But to Rukmani bai Rawat, jiva has new meaning. A widow with just one year of formal education, Rukmani has struggled to survive on her own. The Joint Initiative for Village Advancement organization (JIVA) has changed that. “JIVA’s guidance and training has helped me in maintaining a regular source of income by growing summer maize, marigold?flowers, and vegetables,” she says.
Rukmani’s?Joint Initiative for Village Advancement is a multi-million dollar partnership between PYXERA Global and the John Deere Foundation that aims to combat the devastating poverty that affects the area. She’s one of hundreds in India who have received agricultural training to improve productivity, income security and rural development.
Prior to 2012, only three farmers in the district had received agricultural training. With no access to modern farming methods, farmers struggled to produce enough yields to provide for the people in their villages, let alone turn a profit.
As of today, more than 500 farmers received training on modern agriculture, including soil and water quality testing, line sowing and proper spacing, drip irrigation, mechanization, vermicomposting, and crop diversification.? As a result, crop yields have increased as much as 48%.
JIVA’s Impact on Jobs
JIVA has created 28 full-time and 43 part-time jobs in the local communities.
“JIVA tells us how to get more production from less area,” says Chanda Kumawat, a farmer in one of the villages. “We are benefitting from JIVA’s practices, especially sowing.”
Education and Infrastructure
Local villagers rely on farming for their livelihoods, but agriculture advancements (or lack of) are not the only problem. While helping villagers in the area modernize their agricultural production is important, it was not enough. To have a long-lasting effect on the lives of the villagers, JIVA needed to address education in the area.
A baseline study in 2012 found that 30% of the area’s school-age children had dropped out, and more than 80% of villagers had no more than a fifth-grade education. The schools also lacked basic facilities and infrastructure. Functioning toilets or basic classroom furniture were non-existent — an atmosphere certainly not conducive to learning.
JIVA Improves Education
Since June 2013, 191 out of 298 dropouts were reintegrated back into the community’s public schools.
To improve access to education, JIVA established ERCs, after-school tutoring programs in each village. The objective was to improve the level of education and to re-integrate dropouts. To complement the focus on quality of education, JIVA met the most basic of needs?by constructing new toilets and washbasins at all of the village schools.
As a result, more school-age children are taking part in the after-school program. In fact, 100% of all dropouts are enrolled and more than 60% of those have re-enrolled in government schools.
“I study in class five. I have learned to read books, multiplication, division, and to use computers here at the ERC,” says Meera Bagariya, a student in one of the ERCs.
Following its first full year of operation, the JIVA project is seeing solid success. New agricultural techniques and machinery introduced are revitalizing the local agricultural economy, saving the farmers money and increasing the profits yielded from crops. After-school programs have increased test scores by 82% and encouraged a greater focus on the benefit of education. New toilets and adequate classroom furniture for all of the schools in the three villages have enhanced the efforts in education.
JIVA Gives New Life to Villages in India
See how JIVA is changing lives by improving productivity, income security and rural development in the district of Rajasthan, India.
JIVA Gives New Life to Villages in India
Perhaps JIVA’s greatest success from their rural development efforts can be seen in the village residents taking responsibility for the betterment of their community. Parents, teachers, administrators, and local government officials are all engaged in education and are beginning to take leadership roles. For the sustainability of infrastructure improvement, local carpenters and masons trained in construction and maintenance projects.
“Earlier, people thought improving the villages was the job of JIVA,” says Neeta Kumawat, JIVA?field coordinator and a village resident. “Now…there is a change in the villagers’ perspective. They understand that it is not JIVA’s duty, but it is their own responsibility.”