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

CASE STUDY, CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
ET Cases - GSMC, 15 Pages

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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.” ...................

 



1 Late Shri Baba Amte was a noted Indian social activist.

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

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