Heart of Empowerment
For decades, Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation (LHWRF) has been implementing integrated programmes that benefit the underserved communities
At Lupin, we take our Founder’s words to heart. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not just a mandatory legal provision for compliance. It is a moral and social obligation behind every action today as it was 33 years ago, when Dr Desh Bandhu Gupta established an autonomous foundation dedicated to rural development,” shares Tushara Shankar, Head CSR. In its three decade long journey, LWHRF has impacted 1.45 million people across 5,000 villages in 23 districts spread in India.
The foundation is focused on building sustainable livelihood opportunities and triggering economic growth in backward and underdeveloped districts of India. LHWRF introduced strategic interventions to catalyze Economic, Social, Infrastructure Development, and Natural Resource Management. To benefit a large section of the community, LHWRF has taken an integrated approach. After a need assessment, LHWRF implements multiple interventions in each region for holistic development.
To cite examples of the integrated models—in Junnar block, Pune district, Maharashtra, LHWRF has implemented soil and water conservation and established micro-enterprises. In Dhule district, Maharashtra, LHWRF has been working with communities on skill development and water resource development. In Vidisha district, Madhya Pradesh, programmes related to livelihood and healthcare have been initiated. In Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh, interventions related to skill development, community healthcare and infrastructure have been given a boost.
Skill development is an indispensable pillar of LHWRF’s economic empowerment strategy. For over a decade now, LHWRF has been bridging the skill gap for youth, men and women with need-based skill development programmes through multi-skill development centres at cluster levels. These programmes enable entrepreneurship promotion and reduce migration of unskilled labour to urban areas. Placement services and self-employment support are provided including tool kits, sewing machines and access to institutional credit to set up enterprises. Group enterprises are also promoted with SHGs.
The skill development work is expansive, delivering skill training services across various trades and sectors. It ranges from nursing and hospital attendant courses to computer literacy, data entry operator, mobile repairing, electrician, tailoring, driver, embroidery skills and more.
Take the example of Lokesh, a resident of village Awar near Kumher town, Rajasthan. She went from being a trainee garment maker at the local Lupin run training institute to becoming a trainer and an entrepreneur. She employs numerous women in an ever-expanding garment unit she operates from her home. “After six months of training, I was able to buy six machines with support given by LHWRF.” This was three years ago, since then she has added more machines as her work has grown several folds, getting orders from distant parts of the district.
Success stories abound from all over the country. Man Singh from village Oonch, Bharatpur district, is following his family’s traditional craft of matka-making. The process, which earlier took three days to finish, is now done in a couple of hours, thanks to an innovation in furnace technology by the Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG) at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in collaboration with Lupin Foundation.
In Sakri block, Dhule district, Maharashtra, a Multi Skill Training Centre has been set up. It offers courses in tailoring, nursing, food and beverage services, data entry operator, masonry, household repair and fitting, hospitality, mobile and automobile repair, four-wheeler driver and security guard. The courses are certified by the National Skill Development Corporation. More than 25,000 youth have been trained in various trades, including Nursing, General Duty Assistant (Nursing). More than 487 students have been trained in Nursing and General Duty Assistant Course. The students are given on-the-job internships and placement assistance.
There are many happy students who have now become professionals. Mangal Daniel Raut of Warsha village started her tailoring shop after a three-month training and now caters to the entire village.
Nursing trainer at the institute, Smital Raut says, “At the time of joining, the students barely communicate, even with each other. We give them technical as well as soft skills training and have trained more than 450 students since 2019.”
Hospitals and clinics are happy to employ the trained students. Dr Swapnil Bhadane, Desale Multispeciality Hospital, Sakri, Dhule district, says. “Students trained by the foundation’s skill training centre, come for their practical internship at our facility. As they have been taught the theory well, it becomes easy for us to train them. We also get a talented pool of employable people for the hospital.”
Kavita from Dhule district is happy to have got a job as a nursing attendant. She joined the three-month training course and has now learned a lot about dialysis, sonography and other medical procedures and equipment.
In the Parawada, Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh, Arya (Maggam) Skill Development is being promoted. Women are being trained in this embroidery technique which is done on saris and blouses. They are also given the material during the training. The project is being executed in collaboration with a local NGO Visishta Gramodaya Swayam Sadhana Parishad (called Saadhana).
Varri Seshu, 27, took the two-month course, and started making blouses for herself and later for others. “I could earn Rs 6,000-Rs 6,500 per month. And this helped me through the Covid-19 pandemic.” Likewise, Usha Rani, another homemaker, says, “We learn new designs and the money comes in handy for household expenses.”
The skill development programme has been implemented in Bharatpur, Alwar, Dholpur districts, Rajasthan; Vidisha and Raisen districts (Silwani), Madhya Pradesh; Sindhudurga, Aurangabad, Nandurbar, Dhule, Palghar (Dahanu), Nagpur (Bhivapur), Pune districts, Maharashtra; Ankleshwar (Gujarat) and Goa.
Agriculture contributes to 17 per cent of GDP and close to 52 per cent of Indians are farmers. However, there is cause for concern as the youth from rural areas are now seeking jobs in urban areas. There are weak economic returns from traditional agriculture practices. Added to this is climate change, erratic rainfall patterns, price vagaries, and increased cost of production.
To address all these challenges, LHWRF introduced horticulture, floriculture, orchard, natural farming practices, and location-specific integrated farming models in target geographies. These integrated models take away the dependency on seasonal crops or work and give the people an opportunity of year-round sustainable livelihood, thereby increasing income levels.
Talking about his mango orchard, Pandu Baba Kagua of Ambur village, Umarpata Gram Pranchayat, Dhule district, says, “We were given saplings of the Kesari variety. They started giving fruit in the third year, and in the sixth year, we are expecting about 1200 kg of fruit. This can be sold at Rs. 60 per kg.”
Take the case of change from another district. Till few years ago, Jeeraheda was an inconspicuous village along the Rajasthan-Haryana border, Bharatpur district, its residents struggling to eke out a decent living in an arid region. To complicate matters, extensive seepage from the adjoining Gurgaon Canal had rendered agriculture almost impossible. But intervention by LHWRF in the form of subsidies and training changed the situation. That was 2003-04, says resident Khurshid Ahmed. Today, there are over 100 fisheries, and villagers estimate the annual earnings from just fish farming to be in tune of a few crores.
In Buchkewadi village, Junnar block, the watershed reservoir of the village doubles as a huge fishery. Once hunters, now fisherfolk and protectors, this community has been entrusted with the maintenance of the fishery project. Around 52 youth collected Rs 500 each to kickstart the project. They were given training on raising and breeding fish as well as sales.
Besides fishery, there are multiple interventions across regions where skill augmentation is happening in farm-based livelihoods such as bee-keeping, mustard oil extraction, dairy farming, goat rearing and more.
In some regions, animal husbandry has brought about change. Goat meat being in high demand, Shakun Kushwah of Tarwaria village, Vidisha district, Madhya Pradesh, was provided a pair of goats and trained to take care of them. “Our pair of goats multiplied to 13 and we sold three of them for Rs 41,000 to make our small house.”
Dairy farming is a popular income source. While the bulls are used in the fields or as a mode of transportation, a single cow of good breed can produce about 12-16 litres of milk daily. The project is running in 28 villages of Junnar block. In Buchkewadi village, 25 farmers were selected and each was given one cow to begin their work with. They now sell milk to dairy co-operatives at Rs 30-40 per litre. The dung is used for bio-gas and as manure, and a mix of the dung and cow urine is used as pesticide.
Poultry farming is another profitable business. Apart from training and infrastructure support, the farmers are provided with a small inventory to start the process. Daulat Ramchandra Bhambre, Darkhel village, Dhule district, Maharashtra, started with a batch of 100 one-day-old chicks five years back. “Now, I have the capacity to rear 4,000 chicks. With proper feed and weather, each batch is market-ready in 65 days, making this activity a fast income-generating process.”
Digital revolution has changed agri-practices too. Besides, tools and physical aids, the farmers have been equipped with technology for optimal benefits.
In Buchkewadi village of Junnar district, Maharashtra, IoT is used to monitor soil moisture and it has created an automated irrigation facility. The project was introduced on 22 acres of land in March 2020 on a cluster belonging to nine farmers. Suresh Babar Gaikwaid, a farmer at Buchkewadi, shares the positive impact. Smart sensors in the field send soil humidity levels to a central control unit. Depending on the water needs of the crop, the valves open automatically to release the exact amount of water near the roots. “This saves money and labour. We can cultivate multiple crops including mango, onion, tomato and flowers with limited use of water.” Drip Irrigation
Water is a precious natural resource. And putting the water source close to the root at slow speed prevents wastage and stops soil erosion. Randhir Singh Kushwah, farmer, Tarwaria village, Vidisha district, Madhya Pradesh, shares, “Through drip irrigation, we save a lot on water and manual labour. We can single-handedly manage multiple crops in the same field and concentrate on high value crops. We can also introduce the fertilizers directly to the roots by mixing them with the water and delivered using the drips.”
Automatic Weather Station
Agriculture is very weather dependent. The automatic weather station set up in Buchkewadi village, Junnar block, Pune district, Maharashtra, serves all the farmers in the nearby area. Farmer Nitin Vitthal Pawar says, “The weather station gives us the exact predictions regarding the planting of crops or for reaping harvests. We get messages on the phone, or even calls. These predictions also help in the prevention of possible damage due to adverse weather conditions.”
