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Hi Kate,

Thanks for your note - I have attached a survey form filled by one of our beneficiaries in the target area. As for the support needed on our idea, the answer is given below. I have also added it in the 'Improve' section of the submission.

Q: Maximum support we need on our idea is technical assistance with groundwater recharging structures.

While we have zeroed in on two technologies at the moment - Injection Wells and Recharge Pits - for ground water recharge, we are still exploring different and low cost models. We will need support from technical experts in this field who can help us identify the best structures/solutions for this activity. We will explore such technical support from agri-engineering departments of prominent universities (such as University of Agricultural Sciencies, Dharwad; Punjabrao Deshmukh Agricultural University in Akola and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore etc) and other organizations who have conducted borewell recharging work in the past (albeit not through a entrepreneur model as what we propose).

Thanks!

Hello Kate Rushton ,

Thanks for these questions - we have just uploaded the user experience map and the beneficiary feedback which we gathered through on-ground surveys. I hope the updated idea shall be able to answer most of the questions you have addressed!

As for the training - TechnoServe will organize training programs that will be classroom based as well as practical learning that will be gained from the job. Apart from organizing exposure visits to for trainees to successful recharging concepts, we will also link them to technical and academic partners for training on ground water and soil quality.

Please don't hesitate to let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Karan.

Hi Melinda, great questions!
1) TechnoServe has its own full time team working in Bikaner at the moment. We are implementing Kitchen Gardens for home consumption with around 250 women in the region. We will be graduating these to Commercial Gardens, using the same team.

2) Typically most traditional communities in India have saved their seed for re-sowing. Even today, barring a few commercial crops, seed is generally saved and re-sown. However, vegetables would be a new crop for people in Rajasthan (our target area). Seed saving to start with is going to be a bit complex, and time consuming, since there will not be availability of non-hybrid local seed that can be saved. But, as the program grows, that is one aspect we definitely have on the cards.

3) Our past experiences indicate that incidences of forcing women to part with their money are not very large although there will of-course be some black sheep. Our approach to collective marketing is not just a medium to sell vegetables, but also becomes a pretext to come together and influence local social norms as one. Recurrent experiences of both TechnoServe and other NGOs in India have shown that women coming together as a collective unit and participating in an economic activity are able to change social mindsets in some of the most regressive social groups.

Hope these help!
Karan.