Tata Trusts and the Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) who collaboratedfor a project on livelihood creation in rural India through social entrepreneurship and skill development have recently announced a grant of INR 1.5 Million for 6 organizations from across India.The organizations who are awarded the grant are KumaunGrameenUdyogfrom Uttarakhand,Freeset Fabrics from West Bengal, Chitrikaand Craftizen Foundationfrom Hyderabad, and Women Weave Charitable Trust and Raah Foundation from Maharashtra. As part of this project, a capacity-building workshop for the handicrafts and handlooms sector was organized at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.The workshop was aimed at capacity-building through knowledge inputs, networking support, social innovation grant funding and mentoring.
Over 60 participants from 50 organizations across 15 States of India participated in this workshop. They were selected from among the 400-some-odd applications, based on a detailed selection process. The participating organizations were from diverse backgrounds in terms of their work and crafts forms, and ranged from small social entrepreneurs to medium and large-sized organizations. Based on a rigorous grant review process, sixof these organizations will be provided with a social innovation grant of INR 1.5 million along with mentorship and advice for greater impact in their respective spheres of work.
The production of handicrafts is the largest source of income for rural populations, next only to agriculture. According to official estimates, 11.65 million Indians were engaged in craft production in 2013. The number is expected to grow to 13.93 million in 2017 and 17.79 million in 2022. Data from unofficial sources indicate that up to 200 million craftspeople and artisans depend on the handicrafts and handlooms sector for a livelihood. The project by Tata Trusts and Harvard SAI focuses on supporting and strengthening the organizational infrastructure of enterprises in thesesectors, which work with the craftspeople and artisans at the grass roots.
Commenting on the current situation of India’s handicrafts sector, Shishir Dash, Senior Development Consultant, Tata Trusts, said, “The craft sector is economically important, with exports of more than INR 9000 crore and domestic consumption of INR 14500 crore during 2014-15. However budget allocation and investments for the development of the sector are negligible. A large quantum of CSR fund is available for development activities but less than 0.5% is spent in the craft sector. A proper mapping is required to understand the availability of resources for development of craft activities. Even if Government of India is providing support to craft sector, it should be need based and should sustain beyond the grant support. The development partners should explore possibilities of collaboration with Government for the greater interest of the sector.”
Harvard SAI partnered with institutions and subject experts in India to deliver the curriculum for the workshop. In addition to Harvard faculty members and representatives of Tata Trusts, the other speakers at the workshop represented prominent institutions including Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), National Institute of Design (NID), Bandhej, All India Artisans and Craftsworkers Welfare Association (AIACA), iTokri, Facebook, Rare Earth Design, Either Or, Aavishkar, Council for Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI). Dasrais the Project Facilitator of this initiative.
Professor MuktiKhaire, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School was the Faculty Chair for the workshop, while Dr.Shashank Shah, Harvard University South Asia Institute and Visiting Scholar, Harvard Business School was the Project Director.Ashoke Chatterjee, Former Executive Director at the National Institute Design and Hon. President of the Crafts Council of India deliveredthe keynote address.