IRDM: Rural Community Development & Awareness building
The following are the outreach activities organized by the Faculty Center for Integrated Rural Development and Management (IRDM) operating from the Narendrapur campus of RKMVERI.
Rural Living and Learning Experience Programme (RLLE)
This programme is held twice a year as an integral part of the MSc ARD (Agriculture and Rural Development) coursework. During the programme, students immerse themselves into rural communities and take pro-active roles that impact the lives of community members. The students stay in the community, analyse the problems faced by the rural society, develop practical action plans and work on implementing these plans along with the community members. Typically, students visit 12-15 villages every year as a part of this programme. RLLE is an illustrative example of an academic programme that has been designed to benefit the larger society – experiential learning of the students happens in parallel with addressing the challenges faced by rural communities.
Showcasing of new Rural Technologies and awareness building
Every year, IRDM participates in the 4-day Annual Exhibition held at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Narendrapur, with the students and staff of IRDM hosting a stall covering themes related to agriculture and rural development. The stalls are used to demonstrate rural technologies and make the public aware of social problems as well as new rural technologies. Nearly 50,000 people from rural and peri-urban areas visit the exhibition every year.
Swachh Bharat Internship Programme
Student participation in the Swachh Bharat Internship Programme was initiated in the year 2017-18. In this programme, students visit villages in different parts of West Bengal and spread awareness about the swachhata (cleanliness) movement through posters and leaflets, door-to-door meetings, role-play, movie screening, etc.
Improved Quality of Rural Life through Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (2012-2016)
With a view to contributing to rural community life as part of the model village programme, IRDM students periodically visited a model village of the IRDM Faculty Centre during the period of 2012-2016 and helped in the implementation of a project on integrated rural development. Apart from monitoring project progress and providing feedback to the faculty centre, the students participated actively in technology transfer and farmers’ capacity building initiatives. They also pro-actively led women’s empowerment initiatives and community awareness creation as part of this project. This extension project covered several hundred households and succeeded in integrating a large number of rural technologies such as improved seed, planting material, livestock breed, etc., into the community.