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Youth for Action (YFA): Recognising ‘Women’ Farmers for Poverty Alleviation*

CASE STUDY, CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
ET Cases - GSMC, 15 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Surajit Ghosh Dastidar, IMT, Hyderabad and Shailendra Singh Bisht, IBS, Hyderabad

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Youth for Action (YFA): Recognising ‘Women’ Farmers for Poverty Alleviation

 

“Majority of the poor in the developing world are women trapped in the vicious circle of unpaid work and poverty making it difficult to bring them out of poverty unless we comprehend how the poor use their time, or rather how they are forced to use their time to fight their multiple deprivations.

-- Hirway (2010)

 

“It is well known that a large number of activities in agriculture are performed by women. Unfortunately they never get recognition or credit for the same.”

-- Damayanty Sridharan, Senior Advisor, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), India Office

 

On the morning of 6th August, 2014, E. Venkat Ramnayya (Ramnayya), President of Youth for Action (YFA), was sitting in his office in Secunderabad. He was looking  forward to meet a Professor from the city who had earlier sought an appointment over phone. The professor was very interested in the activities of YFA and wanted to  document it as a case study. Ramnayya was quite pleased as he tried to recollect the activities of YFA over the last 25 years. He was nostalgic as he recollected the memories of his younger days when he joined the “Knit India” cycle march of Late Shri Baba Amte1. He recalled:

“25 years of this long journey into the development process brings immense pleasure for me for several reasons. One, the entire process began on the inspiration of Baba Amte ji when I was associated with him with the “Knit India” cycle march and he inspired youth of this country and also me to go to villages and work. I went to work in Mahbubnagar and when I look back I feel total satisfaction because as a team member of this organisation we were able to bring life and hope to thousands of people, particularly women with whom we worked for all these years. Thirdly, off course, this gave me an opportunity to work with extremely committed and  dedicated people at the national level. I have learnt a lot and was inspired by people like Chandi Prasad Bhatt ji and many other people who are not only friends but also guides and philosophers of my life.” ...................

Youth for Action

Youth for Action (YFA) was a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) based at Hyderabad that formally came into existence in the year 1986. The initial founders were Vadere Ramachandra Reddy, Shri Kanakaiah Shastry and E. Venkat Ramnayya. For more than two decades, YFA was engaged in highlighting women farmers’ and agricultural labour’s contribution in various forums. According to Ramnayya, “YFA, since inception, analysed the status of women, more particularly directed its energies towards empowerment issues...........

GDP and Women’s Contribution

Irrespective of the region of India, the last two decades have witnessed transformation of the agricultural sector, with increasing number of women joining the agricultural workforce. Men slowly migrated to other well-paid skilled jobs leaving the women to tend to their farms and agriculture. Hence, it was witnessed that the women workers in agriculture sector increased in comparison to men. Male workers increased by 4.7% whereas the percentage increase for women workers was 17.5%. Majority of women’s work tended to be in their household farms including agricultural non-farm activities such as.............

Gender Equality and Agriculture Productivity

Gender equality can also have larger impact on national productivity. Globally, women now represent more than 40% of the labour force and 43% of the agricultural workforce but their labour was unaccounted for or invisible because there was discrimination in accounting their contributions. Discrimination was also prevalent in decision making, access to education, pursuing certain occupations, women earning lesser income than men and all these factors contributed to economic losses..............

Policy Action

The XIIth plan of the working group on women’s agency and empowerment says that the “parameters that reflect the stark position of women in society such as work participation rates, sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years and gender based violence continue to be heavily skewed against women.”.............

Mahbubnagar District

The district of Mahbubnagar in the state of Telangana (earlier Andhra Pradesh) was highly backward in terms of health, education and economy. It was evident from the fact that 68% of the population lived below the poverty line. As per 2001 census, 89.43% of the district population lived in rural areas. The literacy rate was only 38.6% with 49.1% male and 27.8% female literacy. The district was also reported to have one of the highest Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) (MMR was 1775 per lakh and IMR was 115 per thousand). According to National Family Health Survey (2005-06),...............

About Youth-for-Action – Palamur Krishi Vigyan Kendra (YFA-PKVK)

Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) was promoted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Government of India to address the following issues:

• There was a gap in the communication of new technology at the level of a farmer
• Though a technology was viable at the macro level and under test/control conditions, the same was perhaps unsuitable to the specific geographical conditions of the area.
• ...........

Objectives

The objective was (a) to impart knowledge and upgrade the skills of farm women, rural youth, farmers and extension functionaries in the areas of crop management, integrated pest management technologies, seed production, value addition, health and nutrition, vocational and micro enterprise, horticulutre and livestock, soil and moisture conservation, farm mechanisation.................

Activities

Women sanghas were trained in mango jelly production and were provided financial assitance in setting up their own units. These units were successfully running in the villages of Dhantanoor and Govindhalli.

Vocational training in tailoring and embriodery, leaf plate making, agriculture pump-set repairing, dairy, seed production and nursery management, was provided in the villages of Dupally, Konnur thanda, Rajapet, Amarchintha..........

Impact

YFA-KVK had registered excellent progress in bringing desired qualitative and quantitative change in the lives of local women farmers, and the socio-economic conditions of the small and marginal families of Mahbubnagar district (Refer to Exhibit VI). Now, YFA-PKVK was known for its contribution to women labours and women farmers...............

