This report is based on practical aspects of how we can mobilize a Rural Community, with the help of Asset-based Resource utilization during a lockdown situation. It deals with using the assets, resources, skill present already in society and creating valuable output to support and simultaneously develop the society.

Community is facing issues for major products like soap, sanitizer, daily use items which are preventing them from social distancing and isolation at home. Thus the community needs a solution, contingency plan which is sustainable for health and environment and could side by side create a livelihood for people. As due to the absence of livelihood opportunities, there is unnecessary migration leading to the potential health hazards and spread of Corona.

As the product unavailability is an issue, but it can be an opportunity to fill the gap by making products possible. Now more than ever, Community can accept the locally made product,

  • Less invasion from a foreign environment. less contamination chance
  • reduces the cost of transportation,
  • Give livelihood opportunity
  • Use of local resources available
  • income provision to rural areas as well
  • Healthy and sustainable product
  • Fewer transportation expenses
  • Risk reduced at the community level
  • Social empowerment
  • Less dependency on external market
  • Economy reviving model
  • Subsistence and for selling also
  • Entrepreneurial activities
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Employment at times of need

 

SHG women’s who can collectively do a small business can be a great use here. They should be involved in making Soaps, Agarbatti, Mask, Spice mix, local homemade products, sanitizer, hand wash, pickle, Chips using local ingredients. It fits into the gap created by COVID-19 in the market. These essential products that can be made at home for subsistence and selling purpose also. These can easily be sold in the local market and due to the unavailability of other branded products, these products could become a brand of their own. Even buyers will buy as it’s easily available and fits in their pocket.

 

Rural marketing plays an important role here, a producer needs to know how to sell. They can have a variety options, places to sell. In today’s situation transportation is restricted, a social movement is restricted, many activities are to allows, even social gatherings are not allowed, no SHG meeting happening. Here, Technology can play a major role in mobilizing the community.

We all know the Marketing 7 P and how these Rural products could fit in is a great deal today.

 

These products can be further used by the government also to distribute in Distribution centers, ration shops possible nowadays in corona relief.

Also, small Rural fairs can be set up in different locations to allow selling of these products in different demanded locations like town residential areas Ration shops, markets, near mandis etc.

There is need to use efficiently local resources available within a community and convert it into aoutput. There is ongoing ration distribution which can utilize the produce not sold by farmers. Major produce like wheat , pulses, mustard etc. can be procured from them and then locally processed, packaged to give in relief centers. The local administration Gram panchayat can play a major role in this. They can have centers, people to regulate these activities. It will create work and employment

This is a model that can be followed during isolation to mobilize every involved community, leaving no one behind.

All these need steps to be taken at the community and system level. If these products have to be circulated in the community creating livelihood and utilize every potential it creates

Different setups are needed like

  1. Procurement center/warehousing made in every gram panchayat, some infrastructure can be temporary rent.

  2. Village people allowed work for it, managing the procurement and also keeping track of it, online and offline both. It creates job in this situation

  3. Processing centers made if needed

  4. Transportation vehicles hired

  5. Distribution centers made / Relief camp by the government to ensure the needed supply

 

Issue with Tribal community

  • Labor work not available as everything closed down
  • Tribals are not able to collect forest produce like Mahua, Tendu leaves, which was their major source of income
  • Processing and making of mahua drinks, rice beer, beedi from tendu leaves all almost stopped, income stopped
  • The harvesting work is stopped in groups, as restrictions are there. The field ready to harvest are left out, as neither labor are available, neither self-allowed due to social distancing.
  • Livelihood activities almost have gone
  • Poor being badly affected
  • Their social gathering which is a major part of their livelihood is stopped for now
  • Its creating psychological fear and havoc for the unorganized sector
  • SHG meetings closed thus credit, loans is also stopped for now.
  • Small business affected badly

 

Psychological effects on the community

  • They are not allowing outside people in their geographical area
  • Becoming more aware of the environment
  • Discouraged due to ongoing market situation
  • Feel frustrated due to lack of income
  • Some community night rebel in future

Rural Community Mobilization

The rural community needs to be mobilized as a whole and taking every part of the community in mid , a system should be build which favors all and does not leave behind people in need.

Only temporary solutions like distributing ration won’t help in long way as its temporary solution and not a cure to the ongoing unsatisfactory system. Rural areas are changing rapidly in this situation and in these times a system change can be introduced and even self-made.

COVID is making community worry of dependency on government for everything, until and unless a self-reliant system is not made there will be always crisis. The system, market, a policy imposed are not the solution. The rural community needs to be self-dependent and use whatever resources, skills they have because market losses are maximum for them. They are the most affected ones.

The opportunity must be created at a platform where different actors of a community can join and contribute so as to have sustainability in the system . Unemployment is an issue of system and less of skill. Developing skills, in short, sudden times is not possible but using the same present skill in different situations, work is possible. Technology mobilization is possible and ongoing so utilization of it is very useful for now.

Different sub-community like Farmers, migrant Labourer, FPO, Dairy farmers, APMC, Rural households, Shop owners, etc. face interrelated challenges which can be solved with proper linkages between the whole Rural community and networking with the outside markets. Also in the coming lockdown Technology will be a major player in improvising the market shareholders.

Benefits of Technology-based work

 

  • Timely information pass on to the producer, seller, and buyer which increase their efficiency
  • Knowledge of outside situation, environment, leading to more flexibility in business
  • The market scenario is known
  • Decision making is based on facts available in the market
  • Various players like private companies, Agriculture supply chain retailers, aggregators, government agencies, more community ca be involved on a single platform
  • New ideas generation with respect to the business can be discussed and implemented
  • Updates about government incentives and subsidy, microloans easily disseminated to all which is very useful
  • Information symmetry can be brought
  • Credit exchange can be easily done which without technology, the online transfer is a havoc
  • Technology brings a new method to every process and increases efficiency
  • The connection between Rural producer, seller, the consumer will be strengthened
  • Online orders can be possible

 

Report Submitted by ARDS Intern:

 

Sugandha Kumari (UR19106)

Xavier School of Rural Management (XSRM)
Xavier University Bhubaneswar