Lupin Foundation collaborated with NABARD and IFFCO Kisan for this. Farmers receive inputs on land preparation, seed selection, seed treatment, sowing methods, integrated pest and nutrient management, irrigation applications. It also helps to decide selling price of their agriculture produce by knowing the prices in markets located at different places. Rice Mill
As rice is the most commonly grown crop, the farmers need help in processing it. A rice mill has been established under the banner of Hatkeshwar Farmer Producer Co-operative (HFPC), in Godre village, Junnar block. To process the rice from the harvest to polished produce, it needs only one operational specialist. Rajaram Ramchandra Rengre, Chairman, HFPC, says, “We do not charge farmers for rice processing. The rice husk is sold to make up for the operating and labour costs.”
To harvest rain water, the Jamkheli River in Dhule district was rejuvenated. Check dams were constructed to conserve the water for perennial use by the farmers. Old defunct structures were renovated through desiltation. Kiran Jado Bagul, farmer, Margao village, says, “The reservoir used to dry up within a month or two of the monsoon seasons, but now water is available all year long. Around 30 farmers received the fertile soil that was dug up during the desiltation.” Group Wells
Besides check dams and desiltation, group wells have been constructed too. Huge wells have been dug in relatively low-lying area to capture the rainfall. Resma Budha Gavit, Mapergaon village, says, “Water scarcity would force us to find work on other lands. Now with group wells, we work in our own fields and there is better harvest and income.”
Each well is used by five farmers. An added benefit is that the wells are helping recharge the water table. The poor tribal families in Dhule district, Maharashtra, have their own irrigation facilities now and rain-fed land has been transformed to irrigated land.
Also, groups wells and other NRM sources, have resulted in reducing very high outward distressed migration.
Lupin Foundation has worked across the length and breadth of the country for development of anganwadis, training and capacity building events for health workers, improved health behaviour programme for adolescent girls, infrastructure development of Primary Health Centre (PHC) and Community Health Centres (CHC). Intensive work was done during the pandemic also.
Dr. Salaph Tiwari, Pediatrician, PHC, Mandideep, Bhopal district, Madhya Pradesh, says, “Nearly 80-100 children visit this hospital daily and most of them come with infections and injuries. Another problem is malnutrition, and we admit the severely affected ones in our 10- bedded Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRC) for treatment.” At Mandideep, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Lupin Foundation has taken the onus of maintaining and making the 10-bedded NRC premises child friendly.
The Foundation also established a Covid Care Centre facility at Mandideep, Madhya Pradesh. Dr Shivam Jain, In-Charge, Medical Facility, says, “This facility has been created with support from Lupin Foundation. It has a total capacity of 60 beds, a life support system and oxygen concentrator. We provide OPD services to the people of the region and are prepared for any emergency.”
At the PHC in Parawada, Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh, an approach road from the main road to the PHC entrance as well as the main entrance gate and a small gate have been constructed. Dr Ravinder Ranjit, Medical Officer, says, “The lack of the approach road was a major concern, as many accidents happened outside the hospital and now there has been a drastic reduction of accidents. Post COVID, we have been able to vaccinate many people as the storage facilities have now been augmented.” Lupin Foundation has also given air conditioners with inverters in the vaccination room and operation theatre, along with other upgradations.
Five-year-old Radhika gets to attend the anganwadi in her village, Borai, Bharatpur district, whose caretaker is a national awardee. Shyam Kumari’s life revolves around the 25-odd children who attend the anganwadi. She says children aged 3-6 in Borai did not go to school earlier. “Ever since this anganwadi has opened, children are getting educated.” Evidence of Lupin’s interventions are everywhere—brightly painted walls with age-appropriate information capsules, quality furniture, educational aids, health monitoring units for weight and height, uniforms.
Anganwadi centres are providing facilities such as prenatal care. Mahendra Awasthi, CDPO, ICDS, Kumher block, explains that the Lupin Foundation runs 192 anganwadi centres in Bharatpur district. “To improve the quality of delivery of services, Lupin steps in wherever gap funding is required. This includes capacity enhancement, upgradation of anganwadi centres. We have been able to significantly reduce the anganwadi dropout rate and increased the coverage of vaccination.”
Celebrating motherhood during godbharai ceremony at Bharatpur, pregnant women are made aware of the required ANC, PNC and new born care while practising traditions.
Apart from the free education and food, these centres also make sure that a health record is maintained and necessary vaccinations are done on time. Anita Morya, Supervisor, ICDS, Vidisha district, Madhya Pradesh, says. “The toys and audio-visual equipment encourage the young children to visit regularly and learn more skills. They are also provided with food supplements to protect them from malnourishment.”
