India’s tagline, “Voice for Local,” is tied to the Rural Rising Initiative, which seeks to uplift and equip rural populations while assisting them in expanding their enterprises.
India CSR interviewed Sarika Rath, the Head of Communications & Public Affairs at Applied Materials India, to discuss the company’s CSR initiatives and their effects on the communities they serve. She will share insights on their Rural Rising Initiative. The initiative aims to uplift rural communities by promoting economic development, education, and healthcare, leading to more sustainable and resilient communities. Sarika will discuss how the initiative has successfully uplifted rural women by providing them with new skill sets and market linkages for their products, contributing to India’s ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign. Excerpts:
How will empowering rural communities help achieve sustainable development in rural India?
A critical first step towards establishing sustainable development in rural India is the empowerment of local communities. Rural communities that are given the necessary resources become active participants in their own growth, managing their own economic, social, and environmental well-being.
To achieve sustainable development in rural India, local communities can be empowered in numerous ways. For instance, by strengthening local groupings, economic growth in rural areas can be increased. Giving rural communities access to resources like financial loans, markets, and information that can help in the establishment and growth of businesses is one way to do this. Moreover, education, the ability to enhance one’s health and well-being, and an emphasis on supporting environmental protection through sustainable farming techniques, resource conservation, and renewable energy sources will all contribute to sustainable development.
How has the Rural Rising initiative supported by Applied Materials India created a positive impact on the livelihood of rural women?
Applied Materials India supports United Way of Bengaluru’s flagship program called Rural Rising. The objective of this initiative is to make a positive impact on the livelihood of rural women in Kolar through a range of programs.
The Rural Rising Initiative uplifts rural women by providing them with the opportunity to create market linkages for their products, resulting in increased demand. A noteworthy example of this is United Way Bengaluru’s work with a Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) in Kolar. Through this partnership, United Way helped one of the Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) establish a women-managed mango pickle-making unit and efficiently connect it to the market system, thereby providing greater opportunity for the women to increase sales and, ultimately, their income.
How did the collaboration of United Way Bengaluru and Applied Materials help uplift the Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) in Kolar?
The collaboration between United Way Bengaluru and Applied Materials India uplifted the Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) in Kolar by providing support to its members. In 2019, United Way supported a Farmer Interest Group (FIG) led by Ratnamma from Gundamanatta Village in Srinivaspur Taluk to establish a manual mango pickle-making unit that produced only 50 kg of pickles per month. With Applied’s financial support and United Way Bengaluru’s value addition through the Rural Rising Initiative, Ratnamma’s pickle unit scaled up quickly and became semi-automated.
This support boosted their confidence, encouraging the women to focus on quality, quantity and customer relationships, and to explore new opportunities. Production increased to 450 kg per month within six months, with new product varieties added. The unit today has the potential to produce over 8,000 kg of pickles per month if fully utilized, and the Rural Rising Initiative is helping the unit become self-reliant and reach its full potential.
How does this initiative tie back to India’s motto, “Vocal for local?”
The national campaign ‘Vocal for Local’ plays a crucial role in promoting entrepreneurship at the grass-roots level, boosting local production, and creating a self-sustaining economy. India accounts for almost 40% of global mango production, and Karnataka ranks third behind Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, producing 17.95 lakh tonnes of mangoes on 1.79 lakh hectares of land. The Kolar District is recognized as Karnataka’s mango capital, where mangoes are processed into pulp, pickles, bars/strips, and jelly. Despite this, the mango pickle-making units in the area remain small and struggle to scale up efficiently.
The Rural Rising Initiative to uplift and equip rural communities while helping them grow their businesses ties back to India’s motto of ‘Vocal for Local’. By supporting the Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) in Kolar, the program has helped them establish a mango pickle-making unit and efficiently connect it to the market system. Initially, the facility was manually operated and managed by ten women, and could only produce 50 kg of pickles per month.
Can you share more insights on the outcome of the initiative?
The initiative to establish a mango pickle-making unit in Kolar, India has had a positive outcome for the local community.
- Economic benefits: The initiative has provided a new source of income for the rural community in Kolar. With the potential to produce over 8,000 kg of pickles per month, the unit has the capacity to generate significant revenue if fully utilized.
- Women’s empowerment: The Rural Rising Initiative has helped empower women by providing them with a new skill set and an opportunity to participate in the local economy.
- Local entrepreneurship: The initiative ties back to India’s “Vocal for Local” campaign, which promotes local entrepreneurship and self-sustainable economic development.
What is the future of the Rural Rising Initiative?
The Rural Rising Initiative supports rural communities to thrive by promoting economic development, education, and healthcare. It aims to reduce poverty and improve rural well-being. While success depends on resource allocation, effective strategies, and collaboration between stakeholders, the initiative can have a significant impact on rural populations, creating sustainable and thriving communities.
Can you shed light on the importance of catalyzing social change in India that has a positive impact on the livelihood of men and women at the grassroot level?
In India, there are significant social and economic disparities between urban and rural areas, and between different social groups. This has resulted in limited opportunities and resources for people living in rural areas, particularly women.
Promoting social change can help address these disparities by creating a more equitable and just society. For instance, initiatives that promote gender equality, such as increasing women’s access to education and economic opportunities, can have a positive impact on the livelihoods of women and their families. This can lead to increased household income and a reduction in economic hardship.
Furthermore, catalysing social change can help create more sustainable and resilient communities. By promoting environmental sustainability, communities can improve their resilience to climate change and protect their natural resources, which are often vital to their livelihoods. Therefore, catalysing social change in India can help create a more just and equitable society, improve the livelihoods of men and women at the grassroot level, and promote the long-term sustainability of rural communities.
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