By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 5 Dec: Ronald van het Hof, Managing Director, Women on Wings, Netherlands, and his colleague, Shashank Teotia, Senior Business Consultant, visited Uttarakhand on 3–5 December to see the work being done in the rural hills to empower the population, particularly women.
During this visit, they visited the project areas of IFAD supported Integrated Livelihood Support Project (ILSP) in Tehri district and the groups of State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM). The purpose of the visit was to identify the possible partnership areas for building the capacities of the community institutions (Livelihood Collectives and Federations) created under ILSP and SRLM towards sustainable business models.
During the visit, Hof visited some of the HILANs outlets and collection centres managed and operated by these community institutions at the block, district and state level. They also witnessed several initiatives of the these rural development programmes like Crop Protection using Chain Link Fencing, business model of Farm Machinery Banks, development of Fallow Land, sorting grading and packaging units, etc., and appreciated the activities and the community empowerment.
The team also studied the community plans and supply chain managements of the rural commodities being aggregated and reaching out to the consumers through various channels. The meetings and discussions to understand the processes and the way forward were done with Manisha Panwar, Principal Secretary, Rural Development, Senthil Pandiyan, Secretary, Agriculture, and Chief Project Director – ILSP, Dr Ram BilasYadav, Additional Secretary, Rural Development, District Magistrate Sonika along with the team members of ILSP and SRLM.
During the meeting, Hof shared his observations made during the field visit like the empowered community, cleanliness observed at the processing units and HILANs outlets and expressed his willingness to collaborate with the state in working together for further empowering the businesses of the community, related value chains at each level and their social enterprises emerging under ILSP and SRLM. He also emphasised identifying the “Agents of Change” at LC/ Federation level and empowering them through this partnership to bring ownership of the community of all the activities initiated by ILSP and SRLM.
Manisha Panwar shared that the Apex organisation (non-government) would also be established to coordinate and support all the work of these institutions. Senthil Pandiyan emphasised that the key focus areas in the remaining two years of ILSP would be Marketing and Value Chain Strengthening of rural products.
Hof agreed in principle on collaboration with the state and will submit a proposal shortly defining the key role and responsibilities to be shared for the cause.