Program-to-Program Visits in India are Eye-Opening and Inspirational

Program-to-Program Visits in India are Eye-Opening and Inspirational

You just never know what might happen when two or more people from different cultures get together, but from my experience the results are always surprisingly great! This past summer FRB invited two women from the India Banka program to visit the US. Unfortunately, one of our invited guests, Suggamuni Kisku, a small-holder farmer, was unable to come. To honor the lengths that Suggamuni and local partner PRADAN went through to try and get her to the US, we invited her to join us on a program to program visit to the India-Partharkhmah program in the chilly Northeast of India.

Dhrubaa, a staff person from the PRADAN program, came along to help translate and learn from the program partner NEICORD as well. It was much colder in Partharkmah than we  expected and much colder than Suggamuni had ever experienced. How thankful she was when we walked into a restaurant in Shillong (elevation 5000ft) and found an electric heater radiating from the corner. 

We visited with several communities in Patharkhmah and had great interactions with the NEICORD program staff (World Renew’s local partner). Suggamuni and Dhrubaa were amazed at how much water the residents of Patharkhmah had access to. Water seemed to be flowing from everywhere compared to the dry conditions in Banka. Many times Suggamuni thought, “if we had this much water in Banka, just imagine what we could do!”

Both the Banka and Patharkhmah programs have a focus on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as well as vegetable production. While in the Banka program the focus is on commercial vegetable production (helping to give families a source of income from small plots of land with which to be able to purchase food), the emphasis in the Patharkhmah program is for each family to grow a large variety of vegetables on small plots of land for each families consumption. Any excess vegetables can be taken to the local market but the emphasis is on home consumption.  

Dhrubaa remarked that perhaps this family nutrition security focus could be incorporated into PRADAN’s programs. She said that in general, middle class India families habitually have small kitchen gardens so that they can avoid paying high market process for easy to grow vegetables….she just never thought about this as a solution for the poor as well.  The same skills and technology are needed for both commercial and home gardens and the outcome is twice as good.

The value of a program to program visit is immeasurable in the possibility of its impact. 

By Angela Boss, FRB Staff

02/11/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment