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10 NGOs Empowering Indian Farmers to Grow and Sustain | Education

10 NGOs Empowering Indian Farmers to Grow and Sustain | Education
10 NGOs Empowering Indian Farmers to Grow and Sustain 

10 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Facilitating Indian Farmers to Grow & Sustain

Agriculture has always been the most important economic activity in India.  According to government data, more than half of India's population is entirely dependent on agriculture for livelihood, and most of these are small and marginal farmers.  Factors such as poor infrastructure, lack of modernization and declining productivity have prevented Indian farmers from breaking out of the cycle of debt and poverty.  Every year, thousands of people take their own lives due to crop failure and inability to repay loans.

Over the years, Indian farmers have been responsible for ensuring food security for the country, but most of them are now toiling in the fields with little luck.  Many non-profit organizations work with farming communities to encourage sustainable farming and improve their lives.  Here, we list down 10 NGOs that are doing great work in rural India.

1. Universal Versatile Society (UVS)

The NGO is involved in many important areas like agriculture, environment, rural development, education and women empowerment.  Its mission is to serve communities by connecting donors to community-based projects and to use their expertise to promote sustainable development projects.

The efforts of UVS are directed towards preventing farmer suicides by providing basic education, raising awareness, providing employable skills, infrastructure development and small enterprise development, sustainable income generation and employment opportunities.

2. Rural Resource Center for Women

Established in 1993 to promote women's rights, Gramya's vision is to build a just society with equal opportunities for women, especially tribals and downtrodden.  In rural areas, Gramya works for the betterment and rights of the farming community by addressing the crisis of farmer suicides and helping the families of victims.  Their collective efforts are helping thousands of distressed farmer families.

Gramya also promotes child rights, with a focus on the girl child and education, and works closely with community-based organizations to seek justice for marginalized communities.

3. Comforter Organization

Established in 1994, Dilasa Sanstha works closely with several small NGOs in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra.  It advocates for innovative and sustainable irrigation methods to support agricultural development for tribal people and small Indian farmers.  The low-cost technological solutions provided by Dilasa help farmers to improve irrigation practices and practice mixed cropping.

Dilasa has also formed 7,650 Self Help Groups (SHGs) for women to promote organic farming.  The organization also runs a Kisan Sahayata Kendra to inform them about various government schemes.  So far, more than 125,000 people have directly benefited from its programs and more than 100,000 people have been positively affected.

4. End Poverty

End Poverty was launched in 2009 with the objective of reducing poverty in India through sustainable livelihood generation, girls' education, rural development and civil society development.  The non-profit organization is operating in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.  Its main beneficiaries are poor, landless agricultural Indian farmers, small and marginal farmers, traditional artisans, poor women, uneducated girls, unemployed youth etc.  It provides capacity building and training to support various groups.

Develops and delivers innovative and self-sustaining programs for end poverty social impact.  It has carried out development works worth more than 60 crores in the last three years, benefiting about 24,000 people.

5. Swades Foundation

Founded by Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala, Swades Foundation operates with the aim of empowering rural India by incorporating innovative practices and use of modern technology.  Swades aims to empower one million rural Indians every 5-6 years through holistic development with a focus on health, education, water and sanitation and economic growth.

The organization connects rural communities with corporates, young urban India, non-profit organizations and governments, enabling marginalized communities to improve their lives.  Their 1,600-member strong team includes 1,300 community volunteers and 300 full-time employees of grassroots experts and professionals.

6. Marathwada Navnirman Lokayat (Manavloka)

Established in 1982, Manavlok is a voluntary organization dedicated to the socio-economic upliftment of the rural poor.  Headquartered at Ambajogai in Beed district of Maharashtra, it operates through seven sub-centres in Beed, Latur and Osmanabad districts.  Manavlok aims at achieving equality in the lives of women, landless laborers and farming community.

Its efforts include community-based monitoring programmes, watershed development programmes, fulfillment kitchens for senior citizens, Krishak Panchayats, free legal aid centers and others.  Manavlok also works in the field of sanitation, providing relief services for victims of natural calamities and monitoring and evaluating government schemes and programmes.

7. Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR)

WOTR is a well established organization in Maharashtra and is engaged in comprehensive rural development initiatives.  It focuses on agriculture, allied sector development, climate change adaptation, watershed, natural resource management, social development, training and capacity building.

WOTR is dedicated to transforming the lives of millions of poor villagers across India through participatory watershed development, ecosystem restoration, and climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture.  Its special emphasis is on building vulnerable communities, farmers and women.  WOTR was awarded the prestigious Land for Life Award 2017 instituted by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

8. Instinct

Active for over 23 years, Vriti has significantly improved the lives and livelihoods of over one million poor and marginalized individuals and families.  Vriti's efforts are directed towards improving the well-being of people through knowledge, innovation and transformational action.  It adopts an ecosystem approach to integrate and deliver end-to-end services that empower small producers to become profitable and escape poverty.

Vruti's flagship model of '3Fold' covers over 40,000 smallholder Indian farmers, which enables them to access multiple services (farm, financing, markets, institutions) and become independent and resilient.  Its portfolio includes similar models for women-owned businesses, marine fishermen, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and people in special circumstances such as sex workers and transgender individuals.

9. Professional support for development work (provided)

Established in 1983, works in the field of rural poverty alleviation by promoting sustainable livelihoods in rural areas, especially among tribal and vulnerable groups.  Its efforts are focused on long-term collaboration with the government and donors to reduce rural poverty.

PRADAN trains well-educated people with empathy at the grassroots level and supports and engages women-run collectives.  As of 2020, Prasad worked with more than 862,300 families from the most vulnerable groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis, in more than 8,600 villages across seven states.

10. Seven Sisters Development Assistance (SeSTA)

Sesta literally means 'effort' in Assamese and since its inception in 2011, the organization has been working towards creating an equal society in Northeast India.  It works directly with 8,000 families in 100 villages in the four districts of Chirang, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and Kamrup in Assam.

So far it has helped more than 8,600 small and marginal farmers to improve the productivity of crops like paddy and maize.  Sesta plans to expand its operations to other parts of Assam and the Northeast, hoping to reach over 30,000 rural poor households over the next three years.

Source: Samar Hafeez, Give India, Direct News 99