Biovillage: MSSRF’s Pathway to Achieve SDGs

Biovillage is a scientifically and socially tested impact pathway that MSSRF has adopted since early 2000 as an enabling innovation to achieve inclusive human development. The Biovillage is in operation in villages of Puducherry and offers a ‘solution designer approach’ with participatory development of locally relevant technologies and bottom-up strategies for holistic village development. This is made possible through the empowerment of men, women, and youth to innovate and enterprise sustainable livelihoods methods.

MSSRF proposes to launch the 2030 SDG Campaign by initiating a programme called ‘Every Village a Biovillage’ to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 to 8 and 12 to 15, and in particular the ZERO HUNGER goal. The ‘Every Village a Biovillage’ programme will be implemented under three integrated pathways: Research innovations that build upon a participatory approach with multidisciplinary scientists and communities; Capacity development innovations that aim at capacitating youth to function as SDG champions; and Livelihood innovations through the empowerment of grassroots institutions, Self Help Groups and Farmer Producer Organisations.

Ten research innovations that are translational to livelihood development has been proposed by constituting 10 research fellowships. The SDG indicators & the Social Progress Index framework will be used as the protocols to measure the social impact resulting from biovillage development.

The agricultural interventions in the new biovillage programme are designed to promote nutrition sensitive farming systems with the objective of eradicating all forms of malnutrition. This will necessitate many other interventions like providing clean drinking water, sanitation, primary health care, and biodiverse farming approaches.

Market value chain development with improved production, farmer led marketing chain and consumer influence will be the common approach for income generation of the target families. The activities will be implemented by streamlining MSSRF’s current programme areas and in collaboration as appropriate with the partners, mainly the Panchayat Raj Institutions, Non Governmental Organisations, government departments and suitable private enterprises.  Necessary resources will be mobilised by finding partners to sponsor the targeted number of villages and the research fellowships.

The programme will be rolled out by January 2020 by initiating training for 1000 youth who will be capacitated to become the ‘Biovillage Champions’ and to reach out around 10000 families living in the marginal environment of coastal wetlands, semi-arid (dryland) and hill areas in a few southern and eastern Indian states. It is also proposed to demonstrate such kind of village development interventions in neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.