Outlook

Uttaramma of Peddagudem Village, Mahboobnagar district of Telengana said:

“The YFA persons made us form groups.We were told to save five rupees every month. We were 100 members. I along with other women from my village went to YFA for training. We were taken to Hyderabad, Madras and further to Gujrat state by YFA. Gradually we learnt many things and our awareness was increased. I am a very confident person now.”.............

All India Federation of Women in Agriculture (AIFWA)

During the year 2002, YFA and other collaborating agencies organised first ever larger women farmers’ fair at Hyderabad. The fair had representation of women farmers from almost all the states including Jammu and Kashmir. During concluding session, the participants expressed the need for establishing and initiating a platform for women in agriculture...........

The Road Ahead

Ramnayya was pleased with the fact that today women were much more empowered and understood their rights. However, it was observed that women’s contribution to household and particularly household agriculture was seldom calculated and incorporated in the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or agricultural income. Such non-recognition of women farmers’ contribution to agriculture have implications on recognition of women as ‘farmers’ and their involvement in the.............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Issues and Interventions Planned by AIFWA

Exhibit II: Macroeconomic Calculations

Exhibit III: Flood Report at a Glance, Mahbubnagar District

Exhibit IV: Total Cropped Area

Exhibit V: Stages of Development of Sanghas

Exhibit VI: Benefits Matrix

Exhibit VII: Impact of Technology Transfer: Income Analysis of the Farmers in Kistagiri, Nilamallaillu and Nacharampet

Exhibit VIII: Barefoot Extension Workers

Teaching Note Preview

Youth for Action (YFA): Recognising ‘Women’ Farmers for Poverty Alleviation

 

Synopsis

Youth for Action (YFA) was a reputed organization patronized by Late Shri. Baba Amte. Since last 25 years the organization was working with rural women and men and has brought perceptible change in their lives. YFA was instrumental in increasing the income of rural people (by at least 30-50%), it assisted more than 50,000 families, constructed around 1000 houses, promoted microfinance schemes, addressed the issue of gender inequality and child healthcare, helped reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)/Maternal Mortality Rate(MMR), treated more than 8000 hectares of land with watershed input, established marketing linkages, provided vocational education to rural youth (both women and men) and promoted the establishment of micro enterprises.

The major source of livelihood in the district of Mahbubnagar in the state of Telengana is agriculture. Inadequate and poorly distributed rainfall, uneven and  undulating topography and degraded landscape characterize the district. About 45% of the farms are small and marginal in size (less than 2.0 ha) and 40% of the population is dependent on agricultural wage labour as large portions of arable land are either fallow or only a single crop with poor yields is cultivated. The recurring droughts, at least six times in the 14 years starting from 1984 to 1998, forced many people to migrate to other districts/states in search of ‘employment’. The labour of this district is known as ‘Palamur’ labour. The development index speaks itself for the pathetic situation and the hostile conditions in which the women and children suffer the most due to social and cultural disadvantages on one side, and the degraded natural resources, on the other.

Keeping in view the deplorable condition of the district, YFA decided to address the following broad objectives:

  • 1. Encourage people’s participation especially women in the area of natural resources management for sustainable development.
  • 2. Support women for initiatives related to providing safe drinking water, healthcare and leadership development.
  • 3. Coordinate with other institutions for technology transfer and establish backward-forward linkages.
  • 4. Bring social justice and equity through education, training and collective action.
  • 5. Poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods.

 

However, Venkat Ramnayya, President of Youth for Action (YFA), was concerned about what should be the way forward. Several questions ran in his mind. “How can  women farmers’ agricultural contribution be recognized and added to the national GDP? What can be an effective strategy? What will be the repercussions if their  contributions are added to the national GDP? What if their contributions aren’t added? Whether any specialised institution or people would be required for the purpose?

Pedagogical Objectives

After completing the case

  • • The students can appreciate the ‘invisible’ contribution of women to household and particularly household agriculture and the reasons behind it
  • • The students can understand the importance of women in agriculture
  • • The students can learn how to empower rural women for poverty alleviation and natural resource management

 

Case Positioning and Setting

The case is designed primarily for full time and executive MBA programs. It can be used to teach modules on social entrepreneurship/social initiatives in  developing countries. The case can also be taught in MBA programs in Rural Management.

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Product code: CSR-1-0004, CSR-1-0004A

Abstract

Youth for Action (YFA) was a reputed organization patronized by Late Shri. Baba Amte. Since last 25 years, the organization is working with rural women and men and has brought perceptible change, YFA had worked in the districts of Mahbubnagar in Telangana (earlier Andhra Pradesh), Beed district in Maharashtra, Gulbarga district in Karnataka and many other villages across India. The impact of YFA had been tremendous. The people living in these villages had a noticeable change in their lives owing to the awareness and opportunities provided by YFA in their lives. YFA was particularly focused on highlighting women farmers' and agricultural labour's contribution in various forums.

However, Venkat Ramnayya, President of YFA, was concerned about what should be the way forward. Several questions ran in his mind. “How can women farmers' agricultural contribution be recognized and added to the national GDP? What can be an effective strategy? What will be the repercussions if their contributions are added to the national GDP? What if their contributions aren't added?




Pedagogical Objectives

After completing the case

  • The students can appreciate the ‘invisible’ contribution of women to household and particularly household agriculture and the reasons behind it
  • The students can understand the importance of women in agriculture
  • The students can learn how to empower rural women for poverty alleviation and natural resource management


Case Positioning and Setting

The case is designed primarily for full time and executive MBA programs. It can be used to teach modules on social entrepreneurship/social initiatives in developing countries. The case can also be taught in MBA programs in Rural Management.


* GSMC 2016, IIM Raipur

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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