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An Empowered Woman and a Prosperous Village

Posted by: Digital Green in Staff blog October 13, 2016

Story and pictures contributed by Ritesh Kumar, Assistant Program Manager, Jharkhand (ed. Susan Thomas, Communications Manager)

Radha Devi and her husband, Dasrath Mahto belong to Rengalbeda village in Manoharpur block of West Singhbhum district, Jharkhand, India. Being small-scale farmers they depended on agricultural produce from a small farmland and a cycle repairing shop, their only source of income until 2014. “Meeting expenses of the school for our children, Umesh and Priya, means we are always a bit stretched for money,” shared Radha Devi. So as a supplementary source of income they tried rearing goats. However high death rates among the goats meant this was not a profitable venture either for them or others in their village.

कुपोषण मुक्त भविष्य के लिए एक डिजिटल प्रयास

Posted by: Digital Green September 30, 2016

प्रस्तुति- डॉ ऋतेश कुमार, सहायक परियोजना प्रबंधक, डिजिटल ग्रीन

सूचना एवं प्रसार माध्यमों का हमारे जीवन में अति महत्वपूर्ण योगदान होता है, और उतना ही महत्वपूर्ण होता है सही सुचना का सही तरीके से सही समय पहुंचना. प्रत्यक्ष और परोक्ष रूप से ये हमारे विकास में सहायक होती हैं. किसी भी कायक्रम या परियोजना की सफलता इस बात पर निर्भर होती है की उस कार्य में सुचना एवं प्रसार के किन तरीकों का कितना सटीक प्रयोग किया गया है. यह तब और महत्वपूर्ण हो जाता है जब दूसरी छोर पर सामान्यतया कम पढ़े लिखे या अनपढ़ समुदाय हो या ऐसे लोग हो जिन्हें सूचित किये जा रहे विषय पर पहले से कोई जानकारी न हो, गलत जानकारी हो या फिर उस विषय पर वो किसी अंधविश्वास से ग्रसित हों. झारखण्ड के परिप्रेक्ष्य में स्वास्थ्य एवं पोषण के क्षेत्र में बदलाव लाने की बात हो तो यह सर्वथा प्रासंगिक हो जाता है.

Digital Classrooms for Farmers

Posted by: Digital Green in Staff blog September 27, 2016

Story and pictures contributed by Alkendra Kumar Tiwari, Assistant Program Manager, Bihar (ed. Susan Thomas, Communications Manager)

“A teacher must be a good facilitator, competent, knowledgeable, entertaining, inspiring, dedicated, strict, punctual,” this is everything that Poonam Devi, 26, aspires to be and hopes she is, as a video resource person (VRP) with JEEViKA, in her village.

Poonam Devi, a farmer and a VRP in Indra Village Organization (VO) of Kavilashi village in Saurbazar block in Saharsa wants to ensure a brighter future for her two children. She and Kisto Yadav (her husband) work very hard to achieve that.

Being a VRP is a responsibility that Poonam Devi takes seriously. “I used to provide knowledge on current seasonal crops through flipcharts, some flexes, paper and pen or else by drawing lines on the land. I would emphasize the main points and discuss them in the SHG meetings. I would discuss the seasonal processes of Systematic Rice/Wheat Intensification (SRI and SWI) or any other enhanced method of preparing pesticides, composts etc. However, members would fail to remember the agricultural practices shared in the meeting,” shares Poonam. “In addition to this, I used to visit the member’s house to teach them again, which was time consuming,” she adds.

In October 2014, Poonam attended the JEEViKA-Digital Green Dissemination Training and was introduced to the concept of learning through videos. Now, a handheld Pico Projector with videos in it had replaced the flip charts and pen and paper. Poonam was quick to learn about how a rechargeable equipment which is portable, has good Audio-Video configuration can be played among community members. She enjoyed her new role as a teacher of a farmers’ ‘Smart Class’. She has learnt the importance of pause and play while disseminating videos. She finds this digital learning environment for farmers to be very suitable among communities with low literacy levels.

She describes the video disseminations as a ‘Classroom’ that she is proud to contribute to in increasing awareness about enhanced agricultural practices among her peers. She takes every opportunity to share information about the agricultural Package of Practices (PoP) with members during the self help group (SHG) meetings.

