Enabling structure, systems and processes to support Agri Entrepreneurs
ABOUT PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action)
PRADAN is a social development organization that works in the poorest regions of India to help vulnerable communities organize collectives that help people, especially women, earn a decent living and support their families. Their focus is to help people in marginalized communities develop their own skills and initiatives. They help these communities build livelihood means, access information, engage effectively with government authorities and access social protection. To achieve this, they recruit well-educated, empathetic young professionals from diverse fields to work alongside people in the poorest villages.
PRADAN also partners with other civil society organizations and the government to influence development policies and scale their work.
CONTEXT FOR THE PHICUS ENGAGEMENT
Through a new initiative ‘Evergreen in the East’, PRADAN wished to establish a new model for sustainable agriculture in West Bengal that would help farming communities to break the cycle of high input use (water, fertilisers, pesticides) and low productivity. This transformation was envisaged by adopting two blocks in Bankura spanning 13 Gram Panchayats, 285 villages and over 35,000 farming households.
The project was looking to build a cadre of village-based para-agronomists and formalise farmer collectives to address the barriers of knowledge, input and market access that typically constrain small and marginal farmers. Phicus was brought on board this initiative to establish an appropriate project team structure and systems that would enable the programme to achieve its overall goals.
Phicus took an integrated approach to this engagement. In order to understand the context and the field realities, Phicus conducted a field visit to understand realities on the ground and met with all key stakeholders from within PRADAN and the external ecosystem – the women farmers, the resource persons (Chashi Bandhus) and the master trainers who would build capacities in the field for the transformation. Coupled with this, through primary and secondary research a market map was created to learn best practice and lessons in establishing a field cadre that would help the women farmers.
A series of workshops and design sessions with the PRADAN programme team were facilitated to help operationalise the transformation strategy – grounds-up seasonal (Kharif and Rabi) operational plans with milestones and targets; personas, skills description, capacity building plans, engagement plans and performance metrics were crafted for the Chashi Bandhus as well as the master trainers. Using a similar approach, the central programme team structure, key roles and skills, stakeholder engagement plans, capacity building plans and performance metrics were defined and handed over to the team to implement and operationalise.
Phicus continues to stay connected with the key leaders of the initiative, to review progress against the plans that were operationalised during the engagement.