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Building a culture of digital entrepreneurship among rural youths in Madhya Pradesh, India

ERAs training, Madhya Pradesh, India

At the just concluded smart projector training to make natural farming accessible in rural areas, five newly selected Entrepreneurs for Rural Access (ERAs) teams from Madhya Pradesh, India, were equipped with digital and entrepreneurial tools and skills for running a business from bringing training videos to farmers using a smart projector.

The training programme was organised in Bhopal, 26-27 June 2024, as part of GIZ- SuATI (Support to Agroecological Transformation Processes in India) project by Access Agriculture in partnership with the GIZ-SuATI team under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture, Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Shri Jitendra Singh Parihar, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Government of Madhya Pradesh, who was invited as the Chief Guest congratulated the new ERAs and appreciated Access Agriculture’s well-structured training videos and last mile delivery model through young entrepreneurs. 

Distributing the smart projector to each ERA team, Shri Parihar said, “I see great potential of this model for bringing world knowledge to our farmers. This programme should not be restricted to only three or four districts of Madhya Pradesh, but reach many more districts.” 

The dignitaries at the training programme included Namerta Sharma, National Senior Advisor GIZ-India and Ashok Kumar, Advisor, GIZ-India as well as Nodal Officers for Organic Agriculture from four districts of Madhya Pradesh, who had been specially asked by the Department of Agriculture to be present at this event.

The ERA teams, who were selected after a thorough consultative and inclusive selection process, hail from three districts (Chhatarpur, Panna and Sagar) of Madhya Pradesh and are associated with the following NGOs: Abhyudaya Sansthan, PRADAN, MVSS, PSI and SRIJAN.  

The 2-day hands-on and interactive training programme covered the following topics: ● functions and use of the smart projector ● familiarisation with the Access Agriculture digital platforms ● facilitation skills for video screening ● development of a basic business model canvas by each ERA team Access Agriculture tools for monitoring and tracking data on video use ● communications and sharing of information and ● monthly target setting by each ERA team. 

The training agenda also included a sharing of experience by existing ERAs from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh states with the new ERAs. On the second day, a field trip to a village in Vidisha district was arranged to test the ability of ERAs to facilitate video screening for farming groups using the smart projector, putting into practice the lessons learnt during the training programme.

The participants appreciated greatly the interactive sessions, the demonstrations and practical work as well as the simulation exercise. They especially liked the brainstorming around the topic of business model canvas and the lively exchange with the existing ERAs. 

Conveying their gratitude to GIZ-SuATI and to Access Agriculture, the ERAs expressed their commitment and enthusiasm to train farmers in natural farming practices using the smart projector, while growing their own business. Inspired by the success stories in Access Agriculture’s publication ‘Young Changemakers’, they hoped to be featured one day in such a publication.

As an implementing partner of GIZ-SuATI, Access Agriculture is helping strengthen farmers’ capacities in agroecology and natural farming in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam in collaboration with local partners. 

The training programme was facilitated by Access Agriculture Entrepreneur Coaches from India (Nandini Pakki and Mounica Lingireddy) with support from R Raman and Savitri Mohapatra.

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