GRAM-NIDHI – Eco Enterprises for Sustainable Livelihoods:
With the support of the first India Country Level Development Marketplace award of the World Bank, in 2003 a micro credit initiative named Gram Nidhi was undertaken in five villages linking the social capital of the PVMs with the growing need for sustainable livelihoods in the semi-arid region. The PVMs function as savings groups, providing the members with working capital to start small-scale ‘Eco enterprises’ that make use of local resources without putting a stress on the fragile resources in the area. These Eco Enterprises are screened on their potential economic viability, their contribution to social equity and the sustainable use of natural resources.
The challenge taken up in the Gram Nidhi project was to create a more entrepreneurial mind set in the community. Many of the small and marginal farmers in the Jasdan (Dist. Rajkot, Gujarat state) area have never perceived themselves as the owner of a potential profitable business. Instead many of them, especially the marginal farmers, are trapped in a debt-cycle in order to procure the necessary material for farming. To change this mind set means to empower people to start planning their livelihood and create new perspectives. The concept of Eco Entrepreneurs incorporates all these aspects: awareness raising, facilitating a psychological change, and perceiving the participants not as beneficiaries but as partners.
The Gram Nidhi model is based on four E’s interventions: Economic support (microfinance), Extension service, Eco-Entrepreneur mind-set and Environmental conservation. The difference between the Gram Nidhi model of mF and traditional SHG-based mF programmes lies in the microcredit as tool to promote eco-entrepreneurship mind set and ultimately leading to sustainable livelihood
Centre for Environment Education
Nehru Foundation for Development
Tel: 079 - 26858002 to 8009
Fax: 079 - 26858010
Established as a Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India.