Gramonnati organizes an exposure and educational tour for Sarpanches from J&K

Gramonnati Trust is an early stage social enterprise, based in Pondicherry that aims to support rural transformation through technology and entrepreneurship (develop job-creators instead of job-seekers).

Gramonnati Trust has been engaged with Army and Civil authorities in Rajouri and Poonch Districts of J&K for the purpose of supporting rural development. Indian Army is closely involved in developing social harmony in the state through its Sadbhavana Program. In consultation with Indian Army Authorities in Rajouri and Poonch Districts, Gramonnati Trust has developed and undertook an educational and experiential tour from 13th-28th February, with the collaboration of Mission Samriddhi, a social impact enterprise based in Chennai, for 20 selected Sarpanches and Ex-Servicemen from the two districts where development is low and the challenges severe.

The aim of this is landmark event was educate the participants about best practices in rural governance from successful grass-roots leaders and rural development experts, to learn about rural innovation, entrepreneurship and simple-to-use technologies that can be deployed in their own villages and provide a basic framework to initiate holistic transformation plans for their villages to be model villages in next 18-24 months.

In the first leg of the tour, the Sarpanches visited the villages of Anna Hazare (Ralegaon Siddhi) and Popat Rao Powar (Hiware Bazaar) near Pune to get grassroots evidence of exemplary work to realize the potential of development. Both villages are remarkable stories of transformation through projects in watershed management, irrigation and empowerment of the Gram Sabha. They also visited Bharatiya Jain Sangathan.

In the second leg of the tour, they spent two days at the Unmukt workshop, a unique workshop for design thinking at a grassroots level organized by Mission Samriddhi.  The idea was to give introduce to the Sarpanches the concept and importance of Gram Panchayat development planning.

The third leg was in Pondicherry where Gramonnati presented and demonstrated rural innovations, techniques, and solutions in low-cost rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, aquaponics, water purification, Ed-tech and health care which can be easily deployed by the Sarpanches in their village. The high point was an interaction with Lt. Governor of Pondicherry Kiran Bedi on Sunday afternoon.

Gramonnati and Mission Samriddhi will be working closely with the Sarpanches in the next 12-24 months to take forward implementation of projects with their efforts and our knowledge and program support. The organization hopes to help the Sarpanches, who were eager and enthusiastic to learn and do something when they go back,  develop model villages right at the borders of India.