senior Field Coordinator
Manager-Soy and Palm Oil
Neeta Shashikant Pawar
Senior Programme Officer-Leather
Subhra Sankar Chakraborty