We are just back from a 3-week visit to participate in the ongoing activities of “Project HiLight India”, and filled with ideas and inspiration! The main focus of the project is currently villages around Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand located in northern India. Having the opportunity to spend a number of days in the rural villages, we have noticed a number of opportunities for increased income generation and improved livelihoods.
The “Cottage industry” is the small-scale local production in village houses and cottages across the country. It might look small when looking at each individual family – but adding it up, it accounts for large production volumes. Usually, the local production depends on what is available in the surroundings, using wood, leaves, fibres and other materials.
In some villages, making of leaf plates is a common activity among the women, in others weaving of mats or bamboo baskets provides an extra income to the families. The products are sold on the village markets or transported and sold in the nearest town. As farming is often on a subsistence level – providing food for the family but no surplus to sell on the village market – this extra income is a way to retrieve cash to cover for external costs; school uniforms, kerosene, health care etc.
Project HiLight India is partly financed by Demo Environment programme, run by Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and financed by SIDA. The project promotes sustainable growth and environmental technologies that contribute to improved living conditions for people in seven partner countries, among them India.
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Also in this issue:
• Cooperatives Turn Small-scale into Large-scale
• HiLight Increases Outcome in Pig Farming