Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tech For Seva - My Experience

Recently I volunteered for Tech for Seva conference. I would like to share my experinces through this blog.

Tech for Seva is the initiative to bring Volunteer Organizations (VO/NGOs), CSR (Corporates) and Scientific/Technical Community on one platform.This conference was held on Sept 28th and 29th 2013. This conference was inaugurated by Dr. Anil Kakodkar and we had the privilege to hear from highly acclaimed speakers during this conference.

Following were the themes of the conference.

1. Livelihood

2. Health

3. Environment

4. Education

There were nearly 100 speakers for different themes as noted above.As I was part of the Livelihood theme I could not attend presntations in other themes. I would like to give more details about the livelihood theme below.

Livelihood covered following themes

1. Agricultural mechanization

2. Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP)

3. Seed conservation

1. Agricultural Mechanization:- Some of the topics covered under this theme are women drudgery,mechanization of different day to day work of farmers,safety equipments for farmers etc.The audience could see from the presentations there is lot of research being done to reduce women drudgery, increase productivity of farmers, safety of farming, improve health etc. Some of the session were supported by pictures and videos. The speakers in this theme were from various background from research organization/researchers to actual innovators for mechanization. It was really sad to see the drudgery and hardship of women who work on farms along with living conditions.At the same time it is great to see dedicated organizations/researchers working on reducing the drudgery by coming up with safety equipements (coats, glouses,equipements). Some of the equipements which were showcaused would help women to improve the posture, reduce hardship, help improve health conditions etc. Some of the speakers I would call them real engineers/innovators as they have developed mechanized equipement to reduce hardship and improve productivity.

2. Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP):- This theme covered various topics from necessacity of NTFP for increasing the income,health etc of tribal area population to different means of increasing the productivity of NTFP. In this theme one could learn the potential of different NTFP like leaves,medicinal plants,oilseeds,bamboo,honey,silk etc for increasing the income for better livelihood. This session also covered the next steps like industry investment,training,etc which could be taken up for improvement of tribal areas. The tribal communinity in many parts of India is dependent on NTFP and there is immediate need to provide good support to this community so that the income of the population can be increased.

3. Seeds :- This theme covered topics like seed conservation, local seeds, commercial seeds,seed banks etc. The speakers in this theme presented the necessity of conservation of local seeds, importance of seed banks, Ex-situ, in-situ etc. There were speakers who actually are conserving 50 to 200 different seeds. They provided good insight into how the conservation can be improved through seed banks, community initiative, Govt intervention. This theme also covered topics by farmers who have developed different seeds. We were fortunate to see Red ladyfinger as one of the products developed by a farmer.

Since I grew up in urban area and never had a chance to closely look into the farming side, the above topics really enlighetened me with different prospects of life and I remembered former prime minister Shri.Lal Bahadur Shastri slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan". It is the army which protects us from the enemy and it is the farmers who protect us within our country with good vegetables,grains,etc. The daily food we take is all coming from farmers. We should be thankful to the farmer community for the food we eat everyday.

I think there is lot of potential in betterment of life of farmers through some of the initiative recommended during the coference. Some of them are list below for readers reference.

1. Using mechanized equipments/tools to reduce hardship and improve productivity

2. Improving the health of farmers by providing safety equipements

3. Improving the NTFP through industry investments,export tie-ups,training programs etc

4. Improving the seed conservation through seed banks, community initiatives, Govt inetrvention, Industry investment.

Youtube video links are provided below....

Day 1 sessions

Day 1 Session 1

Day 1 Session 2

Day 2 Session

Day 2 Session 1

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