Delegates from Developing Countries learn valuable lessons on Rural Development at NIRDPR

Hyderabad: Officials from various developing countries in Africa, Middle East, North America and Asia benefitted immensely from the International Training Programme on ‘Planning and Management of Housing Programmes’ hosted by National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR).

The ‘Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation’ initiative enabled participants to learn about Rural Development and its various aspects from NIRDPR, one of the premier institutes in India which is also a ‘think tank’ to the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. The Training Program was sponsored by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and held from 7th January 2020 to 13th February 2020.

Speaking about some of the important outcomes of this program, Course Coordinator Dr. Lakhan Singh, Assistant Professor, Centre for Human Resource Development, School of Development Studies and Social Justice, NIRDPR, said, “This programme was well received by the participants. Learnings from the course were much more than the expectations, as pointed out by many participants. The programme is highly recommended for all development professionals who are dealing with training-related activities.”

Among the major aspects the participants learn during this program was that the National Strategies in India are people-centered. There existed allocation of individual roles and responsibilities from Central, Provincial State, and District level up to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. This kind of cascading and decentralization required a lot of resources, commitments and authenticity. From this process, number of lessons were drawn by the participants.

Highlighting the impact of this program, Course Coordinator Dr. Ramesh Sakthivel, Associate Professor and Head (I/C), Centre for Innovations and Appropriate Technology (CIAT), NIRDPR, said, “It was wonderful to see the international participants learning overall perspective of rural development aspects at NIRDPR through the ITEC programme. Some of the even expressed that there should be a NIRDPR Unit at Africa to train large number of participants who can’t travel to India.”

Field visits organized as part of this program helped the delegates learn about the scale and scope of the Rural Development Programs implemented in India and the amount of planning that went into the various schemes of the Government of India. The participants also learned about the role of various institutions in Rural Development such as State Institutes of Rural Development (SIRDs), Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC) and National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD).

Many participants had come from countries that had not laid major emphasis on Rural Development. This program opened up to them the various possibilities.

The participants also learnt about various development programs of the Government of India such as

Ø Prime Ministers Housing Programme (PMAY), in which financial assistance was given to rural poor and homeless people to construct their homes,

Ø Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), to provide connectivity to unconnected Habitations as part of a poverty reduction strategy.

Ø Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) improving the levels of cleanliness through Solid and Liquid Waste Management including waterless urinal, decentralized wastewater treatments system and twin pit toilets,

Ø Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from BPL households,

The delegates also learnt about various initiatives in rainwater harvesting, housing finance through women self-help groups and monitoring of housing programme through digital platform AwaasApp) and MNREGS.

Please find below the feedback shared by some of the international participants:

1. Mr. Mussa Ali Kombo, Zanzibar Planning Commission, The United Republic of Tanzania, said: “This (ITEC programme) is one among the brilliant initiatives. I spent four weeks of improving my professional career at the NIRDPR – Hyderabad. I am strongly recommending this ITEC programme to other officials who want to deliver tangible results in this globalized world. It is hand-to-hand linked with the United Nations Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”

2. Mr. Sonam Dorji, Delegate from Bhutan, said: “The field trip organized to Bengaluru and Mysore opened my eyes to the figure of population reflected in the book and live movement in towns. Visit to various institute at Banglore and gaining various ideas on the training imparts and actions proceeded for elevating poverty from the country. It is an opportunity to visit the different institutes to get awareness on the trainings that are available for the stakeholders who wishes to undergo and further impart in the field. The programs organized in the (NIRDPR) campus is also an experience gaining programs and exchange of cultural habits which includes the festival and republic day celebration. I could see the importance of rural poverty reduction initiatives taken from the institute and welcoming such festival celebration. I would recommend any interested participants to apply and grab the opportunity in availing this fruitful training course to all Afro-Asian countries to build capacity of their staff for rural development approaches in their respective countries. ”

3. Mr. Kissan Ramkalawan, Project Manager, Ministry of National Infrastructure and Community Development, National Development Unit, Government of Mauritius, said, “Field visits were arranged in Bengaluru and Mysore so that we (participants) have an exposure how the Government of India is mobilizing to provide trainings to the rural areas through the SIRDs, ATIC, NIPCCD and RUDSETI to empower the rural community. We also had an opportunity to attend a Gram Panchayath in Mysore whereby we interacted with the members and learned about their projects. Without any doubt, the training has further enhanced my knowledge, skills and attitude. There are lots of take-ways from this training and I am confident I can contribute to change.”

Further, he said, “Now after undertaking the sessions, I am aware that there are numerous distinct methods of training and depending on the objective, content and target group of a particular training, if the appropriate method or the right blend of methods are selected, trainings could be made more effective and impactful.”

He added, “I was surprised to learn so many training methods existed (on the topic ‘Training Methodology for Development Professionals’) and moreover they are different to each other. Yet, there are still some of the methods that could be accommodated within that duration. The course content including the course material was so much well designed and sequenced to enable logical flow of teachings. The resource persons were carefully selected. I very much appreciated the visual aids used to facilitate communication and discussions.”

4. Mr. Hadjer Touati, Official, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, Department of Training, Research and Extension, Government of Algeria, said, “I have attended several trainings before, but I cannot recall any of them having such a strong impact. I was particularly impressed by the level of the resource persons. They were inspiring, knowledgeable and hugely helpful. I had the opportunity to see and to be part of incredible India in this little period of time. I will surely recommend this training to all my colleagues and friends. Now I have the confidence to go back to my country and apply all what I have learnt.”

5. Mr. George Omondi Otieno, Lecturer, School of Natural Resource and Environment Management, University of Kabianga in Kericho, Kenya and a Consultant Urban Planner and Environmental Planner, said, “India is a senior brother to Kenya in terms of development and it is my view that Kenya should copy and follow what India is doing than trying to catch-up with North America and European countries whose economy is hundred times the size of Kenya. As a senior brother, it is easier for Kenya to track India’s development footsteps by incorporating its good examples while learning and avoiding its challenges.”

Further, he said, “The curriculum was well crafted and punctuated with field activities to make us clearly relate class work and actual implementation of housing programmes in India. African countries and a majority of the developing countries have neglected their rural areas and urban development is prioritized and therefore the training is an eye-opener for me and my country to start looking at rural areas as an important component of the country.”

He added, “Monitoring, evaluating, communicating and disseminating these developments through social audit where village members participate in evaluating progress of these projects is a good way of bringing consensus and acceptance of public projects. These can be achieved by improving rural areas through construction of affordable, green and sustainable housing which utilizes locally available materials.”

6. Ms. Shila Kalinda Chabalengula, Town Clerk, Mazabuka Muncipal Council, Government of Zambia, “. The initiative and design of the training programme requires commendation as it draws a wide range of developing countries with realisation that we share similar challenges regardless of the national boundaries. The course provided a platform for knowledge sharing as it is very participatory.”

KEY LEARNINGS FROM THE PROGRAMME

It is important to develop and align specific policies towards the delivery of affordable rural housing. Also mainstreaming of sustainable architecture and integrated planning is vital.
The principle of applying ecological, economic and performance aspects in housing ought to be embraced. It sets mind conscious on environmental protection, reducing cost, use less energy and materials but realise functional and liveable buildings.
It is essential to explore and use the available local materials. For Sustainable Building Technologies, the course inculcated skills on how to blend modern and traditional construction. Skills on how to mould blocks using mud, wooden doors and window frames, bamboo roofs, tables and doors; bottles for lighting, flat block roofs, stone walls, handmade tiles etc were learnt. Visit to Malhar Terraces, Good Earth Project, Bangalore

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