HCL’s association with the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) goes back four decades to the time when HCL was born in partnership with the State Government. While HCL has grown exponentially since then, UP still continues to house its largest operation base. The bond that HCL shares with the State is an emotional one, really, and we believe that it is our responsibility to give back to the state that has given us so much. This is what urged us to look beyond short-term, correctional development projects and conceptualize solutions that would drive deep, long-term impact. We wanted to create and implement a project which had the potential to prove that an integrated model of rural development is possible and realizable in the near future. This is what led to the launch of HCL Samuday in 2015.
For the last 70 years, various governments and private organizations have put in incredible amount of effort to address the various challenges that plague the development of rural pockets in India. Most of them have targeted one or even a few of the sectors with development challenges, together. However, there has never been a successful model that addresses all the developmental challenges in a holistic manner. That got us thinking of developing an ambitious program, which can address the challenges in the fields of education, livelihood, agriculture, health, sanitation, infrastructure and community engagement and finally develop “model villages” in partnership with state governments, village communities, NGOs, knowledge institutions and allied partners. Since Uttar Pradesh has the distinction of being the largest state of India, population wise, and has its fair share of developmental challenges, we decided to launch the project close to home.
Samuday has evolved a six-pillar program structure to achieve its rural development goals which are aligned towards creating a blueprint that is sustainable, scalable and replicable throughout the world – in countries with similar socio-economic structures. Our vision is not to channelize one-time investments into developing model villages but it is to engage the community and equip and empower them to deal with their own challenges, themselves. Other programs that have addressed development challenges in a time-bound fashion have often faced the issue of sustainability. When the experts finish a project and move on, there is often no mechanism left in place to address new roadblocks that are sure to arise in the future. In order to avoid the above situation, Samuday has developed a format which is not just about going into the villages and driving change as an external partner but ensuring that the community is equally invested in the transformational journey. Therefore, we work with the local population to identify the problems, create solutions and then implement the same with help from the members of the community and the local administration. This leads to the community feeling equally invested and empowered to drive transformational changes grounds-up and lends a sustainability dimension to the project that is otherwise not present in most programs. Our ultimate aim is therefore to ensure that even after the Samuday team has moved out of a particular area, the community can sustain and continue the growth of the local ecosystem independently of any external support.
We have only just begun our journey and there is a long way to go before we realize the dream of seeing model villages on ground but we are excited about the initial results we have seen and the potential they have to become the basis of a far deeper impact that HCL Samuday can drive in order to improve the living conditions of those who matter the most – the residents of rural India.
Agriculture is a dynamic sector that deals with specialized knowledge which is ever changing. HCL Samuday regularly makes associated farmers aware of latest developments through Training and Extension intervention. The farmers are empowered to address existing issues and mitigate and adapt for future challenges.
With the objective of bringing agriculture technologies at farmers’ doorstep by establishing a ‘Center of Excellence’ in Uttar Pradesh, HCL Samuday is setting up Center for Agriculture Technology Transfer (CATT) in Hardoi district. It shall act as a ‘single window’ / ‘one stop support system’ aligning various interventions of state department of Agriculture with HCL Foundation as an intermediary and farmers as end users in a learning, decision making and problem-solving exercise.
Nutrition Garden is a low cost, scientific model of home garden organically producing a variety of nutritious vegetables and fruits throughout the year. The primary objective of promoting nutrition gardens is to make ½ kg of fresh vegetables available for daily consumption to rural households. Secondary objectives include reduction in daily expenditure of HHs and increase in the consumption of green vegetables for improved nutrition.
2,714 households have benefitted by adopting a Nutrition Garden.
Interventions aimed at mobilizing community and facilitating institution creation lend long-term sustainability to the efforts for agriculture development.
Farmer Clubs are formed with the objective of propagating the idea of collective, uniting farmers in groups which work for the benefit of their community. 199 such clubs established so far under this intervention are providing a platform for knowledge dissemination and better market linkages.
HCL Foundation is the promoting agency of Hardoi Kisan Producer Company Limited (HKPCL), a Farmer Producer Organization constituted in 2017 to address challenges faced by farming community in the project area. Comprising of 2,350 shareholders and governed by an 11-member board of directors, HKPCL registered a turnover of ₹ 6.85 crores in last financial year (2019-20).
Ensuring market is a crucial part of vegetable supply chain. To facilitate better linkages with market, 7 vegetable aggregation points have been set up across 3 blocks and regular communication is made to enable farmers to choose and opt for most suitable option. Realising better prices for produce, 917 Tonnes of vegetables, worth ₹ 1.30 crores, got aggregated at these centres in 2019-20.
Through Farm Mechanization, focus is on increasing income of farmers by improving affordability and accessibility of machines for precision agriculture. It is aimed at reducing farmers’ cost of cultivation and easing farm operations. Carried out in an entrepreneurial model, thus far 3,249 farms have been supported with advanced agricultural machinery and development of 45 entrepreneurs has been facilitated.
After successful response of vegetable cultivation, various add-ons in Crop Diversification have been introduced so that farmers having disparate needs may opt for most suitable cropping pattern. These include –
Traditional Crop Promotion intervention focuses on training and demonstration of traditional crop farmers (Maize, Paddy, Wheat, Urad etc.) and bringing them under Package of Practices (PoP) based production system to increase productivity and adopt better crop management practices.
HCL Samuday has worked to enhance productivity by adopting soil and nutrient management, land development and institutional building for effective market linkages. 26,000+ farmers are currently engaged through this intervention and have adopted better practices on their farm.