Recognizing the Rural Changemaker – 74 men & women from 9 states to be honoured
Chennai, October 20, 2017: The 11th Convocation of MSSRF’s JRD TATA National Virtual Academy (NVA) Fellowship, an initiative that recognizes rural change makers across the country, is to be held at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai on 23rd October 2017. The Chief Guest is Dr. Bruce Alberts, leading scientist and former President, National Academy of Sciences, USA. Over 74 rural innovators, including 34 women, from 9 states of India are being honoured and inducted into the Academy during the convocation. Prof M S Swaminathan, Dr S N A Jinnah, CGM NABARD, Dr B Shadrach, Asia Co-ordinator for Affordable Internet speak on the occasion.
A peer to peer cross learning exercise takes place on 22nd October 2017 at MSSRF. Representatives who have made a difference in their communities and who are to be awarded this year will attend this workshop. This Participatory Knowledge Management Workshop helps them connect, share, and learn from one other.
Communities in rural India have enormous potential, experiences and rich wisdom, but often remain invisible. MSSRF’s Village Resource Centres and Village Knowledge Centres have been delivering locale-specific, demand-driven services for rural communities since 1992 indicating that rural communities in India master new technologies, irrespective of academic education.
Prof M S Swaminathan envisioned the National Virtual Academy Fellowship programme to recognize and award torch bearers of development in every village in India, identifying grassroots academicians for bringing change in rural communities. MSSRF established the Jamsetji Tata National Virtual Academy for Food Security and Rural Prosperity (NVA) in August 2003, with financial support from the Sir Dorabji Tata Social Welfare Trust, commemorating the first death centenary of Jamsetji Tata.
The Tata NVA Initiative recognises rural innovators in natural resource management, agriculture, fisheries, education, health, and sanitation. It has so far inducted 1800 Fellows, 1099 men and 701 women spanning 24 states across India and 38 overseas fellows covering 31 men and 7 women from 12 countries. It helps motivate dynamic workers, bolster self-esteem and credibility and elevate their social standing. It brings experts and communities together, empowering with technology and skills.
The Fellows transform knowledge to other villagers by a) linking with government schemes b) training / exchanging knowledge on farming c) capacity building in farm and non-farm enterprises d) Adult Literacy and innovation in children’s education.
The Fellowship ultimately aims to identify and recognize over 1.2 million Fellows – 1 male and 1 female across each of 600,000 villages in India.
The Late Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, Former President of India who presided over NVA convocations in 2005 and 2006, described the Academy as “celebration of India’s rural core competence”. Eminent persons like Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India have facilitated the convocation in earlier years.
“The Fellows of NVA constitute an effective ‘Team India for a New India’ where urban and rural areas will prosper together and where there is social inclusion in technology access, based on Mahatma Gandhi’s Antyodaya approach” says Prof M S Swaminathan, Founder, MSSRF.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.