In India, tribal women account for half of the workforce. They contribute significantly to the agriculture and allied industries, and yet experience systemic discrimination. Despite having a significant impact on the management of their natural, social, and economic resources as well as their agricultural development, which includes crop and livestock production, horticulture, and post-harvest operations, they continue to be disadvantaged and face discrimination in the community as a result of traditional beliefs, low levels of literacy, superstitions, and the predominant male roles that have prevailed since the dawn of time. Additionally, they have very little access to resources and technological knowledge related to farming.
In order to improve the livelihoods, resilience, and self-determination of the scheduled tribe communities and assist in their recovery from economic hardships caused as a result of COVID-19, Digital Green is implementing the ATLAS (Advancing Tribal Livelihoods and Self Reliance) project in six districts and seven blocks of Odisha in partnership with state government organizations such as Odisha Livelihoods Mission (OLM) and Odisha PVTG Empowerment and Livelihoods Improvement Programme (OPELIP). This is accomplished by implementing the community video strategy and usage of the mobile application, Kisan Diary Enterprise (KDE), which provides tribal women with knowledge, resources, and connections to the market in order to boost their engagement in domestic and group decision-making processes.
By undertaking Digital Green’s tried-and-true community video strategy, the tribal women are given the information that is required to effectively manage their livestock, crops and products along with leadership coaching to help them develop the abilities they need, in order to control group dynamics, confidently take advantage of market opportunities, and successfully negotiate with buyers, in the form of digital advisories. The primary driving forces behind this intervention are the Community Resource Persons (CRPs) employed by the partner organization. To effectively create and circulate digital advisories among the tribal SHG women, the CRPs undertook a five-day training on “video production” and a two-day training on “video dissemination’ respectively. Under the ATLAS Project, they have effectively disseminated the digital advisories amongst 25000 tribal SHG women using PICO projectors.
Malati Mahanta (CRP, Jashipur, OPELIP) shares that, “since maximum households under my supervision are primarily engaged in livestock farming, therefore, the digital advisories were truly useful for them. After watching the video, they immediately reached out to the Livelihood Inspector (LI) of their village to seek his help, in order to get their goats and chicks insured and vaccinated. The villagers are very enthusiastic with respect to receiving training through this new approach that is different from the regular in-person trainings and is also eager to adopt the practices that are being taught to them. They participate in huge numbers whenever informed regarding the meeting, which also includes the non-SHG members.”
Under ATLAS, advisories on the formation, strengthening and functioning of producer groups, c agriculture, livestock management and gender empowerment have been produced. These advisories have been disseminated by the CRPs at regular SHG meetings and as a result, many women have had access to these and have adopted the practice and yielded results. Mandakini Kala (SHG member, Pallahara, Angul) says that ‘ earlier my vegetables were not able to survive the pest attacks, but after watching the video on preparation and application of pot manure in one of the SHG meetings, I prepared and sprayed the pot manure on all my vegetables and now I am able to utilize those for self-consumption as well as sell it in the market and increase my income. Thanks to Digital Green and CRP didi, I was able to find the solution to my problem at home, without spending any money.
Kuntala Gana (Member of the particularly vulnerable tribal community (PVTG) of Gonasika, Keonjhar) also shares, ‘previously, I had little knowledge of the importance of vaccination, as well as the proper type and timing of vaccinations required by the goats. As a result, many of my goats perished. After watching the video on ‘goat vaccination’, I quickly sought the assistance of our village’s Livestock Inspector (LI) and had all of our remaining goats vaccinated. Now, my goats are healthy and I am able to take up livestock management as a major source of income.’
The advisories produced have also been disseminated via WhatsApp groups amongst the women by the CRPs. Each CRP has created an SHG-level WhatsApp group and pertinent video advisories are being shared in those groups on a fortnightly basis.
Additionally, the women leaders also receive training on how to use the digital application Kisan Diary Enterprise (KDE) in order to negotiate with the market and obtain a higher price for the produce of PG members. KDE is an intuitive digital tool that enables efficient and transparent data sharing to improve FPO performance. Moreover, it helps Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) or Farmer Producer Groups (FPG) to gather and collate farmer’s data on input demand and output. The output data points that are captured in the KDE are farmer identification, information about commodity produced by the farmer such as area of cultivation, quantity to be kept for self-consumption, surplus for FPO, harvesting date and the input data points include the requirement of seeds, equipment and quantity along the date of delivery.
Arati Mohanta (Udyog Mitra, Mrugasuni FPO) says, “after downloading the Kisan Diary app, I was able to obtain the compiled farmer-level information for products such as paddy, jackfruit, mango etc. Also, I get information regarding the quantity of produce preserved for self-consumption and family utilization and the quantity committed to the FPO. As the data is entered at the PG level, I get information about the no. of women farmers having surplus amounts and the total quantity of the produce. Moreover, as I go to the farmers to collect the data on a regular basis, my engagement with the farmers also improves.”
As part of the ATLAS project, 6 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) of Odisha have adopted KDE for effective data management and sharing and 100 CRPs have successfully disseminated digital advisories amongst 25000 tribal SHG women on climate-smart agriculture, gender empowerment and livestock management, using multiple ICT channels for delivery, including in-person video dissemination using PICO projectors and WhatsApp.
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