Cheryl  Francisconi
Program Director
LDM, Institute of International Education (IIE), USA


For a country as large and as diverse as India where more than 70% of its citizens reside in rural and poverty prone areas, the challenge to development can by and large be addressed by building capacities of this section of the society and creating opportunities for them to identify the most suitable and viable livelihood options. Rural products of India are unique, innovative and have good utility and values. Large number of these rural products sustains a significant segment of the population in the rural areas – both as producers and consumers. However these products face severe difficulties when it comes to their marketing - they often first travel down to market through a long chain of intermediaries and then up to more difficult locations in the rural areas. In the process, the people in rural areas suffer from both low prices as producers and high prices as consumers. In this conflict, rural products loss its equilibrium and the supply side becomes exponentially high. Because of this and other complexities like lack of communications, transportation, electricity etc. rural entrepreneurs face acute economic loss and rural markets become stagnant.

Market Linkages

Therefore, there is an emergent need for building sustainable market linkages for rural products, so that, it can be connected to larger markets and farmers/producers can get a sustainable livelihood. Broadly speaking, there are three ways in which they can be connected to the market - 1> they can do it on their own, i.e through collectives or cooperatives, or 2> the state can do it for them, i.e. through its procurement engines, or 3> by establishing market linkages with/ through companies or industries.

Self Help and Micro Finance

The term self-help(or self-improvement) refers to self-guided improvement economically, intellectually, or emotionally often with a substantial psychological basis. Self-help often takes place on the basis of self-reliance, of publicly available information, or of support groups where people in similar situations join together. From early exemplars in self-driven legal practice and home-spun advice, the connotations of the phrase have spread and often apply particularly to education, business, psychological or psychotherapeutic nostrums, purveyed through the popular genre of self-help books and through self-help personal-development movements. According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, potential benefits of selfs-help groups that professionals may not be able to provide include friendship, emotional support, experiential knowledge, identity, meaningful roles, and a sense of belonging. Microfinance refers to the provision of financial services to low-income clients, including consumers and the self-employed. The term also refers to the practice of sustainably delivering those services. Microcredit (or loans to poor microenterprises) should not be confused with microfinance, which addresses a full range of banking needs for poor people. More broadly, it refers to a movement that envisions a world in which as many poor and near-poor households as possible have permanent access to an appropriate range of high quality financial services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, and fund transfers. Those who promote microfinance generally believe that such access will help poor people out of poverty.

Multilateral Organizations

International NGOs
Action Aid
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Family Health International (FHI)
Helpage India
Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT)
Institute of International Education (IIE), USA
Micronutrient Initiatives India (MII)
Packard Foundation
Sulabh Intrenational
WaterAid (UK)

Corporate Agencies
Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Ltd.

Professional Institutions
Xavier Institute of Social Science (XISS), Ranchi

Consulting Firms
Catalyst Development Services
Give 2 Asia
Pricewaterhouse Cooper Pvt. Ltd. (PwC)

Government Organisations
Department of Planning, GoUP
Department of Secondary Education, GoUP
State Institute of Health and Family Welfare (SIHFW), UP
UP State Aids Control Society (UPSACS)
Water and Sanitation Support Organisation (WSSO)

Civil Society Organisations
BEADS, Lucknow
Catholic Diocese of Lucknow
Don Bosco Aashalayam, Lucknow
DORD, Patna
DSWS, Lucknow
Fatima Hospital, Lucknow
Impact Partners in Social Development
IRAC, Patna