At Mantripalem, Parawada, Andhra Pradesh, an unfinished building of an anganwadi-cum- kindergarten school has been completed by painting, toilets and seating support from the Foundation. “I have been teaching for 18 years and we have had a lot of trouble with education here as there was a lack of infrastructural facilities. Now even neighbouring village children want to come and study here,” says R. Venkata Lakshmi, a teacher at this school.
Students are happy too. Yogavarshini finds the paintings here attractive and that makes learning fun. Six-year-old Ramakrishna says that the song and dance help him learn faster.
Which areas and regions does LHWRF focus on?
We have 20 centres across the country and our primary focus is on two niche verticals: livelihood and lives (healthcare). Our livelihood initiatives include agricultural support, animal husbandry, skill development, women empowerment, enterprise development, boosting artisan groups involved in traditional crafts and providing them modern techniques along with market linkages. As the parent company, Lupin Limited, is a healthcare company, we draw expertise for the initiatives from the professionals in-house and take them to the rural population. Most organisations focus on hypertension, diabetes and nutrition alone. We are targeting Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVD) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)as the heart and lungs are affected by pollution and lifestyle. City-bred people are more aware of these, so the disease is detected early and treated, but it’s difficult in the rural areas. We aim to create a good data base around CVD. Most of the times, we find incomplete information, as the forms are not duly filled.
From preventive stand-point, CVD needs simple changes such as different food habits and regular exercise.
Why is there focus on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
Any environmental issue impacts the rich and poor, city dweller and rural population alike. But the rural population can’t afford to stay in protected environments with gadgets like air purifiers. Therefore, we are trying to introduce conveniences and habits that can prevent respiratory diseases, besides improving care. The behaviour change communication aspect will be targeted under the programme. We will be partnering with the government healthcare system and have conducted a technical study with an organization called ‘Heath and Beyond’. It aims to provide an assessment of specific healthcare services in the regions where we will implement the project.
How is Lupin Foundation mitigating climate change impact?
LHWRF has enabled farmers to plant and sustain over 8 lakh fruit trees and developed over 4 million cubic meters of water recharge potential through decades of work, ensuring economic upliftment of poor communities and conservation of the local ecosystem. We will continue planting trees. We have been working on water conservation practices such as creating series of check dams, nala bunds, water absorption trenches, de-silting of water bodies, roof top rain water harvesting, reviving defunct wells and more. These practices improve ground water levels.
Also, we engage with the farmers on using water wisely by using sprinklers, drip irrigation, mulching so that the soil absorbs water and retains moisture for a longer duration to create efficient irrigation systems. Farmers are being encouraged to go for second and third crop to supplement their income.
What is the future vision?
We will continue to address and support incomes through our livelihood interventions, strengthening it by working with community-based organization like Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), to bring them together so that they have better bargaining power, market linkages and create and sustain Self-Help Groups. The same applies to artisans for enterprise development. Investment in health is aimed at strengthening public health infrastructure, aligning with the government on a PPP model. As an organization, we are seeking diversity and having more women on board that brings in more strength into an organisation, and better communication with the community as well.
“We will support income enhancement through livelihood initiatives and community collectives and boost healthcare in rural areas in a Public Private Community Partnership mode “
Head CSR, Lupin Limited
How do you choose the social impact projects?
In line with IKEA’s people and planet positive sustainability strategy, we have identified different needs in different markets. Together, with chosen partners, we co-create a long-term project to support the most vulnerable communities through the lens of safety and give them a safe place to call home.
How does IKEA bring in sustainability principles in everyday life?
In IKEA, our planet positive strategy is our sustainability strategy. This talks about our health and sustainable living and life at home, which is what our range and solutions are all about. Also, it is about how we support our customers to live a more healthy and sustainable life. We have our climate and circular positive movement, which is all about renewable energy, zero emission and how we reduced our climate footprint in our operations, as well as how we reach our goods, reach our stores in a more sustainable way. And the last pillar is about being fair and equal. And this is how we support our co-workers, our communities and how we coexist in our communities, looking at our equality, diversity, and inclusion agenda as well.
What steps has IKEA taken to make it an inclusive community for the projects it has initiated?
During the pandemic, we have seen that there are a lot of people who have been suffering with loss of livelihood and loss of homes. This is where we have been supporting the communities with our products, creating Covid-19 centres, but also giving food to many different people in the community. We also started a project, A Place Called Home, where we identified different needs in different markets. We set up a longer project to refurbish homes and have created construction sites for labourers. We have also supported children in need around the Dadar railway station in Mumbai.
2.. The Kesari variety of mangoes started giving fruit from the third year. The fruit can be sold at Rs 60 per kg
Pandu Baba Kagua
Farmer, Ambur village, Dhule district
3.. Thanks to IoT, we save money, labour and it gives us opportunity to cultivate multiple crops including mango, onion, tomato and flowers with limited use of water
Suresh Babar Gaikwaid
Farmer, Buchkewadi village