“I never thought I could ever even work on a laptop despite being a university graduate due to my families financial problems. But I feel proud that I am an agricultural extension worker armed with the latest technology,” says Poonam. ”Just by watching the 8-10 minute long videos on agricultural practices on different subjects like seed treatment, preparation of nursery bed for different vegetables/crop, maintaining seed-to-seed or seedling-to-seedling distance, limiting number of seeds to be sown at each point, I have learnt everything I need to know to share this knowledge within my farming community,” she adds.

"The Pico Projector makes my job easier. It has helped me in nurturing the farmers’ knowledge on the skills required for farming with lower input cost. Some videos like ‘Poshak Bageecha’ and ‘Bore mein Sabji ki kheti’ (nutrition garden and sack farming) have been very popular and been adopted by my VO members and non-SHG members too have asked for it to be shown to them,” shares Poonam with pride.

Poonam feels the farmers are like students who attend her dissemination session and the adoption verification is like an ‘examination’. When she goes to their fields for verification, she asks the farmers some defined questions ‘as per the Syllabus’.

“Disseminating videos is just like teaching with technology for a greater impact among my community,” says a proud Poonam.

Haima’s journey of empowering farming families through videos

Posted by: Digital Green in Staff blog September 13, 2016

Story and pictures contributed by Ronali Pradhan & Saumit Das, Odisha Regional Office (ed. Susan Thomas, Communications Mgr). This case study was originally compiled for Odisha Livelihood Mission's Newsletter.

Videos Show a New Way of Life

Posted by: Digital Green August 31, 2016

Story and pictures contributed by Beauty Kumari, Assistant Program Manager, Bihar
(ed. Susan Thomas, Communications Manager)

Manju Devi, a resident of Ababkarpur village in Mahua block of Vaishali. She works as an agricultural labourer and is the main source of income for her family of eight, that includes three grandchildren of ages 2 to 4 years. She is also a member of Pooja Jeevika Self Help Group.

“A large portion of my income used to be spent on vegetables. Almost 50-60 INR was spent daily at the haat (rural market). Another concern was the expenditure on health of the children,” shared Manju Devi.

Things turned around for her however, after watching a video on “Sack farming” in the month of December 2015. The dissemination by Sudhir Kumar, a village resource person (VRP) trained by Digital Green got Manju Devi thinking and she was excited by the prospect of replicating the same in her backyard.

With great enthusiasm, Manju Devi asked Sudhir to help her in replicating this practice in her backyard, but it was an unsuccessful attempt. However, she did not let this prove to be a dampner to her determination, she was sure that this will definitely help her in saving a good amount of money; she tried it again and was successful. Manju Devi is now the proud owner of six sacks in her backyard with cucumber, snake gourd, ridge gourd, bitter gourd, and seam.

Maju Devi is very happy with the ease of adopting sack farming. “The method only required a small amount of space,” she shared. The vegetable produced is more nutritious because no chemical fertilizers or spray is used. Growing corps inside a sack boost yield as she got 10 kgs of snake gourd in a day and 1 kg of seam in an interval of 2-3 days. She even distributed the surplus to her neighbours. Sack farming involves filling bags with soil, manure, and pebbles for drainage, and growing plants on the top and in the holes on the sides. The sacks allowed her to grow different vegetables in places with limited access to land and water. Inspired by other videos on Ladyfinger, Tomatoes, and Chillies, she has also planted these below the creepers. Manju Devi is using only “Brahmastra” as an organic insect repellent, having learnt how to make it from another video.

It’s been over six months since she bought any vegetables from the haat (village market). “Sack farming has saved me a great deal, as money that would have been used to buy vegetables can now be used to buy milk and attend to the medical needs of my grandchildren,” shared Manju Devi. This has also helped her to avoid borrowing money in times of emergency from her neighbours, often at very high interest rate.

Manju Devi believes that knowledge of new techniques through videos is a great method of educating the rural mass. Knowledge like this can transform the lives of the poor. Manju Devi is now motivating other small and marginal farmers to think differently and adopt practices she has seen in the videos.

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