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Chennai 19 June 2013: Witnessing a highly successful joint endeavour in the form of “Knowledge Connectivity for Rural Empowerment” project, MARG Karaikal Port & MSSRF have plans to scale-up this initiative for greater social benefits in the Karaikal & Nagappatinam regions. The project was conceived as a pilot phase for one year in 2011-12 and has been successfully executed by MSSRF with the financial support of MARG Karaikal Port in the districts of Nagapattinam & Karaikal.
The ultimate objective of the project was to deliver information at the doorstep of rural community that is critical to their livelihood using variety of communication channels. Most of the govt. research institutions have considerable wealth of useful data. However, the mechanism to reach data to the needy poor is rather weak. The pilot project has achieved its mission to fill this missing link between Lab and Land and has been successful in promoting the livelihood opportunities among 20,000 target audience in 34 villages of Karaikal & Nagapattinam districts. In the present scenario of dwindling fishing & subsistence farming, this project has breathed a fresh lease of life among the fishermen & farming community and has been a ray of hope in reviving the two major economic activities of rural development i.e. fishing & farming.
The project has brought significant changes in their capacity in terms of (a) confidence due to acquiring new knowledge and skills, (b) updating existing knowledge and skills and (c) blending science with traditional knowledge, resulting in improved productivity.
Commenting on the success of this joint venture, GRK Reddy, Chairman & Managing Director, MARG Group said “We are encouraged by the outcome of the project. It has been an enriching experience working with community around us and this strategic partnership with MSSRF has helped us in our social endeavour to enhance livelihood opportunities of local population. We have leveraged advanced technologies employed by MSSRF and their rural networking platform to ensure that our social endeavours produce tangible results. Working closely with a dedicated team of the prestigious MS Swaminathan Research Foundation has been an honour for us”.
MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), the institute of repute for its breakthrough research in the fields of Bio technology, Coastal Systems Research, Eco technology, Food Security, Bio-deversity has pioneered the concept of hub and spokes model. The ICT enabled development instituted through the Village Resource and Knowledge Centres has demonstrated the last mile connectivity in reality. Over a period of time, the efforts through hub and spokes and virtual mode of extending knowledge and skill services has grown to cover 1119 villages in Tamil Nadu across different districts benefitting more than 80,000 rural communities on day to day basis.
Commenting on the partnership, Prof. M S Swaminathan, Chairman, MSSRF said, "“The green-revolution helped to improve the productivity and production of major cereals like wheat and rice. In contrast, the rural knowledge revolution facilitated by ICT based knowledge empowerment enhances the quality of life in its totality. Thus, it promotes not only agricultural growth but also education, healthcare, and livelihoods. I therefore complement MARG as well as my colleagues in MSSRF for the remarkable progress they have achieved in assisting 20000 community members from 34 villages with need based services. I wish this programme continued success”.
MSSRF has documented the entire process & progress of the project through a web based knowledge management system on a continuous basis. The occasion also witnessed the release of 3 booklets on Knowledge and Skill Building on Integrated Agriculture, Fisheries and Microenterprises: Case Studies of Rural Women and Men in the Districts of Karaikal and Nagapattinam and Compendium of Thematic focused Knowledge generated out of Expert and Community Interaction “Prof. MS Swaminathan, Emeritus Chairman, MSSRF presented the compilation of success stories from the field to GRK Reddy, Chairman & Managing Director, MARG Group.
The next phase of the project would leverage the usage of FM media for greater coverage of the audience and would further focus on cluster approach method for creating master trainers among farmers & Special focus on SHGs to pursue economic activities with bank linkages.