Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana’s mission to reduce rural poverty and create empowerment receives constant support, encouragement and guidance from expert economist, policy makers and ‘heroes’ of rural development programmes. One such visit was of Mr. K. Raju, Joint Secretary, National Advisory Council (NAC), Government of India who toured our programme areas in the early days of October. His visit reinforced our belief to work towards reaching out to the ‘poorest of the poor’ population and benefit them. Winding up his visit with an interaction with the Programme team and Regional Programme Managers of the organization at its mission office in Rae Bareli, he shared his observation, experiences and vision for development. Mr. Raju’s message for the programme functionaries in the mission to ‘sow the seeds of empowerment’ was to make the poor see the possibilities of change and help them come out of the ‘burden of silence’ and hopelessness. He urged them to expand, in his words ‘a menu of possibilities’ to instill the lost self-belief of the poor.
Lauding the organization in its conviction on the innate capabilities of the poor people by giving complete charge to the community, he suggested the creation of greater social capital to sustain the community institutions. Cautioning the programme functionaries on the fall out of the ‘poorest of the poor’ (POP), Mr. K. Raju advised them to focus on the POP and bring them in to the front line leadership position by developing their confidence. The confidence building measures amongst would require time and patience, however by creating successful ‘change agents’ amongst the poorest of the poor, models for replication and emulation can be created for a community.
He inspired the functionaries to ‘walk with’ and ‘stand by’ the change- agents in securing the government rights and entitlements. Most importantly, he urged the functionaries and team to constantly respond to the dreams of the Poorest of the Poor.