IL&FS & MRIDA: THE IL&FS MPOWERED VILLAGE PROGRAM
The Mrida Heart 'n Soil Foundation and IL&FS visited Tahtajpur in 2014 to implement the 'IL&FS MPowered Village Program.' This program focused on access to energy, education, agriculture, skill development, livelihood and women's empowerment
The project undertaken by IL&FS was closed in 2018, however, the Heart ‘n Soil Foundation continues to work in Faridapur Inayat Khan & Tahtajpur, specifically on women's empowerment and market linkages for Aprajita Vikas Samuh & Rajlaxmi Stitching Centre, as well as activities to enhance the income of the farmers in these two villages and supporting the Grameen Haat.
The key focus was on uplifting the livelihood of women in the area by training women to stitch, which could be harnessed by the women to generate additional income in the family. A Grameen Haat was also set up near Tahtajpur which provided employment opportunities and served as a venue to showcase and sell local handicrafts & produce. The Haat is also a refreshment spot for those traveling on the Bareilly Bypass.
The Heart ‘n Soil Foundation engaged with KVK to provide inputs in agriculture from soil and field management practices and training to providing market linkages.
Village Development Committee:
The set up of the Village Development Committee provided a system of fund management and maintenance of village resources. The VDCs later became centres which had surplus funds which were loaned out to Village Level Entrepreneurs (for example the Rajlaxmi Stitching Centre), which became centres of earning and employment.
Health & Hygiene:
Open defecation was a major challenge in this village, as only 30% households had their own toilet. Mrida and IL&FS worked together to install 40 toilets, and villagers contributed a token amount towards their installation and maintenance. Training workshops were conducted to create awareness and ensure proper utilization.
78 % of the households were initially dependent on kerosene for lighting. After the installation of 3 solar microgrids, more than 50% of the village was electrified.